Monthly Archives: May 2012

FLASH! Chicago GIjOE Club to Host Show, 9/9/12

Collectors will converge in Algonquin, a suburb of Chicago for this year’s big show. (Graphic: Mark Otnes)

In a surprise announcement made today, Beth Biallas, of the Chicago GIjOE Collector’s Club, sent out a mass email revealing details of their upcoming “Chicago Toy & Action Fair.” Hooah! This is great news for Joeheads and toy fans of all ages. Here are the details so far according to Beth:

Chicago GIjOE Club President Ron Biallas in 2008. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’ve attached the flyer for all of you about our September 9th show! (hooray, woo-hoo!!!) It will be at Jacobs H.S. again this year, and the door, as per usual, will go to the Relay for Life Campaign to fight cancer.

We are excited to get back in the saddle (or for us “back in the jeep-seat”!) for our awesome show in September. It’s a ton of work, and we will be asking members to pitch in and help w/some of the behind the scenes tasks, as well as the set up and clean up on that weekend.

We want it to be a success, as always, and the main goal is for our vendors to be pleased that they make back their table money and come away w/some profit. Ron and I will be hitting the area radio station again as we have a friend who is a DJ for 103.9; we will also take care of requesting the town signs for advertising the week before, and we will send out forms to all of the people who’ve had a table in our show before.

Dealer John Gilane mans his tables at a previous Chicago GIjOE Show. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

But we will need your help to ‘spread the good word’ in your area communities, as well, so make copies of the attached flyer and drop some off at your local hobby stores, comic shops, toy stores & the like. It’s a team effort!”

Beth’s flyer went on to specify these details:

Sunday, September 9th

Open to the Public from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Early birds 8-9 a.m. $4 admission

After 9 a.m. $5 admission

Kids 12 & under are free!
 Free parking!

Harry D. Jacobs High School
2601 Bunker Hill Drive 
Algonquin IL 60102
Vendor tables are still available
 for $30 for one 6-foot table, 
$25 each additional table.
 (Dealer set up on the 9th, 6a.m.)
Call Beth at 

Past shows in Algonquin have been well worth the trip. We look forward to attending and reporting on this one as well. Thanks for the updates, Beth. We’ll be happy to pass on any further intel as it becomes available.

“G.I. jOE’s” Stores: Where Fantasy Beats Reality

The shape of this imposing facade of a “GIjOE’s” Sporting Goods store in Oregon is reminiscent of the chain’s earliest place of business—a tent! (Photo:

I began this article simply intending to discuss the existence of a chain of Northwestern sporting goods stores that were surprisingly named, “GIjOE’s.” But any simple story about their intriguing name choice quickly gave way to more fanciful imaginings of what an actual GIjOE store could-would-should be like…

FANTASY: Imagine if you will, attending the grand opening of an all-new “GIjOE” Store…

This backlit main ID of an early GIjOE’s has a simple, vintage charm. (Photo: GIjOE’s Military Surplus)

The store’s huge letters beckon shoppers from almost a mile away. You and a friend park your car and hurredly approach the front of the store. As you draw closer, two large metallic doors, adorned with a giant, 3-dimensional Adventure Team logo, glide silently apart. When fully opened, the massive logo doors come to a sudden stop with a gentle “hiss,” and a booming voice ushers you inside, announcing… “Remember: Only GIjOE…is GIjOE!”

You eagerly step forward as the store’s cool air-conditioning wafts over you, and the first thing you notice is that instantly recognizable, “new GIjOE” smell. The scent triggers something almost primal in your mind as childhood memories of Christmas’ Past suddenly come flooding back. Your heart begins to race. Your eyes grow wide as saucers. Dazed, you stop just inside the door to “take it all in,” astonished at what you behold.

