As “parachute drop” events go, Saturday night’s session at Joelanta 2013 seemed to proceed fairly normally at first—almost too normally. The event has been held annually since 2000, and by now, most attendees consider it almost a rite of passage for their parachute-equipped GIjOEs.
To participate, fans first ascend 15 floors in one of the elevators to the top of the hotel atrium. Then, they move over to the railing, toss their “Jump Joe” over the side and watch it float (hopefully gently) back down to the lobby floor below.
Well, 2013’s event progressed quite predictably, and after only a few minutes, many fans seemed to be losing interest. After watching just a few jumps, most stopped looking up, choosing to talk amongst themselves instead. Something was missing this year. Something…EXCITING.
“Look up there! What’s THAT?“
Fortunately, the lackluster mood began to change quickly as fans began to point and notice that there was some sort of light moving around on the top floor. What was it? Suddenly, an unusual GIjOE in a brightly lit jumpsuit “hit the silk” and began its first successful descent of the evening. Is that? Is he? Yes! It was…“FLYING ELVIS!”
Where did it come from? No one had ever seen this figure before. It was a GIjOE all right, but it sported an Elvis pompadour haircut, sunglasses, and a Las Vegas jumpsuit—with LIGHTS. Wow!
Turns out, “Flying Elvis” is no ordinary Joe. Rather, it’s a superb custom creation of fan, collector and customizer, Jack Hall. Here’s how Hall describes his production of this unique custom:
“First, I took a Mattel Elvis head, ‘scalped’ the hair off of its headsculpt and put it on top of a GIjOE’s head. Then, I took the figure’s Elvis suit and inserted some little light strips that I had picked up at an auto parts store. I strung the two sets together, ran ’em down the jumpsuit’s sleeves and pant legs, and connected it all up to some batteries. To get everything to fit, the suit had to be sliced open and then sewn back together again.”
With the dramatic arrival of Hall’s “Flying Elvis,” the excitement had returned to Joelanta’s parachute drop, and fans hurried once again to “compete.” Elvis (and Jack) would go on to complete 4 additional jumps for a total of 5, all without an injury or loss of sunglasses. Collector Gordon Mayfield was stunned by the figure’s resilience and remarked…
“Even after five jumps, he still has his sunglasses on! Man, Flying Elvis is rockin’ COOL!”
Bottom Line: This is a superb custom figure. Our sincerest congratulations to Jack Hall for his amazing and creative work. Will this one-of-a-kind GIjOE ever fly again? We’ll have to wait and see. For now…
Elvis has left the building!