No More Toy Stores? Toys ‘R Us Going Bankrupt

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Going, Going… GONE? Someday very soon, a simple trip to a neighborhood toy store may become a nostalgic memory from America’s past. In yet another startling measure of the growing number of consumers switching over to online purchasing, retailing giant, Toys ‘R Us, recently announced that it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Though safe for now, all of the company’s colorful stores may soon be shuttered—and completely empty. (Photo: gettyimages)

Bottom Line: Toys ‘R Us (TRU), has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see complete details HERE). Sadly, we saw this event coming along YEARS ago. As more and more consumers have chosen to “shop” for bargains online and purchase their toys on the internet, web-retailing powerhouses such as Amazon and Walmart (and many, many others) have continued to drain away TRU’s financial stability and perilously erode its market share.

Indeed, TRU’s once-dominant, nation-wide chain of “brick-n-mortar” toy stores is now facing a dire and uncertain future. Faithful readers of The Joe Report will recall we first reported on TRU’s mounting fiscal woes waaaay back in 2014 (see that story HERE), and since that time, the company’s situation has only continued to weaken. It’s too soon to “call the game” on this sad story, and we’ll continue to monitor developments, but if current market trends are any indication, we don’t expect news to improve for America’s once mightiest—but now FAILING—toy chain.

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Blimey! New UK Royal Mail Stamps To Commemorate 1960s-70s Vintage Toys Including (Yes!) Action Man

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Geronimo! This new 2017 stamp from the UK Royal Mail commemorates vintage toys, specifically the 1960s Action Man “Red Devil” paratrooper figure. (Image: UK Royal Mail)

HOT OFF THE WIRES: According to an article posted today over on the Sun.co.uk:

“The series of ten toys – all made in the UK – will be released on August 22. They are available to buy from 7,000 post offices across the UK and on the Royal Mail website.

Royal Mail spokesman Philip Parker said ahead of the launch:

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“British toymakers enjoyed a reputation for quality and innovation. These nostalgic stamps celebrate 10 wonderful toys that have endured through the decades.”

Characters in the set feature the nation’s favourite toys from the past 100 years. These include Sindy dolls, which were launched in Britain in 1963, and Action Man, which first appeared on the market in 1966. The iconic Red Devil Action Man figure will feature in the stamps.

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Which of these vintage toys do YOU remember? (Photo: UK Royal Mail)

The Royal Mail website is offering a selection of products ranging from £4.50 to £29.99. Sets available include postcards, just the stamp set and and a framed version. Some enthusiasts can pick up a Classic Toys Edenbridge First Day Cover for £8.22 , which is personalised with the recipient’s name and address and cancelled with a Toys Hill, Edenbridge postmark. There’s also an Edinburgh First Day Cover – but both are only available until August 22.”

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Holy, Ephemera! Sometimes, the brochures and “press packs” that accompany the release of new postage stamps can be more exciting to own than the stamps themselves. (Photo: UK Royal Mail)

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Return to Sender? NO WAY! These “First Day of Issue” envelopes feature all 10 vintage toy stamps and will ROCK your ephemera and philatelic collections’ world. Crikey! (Photo: UK Royal Mail)

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Action Man’s Been Framed! Perhaps the most displayable and desirable collectible of this set would be the 10 FRAMED stamps. Yes, they’ll mail them to you already professionally matted and framed. All you have to do is hang them up—and ENJOY! (Photo: UK Royal Mail)

Bottom Line: These are tiny but VERY desirable collectibles for all fans of GIjOE and Action Man. Fans in the U.S. and elsewhere may have to order their stamps online, but that’s a no-brainer in this day and age. Simply go HERE now, mate. Go, ACTION MAN!

 

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Rudy Panucci’s Video Recap of 2017’s Kentuckiana GIjOE Toy Expo Held August 5th in Louisville, KY

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Toy Expert and Pop-Culture Blogger, Rudy Panucci (Photo: Rudy Panucci)

Bottom Line: Here’s another great video from the MASTER of pop-cult videos—Mr. Rudy Pannuci! Our sincerest thanks to Rudy for taking the time to cover this year’s EXPO and for his production of yet another superb video review. Be sure to leave any comments or compliments you may have for this famous “PoPCulteer” on his blog found HERE and keep up-to-date with future Rudy videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel HERE. Go, Rudy! Go, JOE!

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4th Annual Kentuckiana GIjOE Toy Expo to be Held This Saturday in Louisville, KY——Don’t Miss It!

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Bottom Line: Hosted by the Kentuckiana Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club, this exciting “toy expo” will be held in the beautiful city of Louisville, KY on this coming Saturday from 10AM to 3PM. Admission is just $2 and “early birds” can get in at 9AM for $5. You can bet your favorite footlocker that this show will be chocked FULL of great GIjOEs and a whole mess’a great fans and collectors. So… if YOU love GIjOEs and other vintage toys, YOU need to be in Louisville this Saturday. Gas up your ol’ family wagon and… git ‘er done! Go HERE for complete info.

G.I. Joe Pays Mattel’s “New Ken” a Friendly Visit

Bottom Line: You’ve surely seen Mattel’s “New Ken” line of assorted figures for 2017-18 by now, so we won’t repeat any of that information here. But we did think you’d like to eavesdrop on Joe’s first meeting with his new competition for Barbie’s heart. Let’s listen in. Enjoy! (Click pic to enlarge.)

