Say what you will about Jar Jar Binks, but the graceless Gungan sure made for a lot of memorable Star Wars merchandise. Remember my tribute to the bizarre Jar Jar Pez Hander? Guys, that was just the tip of the iceberg!
Here’s another example — the Jar Jar Sticky Tongue Toy, from 1999.
If you live in the States like I do, you might be wondering how such a screwball item managed to elude your attention for all of these years. Well, there’s a very good reason for that: It was never available here!
The toy was a promotional giveaway from Walkers, which is owned by Frito-Lay and sort of acts as the UK’s version of Frito-Lay, with its own sprawling line of salty snacks. And just like the ‘90s and early 2000s were rife with promotions from Frito-Lay, our fellow fans across the pond got their own share of galactic goodies.
The above photo — taken from a recent eBay auction — only hints at the volume of Walkers’ various Star Wars endeavors. Aside from many of our favorite characters gracing the bags, Walkers famously gave away Star Wars “Tazos,” which were essentially Pogs with a cooler name.
(Worth noting: Many of the same items seen in Walkers’ Star Wars promotions were also distributed under the Lay’s banner, but again, not in the States…unless you found a corner store with a really good connection!)
I’m not sure how these Jar Jar toys were distributed, but they certainly weren’t sold at retail in stores. Whether packaged with the snacks or available via mail-order like Lay’s Spirit of Obi-Wan figure, Jar Jar was a glorious reward for loyal Walkers customers.
If you remember buying those “sticky hands” from grocery store vending machines as a kid, this toy is similar in concept. Jar Jar’s glow-in-the-dark head comes with a long, sticky tongue, which of course attracts every piece of dirt in a three mile radius the second it’s freed from its package.
Using Jar Jar’s head as a mutant “handle,” you’re free to fling the tongue over impressive distances — several feet, by my math!
As a neat touch, the package also comes with two cutout food items for Jar Jar to snag. I never expressly wished to make a disembodied Jar Jar head fetch cardboard gorgs with a gooey tongue, but now that I have, the world is so much brighter.
Many Jar Jar Sticky Tongue Toys have since turned up on eBay, though I’ll admit that the prices run a bit high for such small playthings. On the other hand, we never got something quite like this in the States!
Beyond that, virtually all of Walkers’ Star Wars items now live on the secondary market, from promotional doodads to empty bags of snacks. If you’re a Star Wars fan looking for something especially ephemeral to collect, keep an eye out!
(Just don’t outbid me on that empty bag of “Monster Munch” with the stormtrooper on it. I need it.)