Sunday, January 2, 2011

Almost Vintage: Hasbro Gi Joe Talking Adventure Team Commander (Gi Joe Collectors Club Reissue)

There's something special about a Gi Joe. As kids, everybody had one (or more), it seems. Whether you are an older guy, like myself, or of a slightly younger generation, the world of Gi Joe has been kind of a collective experience for many of us.

Gi Joes started as clothed, 12 inch articulated figures. In the early 60s, wooden artist mannequins served as the inspiration for creating a brand new concept in boys toys... a large, fully-posable soldier. Boys were used to playing with toy soldiers in a much smaller scale but larger clothed soldiers were a new concept. Hasbro, afraid of Gi Joes being called "dolls," prohibited everyone in Hasbro's office from using the "D" word in reference to Gi Joes. They were to refer to Gi Joe as a "movable soldier." They even went so far as to tell their toy reps that if they were caught using the word "doll" to sell Gi Joe, they would have their orders canceled.

Gi Joe was the first true "Action Figure." All the great sixth-scale and smaller figures of today owe a debt to the ground that Gi Joe broke all those years ago.

Hasbro enjoyed enormous popularity with Gi Joe during the 1960s. However, when America became involved in the Vietnam conflict, sales began to wane as Americans no longer wanted to be reminded of the realities of war as they bought toys for their sons. Hasbro, eager to move away from Gi Joe's military theme, released the Adventure Team in 1970. Gi Joe no longer fought foreign soldiers. He fought the elements and anything else Mother Nature could throw at him as he searched for wild animals and even buried mummies. These new Joes also sported "life-like" hair and beards for the first time through an inventive flocking technique.

The Gi Joe pictured is a recent (several years) Gi Joe Collector's Club reissue of the Adventure Team Talking Commander. It is a near-perfect recreation of the 1970 figure... right down to the box. I had an original Talking Commander for a short time in the early 70s. I had received him for Christmas and remember enjoying playing with him that Christmas day. However, I have no memory of ever playing with him after that Christmas. I'm guessing that something was broken (maybe I messed up his pull-string talking feature) and he was returned to the store. Whatever happened to that Gi Joe will always be a mystery to me.


I'm not going to give an overview or review of this figure, at this point. Hasbro used the same body and head mold for almost all of the AT Gi Joes. I'll go into more detail about the figure, itself, in a future Gi Joe post. I have some vintage and quite a few reissue Joes that I'd like to talk about.

A few of the accessories that came with this reissue Joe

When you pull Joe's pull-string, he says one of many different phrases like, "I've got a tough assignment for you!"

I really love these figures. I love that they all used the same headsculpt and it was up to a child's imagination to create the different characters and adventures that these toys went through. Heck, they didn't even have names past monickers like "Land Adventurer," "Air Adventurer," and "Sea Adventurer." They were Gi Joes... and that was good enough for us.

16 comments:

  1. In the UK, he was called Action Man and Palitoy (the toy company behind him) used to run a promotion where you could send cut-out tokens from your other purchases (such as vehicles, outfits, weapon packs, etc) to redeem them for other toys. I remember collecting enough to earn an Action Man figure and - when it arrived - it was a bearded (non-talking, sadly) version much like the one shown here. He turned-up naked, except for his boots and a cup over his hands (did they have them in the US, too, to avoid ripping his fingers off from his gripping/Kung Fu Grip hands when dressing him?)

    I notice modern Action Man is now in a similar situation to the Vietnam Era GI Joe - he now has ''advantures'' and comes as EXTREME FREE-CLIMBER ACTION MAN and so on, which is a shame, as the detail on some of the military uniforms was superb.

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  2. I had a original one of these as a kid and i remember playing with around the year and breaking the pull string on him by hanging him from it in our tree in the front yard! Makes me sad now thinking about it.

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  3. I know you'll never read this, but I'll share anyway.

    When I was about three, my uncle bought one of these (or another version with the same hair/beard) for me. When presented with it, I felt the hair/beard and FREAKED OUT! I started screaming "NO JOE! NO JOE!" and forced my uncle to throw it into the wastebasket. My mom tells me that I told her that, because it was scritchy rather than plastic-y, the beard felt like my grandfather's rough face. So, in kid logic Joe beard = scritchy; grandfathers face = scritchy; grandfather = alive; Joe = ALIVE! AHHHH! NO JOE!

    My poor uncle was devastated, he thought that he was doing such a great thing for me. My mom still mocks me with "NO JOE!", btw.

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  4. Arkonbey... I read every comment. That's a great story. I didn't have the same reaction but feeling the fuzzy head on my first GiJoe is a very distinct memory for me, too. Hasbro really hit on something when they started that flocking process.

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  5. Great report :-) The whole adventure team idea was simply fantastic. Adding flock and calling it "Life-like hair" for instance. My first "Joe" was the dark bearded one with the hard plastic hands. Never had a talking Joe but I guess he wouldn't have been the right one for the fishpond adventures anyhow or is the voice box water proof ?

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  6. Yes, fantastic toys!!! I don't think the original talking Joe was waterproof. If I remember right, there was something in the instructions about not getting him wet. I don't think the reproduction is waterproof, either, as it's a voice on a computer chip as opposed to the mini-record technology in the vintage talkers.

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  7. I was born in 1971. I remember when I was about 7 my cousin had a G.I. Joe with the space explorer suit and helmet. It was supposed to be water proof & we were playing with it in the creek in his yard. Somehow the current swept G.I. Joe out of my hands and the last remember seeing of him was his head and hand going under the murky rapid water as it floated down stream. I often wonder: what wild adventures he has had since that fateful day?

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  8. NO BRASIL, O GI JOE FOI LANÇADO NO ANO DE 1977, PELA FÁBRICA DE BRINQUEDOS ESTRELA, COM O NOME DE FALCON.EU ADORAVA BRINCAR COM ELE.NO BRASIL SÓ TIVEMOS A VERSÃO ADVENTORE TEAM COM KUNG-FU GRIP QUE NO BRASIL SE CHAMAVA COMANDOS EM AÇÃo (CA).
    HOJE EU COLECIONO ALGUNS GI JOES.COMPRO SEMPRE QUANDO POSSO MAS NO BRASIL ELES SÃO MUITO CAROS
    PELO FATO DE SEREM SEREM IMPORTADOS DOS ESTADOS UNIDOS.

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  9. bought a boxed original today from toy Hunter USA, do you know what he is worth, he is complete.

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  10. great stuff. I love the old school Joes. In fact it was the fact that I hated the small Star Wars figures that they put out at first that I didn't buy either line or get excited by the figures. I love the cartoon. and the US FLAG and I do have a large sized Destro I will admit.

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  11. Replies
    1. I would like to purchase one

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    2. Anyone have this particular one for sale?

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    3. Anyone have this particular one for sale?

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  12. I have a original 1962 joe but I lost his shirt and helmet. anyway I can get another shirt and helmet. I was born in 62 but got him when I was 7

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