Friends, sticking with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as the subject for today’s article – hard to believe that for some fans – it is only one day away until they get a chance to catch the end of the Skywalker saga. Since I posted about the Star Wars: Hoth Ice Planet Adventure Game a couple of days ago – I’ve been amazed at how many of you also have no recollection of seeing that particular board game before. However I can at least tell you I was quite aware of Kenner’s 1980 The Empire Strikes Back “Force” lightsaber – in fact when all was said and done I was able to get two of them in my youth – the red and yellow versions. When visiting my Grandparents there were more than a handful of Summer afternoons with the neighborhood kids spent dueling in the circle drive – the humming sound of our lightsabers filling the air as we clashed. You didn’t always need your opponent to wield the red hued lightsaber of Darth Vader to know they had been seduced by the power of the Dark Side of the Force… sometimes it was the fact you had just been hit in the face with a handful of gravel to realize your opponent was surely a follower of the Sith teachings. The plastic lightsabers were pretty sturdy and could sting if it was swung fast enough – a pretty remarkable improvement from the inflatable lightsabers that were offered after the first Star Wars became a global phenomenon.
You might be interested to know that Kenner manufactured the “Force” lightsabers right past 1983’s Return of the Jedi – actually the yellow hued version was replaced with a green one. Meant to resemble the lightsaber that Luke Skywalker constructed in a deleted scene in that particular film – of course that also meant that Kenner changed the stickers on the lightsabers from The Empire Strikes Back to the Return of the Jedi.
Now sadly while I was lucky enough to get those two lightsabers – I somehow missed out on the pretty awesome Yoda hand puppet. Although unlike that board game from a few days ago I did know the puppet was available for purchase and I really think when you check out the commercial for both toys, you will agree that it is indeed a nice likeness of that legendary teacher of the Jedi Knights. While it wouldn’t have the options that the hand puppet did that was released for 1999’s The Phantom Menace – I dig that Kenner added hair to their 1980 version.
What about you though, did you have Kenner’s Yoda Hand Puppet and “Force” Lightsaber back in the day?