Star Wars Prototypes from way back when…

sWith Star Wars Celebration in full swing and the 40th anniversary of the greatest movie of my childhood being celebrated like never before, why not take a look back at some of the fantastic product that never saw retail shelves? Thanks to the January ’99 issue of Tomart’s Action Figure Digest , there are some fantastic pics of on-produced or released prototypes from the Micro Collection line of metal figures and playsets.  And just like the article on Mego’s Marty Abrams, it’s so cool seeing where it all came from, Action figure and toy fans.

Jim  04/13/17

THIS is the one that turned me into that kid from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away again.

“The Force Awakens” has most certainly scratched my Star Wars itch BUT it’s got nothing on THIS, dear reader… Join me on this journey full of Christmas magic and Brother-in-Law love…

When I was a kid in elementary school there was nothing cooler to me than pop up books. I mean nothing. Action figures? Awesome! Model kits? Fantastic! Pop Up books? Unbridled JOY!

vintage cvover

The first pop up book I recall holding in my hands was one for “The Empire Strikes Back”. Sweet lord I loved that book. Never owned it though. The copy I saw was in the school library. So while  I could check it out, marvel at it for a little while I would begrudgingly have to return it so I wouldn’t be cursed with a late fee and an evil look from the librarian. The circle of life at Landmark Elementary, circa 1980. Now, thanks to my awesome brother in law, that last part can finally be flushed from my memory and replaced by Christmas magic.


This year as I sat down with my family, sharing in the fun and fellowship that comes from exchanging gifts with those that you love (that you hope won’t suck) I was handed one last wrapped wonder that was fixing to transport me to a time and place from long, long ago. I said “Thank you,” as Derek passed it too me. Little did I know how truly thankful I was about to be.


I opened the rectangular package with adult like composure but as the cover was revealed the engines of my internal time machine roared to life! My eyes locked onto the cover of this beauty: Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart. Then, I opened it and I was GONE!


Page after page, flap after flap, the most memorable moments from my childhood not only came back but surrounded me, just like the Force itself. The 7 year old me was there. Amazed! Enthralled! And I must admit, a bit rude as everyone else in the room disappeared. Sorta sorry about that, gang. Blame Derek while I continue to thank him. Now back to the book…


Each and every page is amazing in art, story and engineering. If you are a Star Wars fan and don’t have one you are totally cheating yourself out of some seriously awesome goodness. And while I truly loved and enjoyed “The Force Awakens” none of its practical or computer generated special effects can touch the ones that are popping out from these pages. A jagged and ragged looking Kylo Ren lightsaber thrashing through bulkheads and people is lackluster compare to the battery operated, LED ones wielded by Luke and Vader in the back of the book. Not even close.


Below, you can see some more of my more favorite scenes that come to life but I implore you to shop around and get one for yourself or for someone that you love. Do me a solid though and point them back here to the Toy Box. I would love to hear the stories and thoughts that you or they have after experiencing this awesome book. And again to my awesome, fantastic and beautiful brother in law, Thank You, Derek! You gave me more than a gift, you sent me on a journey through time fueled by Christmas magic and love.

Now, Go Play!

Jim 12/29/15

Wretched hive of scum, villainy and AWESOME!
Wretched hive of scum, villainy and AWESOME!
Yeah, yeah. These ARE the droids I was looking for :)
Yeah, yeah. These ARE the droids I was looking for 🙂
Can't love these scoundrels enough!
Can’t love these scoundrels enough!

Thrift Store Flipping Round 2 – This is getting even more FUN!

TSF Round 2

I gotta tell you, I had a ton of fun taking these pics this morning! “Thrift Store Flipping” is turning into a very therapeutic practice for me. Seriously check out these pics and tell me you can’t smile at least a little 🙂

You can see all the listings via this hyperlink to my eBay profile page HERE

You can learn more about what all this flipping talk is about HERE 

My muse is old and green with a hint of Lava.

Entertainment Earth


A ‘Pandora’s Box’ of good clean humor.

Okay so I haven’t written a new blog in forever and now that I’m finally getting to it what subject matter inspires me? The massive amount of 8-inch classic style action figures coming from Bif, Bang, Pow and EMCE toys? Nope. The Lando’s that I’ve been accumulating that I’m supposed to be blogging about? Nope, again. Or even the insanely super cool and already pre ordered 8 inch KISS classic style figures from Classic TV Toys? Surprisingly no. In fact the muse that has ignited my fingers is perhaps one of the most oddball additions to my collection… ever. So fellows and girls without further ado may I introduce to you my muse of the moment… Vintage Star Wars Yoda Soap!

What it is

Yoda Soap from 1981

Omni Cosmetics Corporation

Apparently they are out of business now and these mighty fine shops have taken over this prime real estate location. It’s been rumored that when the moon is just right when the clock strikes midnight you will catch a soft whiff of Yoda Soap in the back storage room.

