Dark Times 1 – 1986

Although thoroughly unthinkable today, there was a time when Star Wars was practically non-existent. Here is a look at how smart and patient marketing decisions reinvigorated a dormant franchise from the 1980ies to today.

It was in the summer of 1986 that I chanced upon the most precious item on earth I could have thought of. Its arms long and disproportionate, the fangs frighteningly conspicuous, a grin extended to freakish dimensions and a few shrink heads attached to a wooden staff, there indeed could not have been anything more beautiful on planet earth.

Amanaman - Kenner Action Figure 1986 - Obi-Wandi's Blog Spirits, www.obiwandi.at
“When bought am I, no more collecting you require” – The grisly, long-armed Amanaman, an obscure bounty hunter glimpsed for merely a few seconds in Return of the Jedi at Jabba’s palace, gloriously concludes a life-long quest to complete the collection of Kenner’s original Star Wars action figure range (1978-1985).

I quickly produced the necessary bills and coins, grabbed the bag and rushed towards the exit, only to be called back for I had paid too much by a wide margin.

Happily, though visibly startled, I proceeded with some of my spent wealth restored to the bus stop. My grip on this peculiar plastic bag was as strong as humanly possible: I was in the possession of a most priced treasure.

At home I quickly removed the bag to inspect the valuable merchandise contained therein: a cardboard with a bulb of plastic bearing a most hideous creature, the Star Wars Tri-Logo effectively printed at the top of the card, which featured a lavish still from the third film in the original trilogy. This was Amanaman, a sight to behold – and a dreaded bounty hounter.

As I placed the figure on my shelf I felt enormously happy. I had successfully completed my collection of Star Wars figures.

Yet happiness was smartly made quick work of by utter frustration. It was 1986 and the only thing that meant the world to me was a little known and seen creature from a film whose popularity – though undeniable – had had to give way to succeeding box office bonanzas.

No longer was it up to Han Solo to patrol the school yard when He-Man, Zoids, Deloreans and crocodile hunters had taken over. By all accounts, Star Wars seemed perennially locked in the annals of motion picture history to gather dust…

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