 

G.I.Joe Convention 2017 This Weekend, Orlando, FL

GIJOE2017WEBcenter.jpgBottom Line: You already know it’s going on. If you don’t, well… it is! And if you’re there, HAVE FUN! If you’re not… there’s always next year—in Chattanooga, TN. June 21-24, 2018. Go, JOE!

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Blimey! “Action Man Day 9” This Weekend in the UK

actionmanday9poster.jpgBottom Line: How did this great event sneak up on us again this year? Oh well, fans in the U.S. will either have to catch the next Concorde SST flight (that ain’t happening again anytime soon) or simply wait until next year. Regardless, our best wishes go out to all of our AM friends and fans living in the UK. Have a great time, mates! And… GO, ACTION MAN!!!

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New G.I. Joe Club Pic Confirms Exactly What Is Inside “Return to the Hidden Temple” Boxed Set

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Gaze Upon Them— Here’s a peek INSIDE the JoeCon 2017 12″ exclusive box. (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: Just a quick update to our previous article of May 11th, 2017. Here’s what’s you’ll find inside the 2017 JoeCon 12-inch exclusive boxed set. Surrounded by black foam, you’ll find two excellent uniformed figures (one painted-hair w/nose-picker hands and one fuzzhead with KFG grips). Both come with oodles of equipment, a giant snake, the mystical serpent’s staff thingy, a convention lapel pin and a mini-comic book (not shown). Is all this new Joe-swag worth the club’s usual asking price of $375 (for club members) or $460 (for non-members)? As the Bible revealed, snakes can be QUITE tempting to many humans. Will YOU succumb to their shiny seducements?

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FLASH!———JoeCon 2017 12″ Convention Set Box Art Finally Revealed: Larry Selman Strikes Again!

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TWICE as NICE— As this photo of page 3 of the May 2017 issue of the GIjOE Collector’s Club magazine excitedly reveals, fans can expect to receive two more Larry Selman masterpieces on the box made for the JoeCon 2017 12″ convention exclusive 2-figure set. Click to enlarge.

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Burnin’ ’em Back to Hell— This Marine Jungle Fighter is clearly taking no prisoners tonight. But who’s that angry guy behind him? Absolutely SUPERB artwork by Larry Selman. Click to enlarge.

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It’s his, AT LAST!— This scene of the Jungle Adventurer, clearly thrilled at his discovery of the mystical Serpent Scepter, is wonderfully brought to life by master artist, Larry Selman. WOW! Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We couldn’t find any images of this new box elsewhere online, so we just snapped some quick pics of the club’s magazine page (p.3) that shows the artwork. And yes, once again, Classic Collection master artist, Larry Selman, has produced two exceedingly wonderful paintings for yet another exciting set. Are you planning to attend this year’s convention? If not, you can still order one of these sets online HERE, to be mailed to you after the event. Go, Joe! Go, Larry!

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Stan Weston, The Inventor of G.I. Joe, Dead at 84

It Was His Idea— Stan Weston (at 82) holds up a copy of Hasbro’s original 1964 GIjOE Action Soldier, a product line produced from Weston’s original concept which he created and sold to the company in 1963. When the copyrights to GIjOE expired in 2020, Weston hoped to reclaim control over his creation in a court of law. It is unclear whether or not the lawsuit will continue. (Photo: Stan Weston)

As reported May 8, 2017 in the Hollywood Reporter:

“Stanley Weston, inventor of the G.I. Joe action figure and a pioneer of the licensing business, died May 1 in Los Angeles, his daughter, Cindy Winebaum, announced. He was 84.

Weston was born in Brooklyn in 1933 and served in the Army shortly after the Korean War ended. When he returned home to New York, he found a job with the advertising agency McCann Erickson and enrolled in night courses for an MBA at New York University, where he had studied as an undergraduate.

Weston soon discovered a talent for the up-and-coming licensing and merchandising industry, and he struck out on his own to found Weston Merchandising.

When Mattel’s Barbie dolls were introduced in 1960, Weston realized boys were an untapped market for the doll industry after noting that many of them played with Ken dolls. He conceived of the idea of a military action figure and in 1963 sold what would become G.I. Joe to Hasbro. The runaway hit would go on to be one of the most enduring toy lines in history, spawning hit TV shows and films as well.

Weston later renamed his company Leisure Concepts, which would represent clients such as Charlie’s Angels-era Farrah Fawcett, Nintendo and the World Wrestling Federation, as well as TV shows including Alf and Welcome Back, Kotter. His other notable achievements include helping create the 1980s animated phenomenon ThunderCats.

In 1989, he was among the inaugural class for the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame, which includes notables Walt Disney, George Lucas and Jim Henson.

Weston is survived by his brother, his three children and five grandchildren.”

Bottom Line: Stan Weston came up with the original idea for the GIjOE toy. He quickly sold the rights to Hasbro. Don Levine (see Levine’s obituary article HERE) took the idea and made an American toy icon that will probably live forever in some form or another. At this moment, we’re not sure whether Weston’s lawsuit to recoup trademark rights to GIjOE (see that article HERE) will continue in the courts, but whenever those plans are made public, we’ll pass the information on to you ASAP. Our sincerest condolences to Stan’s family. Rest in Peace, Mr. Weston and THANKS!

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