Note the bold lettering on the outside of this GIjOE’s store. WOW! (Photo: GIjOE’s Sporting Goods)

This building is filled to the rafters with 1:6 scale-related merchandise. The shelves stretch far off into the distance, and are loaded with all-new action figures from manufacturers around the world. Moving closer to examine one, you notice that each figure comes with a super-articulated body and interchangeable hands. “Great idea!” you think to yourself. “Imagine all the possibilities.”

This more traditional storefront featured huge, “GIjOE’s” lettering. (Photo: GIjOE Sporting Goods)

Turning around, you’re astounded to discover racks upon racks of well-detailed and intriguing equipment sets for every branch of service. There’s something for every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Adventurer in your ranks. The set’s are sold on brightly colored peg cards or vintage-style window boxes. Their retro-packaging allows you to see everything clearly through just a thin piece of cellophane. Amazed by the huge variety of 1:6 scale accessories hanging before you, you suddenly blurt out, “Now THIS is how to sell GijOEs!”

You start proselytizing to your friend…”Okay, I buy a Joe, right? Then I’ll want to buy a uniform set. Then a weapon or equipment accessory set. Finally, I’ll dress the figure and detail it all up. Then I’ll want to do it all over again with another figure. This hobby can become so ADDICTIVE! The whole razors-n-blades marketing idea makes so much sense to me now!”

Gimme a “G!” As sign company employees removed this store’s logo, lucky shoppers took home giant letters as mementos. (Photo: The Oregonian)

Towards the back of the store, your jaw drops open again as you discover rows and rows of shiny new 1:6 scale vehicles. There are all types of cars, trucks, jeeps, tanks, boats and aircraft. Each is shown in its own neat and orderly display cube with bold GIjOE logos and text detailing its particular features and history.

Some are electric and fully R/C, while others simply require a little push to move along. And when you realize they’re all designed to quickly break down and fit into much smaller boxes, you realize that storage issues are no longer such a problem. Your friend exclaims, “This GIjOE store makes so much sense! Why hasn’t anyone sold ’em like this before?”

Towards the chain’s end, this was an all too common and depressing sight. Piece by piece, the front facade of each GIjOE’s store was dismantled forever. If you look closely, you can still make out where this store’s giant letters had once been mounted. (Photo: GIjOE’s Sporting Goods)

REALITY: The end has come for one (formerly) successful sporting goods chain.

Sadly, of course, all of the above are merely fanciful imaginings that had flashed through my mind when I first stumbled across the existence of a real chain of stores called, “GIjOE’s. Their reality turns out to be far less inspiring. And in an edited nutshell, Wikipedia recounts the demise of GIjOE’s stores thusly…

“G.I. Joe’s began in 1952 when Edward Orkney purchased army surplus sleeping bags and then set up a tent in Portland, Oregon, to sell them to the public. Orkney sold out of the sleeping bags and then started selling other army surplus merchandise from a store that then doubled in size by 1956.

By 2000, revenue had increased to $161 million from 17 stores, making G.I. Joe’s the 12th largest sporting goods retailer in the United States, and the largest in the Pacific Northwest.

On March 4, 2009, the chain filed for Chapter 11. Some former managers attempted to re-start G.I. Joe’s in six former stores located in Bend, Salem, Eugene, and three in the Portland area, but the plan fell apart in July 2009.”

It’s regrettable that the real GIjOE’s stores are no more. If there are any remaining, they’re likely to be small, independently run concerns, struggling to stay afloat in a tough economy. If you know of any in your area, please leave a comment about it here on The Joe Report. Thanks!

Memorial Day 2012

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing today, please take a moment to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for our freedom. Our deepest thanks and sincerest gratitude go out to all past, present and future servicemen and women. And please, if you can, show your appreciation with a generous donation to the USO by visiting their website HERE.

FLASH!…Release of “GIjOE Retaliation” Postponed Until March, 2013———for 3D?

