"The Force Beam" Knock-Off Light Saber: "The Force Beam" was one of the earliest, not to mention most notorious, knock-off Star Wars toys. It was basically a translucent plastic tube that was attached to a flash light. When lit up, the toy was supposed to a resemble a light saber-- every kid's dream weapon following the success of Star Wars in 1977.

I have to admit, I admire this bootleg's audaciousness. Not only did it make an impression on a market that, in the initial absence of Kenner's licensed products, was starved for Star Wars toys, it blatantly alluded to George Lucas's invented galaxy, using the word "Force" in its title and employing a very Star Wars-esque font for its logo.

Here you see the bottom of the flash light's end cap. It's marked with "The Force Beam" logo as well as the manufacturer's imprint.

Description: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Pete Vilmur
From the collection of Pete Vilmur