|Kenner Junior Achievement Message Center|
|Junior Achievement is a non-profit youth organization that's been around since 1919. Partnering with local businesses, they foster entrepreneurship and business acumen, as they encourage young people to develop into miniature Capitalist robber-barons. I jest, of course, but it is the sort of program that one can imagine the young Alex P. Keaton or Scrooge McDuck enjoying wholeheartedly.
Businesses involved in the program can sponsor a product that kids help manufacture, market, and sell to their local communities. During the vintage Star Wars years the Kenner toy company sponsored several such products. You can see one of them here.
The item featured on this page is, to my mind, the coolest of the Star Wars-themed Junior Achievement items. It's a message center with an explicit Star Wars tie-in; it even includes the words "May the Force by with you." Doesn't get more Star Wars than that.
The item is pretty simple: it's just a bent piece of plastic onto which has been affixed a piece of cork. The graphics were likely done via a silk-screening process. Love that iconic double-racetrack.
It's a rare item, but at least a few variations exist. Some versions feature a cork area that has rounded rather than square corners. Others have stickers on their backsides containing legal information.
Here's a clipping from Kenner's internal newsletter showing the message center being presented to a Junior Achievement representative. It was provided by collector Josh Blake. According to the accompanying text, it was considered the best-engineered product in the program for that year. I love that Kenner called the mini-company STAWARCO. Presumably, they didn't spell out "Star Wars" in its entirety for legal reasons.
|Description by:||Ron Salvatore|
|From the collection of:||Ron Salvatore|
|Film:||A New Hope|
|Category:||Toys / Employee Items|