Cap wonders if delaying the new GIjOE film just to convert it to 3D is a wise decision by Paramount, or as some fans have called it, a “bonehead” move? (Photo illustration: Mark Otnes)

Stunning news was announced today regarding the highly anticipated summer blockbuster, GIjOE Retaliation. In what many analysts quickly labeled as a “bonehead” move on the part of Paramount Studios, the film’s release date has been pushed back to March of NEXT YEAR (2013) so that the film can be converted to 3D. Collective cries of “Oh, C’mon!” are being heard worldwide, as GIjOE fans everywhere shake their heads in disbelief. For additional details on this breaking story, we refer you to the article in today’s LA Times

“In surprisingly late fashion, the release date for ‘GIjOE Retaliation’ has been postponed. Paramount had planned to roll out the film on June 29, in time for the July 4th weekend. But Wednesday, just weeks before it was due to follow that long laid-out plan, the studio announced that the action sequel starring The Rock, Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis will arrive on March 29, 2013, reportedly so the movie can be converted to 3D. The move leaves ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ with no major competition for blockbuster status that weekend, and also leaves Paramount with no big releases this summer.”

Paramount spent a fortune promoting the June 29th release of this film. Now, they’ll have to spend it all over again next March. OUCH.
(Photo: Paramount/Hasbro)

While technically possible, it’s widely known that converting films originally shot in 2D into 3D is practically pointless artistically.  Typically, such decisions are made done purely for financial reasons. According to Sean Huxter, a highly regarded GIjOE collector and 3D animation professional

“This is not a good sign. Movies SHOT in 3D don’t take longer to put out. Movies retroactively ADAPTED to 3D do, and they suck. LARGE. You can’t fake 3D from a flat movie. At least not well. There was one exception: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’ I looked for 3D errors and found none. However, most other adapted 3D movies were awful. Lumpy polygonal blankets textured with crowd scenes in the hopes no one would notice… I mean really…

 The Superman movie that went to iMax a few years back had some of the worst 3D I’ve ever seen. Thankfully they only had several scenes injected into the movie that were 3D. The rest was flat. (!?) But there were cut seams along the shoulder seam of Clark Kent’s shirt… the texture on the floor of the water tower as he looked down from it were not matched eye to eye… Gawd… I do 3D photography all the time. I’m VERY conscious of these errors. Shooting a film in 3D is fine. Just don’t fake it.”

For many moviegoers, the use of 3D in movies is no longer worth the added expense.

Personally, I don’t care for 3D films. I don’t enjoy having to wear those goofy glasses, viewing darker, fuzzier images or paying higher ticket prices. The 3D effect itself simply no longer holds any real “WOW” factor for me. I’d much rather see the film now, in 2D.

Some disregard Paramount’s “official” explanation of incorporating 3D into the film as reason for its delay. Collector and fan Alan Davis put it this way…

“The delay has little or nothing to do with post-conversion. There’s re-shoots and added scenes being shot and THAT is a sign of trying to polish a turd. Ya don’t yank a tentpole movie just 35 days from release to post-convert to 3D if the movie WORKS. Its done to shore up a film that the studio has no confidence in. Word coming out of test screenings confirm that the film is a stinker.”

Others think there’s more to it than we’re being told. And that future television rights may be affecting Paramount’s decisions. According to GIjOE fan and collector, Dave “Tanker” Matteson

“According to Chu, he wanted to shoot it in 3D. Paramount told him no, and to shoot in 2D. He shot the film as if he were doing it in 3D and when they edited the film they cut almost 40 minutes out of it.

Now they want it in 3D (which I will never watch it in) and not just for the theater, they want it converted for the new TV markets.

Now Chu is going to spend their money to re-edit the film and will add almost 30 more minutes because he had to take stuff out. Some military members that were in the movie have screened it and said it was great.”

However Paramount’s decision to postpone GIjOE Retaliation will ultimately effect it at the box office remains to be seen. Stay tuned for additional intel as it becomes available.

