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MarvinDog Media Star Wars logo(plain)

Another month, another visit inside the mind of a simple man just trying to make his way in the universe. Did Jango Fett REALLY think anyone was gonna buy that line? For that matter, did George Lucas? Sigh. I will NOT go on a tangent about the dialogue in the prequels. I WILL not go on a tangent about the dialogue in the prequels. Ok, I think I’m done. Now, where was I? OH YEAH, COLLECTING! That’s what you came for, right?

I’ve talked at length about my toy collection, so never fear, we aren’t retreading that topic. Today I’d like to discuss some of my non-toy collectibles from the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Since I have almost every toy that Kenner produced in the 70s and 80s, it’s forced me to think about what OTHER sorts of items might find a home in my collection. I’ve always been drawn to the off-the-wall things that not everyone is into, like my empty box from C-3PO’s cereal that I have on display in my apartment. I got it the same day that I got my immunization awareness poster from the Center for Disease Control featuring R2 and 3PO. These are great conversation pieces, and usually make people chuckle, so they were well worth the price. One item that I have left over from childhood is an electric Ewok toothbrush that managed to stay in the box, still not sure how that happened, but bless my mom for hanging on to it. I also recently acquired a record tote featuring the droids, and inside were several Star Wars storybooks, complete with the records that play the stories! I had most of these books and records as a kid, and I’m looking forward to listening to them again as soon as I have access to a turntable (And MAYBE I’ll get them transferred to mp3 so I can listen on my iPod! We’re living in the future!).

However, my most recent find (or “get” as Darth T-Bone calls it), is one that I have been hunting for about 15 years. Allow me to spin you a yarn: It was the late 1990s, after the Special Editions were released. Sci Fi conventions were still smallish affairs, and there was one that was held in Plano, Texas, very close to my brother’s house. We went and wandered the floors, it was my first time at one, and I was in awe of all the toys from my childhood and all the Star Wars memorabilia that people had managed to hang on to and were now selling. I bought a 1978 Sears Wall Calendar, still in its cardboard shipping box. I bought a reel of scenes from Star Wars, still sealed in plastic. Apparently it’s black and white with no sound, but it’s sooooo cool that it exists! I located a Yak Face and a Blue Snaggletooth and finally completed my Kenner action figure collection properly. There was one item I took a pass on, with the intention of getting it at the next con. It was an unopened box of Star Wars Dixie Cups. The artwork was amazing, it was a painted image of a Star Destroyer flying toward a Super Star Destroyer, with a red planet in the background, and an image of one of the Dixie Cups showing Han and Leia sharing a kiss. I know, weird, huh? But my mother bought these when I was a kid. We always had Dixie Cups handy for a quick drink of water, so she bought the Star Wars versions because we were all fans. I know, coolest mom ever. So, of course I REALLY wanted this box to display, as both a reminder of my childhood, and because the artwork was truly amazing.  The next con came around, the same vendor was there, but the cups were nowhere to be found. He had sold them. Wow, didn’t see that coming.

You see, I know these sorts of things aren’t in great demand because I KNOW it’s kind of weird to have them on display. They aren’t mainstream Star Wars collectibles, so they aren’t particularly pricey, but they ARE extremely hard to find because nobody saved them. So, when con after con failed to turn up any new examples, I despaired of ever getting my hands on it. Then, it happened. When I least expected it, I found it! It was a small, free, one-day con here in DFW, sparsely attended, but because the table cost was low, different vendors were there who don’t normally sell at the Dallas shows. I walked up to a booth, and I saw the box!!! And not only that, I saw ANOTHER box that I liked even BETTER! It had a Twin Pod Cloud Car on the front, with an orange sky and Cloud City in the background. It was striking. I snatched up both boxes and made the deal then and there. After what seemed like an eternity of searching, I found them, repeat, I found them. My friends are kind enough to understand that it’s a big deal to me, even if they have no idea whatsoever why I would want 2 unopened boxes of Dixie Cups sitting on my shelf, but they DO all agree that the artwork is gorgeous.

This experience reminded me of why I like finding these sorts of oddities. It’s easy to go on eBay and do a search for a vintage toy and find it, but it’s rare to find something truly unique. We all know that I’m very interested in the story behind a particular item, and there’s almost always a story behind why someone kept something like the Dixie Cups. The CDC poster, for instance, was one of a stash that the vendor found in his grandfather’s attic after he passed away. He had worked for the CDC and had an entire box of these posters that had never seen the light of day. That’s an awesome find. The guy with the Dixie Cups said he found them in a lot he had bought from another collector, so their story is a mystery, but that’s almost as good, because I can make up my own backstory. But mostly, I just enjoy having them on display, because it gives me a chance to share the story of searching for them with my friends, and then we can talk about something in their life that has kept them on the hunt.

What about you? Do you have any odd collectibles that fascinate you? Or do you have any stories of anything that has eluded you for years? Tell me all about it in the comments section!

