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Thread: The Great Sci-Fi Toy Slump of 1979

  1. #1
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    Plaid Stallions The Great Sci-Fi Toy Slump of 1979



    It's really hard to believe but in 1979, Star Wars and other Sci-Fi related toys hit a major slump. So much so that many retailers considered it all a "fad" and stopped ordering new items.



    This article taken from a "Toys, Hobbies and Crafts" magazine interviews major buyers and the vice president of Mego about the then-uncertain future of space toys. Surely Star Trek the Motion Picture and the Black Hole were going to kick it back into high gear!


    The recent release of two new space movies, with a third on the way for the spring, means kids will again be looking into space toys in droves, say manufacturers.
    But retailers are leery about space, since sales dropped off as much as 30% for some last year on licensed and nonlicensed space toys.
    The retailer's attitude for 1980s a "wait and see" philosophy. Most are hoping that Star Trek, The Black Hole and the Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, will rejuvenate sales.
    Still, buyers say they plan to go slow in placing orders for sci-fi toys, depending upon the interest.
    TH & C spoke with representatives from Heck's, Winns Stores, Singer and Co., Sprouse-Reitz Co.,Toy Fair, Kenner and Mego. This is what they had to say:


    For more Fashion Mockery and 70's toy love visit us at Plaid Stallions.com


    More...

  2. #2
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    Even though we look back at this time with the idea that we were in the 'middle' of the golden age of Star Wars and sci-fi, I can see how this was the prevailing thought. Even as kids who knew there was a Star Wars sequel coming, we were clinging to anything that kinda reminded us of SW. If you rate all the sci-fi properties from '77 to early '80 starting with SW, you would definitely see a downturn up to this point.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I think the culprit was likely oversaturation. SW sales were likely cooling off and then there was BSG, touted as the next Star Wars, it sold really well until it left the airwaves when it sunk like a stone.

    People tend to fixate on Mego's blunders but every article I've read from this era, BSG gets the most mentions as being something of a disappointment for retailers.

  4. #4
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    It would makes sense that eventually the demand for Star Wars from the first movie would cool. The initial reaction was so rabid, by the time 79 rolled around, pretty much every kid had everything they wanted, or were likely to receive.

    Chris
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  5. #5
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    If only Mattel had sprung for painting eyeballs on the BSG figures, and unique sculpts for their 12 inch characters!
    SELL ME YOUR LOOSE MINTY WONDER WOMAN!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedji View Post
    If only Mattel had sprung for painting eyeballs on the BSG figures, and unique sculpts for their 12 inch characters!
    i totally agree with you! i was so disappointed that the face had no detail at all and that they didn't make a captain apollo figure as well.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedji View Post
    If only Mattel had sprung for painting eyeballs on the BSG figures, and unique sculpts for their 12 inch characters!
    I would have given up eyeballs for ships that fit with their 3 3/4" toys and an actual Battlestar Galactica! I know one was planned, but good grief.

  8. #8
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    If only we had YouTube in 1979. Can you imagine that angry geek's rant?

    "Ooh, lookie here... another Leia 12 inch action figure. And what is this doing in the boy's aisle? I'll talk about that later. And this TIE Fighter... it's big action feature is... wow... it's wings fall off. What kid would want that! And again, they have like a dozen of them. More proof that Kenner and Lucasfilms are in big trouble. They clearly have no idea what they are doing."

  9. #9
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    BSG did release one of the best 3.75 figures . IMG_20171221_114904418.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprytel View Post
    If only we had YouTube in 1979. Can you imagine that angry geek's rant?

    "Ooh, lookie here... another Leia 12 inch action figure. And what is this doing in the boy's aisle? I'll talk about that later. And this TIE Fighter... it's big action feature is... wow... it's wings fall off. What kid would want that! And again, they have like a dozen of them. More proof that Kenner and Lucasfilms are in big trouble. They clearly have no idea what they are doing."

    You made my day.
    WANTED: Gray AJ Mustang horse; Dale Arden dagger; Grayson SI trousers; POTA Fortress signal-flasher--top portion; POTA Forbidden Zone prison doors; vintage Galahad box; minty Wolfman tights; Black Knight sword; Lion Rock (pale) Dracula & Mummy heads; Wayne Foundation blue furniture; Flash Gordon/Ming (10") unbroken holsters; CHiPs gloved arms; POTA T2 tan body; POTA knife-sword; CTVT/vintage Friar Tuck robes.

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