Occasionally I'll run across old newspaper ads that I think are too obscure or dorky to mention but I'll keep 'em anyways because they're funny to me. They're most often ads for long forgotten products like bootleg toys from 1977 or events that I'm sure nobody ever heard of like guys dressing up in costumes at used car lots thirty years ago. Nobody would ever care about that stuff, right? Even the internet has limits to how much bizarre behavior and obscure pop culture merchandise it cares to document. But if I've learned anything about online pop culture historians it's when we're talking about obscure STAR WARS behavior and bootleg Star Wars merchandise from 30 years ago then the internet's all over that.
A LONG TIME AGO, IN A '72 FORD GALAXIE FAR, FAR AWAY...
Luke would have gotten a good deal on his used Landspeeder if he went to Rapid Motors during the week of March 9th, 1978 but if you want to read a really cool blog post about a car dealership having a Star Wars themed sales event in 1980 check out this post from GlenMullaly.com. It's a detailed behind the scenes account including some great newspaper ads promoting the event and pictures of hired performers in hilariously crappy homemade Star Wars costumes during the event itself. What really kills me about all this is I've paid more for some toy robots than it would have cost to buy a used '68 Mustang in 1978.
LASER DANGER!: A CAUTIONARY TALE OF FAKER BEAMS AND THE REPRODUCTIVE CONSEQUENCES OF CARELESSNESS WITH LIGHTSABERS
Quite possibly the most brazen knockoff in the galaxy, the Force Beam was the lightsaber you wish you had in 1977. While the official lightsaber role play toys were floppy inflatable disappointments, the Force Beam was made of hard rigid (and probably unsafe) plastic so kids everywhere could whip all sorts of butt just like Jedi Master CamelToe here in this ad from November 24, 1977. Gus Lopez has uncovered an even better Force Beam ad from the UK where the manufacturers just straight up ripoff the Star Wars logo! Even better (or worse) is that despite wearing a dress, Leia from the UK ad also looks like she got kicked in the crotch by a centaur. But at least that one's in color so you can tell she's wearing space pants, unlike our disturbingly monochrome hero here who may just be some sort of pantless bearded transsexual Jedi.
The kids in this Carson's ad from November 11, 1977 did not ascribe to the Luke "Swing it like a bat" Skywalker technique of Force Beaming. What is up with the up and down stroke? Are these dudes Force Fishing? Even back then when I was three I would have beat these pansies silly with my knowledge of Force Homerunning.