TJR’s “Video Pick of the Week” #3

Simply trying to enjoy his beer, GijOE turns to face the verbal assaults of an annoying, wise-cracking Ken in this scene from podGeneration’s amusing video. (Photo: podGeneration)

This week, our “Video pick of the Week” is entitled, “GIjOE vs. Ski Fun Ken Doll.” It’s a quietly entertaining, 5 1/2 minute, stop-motion adventure in which Joe is repeatedly taunted by Ken until he accepts a challenge to a “kamikaze down hill” snow boarding race. Ken’s so sure he’ll win, that he even dares Joe to wager car titles—his shiny, 911 Porsche Cabriolet against Joe’s trusty Jeep.

What makes the video especially enjoyable is that it shows a solid effort was made to get the characters just right. Ken is the preppy, annoying wuss we all expect him to be, while Joe is perfectly portrayed as the strong and silent type, a trained fighter and adventurer who knows how to keep his cool in the face of Ken’s taunting insults.

In this screenshot from the video, the attention to accurately scaled set details is obvious. Superb work. (Photo: podGeneration)

The sets are superb as well. Be sure to hit “pause” now and then to appreciate what you’re really seeing. The filmmaker’s “Whiskey Dick’s Saloon” includes a perfectly scaled billiards table, plus cues, booths and more. There’s even a lamp hanging over the billiards table and a tiny piece of cue chalk for Joe to use as he prepares to take another shot.

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for the numerous guest star cameos (and see how many can you name). Those familiar with classic TV celebrities from the ’70s should have no trouble. And listen to their voice characterizations—hilarious! This is a solid video with a great surprise ending. Enjoy!

Independent British Filmmaker to Release New Action Man Documentary on DVD in 2012-2013

In this screenshot from Tony Robert’s upcoming documentary, The Story of Action Man, an exciting vintage store display is shown. WOW! (Photo: Tortured Genius Films)

Mitch Lieding’s 2002 GIjOE documentary set a very high standard for others to follow. (Photo: Amazon)

In 2002, a GIjOE-based documentary entitled, “The Story of America’s Movable Fighting Man,” was released onto DVD by producer/director Mitch Lieding. In that 110 minute video, Lieding wisely recorded interviews with all of GIjOE’s aging, original creators, asking them to recount their unique memories of working for Hasbro during the company’s earliest days and of their involvement  with the creation and evolution of GIjOE in particular. Lieding’s finished documentary was superb in every way, and to this day, it remains a “must-see” for all fans wishing to learn more about GIjOE’s origins.

Now, exactly 10 years later, another exciting documentary entitled, “The Story of Action Man,” is due to be completed and released onto DVD sometime in 2012. Clearly inspired by Lieding’s 2002 GIjOE doc, this new film focuses instead on GIjOE’s fighting British cousin, Action Man.

In this scene, Palitoy Tooling Manager Roger Morrison discusses the earliest days of Britain’s favorite action figure. (Photo: Tortured Genius Films)

Directed by independent documentary filmmaker, Tony Roberts, this film will include interviews with Palitoy’s original creative team, as well as with current fans and collectors in the UK and elsewhere. According to Roberts’ website…

“The story of Palitoy’s Action Man documents his enlistment into the action figure ranks of the late 1960s, through to his glory days in the 1970s and onto his eventual honourable discharge in 1984. During his 18 years of service on the frontline of living room battles, Action Man continued to innovate and evolve and remained at the forefront of the boy’s toy market throughout his entire career.

Independent filmmaker Tony Roberts prepares to shoot another scene for his upcoming Action Man documentary. (Photo: Tortured Genius Films)

With the support and input from several of Action Man’s original designers, The Story of ACTION MAN is an accurate and entertaining documentary feature film chronicling the history of one of the greatest pop culture icons of the latter 20th Century. Relive your childhood and take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with The Story of ACTION MAN, due for release in 2012.”

This is truly exciting news. Fans of 1:6 scale action figures readily agree there is a wide opportunity and hunger for quality documentaries on GIjOE, Action Man, Geyperman and others action figure toy lines. So it’s good to see a new independent filmmaker finally stepping up and preparing a new documentary. Please keep us updated, Tony. And…Go, ACTION MAN! To visit Tony’s documentary website, go HERE. To watch the official trailer for the documentary, go HERE.

