"The Force Beam," perhaps the very first bootleg Star Wars toy

It's hard to conceive, but there was a period of time when the Star Wars franchise wasn't the merchandising juggernaut it is today.

And during this brief era, bootleg toymakers scrambled to capitalize on the demand for all things Far, Far Away with products like "The Force Beam," the chosen weapon of Luke Starwalker and his erect-nipples comrade-in-arms, Princess Leia Orgasm-Face. (It's "light enough for princesses!") As the Star Wars Archive Database explains of the Force Beam's illustrious history:

It was basically a translucent plastic tube that was attached to a flashlight. When lit up, the toy was supposed to a resemble a lightsaber — every kid's dream weapon following the success of Star Wars in 1977 [...] Not only did it make an impression on a market that, in the initial absence of Kenner's licensed products, was starved for Star Wars toys, it blatantly alluded to George Lucas's invented galaxy, using the word "Force" in its title and employing a very Star Wars-esque font for its logo.

"The Force Beam," perhaps the very first bootleg Star Wars toy

In addition to the Force Beam, there was the "Light Beam" knock-off lightsaber, which caught the eye of Lucas' attorneys. For more no-budget Star Wars paraphernalia, see the (now comically expensive) Turkish bootleg "Uzay" action figures. [Via The Retroist]