Here is a selection of miscellaneous items from the original Star Wars trilogy years in Canada.
Sears Canada 1980 ESB Toy Display Sign:
This sign was made in 1980 especially by Sears for their Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back toy display area in (a) Sears store(s). It is not known for sure which Sears store it actually came from, as it appears that these types of signs were not made for every Sears retail outlet across the nation, but was especially made for a particular store or stores for a sales region.
This particular sign was not made by Irwin Toy (Kenner Canada), but was made by Sears Canada in their own workshop / signshop. At first glance, the sign appears to be custom made by a fan, but there are several aspects of the sign that pinpoint it as a Sears Canada sign. The Sears Canada 1980 Wishbook was used as a guide to create several elements of the sign; the Twin Pod Cloud Car, Yoda figure and the Tauntaun with Rebel Soldier in particular. These three images came straight from the Sears Canada 1980 Wishbook, as seen below:
The remaining elements were taken from the Random House book: "The Pop-Up Book of Star Wars" (1978). The Star Wars logo, Darth Vader, Landspeeder, sun, moon, rocky terrain, C-3PO & R2-D2, vaporator, and the X-Wing Fighter are all found in the pop-up book. The remaining element, Chewbacca, was probably taken from an O-Pee-Chee trading card, or one of the various press release material items that were available with the image back in 1980.
The sign is quite large, measuring in at approximately 9 feet long and 2 feet high. There are 2 holes at the top of the sign, which indicates that it was hung in the Sears Canada toy area over the Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back toys during the height of the Christmas buying season in 1980. The sign itself was printed using a 4-colour silkscreen process. The sign is backed with foamcore to add sturdiness. A quick call to Sears Canada confirmed that this was the manner in which they made their in-house signs back in 1980, and it is still the same manner that many of them are made today at Sears Canada signshops across the country.
Although it is not a Kenner Canada display sign, this particular Sears sign still holds special significance to Canadians who were greeted by signs such as these that appeared in Sears stores throughout Canada during the Christmas season. One can only imagine the range of toys that was setup underneath this sign. The toy area would have included the regular Canadian line of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back toys that were available in 1980, in addition to such items as the Sears Canada exclusive 7-Packs.
Return of the Jedi Premiere Invitation:
On May 25, 1983, the final movie in the original Star Wars trilogy opened to the public in Canada and the United States. The day before on the 24th, special guests were invited to a special screening of Return of the Jedi before the general release the following day, and this invitation was given out to guests - mainly press and other media - to attend the showing. This particular invitation was distributed by 58 CKY; a radio station in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The invitations allowed two guests to attend the screening of Return of the Jedi. A review of the movie that appeared in a local newspaper the following day that was written after having seen this premiere can be found here. This particular showing took place at Grant Park cinema in Winnipeg.
R2-D2 Bank (Reliable Toy):
In the late 1970's, the Reliable Toy Company of Toronto, Ontario created this plastic bank resembling R2-D2. The back of the bank reads: Bank / Banque.
Reliable Toy Company was founded in 1920, with the original name of the Canadian Statuary and Novelty Company. In the beginning, they made plush toys and small novelties. The Reliable name was established in 1922 and began making original dolls on their own in Canada.
Plastic toys are still being made by the Reliable Toy Company in Toronto, Ontario. After a merger with another long-lasting Canadian toy maker, the Viceroy Manufacturing Company, all toy making was shifted to the Viceroy factory. Some of the toy making processes and machinery that were used to make the toys of the 1940s are still in use at this factory today.