Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Star Wars Flashback: Happy Halloween, Ben Cooper
This Halloween is going to be a damp, soggy one for me with Hurricane Sandy beating up the east coast, so I thought that I would warm my geeky heart with a trip down Halloween memory lane to a much simpler time. A time when Halloween costumes were easy to find and cheap to purchase. A time when a flimsy piece of molded plastic, a thin elastic strap, and an easy-to-tear vinyl suit bearing a copyrightable logo could pass for a Halloween costume. A time when Halloween itself was all but owned by Ben Cooper, Inc.
I don't know much about Ben Cooper, Inc. as a company, other than that it had the licensing rights to produce cheap Halloween costumes of just about any character you could think of during the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. These costumes were everywhere when Halloween season rolled around, so much so that it became synonymous with Halloween itself when I was growing up. Talk to anyone around my age or older (or even slightly younger) and I'll guarantee that they've worn at least one Ben Cooper costume for Halloween during their lifetimes. Of course, I'm being modest--they probably wore several Ben Cooper costumes, since they were so easy to find and purchase. Thanks to Ben Cooper, Inc., even the most negligent and emotionally distant parents could provide their kids with a passable Halloween experience.
Looking back, I'm amazed at how much chutzpah Ben Cooper, Inc. had in its selection of characters to market as Halloween costumes. It even produced costumes based on the Rubik's Cube toy and Atari's Asteroids video game. (Click here to see RetroCrush's list of the worst costumes produced by Ben Cooper, Inc. and its competitors.) I kept my costume Ben Cooper selections limited to Star Wars--I had the costumes for Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper, in that order--and in honor of that, I've assembled a picture gallery of Ben Cooper Star Wars costumes based on pictures that I've found around the net. Not all of them are here--I couldn't find a decent picture of a Ben Cooper Yoda costume--but I found enough to let you know that we've certainly come a long, long way in terms of license Halloween costumes. Click below to see the gallery, including the Ben Cooper R2-D2 costume. (Yes, there really was a Ben Cooper R2-D2 costume. That's chutzpah for you.)
Luke and Leia:
C-3PO and R2-D2:
Chewbacca and other Star Wars aliens:
Check out other Ben Cooper, Inc. retrospectives at the Shroud of Thoughts blog, Retroland, PlaidStallions, and the Official Star Wars Blog.