Boba Fett Action Figure [Rocket-Firing Prototype] Kenner 16mm TV Commercial
Back in the 1970’s it was an analog world and even moreso, moving images were being captured and transmitted on film. Video was just coming into its own as home players were taking off, so this is definitely a relic of days past. This original 16mm film print is for the Free Boba Fett Action figure promotion in its 30 seconds of glory made for network television.

Digitized versions of this video are widely available on the internet, found with a simple search, but what is worth focusing on here isn’t the content of the video, it’s the toy being shown. Using magnification on the actual film, it can be seen that the Boba Fett figure used is actually a Rocket-Firing prototype. The angles shown in the commercial essentially hide the feature and any digitized versions that have been around do not have the clarity needed to see the tell-tale signs. However, with the literal ability to view it frame by frame under magnification, you can actually see the red backpack slider in the photo just above the boy’s forefinger.

Above we see the leader of the film which has printed information about the director and the project number, but unfortunately it is missing the key element of when it was filmed. This would have been a great bit of information to have so that we could better place in the overall development of the figure. Although, according to the 1979 Toy Fair catalog, the promotion began in January..

It's possible that the figure is of the same type as the protomolded (plastic injection-molded and handworked) prototype which has also been identified as the photo sample used in some store displays and in an in-pack catalog. The figure here appears to be from this protomolded stage because of the gaps at the neck and the torso since the torso isn't perfectly molded plus it's hand-glued. Also, the parting line of the head is more pronounced, like on the protomolded figure. We know it's not the same photo sample figure because the mechanism slider on this figure is red whereas on the photo sample figure it is blue.

We can see that the missile is an early 4-rib version typically found with L-Slot versions. The missile sticks up higher than normal because the mechanism slider is in its uncompressed position which is another indication that it's a rocket-firing prototype. Taking photos though a magnifier are not as clear as when viewed with the eye, but the missile is definitely 4-rib. It must have been glued or otherwise adhered in place during the commercial shoot otherwise it would have fallen out. The launcher is actually a poor design that didn't enable the missile to be locked into place so it easily falls out.

On the box as well as in two places handwritten on the leader we can see the word "Rev" which stands for Revision or Revised. This very likely means that because the figure is a rocket-firing prototype, the commercial was initially filmed showing the rocket-launcher in action and would have touted it as an exciting feature for this new figure. Some simple editing work would have been used to make the alteration.

Lastly, the commercial ends with Boba Fett being marched across some gorgeous some 20-back photostats which were likely made from Cromalin’s such as this Greedo and indicates that this was filmed before printed production proof cards were available. It also hammers home the fact that Kenner often had to use prototype toys in commercials since their marketing efforts had to begin well ahead of toy production. It's just that in this case they used what is arguably the most famous prototype ever created for any toy line.

Needless to say, this mail-in promotion was a huge success for Kenner in advertising this upcoming villain and ensuring that kids would be locked in and ready for The Empire Strikes Back and the barrage of toys which would follow it.

Description by: Chris Georgoulias
Photo: Chris Georgoulias
From the collection of: Chris Georgoulias
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Video and Film / Film


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