Thursday, March 26, 2009

SPACE 2000!

Like most people my age, I have fond memories of the summer of 1977. That was of course the year that all the great Star Wars knock-off toys came out.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big enough fan of the real Star Wars movies that I managed to hold on to most of my toy collection for more than 20 years... until last Summer's financial woes impelled a sell off : <

But there's something truly endearing about the bootlegs and knock-off merchandise that flooded the stores alongside and before the real stuff, and which, in my innocence, I happily collected and played with in conjunction with the genuine toys. It didn't make any difference that the colors were all wrong or the scale was out of whack. I have a particularly distinct and happy childhood memory of a Halloween spent in a fake Stormtrooper mask, which I still swear was way better than a licensed product.

Want more proof? If you haven't heard of the Turkish bootleg "Uzay" action figures, then you really should visit this site for a good laugh. Or go check out the Star Raiders line. This site has even more.
That's why I was so happy to recently spy these great SPACE 2000 bed sheets, which highlight the awesome silliness that most of the Star Wars knockoffs exhibited.

First and foremost you've got to have an R2D2 wanna-be. I love this guy's TV antenna head and submarine periscope face. "Awwwww...he's so ugly it's cute."

Then you also have to have a massively-improbable Death Star-ish piece of space machinery. Of course there's a little nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey thrown in there too.

Finally for good measure you have to have bunches of weirdo space ships and planets and space clouds (or whatever the hell those black things are) all jumbled and flying around in a visual cacophony. What self-respecting 8 year-old wouldn't want to sleep on these?

You also have to love how certain items of the real Star Wars universe are stolen, warped, and repurposed for the knock-off maker's own needs. Take this lightsaber married to an automobile battery and then refigured into a laser-blasting space ship. Genius, I say.

Bonus for parent: all the motley craziness also helps hides signs of junior's nocturnal incontinence. You know, from when Dracula and Sasquatch happen to peek into his window at night. It totally happened.
Well, I hope you enjoyed your visit to a long ago and far away galaxy that's not quite the one your remember. We can only hope that when the year 2000 roles around it will be this gaudy and chaotic, and this much of a ripoff.

XL-5000, I think I'll miss you most of all.