GIjOE Movie Benefits Louisiana Military Museum

In this screenshot from the news video, a clip from the upcoming movie, GIJOE: Retaliation can be seen. Military items from the museum were used in the making of the film. (Photo: WVUE TV, New Orleans)

In this screenshot from the video, a superb example of a WWII German motorcyle and sidecar are shown on display at the Regional Military Museum in Houma, LA. (Photo: WVUE, New Orleans)

Here’s a great news story about “The power of Joe.” Hollywood production dollars from the new GIjOE: Retaliation movie have already helped a military museum in Louisiana to overcome its recent economic hardships. The film’s propmasters and vehicle experts rented numerous pieces of military equipment from the Regional Military Museum in Houma, Louisiana for use in the movie.

All items were returned safely after filming was completed, and the funds raised from their rental will go towards future expansion and improvements at the museum. For complete details, you can read the full story and watch a short video from TV station WVUE in New Orleans, HERE.

Back From the Dead———Mego DRACULA Figure Exhumed After 37 Years Buried in Backyard

After being buried for 37 years, Dracula’s cape and costume have pretty much disintegrated, but most of the plastic body has remained intact. (Photo: Lennie Starr)

In one of the rarest of collector probabilities, a man’s original childhood Mego Dracula figure was recently rediscovered after having been buried in a suburban home’s backyard almost four decades ago. Locating a long-lost childhood toy is difficult enough. But recovering one that had been BURIED for 37 years is extremely uncommon.

Drac’s evil eyes haunted Lennie so much that he decided to bury the figure 12″ deep in his father’s backyard! (Photo: Plaidstallions)

The man in question is Lennie Starr of Ohio. Here’s his account of this amazing discovery as he posted it over on the Mego Talk fan forum…

“My friends and I buried this when I was 8 years old. It gave me the creeps because the eyes glowed at night. We had a funeral for it and everything. I had mentioned this on the boards many years ago.

Buried in my backyard in 1975, this was finally unearthed today, May 21, 2012. My father located it while he was doing some landscaping at their house. Buried for 37 years! I had a general idea where it was, but could never locate it. My mother was never too keen on my digging up her lawn.

I would very much like to restore this thing. The head looks very zombified. I cannot locate the clothing or the arms. I don’t remember it being in pieces. Perhaps it rotted. Welcome back childhood Dreadful Dracula! It’s been a very long time.

Original Type-1 Mego Draculas looked like this and featured especially “creepy” eyes.
(Photo: Mego Museum)

I asked Lennie if he had any additional information about his unusual find and he replied…

“This was buried about 10-12″ down. I can’t make out the cloth. But I thought I wrapped it in a towel or something. The head has yellowed and hardened a bit, with some dark stains or spots on it. But the type-1 body parts have held up perfectly with just minor fading.

I do not remember it being in pieces, but that was a long time ago. The metal rivets have deteriorated quite a bit and the pieces that are not there were not found. I was not permitted to keep digging up the yard to look or I would have done just that!”

Of course, other fans on the forum quickly realized that the intrinsic value of Lennie’s unique figure is actually highest just as it is—unrestored. In its current exhumed and “decayed” condition, along with his interesting story, Lennie’s “Dreadful Dracula” is  now a one-of-a-kind connection to his childhood and to Mego’s past. Some even suggested making a little coffin for the remains and simply displaying it that way. Now THAT’S a great idea. Whatever you decide, congratulations on your rare find, Lennie. Just don’t look at his “creepy eyes!”

“GIjOE: Retaliation” Theater Displays Spotted

Gigantic theater displays make the ultimate (and LARGEST) GIjOE collectibles. This one was spotted in a theater in Savoy, Illinois. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

I was in our local multiplex this past weekend to catch Battleship (loved it). As we were exiting, right there in the hallway was a giant, cardboard GIjOE movie display. What a cool item this would be to have in any collector’s “man cave” or “Joe Room.” Unfortunately, the manager informed me they have to pack them all up and return them to the film’s distributor after a movie has completed its run. ARGHHHH!!!

