If you went to your neighborhood mall in early July 1983, you may have discovered The Jedi Adventure Centre, a mix of behind-the-scene pictures, photo opportunities, and marketing.
I first learned of this promotion when listening to the most recent episode the podcast Looking at Lucasfilm. Co-host Jim Hill was sharing highlights from the latest Van Eaton Galleries auction, which includes promotional material from The Jedi Adventure Centre. There’s relatively little info on the net, so I quickly started searching Newspapers.com.
Tied to the release of Return of the Jedi, this July 1983 promotion included a Jedi Hall of Fame, which included the sort of behind-the-scenes imagery we associate with The Art of books these days, a backdrop of Endor in the Jedi Photo Centre, and Jedi Communication Centre. The last element included audio clips of C-3P0 and Darth Vader, which hinted at the storyline of the film.
As StarWars.com pointed out, back in 2006, the exhibits were shipped out a month after the film was released in theatres. While 250 venues were supposed to host the display, only 130 were shipped, according to manufacturer’s reports. It was an ambitious promotion, but slow off the mark.
Many of the stops seem to have been sponsored by local radio stations. In Green Bay, for example, Port Plaza and WIXX gave out “1400 exclusive Jedi gifts — video games, lunch kits, soundtrack albums, posters, books, mugs, T-shirts, etc.”
One mall held a Vehicle Identification Contest, and various locations dubbed their Sidewalk Sales as “Store Wars.” At least one mall had a Rodian costumed character.
What could you win?
There were 1400 prizes to be won, at many (if not all) of the malls that hosted the display. Along with memberships to the Official Star Wars Fan Club, there was a lot of merchandise from the endless list of licensors.
Thanks to Wisconsin’s East Towne Mall, we actually have a list of the prizes. In both Canada and the United States, the products were:
- Activity desks from American Toy and Furniture Company
- Bath collections from Yardley of London
- Belt buckles from Lee Company
- Book and record sets from Disneyland/Vista Records
- Cork boards from Manton Cork Company
- Latex masks from Don Post Studios
- Lunch kits from King Seeley Thermos Company
- Masks from Ben Cooper, Inc.
- Mugs from Deka Plastics
- Mugs, vases, and salt and pepper shakers from Towle/Sigma Giftware Corp.
- Panorama Books from Random House
- Photo buttons from Adam Joseph Industries
- Picture Card Bubble Gum from Topps Chewing Gum
- Presto Magix Rub-Down Transfers from American Publishing Corp.
- “Programs and magazines” from Paradise Press
- Return of the Jedi novelizations from Ballatine Books
- Roller skates from Brookfield Athletic Shoe Company
- School supplies from Stuart Hall Company
- Sheet sets or slumber bags from The Bibb Company
- Shoelaces from Stride Rite Corp.
- Snap-Together Kits from Fundimensions
- Soundtrack albums from Polygram Records
- “Super Specials” from Marvel Comics Group
- Tins and wastebasket from Chein Industries
- Toothbrushes from CooperCare, Inc.
- T-shirts from Uniprints Company
- Toys from Kenner Products
- Underroos from Union Underwear Company
- Watches from Bradley Time Company
- Video games and board games from Parker Bros.
In Canada, you could also win Dixie Cups disposable cups from American Can Canada. In the United States, Wilker Bros. offered pajamas.
Which malls hosted the Center?
Only a small number of the hosts venues are known, thanks to promotional mentions in Newspapers.com:
- Concord Mall, July 1 to 17
- Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance, California, [July 10] to 17, gave instant prizes to anyone dressed up as a Star Wars character on July 16, and held a costume contest
- Devonshire Mall, Windsor, Ontario, [July 15 to 16]
- Eastridge Mall, Gastonia, North Carolina, July 1 to 17
- East Towne Mall, Madison, Wisconsin, July 1 to 17
- Everett Mall, Everett, Washington, July 1 to 17
- The Fashion Center, Paramus, New Jersey, July 1 to 17
- Forest Mall, Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin
- Granite Run Mall, Media, Pennsylvania, July 1 to 15
- Long Ridge Mall, Greece, New York, July 13 to 16
- Lougheed Mall, Burnaby, British Columbia, July 13 to 16
- Oakdale Mall, Johnson City, New York July 3 to 17
- Port Plaza, Green Bay, Wisconsin, July 5 to 17
- Quaker Bridge Mall, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, opened July 1
- Ridgmar Mall, Fort Worth, Texas, July 1 to 16
- Scarborough Town Centre, Scarborough, Ontario, July 7 to 16
- Seaview Square Mall, Ocean, New Jersey, at least July 8 to 17
- Southdale Shopping Center, Edina, Minnesota, July 1 to 10
- Southland Mall, Regina, Saskatchewan, at least July 8 to 16
- St. Laurent Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, July 7 to 9
- Tarrytown Mall, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, July 13 to 16
- University Mall, South Burlington, Vermont, July 1 to 10
- University Mall, Orem, Utah, July 1 to 12
- Valley West Mall, West Des Moines, Iowa, July 3 to 17
- Westland Center, Westland, Michigan, July 1 to 10
- Woodmar Mall, Hammond, Indiana, July 15 to 17
Citations: Athena Saterson, “Social potpourri”, The Sunday News (Ridgewood, New Jersey), 61; “Sidewalk Sale” ad, The Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario), 6 July 1983, 74; “Scarborough Town Centre presents The Jedi Adventure Centre” ad, Toronto Star, 7 July 1983, A12; “Jedi friends”, The Leader Post (Regina, Saskatchewan), 8 July 1983, C18; “what’s about town”, The Vancouver Sun, 8 July 1983, L35; Reuter, “Hold on to your wallets, Jedi return for cash”, The Windsor Star, 9 July 1983, C12; “Enter the Star Wars model contest at Devonshire Mall”, The Windsor Star, 11 July 1983, B11; “Lougheed Strikes Back, Store Wars” ad, The Vancouver Sun, 12 July 1982, A13; “‘Jedi’ adventure centre”, The Abbotsford News (Abbotsford BC), 13 July 1983, E20; “Jedi centre display at Everett Mall”, [The Everett Herald], [July 1983].