If you were one of the lucky few who was a kid back when the original Star Wars films were released (sadly, I wasn’t), chances are the official ‘Star Wars’ toys were a huge part of your childhood.
While the original toys are primarily in the hands of eccentric collectors these days (and selling for thousands of dollars apiece), the story behind how they came to be is truly a fascinating look at how toy designers ultimately helped shape the childhood of millions back in the 1970s.
Released this past weekend, ‘Plastic Galaxy’ filmmakers Brian Stillman and Karl Tate tell the story of the original Kenner toy manufacturing brand through a series of interviews with both the original toy designers and those who started collecting the toys at a young age.
Kenner acquired the master license from George Lucas to create Star Wars products and ultimately created a behemoth sales machine that graced the walls of toy retailers and the living room floors of kids creating their own Star Wars universe in the 70s.
Among other original Kenner toy designers interviewed is Jim Swearingen, who was the principal conceptual designer for Kenner’s line of ‘Star Wars’ toys.
“This was the dream job for a designer,” Swearingen said in a recent interview with his Alma Mater.
“Since I had been in on it from the beginning (toy design), I got to do all kinds of things that people don’t do today. I got to go and see some shooting. They were doing special effects. I got to view all of that stuff as a relatively young designer……the best part of being a toy designer is you get to do so much.”
The popularity of Swearingen’s 3¾-inch sized ‘Star Wars’ action figures had such an impact on the toy industry that, among other influences they had, it was because of there popularity that the previously top-selling and foot-tall original GI JOES dolls were redesigned into smaller plastic action figures that we still see today.
Be sure to check out the movie in-full over at Vimeo On-Demand.