Enquirer Throwback: Photo marks historic Kenner ‘Star Wars’ deal

Jeff Suess

For The Enquirer’s 175th anniversary year, we are digging into our archives to showcase historic photographs that capture the people, places, events and character of this community that we have chronicled and been a part of the past 175 years.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas, left, Kenner Products CEO Bernard Loomis, center, and "Star Wars" producer Gary Kurtz announce the deal for Kenner's "Star Wars" toys in this rare 1977 publicity photo.

The Enquirer archive has some hidden treasures, such as a rare photograph discovered in the files.

In years past, newspaper editors cropped photos by drawing directly onto the prints with a grease pencil. To avoid confusion, unwanted heads in a group photo might even be crossed out with X’s.

Such was the case with a photo of Bernard Loomis, the former CEO of Cincinnati-based toymaker Kenner Products. The people X’d out happen to be “Star Wars” creator George Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz.

The occasion was the announcement of the “Star Wars” toy merchandising deal between Kenner and Lucasfilm in April 1977, one month before the film was released. The deal would produce an estimated $200 million in sales for Kenner and help make “Star Wars” a phenomenon.

Now cleaned up, the full photograph reveals this historic moment, down to Lucas’ well-worn Converse Chuck Taylor shoes.