Toys in the Wild: Playskool’s Star Rider (1979)

Star Rider-1

Coolest toy ever that you’ve never heard of. It makes all kinds of space sounds (lasers, explosions, warp drive, alarms), spaceships flash on the view screen, and it swivels around when you turn the control handles, just like when I used to bull’s-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home. Check out a demo here. Listen to the trippy sci-fi sounds here.

The photo is from 1979, and I’m pretty sure that’s when the Star Rider came out. Here it is in the 1979 Sears Wishbook. I found zip in the ’78 catalogs.

Star Rider Catalog 1979

And here are a couple of newspaper ads from November, 1979 (Toledo Blade) and December, 1980 (Deseret News). It cost more in 1980 because that’s when Empire came out.

Star Rider-2

Star Rider-3

Empire was the problem, though. All the space-crazy kids wanted the new Kenner toys—especially the pricey AT-AT—so the Star Rider collected dust on the shelves. Also, the epic Playskool toy had a built-in demographic: it was for smaller kids only (ages 3 to 9, according to the ads).

(Images via Look-Around Lounge Photos, Wishbook Web, and Google News)

9 Responses to “Toys in the Wild: Playskool’s Star Rider (1979)”


  1. 1 Anon June 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    So the screen does nothing? Not that I expected the 1979 technology to be amazing, but why put a screen there if it does nothing? It only seems like it spins in one direction, but I guess that is more than enough to entertain the children. My guess is more than one person got hurt flying off that thing and no one cared or got sued but instead, jumped right back on and did it again.

  2. 2 WEBmikey June 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I never had the Star Rider, but I did have the exact black helmet that kid is wearing in the Sears photo! It was part of my villain costume in my Super 8 masterpiece.

    • 3 2W2N June 20, 2013 at 12:31 am

      I had it too! Wore it all the time. I don’t remember the oxygen tank, though.

      Ahem… there’s a Super 8 masterpiece floating about?

  3. 4 NWarty August 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Wow! I got one for Christmas in 1979 🙂

    I’ve been trying to find a picture of one for ages. Thank you much for posting this!

  4. 5 2W2N August 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Very cool! You’re welcome. I have a different pic I’ll be posting during my Christmas morning series in December.

  5. 6 Nathan Haas October 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I had (still have) that Playskool Starrider! I was born in ’76 and must’ve gotten it as a hand-me-down from my cousin for Christmas a few years later. I always thought that it was supposed to be a knock-off of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon Gun Turret because the target inside the hud housing was a knock-off TIE Fighter! ;-p Mine is all beat up now missing most of the stickers and electronics board inside the head housing (my younger brother loved to tinker and solder electronics boards).


  1. 1 Super 8: Mikey Walters’ Target: Earth (1979) | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on September 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm
  2. 2 Christmas Morning, 1979: Playskool’s Star Rider | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on December 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm
  3. 3 Movie Theater Marquees: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on September 21, 2015 at 1:54 pm

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