Collect These Figures and Accessories is a nostalgic look back at Star Wars toy advertising between 1977 and 1986. Over the course of 96 pages, author Philip Reed deftly mixes newspaper advertisements from the period with photos and facts about the merchandise behind one of Kenner’s most successful and lucrative toy lines.
The layout of the book is fun and inviting. Each ad was painstakingly re-constructed through a combination of Google Newspaper Archive screenshots and photo editing software. Reed’s attention to detail and enthusiasm for the source material is readily apparent from page to page.
Speaking of source material, Collect These Figures and Accessories spans the first three films of the series, often referred to as the original trilogy: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Unless you’re an avid Star Wars collector, it is easy to forget the sheer amount of merchandise that hit store shelves.
To put things in perspective, Reed provides some of the compelling statistics behind the advertising. For example, in 1978, Kenner sold 42 million Star Wars toys which breaks down to more than 115,000 toys per day. The wildly popular action figures were selling at a clip of 70,000 units per day. At the height of the toy line’s popularity, retail stores were often unable to meet consumer demand for figures, ships, and playsets.
If you’re a fan of Star Wars, Collect These Figures and Accessories is a worthy addition to your bookshelf. By compiling a compendium of ads from a variety of different sources, Philip Reed has created a reference guide for collectors and a historical archive of a pre-Internet era when “newspapers mattered.”
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