Box Side (click to enlarge)
Note: Photo shows Canadian box
Sears Line-Art Box (click to enlarge)
Imagine if you will...the most ominous creature in existence. Now imagine that this creature is the ruthless leader of the most dangerous cut throats in the galaxies. One look into his glassy eyes and kids will know...JABBA THE HUTT means business. When the head of this footless creature moves, his his large menacing tail swishes slowly from side to side. He sits high atop a prison platform so he can watch his victims beg for mercy. The prison holds up to seven STAR WARS Action Figures, has doors that open and close with a flick of the switch. And, as if that isn't enough, there's a slave rope to hold even more of his captives. JABBA THE HUTT and his pet, SALACIOUS CRUMB, sit and wait...impatiently...to see who will become the next prisoner. Action Figures sold separately.
Image Source: 1983 JC Penney Christmas Catalog
Ah, Jabba the Hutt. The creature is, to my mind, one of the greatest characters to come out of the Star Wars saga. I mean, the thing was a puppet, but its personality and physical presense left considerable marks on Return of the Jedi, as well the merchandising bonanza that followed in its wake. Tons of Jabba products were produced. Not bad for a hideously fat slug with an apetite for frogs and a bunch of muppet rejects as side-kicks.
Kenner's toy version of the intergalactic gangster was, by command of Lucasfilm, kept strictly under wraps until the debut of Return of the Jedi in theaters. But it was worth the wait; kids jumped at the chance to own their very own toy version of the drooling monstrosity. It probably didn't hurt that, in the film, Jabba had chained a bikini-clad Princess Leia to his throne. With this act, Jabba had cemented his reputation as, with the exception of Lando Calrissian, the only certifiable pervert in the Star Wars universe-- and perverts make for great toys. As if to emphasize this pervert angle, Kenner included a "slave chain" on the front of the toy's throne.
What more could a kid ask for? Well, Salacious Crumb, of course, Jabba's irrepressible space monkey pet. And he was included in the playset, too. Coooool. Also included with the toy was a pipe thingamajig, which could be fitted into a stand positioned off the Hutt's shoulder. This has caused more than a few jaded collector types to snicker, as it vaguely resembles some type of drug smoking device. Decades after it was first produced, factory-bagged examples of both this pipe and the accompanying Salacious Crumb figure remain readily available on the secondary market.
All in all, this was a fun toy, and it's remained popular. Collectors should note that it can be found in two distinctly different boxes: the regular photo box, sold through most retailers, and a primarily white line-art package, which Sears used to ship Jabba playsets that were sold through its catalog division. The standard photographic box is generally more popular with collectors. Loose, the item is not hard to find, although the small "chimney" that attaches to the pipe thingie is often missing.
Hasbro issued three different renditions of Jabba during the late '90s. All differed considerably from their vintage counterpart.
First Issued: 1983 (ROTJ packaging, photo box)
Re-issues: 1983 (ROTJ packaging, Sears line-art box)
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