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The Star Wars Fan Club


Introduction

I consider myself a long time fan. Yet, for some unknown reason, I never joined the official fan club. Then, one day, I picked up Issue #29 of Star Wars Insider and really enjoyed it. Inspired by the magazine, I decided to act.

This past fall, I joined.

It was 19 years after the fact and I felt like some goof who was joining just to do it, what with all the hype over the upcoming Special Editions. When I found out that my subscription would start with Issue #31, I also managed to find Issue #30 at the bookstore.

Finally, back in the first weeks of December, I received my first issue of Star Wars Insider Magazine. It was something of a letdown. I was expecting more. I thought membership in the fan club would be more than just a magazine subscription. I remembered all of the cool things that the fan club offered during the first year, and I wanted some of those things to be in this membership.

If you joined the first year this is what you received:

  • A poster
  • Six 8 x 11 photos from the film
  • A decal (I think)
  • A membership card
  • A movie logo patch
  • A movie logo pencil
  • And a quarterly subscription to Bantha Tracks, the club newsletter

Here's a picture of the poster. The image is from The Art of Star Wars, page 151.

Click to load a LARGER copy of the image.

Fan Club Poster

The art is by Ralph McQuarrie. It shows Luke piloting his X-Wing down the Death Star Trench. A cousin of mine had the original poster years ago. Last fall, over at Wal-Mart, I found it. While it's not an original, it's the closest I can find. If you can't find it at a store, here's the address of the company who printed it:

Western Graphics Corp.
P.O. Box 22310
Eugene OR 97402-0417
(541) 686-2200
(800) 532-3303
Trench No. 1356


The Club during Empire

When The Empire Strikes Back came out, the fan club offered the same sort of items but all were for second film. I remember another cool offer that was featured in Issue #35 of Starlog magazine. It was for the patch worn by the film crew while in Norway.

Click to load a LARGER copy of the image.

Vader In Flames patch

This design was similar to a decal you could receive if you joined the fan club after Empire was released.

It seems that I am trying to recapture all that I missed by never joining. I'd love to know what was in all of the issues of Bantha Tracks. What all did I miss? If anyone knows of a site that has this information, please let me know and I'll put it in as a link. Even better, if anyone has been a member since the start, please make a list of all that you received and share it with the rest of us. If you don't have a website, maybe you can put it here.

The fan club now just seems to commercial. There is too much merchandising ... more than half of Insider is a catalog.


Update

(Monday 3 February 1997)

Issue #32 of Insider arrived in the mail on Saturday the 25th of January. The issue was bagged and was enclosed with a white 8 x 10 envelope labeled Supplement to the Star Wars Insider. Inside was a membership kit! It had the following:

  • A welcome Letter from George Lucas (8 x 10 1/2)
  • A George Lucas Creative Impulse poster by Drew Struzan (17 x 22)
  • Four postcards by Drew Struzan (4 x 6)
    1. Before the Storm
    2. Children of the Jedi
    3. Darksaber
    4. Shield of Lies
  • A Boba Fett SW Insider decal of by Tsuneo Sanda(4 x 5)
  • Membership card (2 1/8 x 3 3/8)
Also enclosed with the issue was a letter and survey from the current fan club president. The letter explained that the club had been having a difficult year in 1996 and that the new membership kits were being sent out to all members, reguardless of when they received their last one.

I was very moved when I saw the Membership Card. This was the gizmo, the "secret decoder ring" that I had yearned for all these years.

It seems as if some of my lamenting was for not. I just didn't get a membership kit in the first place.

Much, much more on this as it develops . . . .

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Copyright © 1997, Michael A. & Tammy G. Hendershot