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Thursday, 13 May, 1999, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
May the toys be with you
star wars fan
Fans queued for hours to be first to get their hands on Star Wars goods
Star Wars fans have been waiting for months for The Phantom Menace's release - now they can get their hands on the official toys of the movie.

Star Wars
Fans queued all night as toy stores across the United States opened their doors especially at midnight on Monday to sell the toys and other merchandise, ranging from action figures to wigs to snack food.

Some fans waited as long as six hours to be first in line for the products, which promote Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, the first in a series of three prequels to the Star Wars trilogy of films.

"I personally haven't ever seen anything like this," said Ratana Oleczak, store manager at a Toys R Us store in Milwaukee.

star wars
A display goes up in a New Jersey store
"I've heard of things that are hot before, like people standing in line for Furbies and for the Tickle Me Elmo and things like that, but as far as this calibre, no."

Many stores limited the number of items customers could buy to prevent immediate sell outs. "I'm a Star Wars maniac," said New Yorker Millie Gonzalez as she left a store with two shopping trolleys full of merchandise. "I was first on line and I bought two of everything."

LucasFilm made the stores sign deals preventing them from selling goods or releasing virtually any information about the products before 0001 on Monday.

The night's big sellers were a line of 12-inch high dolls, including characters such as villain Darth Maul and space creature Jar Jar Binks.

The film itself, which stars Ewan McGregor, is released in the US on 19 May, and opens in the UK on 16 July.

Toys R Us is preparing for similar scenes in the UK when the merchandise is released on 19 June. It has already announced plans to open its stores overnight for when the toys go on sale at a minute past midnight.

See also:

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