Goldenrod LSO Prototype Uniform Purchased From Official “Hasbro Seconds Store” in 1960s

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This closeup of the unproduced Hasbro prototype “goldenrod” LSO suit, reveals it came with red striping only. This early sample was rejected in favor of a more elaborate tan suit with day-glo orange and pink striping, more closely matching actual jumpsuits worn by LSO crewmen during the Korean War and early ’60s. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Ever been to a “Day-Old Bread Store?”

They’re small, “no-frills” bread stores that sell off unsold loaves of “day-old” bread, damaged pastries and any other “defective” baked-goods considered unsellable at full retail (box of broken bear claws, anyone?). Bakeries typically operate one or more of these shops in poorer neighborhoods of nearby cities and towns, offering such “day-old” baked goods at steeply discounted prices. (I’ve tried them out. It’s actually a great deal. Taste-wise, you can’t tell the difference!)

In a similar manner, during the 1960s and ’70s, long before there was a GIjOE Collector’s Club Store or an online “buy-direct” HasbroToyShop website, fans of “America’s Movable Fighting Man” could go into a small store in Pawtucket, RI, that sold authentic factory “seconds,” direct to the public. The store was a convenient and practical outlet for a growing toy company trying to recoup some of its pre-production and prototyping expenses (i.e.”up-front” costs typically incurred when designing and testing new toys). What it couldn’t sell out of its seconds store would sadly, simply end up in a landfill somewhere. In a recent interview with The Joe Report, longtime GIjOE dealer, George Gray, provided additional insight into this little-known chapter of GIjOE history…

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GIjOE Collector and Dealer, George Gray, a high school teacher from Dover, TN, holds up his authentic Hasbro goldenrod prototype LSO suit at JoeCon 2013. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“About 12 to 15 years ago, I bought a large lot of miscellaneous vintage stuff off ebay. Right away, I could tell there was something different about the items. They were all authentic Hasbro all right, but they didn’t look ‘correct’ in many ways.

I asked the seller for more information, and she turned out to be an old lady from Rhode Island. Apparently, back in the 1960s, she would go into what she called a Hasbro ‘seconds’ store in Pawtucket and pick up ‘seconds’ and discounted Hasbro toys.

Originally, I had a lot more uniforms, boots and things, but I’ve sold or traded most of it away over the years. I wish I had kept it all together, because it would have been interesting for fans if I had photographed and recorded all of the so-called defects and differences between the ‘rejects’ and final production pieces.”

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This closeup of the back of the unusual LSO suit reveals the perfect fit and finish of an intricately formed , factory-produced garment. Clearly, this is the REAL DEAL! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Intrigued by his find, George decided to seek the counsel and second opinion of a renowned GIjOE expert, Dan McKee from Southern California. McKee studied Gray’s prototype LSO suit quite extensively, comparing its materials and construction with his own vintage pieces. Ultimately, McKee concurred with the ebay seller’s assertion that it was indeed a vintage GIjOE jumpsuit and that it had undeniably been manufactured by Hasbro. When asked whether he felt it was a real “prototype” test uniform, McKee emphatically declared:

“Absolutely, it’s real!”

But That’s Not All…

The “clincher” in this story really occurred with the revelation of one more piece of corroborating information. According to the old woman in Rhode Island, all of the Hasbro “seconds” in the store were marked in a specific way so as to indicate that they were NEVER to be sold at retail. The “mark,” she said, was a “scarlet slash” made though the GIjOE logo with a permanent (red) laundry pen. Wha…?

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A closeup of the tag in the LSO jumpsuit reveals a faded red marker “slash” through the logo, confirming it as a vintage Hasbro “second,” most likely a rejected color-test prototype. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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A closeup of an actual 1:1 scale LSO uniform reveals that neither version by Hasbro was 100% correct. (Photo: Charles Bury)

Fascinated by her revelation, Gray quickly tugged at the collar tag of the old jumpsuit and discovered to his delight, that sure enough, it DID bear such a red mark! Combined with all the other indicators, there seems to be little doubt that this piece is an authentic Hasbro product, most likely produced as a color-test prototype. Once rejected, it was apparently marked and tossed into the company’s outgoing “seconds” bin to be sold from their store as such. Thankfully, Gray’s research and identification have rescued it from obscurity and provided fans with yet another intriguing glimpse into GIjOE’s history.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to all of the generous contributors to this article, including: George Gray, Dan McKee, Charles Bury, Nick Bowyer and that “little old lady from Pawtucket,” Go, JOE!

