December 21, 2010

Under the Christmas Tree - The Real Action Figures

"Keep trying, Men! We absolutely must get through... I haven't missed an episode of 'Little Orphan Annie' in years!!

Yes, the original Adventure Team is back in action once again. Many a Good boy got one of these under the tree, but I acquired mine by sheer luck. I wasn't even Eight yet when the teenager next door gave me a box of his old 'junk' which he'd outgrown. Among the discarded items were two G.I. Joe figures! One was dressed in Army fatigues and the other in Navy dress. These were the original "action figure," both of the 1964 issue... before Joe grew that fuzzy flocked facial hair he was to became so well known for.

At it's beginning, the 12" G.I. Joe line represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Soldier (Army), Action Sailor (Navy), Action Pilot (Air Force) and Action Marine (Marines). And every figure sported a cool scar on the face to prove he was ready for action.

Soon after my lucky score, Mom was buying me Action Man outfits and equipment when she took me along on her weekly shopping sprees to the local K-Mart (by the mid 70's, after the Viet Nam War, manufacturers worried it was no longer marketable to associate toys with the military, so toy-maker Hasbro turned G.I. Joe into an Adventure Team adventurer). Since my two G.I. figures were identical, I figured they were twins, one I called Joe and the other John. Every day they went on a new adventure. Oh, the fun I had!

My current collection of Joes (at top). A few years ago Hasbro produced limited anniversary editions of the original action figures, complete with authentic packaging (immediately above)... *sigh* I couldn't resist.

The original 1964 issue!


Amber Von Felts said...

I love these! I found a cool picture book a while back all about the creation and popularity of G.I. Joe. It was really fascinating! I love all of the accessories you could get for them. Whatta lucky kid you were and whatta lucky man you are for hanging onto them all these years!

Space Commander said...

Joe would have been nobody without all his super cool accessories. And they were so cheap at that time that I could even afford 'em on MY allowance!

Sadly I didn't hang on to my original pair. I'd passed them down to my nephew while in my teens, just like the neighbor kid before me... What was I thinking?!

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