Where I got it

For $20 bucks (with shipping) I even got a gold Vader from AVON! Yeah, it’s not that big a deal but still fun. Leave me alone.

From an ebay auction that I threw a token bid on because of the vintage, all be it a beater Colonial Viper that was in the lot of star wars stuff. And yes that interested me only because of all of the talk coming from Bif Bang Pow and their new 8 inch Classic Style Battlestar Galactica figures (available for pre-order now by the way via Entertainment Earth).

Why this is cool

When “lathering with Yoda” had no dirty connotations… pun not intended. Seriously.

It’s old and green just like Yoda, perfect product representation there. No actually it’s cool to me not so much for the soap but for the copy that is on the box. “Wise Yoda, the Jedi Master, dwells on the bog planet Dagobah. He’s taught all the Jedi Knights including Obi-Wan Kenobi. And because he’s had over 800 years of experience, he’s a maser at helping to keep you clean,,,”

Stop right there. That is just creepy and a little sad. Not for the obvious modern day, ‘everything is a dirty joke waiting to happen’ reasons. No it’s sad because we seem to have lost the innocence of copy / marketing such as that. It was written for kids. Kids who loved Star Wars and couldn’t get nearly enough of the, at the time two movie Empire and was most likely picked up by either a mom but most likely a dad who just wanted to surprise their kid with something Star Wars other than another of those silly plastic men. Touching moment complete, back to the copy from way back when…

“…Lather up with Yoda.” Dang – there they go again.

“…He’ll help you destroy ugly dirt and grime.” Again I must pause and dissect some of the components in that simple eight-word sentence. First off the word ‘destroy’. Man, that is pretty hardcore!  And then there’s dirt and grime, which were the enemy of every small boy back in those early Reagan administration days. Those two words also serve as a pretty good snapshot of the times. Their usage evokes memories of the fact that kids actually played outside and not only did they get dirty they got so dirty in fact that grime formed. For today’s generation here’s what that means: grime [gra’m]- n dirt, soot, or filth, esp when thickly accumulated or ingrained vb(tr) to make dirty or coat with filth. Needless to say Yoda soap is pretty bad ass! Back to the copy…

“… And he’ll make you feel mighty good about yourself, too!” – Okay here’s where they lost me. Obviously the copywriter never saw Empire. They must have gotten a very basic character outline before they crafted this prose. Yoda make you feel good about yourself? Not in Empire sister. In the second (okay now fifth installment) of the Star Wars saga Yoda was anything but a booster.  In fact he was a real drag for Luke’s self esteem. First he suckers him by way of not revealing his identity… then he busts his balls by saying that he is too old to begin the training (perhaps this was because the older padawans wouldn’t let the little green dude lather them up)… then he tells him he’s gonna be all scared and junk essentially calling our former farm boy a sissy. Luke may have been winey, but farm boys ain’t sissy’s. And that’s not even bringing up the whole “Do or do not, there is no try” hard-assery. Yeah that Yoda, he’s a booster.

Oh who am I kidding I appreciate the humor and attempt of a completely out of touch 40-something copyrighter who was still holding onto the promises of the Woodstock generation all the while working copywriting gigs like this one, selling his formally flower powered pen to feed his $200 a day cocaine habit. Or maybe he was just an old stiff who really had no clue and didn’t care considering he was probably only pulling down about $75 bucks a week and hoping that his ’72 Gremlin could hold up for at least one more year. Boy, the psych students in the audience are probably and very easily translating my own current emotional state in regards to employment or disdain thereof. I think I need a Yoda bubble bath.

Why you should care

Regardless of Lucas’ changes Star Wars will always hold a place in my heart (and now my tub).

No real reason outside of this; Yoda Soap (and actually all of the oddball stuff in the lot it came with) serve as a reminder that the Lucasfilm marketing machine has been milking this franchise long before there was a 3-D, special edition version of Episode 1- The Phantom Menace to berate because it and he are selling out the franchise. I mean seriously, “Lather up with Yoda”? This line was approved by the guy who wouldn’t allow for Star Wars to be licensed to vitamin manufactures because of fears of promoting drug usage?!? If it was me and I created such a merchandising juggernaut you’d have seen “Official Star Wars lightsaber syringes for diabetics”. Still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone plunking down $12 to see Phantom Menace again when you can buy the BluRay collection and fast forward through the pod race and all extended Gungan dialog exchanges.

In Conclusion

All silliness aside I want to say thanks to the ebay seller who hooked me up with this odd yet cool lot on the cheap, expertly packaged and promptly shipped. And to you dear reader the lesson I would like all of you to take away from this little rambling is this; drop ten bucks on an oddball lot that only makes a mild amount of sense. Upon closer examination you may find your muse packed carefully in between the items wrapped in the September 16th 2011 edition of the Post Standard.

Now Go Play! – Jim 02/12/2012

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