Gamasutra's Steve Fulton has a wonderful blog post--complete with photographs--about a visit by Darth Vader, Chewbacca, a stormtrooper and Geoffrey Giraffe (?) to the Torrance, California Toys R Us in September 1977. Here's an excerpt but you really need to follow the link and read the post in full:
In this era news for kids existed only in the pages of publications like Boy's Life and Dynamite, magazines with lead times of 6 months or more. Recent news about products for kids or toys was virtually non-existent. Furthermore, what would they haved talked about anyway? Even video games were still an experimental fad: in September 1977, the Atari 2600 was still a couple months from release.
So when my brother and I read in the Daily Breeze that Darth Vader, Chewbacca and Storm Troopers would be traipsing through the local Toys R Us to announce the new line of toys based on Star Wars, we HAD to go, and our dad decided to take us.
We got up really early that morning. Well, my dad got up. My brother and I never went to sleep the night before. How could we? We were going to meet the guys from Star Wars! When we slipped outside at the crack of dawn to get going, my dad snapped this photo of my brother and I (below). I'm the guy on the left looking glum. I have no idea why I look so upset. My wife says I was probably trying to put on my best Han Solo face. I think she's right. My twin brother is the moisture farm boy on the right. Our brand-new '76 Datsun 710 Millenium Falcon is just behind us.