Watching my kids play with their toys, I was catapulted back to my childhood. Yes, we eventually had the first run of kenner Star Wars toys to fill warm spots in our Christmas Mirth... but for the majority of my childhood I remember one man rising to every challenge, defeating every foe and Kicking Ken’s butt at the Neighbors Barbie House... G.I. Joe.
Our Joes weren't these little barely posable things they have today... Ours was a 12 inch, Scarred man of action who came with accessories to help him combat every kind of villain your imagination could bring fourth. Though the first had plastic hair, they soon sported crew cuts of life like hair and beards that barely concealed that scar on his cheek... a scar, that even years latter Joe refused to talk about.
I remember our Joe had a Jeep, not just a ordinary Jeep, but one mounting a recoilless rocket launcher and pulling a trailer. Joe wasn’t a dumb grunt mind you.... he had been a astronaut in the Mercury program, complete with capsule and silver space uniform. He was a skilled frogman ( Orange wet suit, complete with speargun and man eating shark) and a Deep Sea diver ( with a weighted belt and shoes). He was a Jack of all trades, he was a spy with a disguise and a briefcase with a Gun you could assemble and could pilot a jet ( Though we had a helicopter). He was 100% hero.
I remember the foot lockers that you could buy to house all the accessories and the carded uniform and equipment add on’s. The last thing I remember getting for Joe was a Dune Buggy and command trailer that he used to hunt for mummies ( He was now sporting his “Kung Fu” grip).
I spent endless hours playing with Joe, I remember the neighbor (who had two daughters) would baby sit us, and Joe would be forced to take some R&R at the Barbie Dream house... He wasnt too friendly to Ken ( probably a draft dodger anyway) and he let him know it... .45 from his shoulder holster beat Ken’s ascot every time.
Many years latter, I still smile when I see a old Joe at a garage sale or on TV, I remember all the adventures we had and how rainy days were that much more bearable with my be-scarred comrade with his M1 (with broken barrel) covering my 6 or walking point as we combated the evils of our imaginary world.
Joe... We remember.