Of course, this thing’s about 10 feet wide by 7 foot tall. I don’t know of many collectors who have that much interior real estate to devote to displaying something this large. But it sure does looks cool! I wonder if these beauties ever show up on ebay? If so, shipping costs must be VERY interesting. Oh well, the good news for Joe fans is that June 29th is now only a little over a month away. Make sure your local GIjOE Collector’s Club division plans a big “movie meeting” party. If you cut a cake or something at the theater, you’ll probably get on your local news. Hooah! GO JOE!

“Bald and Brave GIjOE” Movement Hopes to Raise Awareness of Childhood Baldness Due to Chemotherapy, Alopecia and Trichotillomania

10″ GIjOE action figures have been made of bald actors Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis for the upcoming GIjOE Retaliation movie. (Photo: Hasbro/Paramount)

An intriguingly named “Bald GIjOE Movement” recently appeared over on Facebook HERE. Its organizer and administrator, Wendy Tarlow, hopes the new site will help raise awareness of childhood baldness due to cancer treatments (chemotherapy), Alopecia (natural hair loss) and Trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling).

Tarlow hopes Hasbro will someday produce a “Bald and Brave” GIjOE such as this customized headsculpt. Cool! (Photo: Wendy Tarlow)

Inspired by the success of a similar “Bald and Beautiful Barbie” campaign created by Jane Bingham, Tarlow created the new GIjOE Facebook page in January of this year. In just a few months, thousands of parents and supporters have “liked” the new page and are readily sharing photos and commentary about their own children’s experiences.

Thrilled by its success, Tarlow hopes the site “goes viral” and convinces Hasbro to produce a new bald GIjOE figure, specifically for supporting this cause. Fortunately, her timing and the timely release of the new movie GIjOE: Retaliation couldn’t have been more fortuitous. According to Tarlow…

“Good News! Hasbro has announced that they are already producing two GIjOE action figures in 2012 to coincide with a new GIjOE movie coming out, in which two of the actors are bald. We are excited to see that some ‘Bald and Brave’ GIjOEs are already being made that will help young boys who suffer from hair loss due to chemotherapy, Alopecia or Trichotillomania.

“The Rock” GIjOE is 10″ of bald, fighting fury! (Photo: Hasbro)

Boys who suffer from hair loss  are often stared at and misunderstood. Most are assumed to have cancer when many actually have Alopecia. We are thrilled that we will see strong action figures for young boys to relate to during play that have no hair, like them.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the new bald GIjOE movie action figures come with awareness information on the box and a portion of the proceeds go towards one of the three causes of hair loss in children? Help us raise support for this as we implore Hasbro to consider these requests.”

In response to the many requests she’s received asking, “What can I do to support this cause?” Tarlow has set up an online petition, asking Hasbro to please produce her new “Bald and Brave” GIjOEs. It remains to be seen whether or not the new Facebook site and petition will be enough to convince them, but Facebooker Debby Clemmons summed it up pretty well when she said…

The Bruce Willis GIjOE stands ready to inspire and support kids everywhere!
(Photo: Hasbro)

“There’s a bald Barbie available for girls going through chemotherapy or who have a female relative going through it to help them deal with the loss of their hair. Boys going through chemo or who have a male relative going through it should have an action figure. And we all know GIjOE is a tough guy right? So please, Hasbro— make bald GIjOEs!!”

C’mon, Joeheads! Let’s show the power of our international GIjOE “community” by supporting Wendy and Jane in their efforts. To sign the Bingham and Tarlow petition which will increase the likelihood of a “Bald and Brave” GIjOE figure someday become a reality, jump HERE. To watch a short video of some great kids discussing these issues and the new “Bald Barbie and GijOE” movements, go HERE. Thanks!