Marvin Says Hi

Hear Jeff talk about toys, tv, and whatever else is on his mind at www.MarvinDogMedia.com and about geek culture at www.AssemblyOfGeeks.com. Email him at jeffm@coffeewithkenobi.com

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13 Comments

  1. Carsten
    September 25, 2014 at 16:52 Reply

    The dialogue in the prequels is just as good as in the sequels, so next time stop hating on other peoples’ movies and go make one yourself.

    1. Jeff M
      September 26, 2014 at 23:01 Reply

      That’s the great thing about opinions, everyone is entitled to theirs, and is entitled to voice said opinion. I’m not a filmmaker, I’ve never professed to be a filmmaker, but that doesn’t preclude me from offering my opinion on films, and I don’t think poking fun at a single line of dialogue can be considered “hating,” but that’s just my opinion. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Lisa
    September 25, 2014 at 22:43 Reply

    I have Star Wars air sickness bags…. So, your Dixie Cups don’t sound so strange to me. 😉

    1. Jeff M
      September 26, 2014 at 23:01 Reply

      Holy cats, where did you get air sickness bags!?!?!?! I want pictures!!! That’s outstanding!!!!

        1. Jeff M
          October 2, 2014 at 11:27 Reply

          Those are (pun intended) sick!!!! Seriously that’s one of the coolest pieces of Star Wars swag ever!

          I’m resisting the urge to make a joke about needing them when you watch the prequels 🙂

  3. Troy
    September 25, 2014 at 22:44 Reply

    Thanks for the name drop! I love the obscure and unusual. This is right up my alley. You have found some great gets to say the least. Sure we have our fun with bootlegs that are usually hilarious, but the weird in general is the best. I think some of my favorite oddities are: ROTS air sickness bags Virgin Airways, Japanese TPM rice and sauce packets with display box, replicas of the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan that look like R2 and 3PO, interesting late 70’s plaster and ceramic pieces…that’s about all I can think of right now.

    1. Jeff M
      September 26, 2014 at 23:02 Reply

      Anytime Troy, I’m a big believer in promoting quality 🙂 The nuclear bomb replicas sounds morbidly awesome, I’d love to see some photos. Where did you stumble upon THAT particular item??

  4. Melinda
    October 2, 2014 at 10:09 Reply

    I love these tales, Jeff! 🙂 As thrilling as it is to actually find something for which you’ve been searching — sometimes for a long, long time — like you, it is the story behind “the find” that always appeals to me. I could feel my heart skip a beat when you shared passing on the Dixie cups the first time around (brave of you! 😉 ), and realized your folly at the next convention at which the vendor appeared. (I’ve been in that same boat. Not being independently wealthy, sometimes one has to make choices … 😉 ) And then it leaped for joy when you found not one — but 2! — different boxes sometime later. Maybe it was the will of the Force! 🙂

    I don’t know if I’d deem any of my Star Wars goodies “odd”. 😉 Odd is in the eye of the beholder. lol I know there are some folk who think I’M odd to have some items in my collection, but I don’t know if I’d call the actual item(s) “odd”. ha ha ha ha

    Thank you for sharing this great tale! 🙂

    p.s. Star Wars air-sickness bags? Now that’s what I definitely would call odd. 😉

    1. Jeff M
      October 2, 2014 at 11:30 Reply

      Thanks for the kind words, Melinda. I had actually stored that memory away, figured i would never find the cups again, or that they would be out of my price range if I did, so stumbling upon them at a show I had almost not attended might HAVE been the work of the Force…..Although I like to think the Force has better things to do than help me with my silly collecting 🙂

      Airsick bags, I KNOW!!!!!! How awesome are those?!?!?!?!

  5. Becca Benjamin
    October 3, 2014 at 12:31 Reply

    Oddities…unusual ….
    “I, myself, am strange and unusual.” 😉 Love that movie and thought I’d throw that in so I have proof that I’ve seen more than just Star Wars.

    Dixie cups with SW art are the coolest! Love those lol! And yes, I don’t collect based on sets or anything in particular. Just what ever strikes me at the moment…like my talking 3PO pen 🙂

    Hi Marvin! Fun read, Jeff and PS: I like that line by Jango, I use it in my bio ;P

    1. Jeff M
      October 4, 2014 at 17:15 Reply

      Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice!!! You know a sequel is finally in the works, right?

      Everyone should collect whatever the heck they want, that’s my opinion. No collection is better or worse than another, although some might be a bit more imposing than others. As long as you enjoy it, go for it!

      Thanks for the kind words, Becca, although I am confused as to why you say you’re just a simple MAN trying to make your way in the universe 🙂

  6. lovelucas
    October 14, 2014 at 06:29 Reply

    I like the way Temeura delivers “Just trying to make my way in the universe” = extremely sardonic, he knows that Obi-Wan really knows the story. I asked him a question at the 2007 Canadian fan fest about this scene and he said both he and Ewan were competing to underplay each other, which really worked. Some of the the prequel dialogue doesn’t work, some of it really does, like this example.

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