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Final production version of the LSO set. (Photo: Nick Bowyer)

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11 thoughts on “Goldenrod LSO Prototype Uniform Purchased From Official “Hasbro Seconds Store” in 1960s

  1. kneonknight says:

    What an interesting piece! Sadly, Hasbro’s LSO uniform looks more authentic than the real thing. HA!

    Now I’m wondering about that paisley Green Beret ascot I have in my junk drawer.

    (Don’t get all worked up, Joe fans, I’m just kidding.)

    • kneonknight says:

      WHOA! I just noticed that the Joe in the picture is wearing amber goggles…could it be that this is the source of those often seen but never authenticated items? Is there any way to find out if these are, in fact, the originals that came with the ‘factory second’ uniform? It would put out a lot of fires over at The Trenches to discover that Hasbro did produce some at one time or another. Just don’t mention it to Charlotte; according to her, the topic got pretty ugly at one point and it’s a taboo subject at present.

      • No, sorry. The article is only talking about the suit, nothing else. George was just modeling the uniform on a figure to see how it looked. He added the cap, goggles and boots.

      • Dan McKee says:

        Kneon-The real source of the amber goggles controversy lies strictly with James DeSimone and his original book. To this day, James swears he pulled those goggles directly out of an LSO window box. And to this day, I will swear that it was impossible for him to do it LOL! I have seen literally dozens of LSO window boxes and they ALL had green goggles with black trim! I do have a sealed vintage knock off accessory card with the amber goggles in them proving that they are indeed NOT genuine GIJoe by Hasbro.

  2. Joseph Benedetto says:

    You want to cry? My Aunt Vi WORKED for Hasbro in Pawtucket when I was a kid, and would send me stuff that I now suspect came from this store. Guess what my Mom did with all that GiJoe stuff when I went away to college… (I’m gonna go have a stiff drink, now.)

    • kneonknight says:

      Ouch. Say no more, the same happened to my cousin. Fortunately, I had some sort of weird foresight that prompted me to pack what remaining Joes and equipment I had into a footlocker, along with a few other childhood odds and ends, and stow it safely in my parent’s basement when I went off to Basic Training and AIT in 1980. I retrieved it in 1986, still intact and undisturbed, and it eventually led to a large collection…that was stolen from a storage facility when I was moving from my old house to a new address with my wife. *sigh* I think I’ll join you for that drink.

  3. Dan McKee says:

    Just to add a bit more color to the story (although Mark did a GREAT job with the story) I can verify that George and I did this research many years ago, long before the Don Levine auction in 1999 and before most people even had heard the word prototype or salesman sample ever applied to GIJoe. Nobody had ever dreamed up this “prototype” so there is no way it is a fake. Besides, who would ruin a beautiful goldenrod jumper trying to make something else out of it. And of course there is one last bit of evidence to give credence to this LSO prototype uniform; there is another prototype uniform known to exist still sealed in the package. This complete window box has what was obviously the winning design over the mocked up one George has. I am retaining a great photo of it in my private photo collection.

    By the way, I am reworking my old vintage GIJoe information website, as I have time and the link is below. Thanks also to Mark for keeping vintage GIJoe alive on the web!

  4. Conner says:

    Thanks for this story. I have a talking commander shirt where the tag is orange to the point that it had bled through to the neck of the shirt, like it had been colored with a magic marker. I never thought much about it until reading this story. See, the strange thing about this particular commander shirt is that it is olive drab green, instead of the brighter Kelly green.

  5. Rick Pell says:

    I grew up in Pawtucket, and we have seen some strange things over the years. I remember when I had a handful of bagged State Trooper uniforms as a kid. My aunt worked on the Joe assembly line, I had all the AT Joes, and I still have a couple of oddities, a tan MP (which doesn’t exist), and an OD green MP which people often question. It was fun as a kid here in Pawtucket.

  6. Rick Pell says:

    Wait… Are those amber goggles? They don’t exist either?

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