The first figure to be offered on a card back was Boba Fett. Boba Fett was first seen in a cartoon that was part of the hideous Star Wars Holiday Special on T.V. during the 1978 holiday season. The best thing about the special was this cartoon the rest of it can be forgotten and has been since George Lucas himself pretty much denies its existence. Boba Fett was supposed to have a major role in the new movie The Empire Strikes Back. Kenner went into full force in advertising the promotion. Here is how the offer appears on the back of the card and it expired May 31st 1979. A year before the movie was released.
The figure shown is very different from the figure actually released. It is a mock up of the figure. Another thing of note is the spring loaded missile shown firing on the back. Around this time a child choked on a similar missile from a Battlestar Galactica toy and unfortunately died. This brought on a massive recall of the toys and the missiles were glued in. Kenner experimented with ways to try and make the missile so it would be safe, but in the end they were not successful and they had to glue theirs in as well. Later packaging for the offer had a black sticker covering up the picture of the missile firing feature. When the figure finally arrived it included a note to the consumer about the issue and if they were not happy with the figure they could send it back and get a figure of their choice in exchange. I’m not sure why anyone would still want to send it back since it was still a sneak preview figure for the movie and was not available in stores.
Here is a picture of mine with the mailer box, figure, flyer, and product catalog. It took me about 4 months of actively looking before I tracked mine down. This is also the most expensive of the mail-away figures, so I had to save my pennies in order to purchase one.
Several prototypes have come to the market of the rocket firing figure and they sell for thousands of dollars. There are also some cheap reproductions that have been made for the budget oriented collector. I might pick up one of those down the road. Here is the commercial that aired on T.V. advertising the Boba Fett promotion.