As I've mentioned in previous posts, I loved Kenner Star Wars figures. Some of my fondest childhood memories are those of playing with Star Wars figures with my best friend Bart. Even more exciting was searching for a new figure that I didn't have yet in the toy aisle at our local Gold Circle. They had more figures displayed than any other store. How I loved that great big rack of Star Wars figures! I remember seeing all of those colorful figures with the awesome packages with actual pictures from the movies on the cards. That was a big deal to kid Star Wars fans like me.
What I didn't know then was how much effort it took to create those memorable packages. Before computers, making great packaging was quite a process. I got to learn all about it by reading a great article about it in Tomart's Action Figure Digest. The cool thing is that it was written in part by Tracey Hamilton, a good friend of mine. He and Bill Wills are huge long time Star Wars collectors who have become true experts. They interviewed Jeff Rice, the LPK package designer who worked directly with George Lucas to develop the classic Star Wars packaging look.
Bill and Tracey took the information they learned from Rice, put it together with their vast Star Wars toy knowledge, and wrote a dynamite article for AFD! They have graciously allowed me to re-format it and publish it here at Toys2Remember, for which I am so grateful. It is too good for a simple post, so it appears as a true Toys 2 Remember page. You can see it in its entirety here, but to whet your appetite, below is an excerpt.
Thanks Tracey and Bill! You are always welcome here at Toys2Remember.com.
Working with George Lucas on Star Wars Backer Card Production
by Bill Wills and Tracey Hamilton
Collectors who spent a good portion of their childhood playing with vintage Kenner Star Wars action figures will tell you that those same figures stir up great nostalgic memories as adults.
Most collectors agree that their fondest memories from those days are centered on the toys. But while the toys get most of the glory, there are many who have equally vivid memories of the striking graphics on the packaging.
What kid wasn’t enamored with that silver double racetrack Star Wars logo and image of the character from the movie? I’m sure that many of you reading this article had a stack of used card backs that you couldn’t bring yourself to throw away after you’d ripped the figure off of it. Compared to the sensory overload times we live in today, images from the movies were relatively scarce in those days,
so card backs were yet
another way to remember our favorite characters
We’ve come a long way since 1977.
Today, information about the various stages of the figure production process is readily available, but by comparison, there is relatively little about the process used in creating the packaging. The purpose of this article is to identify the highlights of that process and to shine a spotlight on the people who were responsible for all those innovative and unforgettable card backs that left such a lasting impression on so many collectors.
Not only did he know exactly what he was looking for, George Lucas was in complete and total control over the finished packaging for the vintage Kenner Star Wars line.