After the first Star Wars film came out in 1977, myself and every other kid I knew played Star Wars in the school playground. Squabbling over who was Luke or Han, not wanting to be Chewie or Lea. At the time, Star Wars merchandise was thin on the ground. Figures were hard to get your hands on, due to high demand, and we were ravenous for any Star Wars toys. So some bright-spark hit on the idea of bootlegging a lightsaber, marketing it as a "force beam". And as soon as I heard, I had to have one.
Essentially it was a torch with a green filter in it, that was attached to a long plastic tube. It was cheap, it was nasty, but I loved it. Along with the judo suit I convinced my parents to buy me. I told them I want to go to judo classes, which was a total lie. It was just that a judo suit was the nearest thing to Luke's costume I could think of. So on my eighth birthday, that's what I got. A judo suit, and a crappy "force beam".