“Officially, this figure NEVER existed.” —Don Levine
Ace Allgood could barely contain himself as he ushered me over to his dealer booth last Sunday, at Joelanta 2013.
“Mark! Come here and take a look at THIS!” he said, excitedly.
Although I’m used to seeing Ace all “hyped-up” at GIjOE shows (he REALLY loves GIjOEs), I couldn’t help but wonder what he had found.
“What is it?” I replied, curiously.
“Check it out, dude! A Japanese Yellow-Body! Ever hear about these? Betcha haven’t seen one before!” he said, by now practically squealing with delight.
For those of you who’ve never met Ace, he is truly a great guy and one of the leading “unofficial ambassadors” of the GIjOE-collecting hobby. A widely respected authority on vintage-era figures, Allgood believes this figure is an ultra-rare, “Japanese Yellow-Body” skin-color prototype that GIjOE’s “father,” Don Levine officially declared “never existed.” But clearly, this rare Joe DID exist.
The obvious difference between this unproduced prototype Japanese figure and any later, mass-produced version, is its sickly, jaundiced-looking yellow body color. It seemed clear to the fans who had gathered around to discuss the rare piece, that Hasbro must’ve produced a small batch of them for a quick series of pre-production skin-color tests.
The prototype’s too-yellow color must’ve seemed controversial or “fake” and therefore was deemed unacceptable for public sale. But how such a rare test figure (typically discarded) had ended up in a hotel conference room in Atlanta, GA over 50 YEARS LATER was anybody’s guess. But there it was. And Ace couldn’t have been happier!
Bottom Line: Something new and intriguing about GIjOE’s history is always being discovered. According to Allgood, this prototype “yellow-body” is just 1 of 3 that are now known to exist, making it a very rare collectible indeed. Congratulations…and BONZAI!