It’s not everyday that you’re able to acquire a screener copy of a Star Wars film. To my surprise, I recently found just that…in the VHS bargain bin at my local Movie Trading Company! Sure, an Ewoks: The Haunted Village VHS Screener may not be the same caliber of find as a copy of The Force Awakens, but it still feels pretty cool.
Ewoks was one of two Star Wars-based Saturday morning cartoons created in the eighties, the other being Droids. Ewoks ran for two seasons, while Droids ran for one season. Each series was supported with a line of toys produced by Kenner, and each series is the sort of Saturday morning fare that will have you longing for a big bowl of cereal while you watch.
Truthfully, I didn’t realize that I had obtained a preview copy at first. When I purchased the tape, I just wanted to watch the Ewoks cartoon (though I’m partial to the Droids animated series, I couldn’t say no to the Ewoks for only fifty cents). It was only upon unpacking the tapes I purchased that I noticed the “Not for rental or sale” text on the case.
In an even cooler turn of events, the back of the package is different from the final retail version!
Instead of a short overview of the feature, it has specific content directed towards retailers. Seeing the effort put into distribution by media companies is always interesting, and this is no exception.
Retailer Highlights from Ewoks: The Haunted Village VHS Screener
Huge promotional tie-in with Pepsi!
I think they must be referring to the Pepsi tie-ins for the re-release of Star Wars in theaters; I do not remember any evidence of Pepsi-related advertising or merchandise based on Ewoks or Droids. Considering the surrounding content is more about Star Wars as a franchise, this would make sense. Still, I can’t help but imagine a limited edition can of Pepsi with an image of the animated version of Wicket.
Parents can’t wait to introduce their children to the wonder of Star Wars
Even today, parents STILL can’t wait to introduce their children to the wonder of Star Wars. This is not a surprising statement, but where this gets interesting is the graph they include about “Definite Purchase Intent”. According to independent research among moms of kids aged 2-8, 39% surveyed had a definite intent to purchase an Ewoks release, while only 24% had a definite intent to purchase a Droids release.
48-and-24-unit mixed pre-pack displays available
Upon seeing this, my mind began to race. There were actual, factual store displays available for the 1997 Star Wars Animated Classics VHS release. Despite being fully absorbed by the Star Wars revival of the nineties (and having been a frequent customer of Suncoast and other video stores), I have never seen these displays. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find an image of these anywhere on the internet either. It’s a real shame; I’ll bet these displays are incredibly collectible today.
Beyond the actual packaging, there isn’t much that differentiates the Star Wars Animated Classics–Ewoks: The Haunted Village VHS Screener from any other copy of the compilation movie. It does have the occasional scrolling warning about not being for sale or resale, but other than that, it is still the same few TV episodes compiled into a feature-length format.
The Haunted Village is a compilation movie comprised of Episodes 2 (“The Haunted Village”), 1 (“The Cries of the Trees”), 3 (“Rampage of the Phlogs”), and 9 (“Sunstar vs. Shadowstone”) from the Ewoks animated series. With Paul Dini (acclaimed producer and writer for Batman: The Animated Series) credited as the writer for this feature, it’s worth a watch.
It may be popular to express one’s dislike of the Ewoks these days, but if you give the show a chance, you’ll find a solid Saturday morning cartoon.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a big bowl of cereal.