Kenner toy company had scored big time when they won the rights to produce Star Wars related toys. Unfortunately, at the time, they didn’t realize it. It wasn’t until after the contract was signed and the movie came out that everyone realized how big a hit Star Wars going to be. Kenner may not have even planned to create an action figure line based upon the movie but once it started selling out at theaters across the nation Kenner made the decision to create one. The downside was that the company did not have enough time to design, test, and manufacture the figures before the Christmas selling season. They could have just waited and released the toy line later but someone at Kenner came up with the idea to sell the figures before they were actually made.
Kenner designed what was essentially a cardboard envelope that contained nothing but a cardboard display stand, a few stickers, and the all-important certificate which kids could mail in to later receive the actual action figures. So, now parents had something to put under the Christmas tree for their kids. Even though the figures weren’t actually included the excitement for most kids must have been palpable.
Once the certificate was mailed in Kenner would, when the figures were ready, send out the Early Bird Kit which included Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and Artoo-Detoo. The figures were sealed in plastic and placed in a plastic tray.
There was also a small plastic bag of plastic pegs which could be used to affix the action figures to the cardboard display from the original envelope, a catalog and a card you could mail in to get the 12 figure display stand.
Here is the catalog that was included:
Here are the stickers that were included in the package:
Here is the mail in postcard:
Obviously, most children would damage the early bird envelope when opening it or waiting for their figures to arrive. They would also most likely open the figures and place them on the stand when received. So, to find the early bird set unopened is very difficult. Early sets included the Luke Skywalker with double telescoping light saber while later versions switched to the one piece light saber.
This set is a must for the serious Star Wars collector because these figures were the first Star Wars action figures ever produced. Some call it the Holy Grail of Star Wars collectibles. Demand for the set is high and so are the prices. Recently an unopened set sold for $3500 and they consistently sell for $2000 to $3000.