New Jersey-Based G.I. Joe Fan to Appear on Episode of Canadian Television’s ABC Show, “Collectors”


This is the playful photo that caught the eye of a Canadian TV producer of ABC’s TV show, Collectors; netting GIjOE fan Neil Uricoli an upcoming appearance on the show. (Screenshot: GIjOE Collections)


Mel Brooks presides over a meeting as the Governor in a scene from Blazing Saddles. (Photo: Warner Bros.) Click to enlarge.

“It’s Good to be the King!”

The quote above was originally uttered by legendary comedian, Mel Brooks, but it captures the feeling of serene contentment one gets when reaching the highest level of personal achievement and/or authority. As Louie XVI in “The History of the World,” Brooks was practically omnipotent; groping women and imbibing at will. As a goofy Governor in the film “Blazing Saddles,” he plotted against the citizens of Rock Ridge while fooling around with his bodaciously bosomed secretary. Whatever the role (for Mel), it was always good, “to be the King.”


Neil Uricoli’s collection also contains articles of NASA memorabilia. (Photo: Neil Uricoli)

How’s this for a Segue?

But what does Mel Brooks have to do with GIjOE? Well, in our own clumsy way, we’re trying to make an analogy about fame and power and how it all might co-exist in our odd little world of GIjOE collecting. After all, who wouldn’t like to be considered a collecting “King?” Of course the reality is, for most of us “lowly” GIjOE fans, the highest level of collecting achievement or authority we hope to aspire to is the creation (and presiding over) of our own “Joe Rooms.” Indeed, a well-appointed Joe Room, with its collection prominently on display, can be a great source of pride and accomplishment for any fan. In fact, until recently, possessing such a room was considered to be the height of successful GIjOE collecting. But wait! We’ve discovered that now…there’s MORE.


This closeup reveals Neil’s superb figures arranged in exciting poses. (Photo: Neil Uricoli)

Neil Uricoli’s Coup

coup: noun, 1.a highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment.

That’s right. It turns out there is now an “ultimate” level of GIjOE collecting that’s even higher than possessing your own Joe Room; and that is…appearing on a major network television show…IN your Joe Room! While not the first fan to be heralded in such a way (James DeSimone, Derryl DePriest and John Michlig immediately come to mind), Neil Uricoli (NJ), is about to become the most recent one to achieve the lofty fame and status of: “Celebrity GIjOE Collector.”


The use of photographic backdrops provide more visual “punch.” (Photo: Neil Uricoli)


The longer you look, the more you see. It’s amazing how much is in this one photo. What a superb collection! Imagine seeing it in HD on your TV. You will—this Fall!  (Photo: Neil Uricoli)


Yes, they really DID exist. Neil Uricoli’s ultra-rare Tom Hanks GIjOE is still Mint-in-the-Box and enjoys an honored place amongst his collection. According to Neil: “I purchased this on eBay a few years back. I had heard of them, but never saw one before stumbling upon this one. It was produced back in 1999, but pulled from production after Dreamworks decided such a ‘for sale collectible’ was not in sync with the seriousness of their movie Saving Private Ryan. About a dozen prototypes (in boxes) were sent to Steven Spielberg and to Dreamworks. A couple a hundred more were handed out as a special gift to guests during a private screening of the film in 1999. That’s it! All of the others were destroyed. The Tom Hanks GIjOE was never available at retail. I’ve also heard that there were a few thousand produced where Hasbro switched out the head and used them as the GIjOE Collectors Club Normandy Invasion Ranger. I’m not sure of their value, but there is one on eBay for $15K right now. Besides that one, mine and the one I saw on the web with a Tom hanks autograph, that’s it…as far as I know.” (Photo: Neil Uricoli)

Becoming a “King of Collecting”

Playfully nicknamed “The Jersey Giant” on his GIjOE Collections webpage (found HERE), Neil’s superb collection caught the eye of an ABC Canadian television producer and the rest will soon be television history. According to Neil:

“In the years since I submitted my photos and bio to the GIjOE Collections website, my collection has grown by quite a bit. I now have several more figures and sets as well as the scarce and rare Tom Hanks “Saving Private Ryan” “Captain Miller” (see sidebar, ed.). I have enjoyed being part of the GIjOE Collections site and have shown it to many a friend.

A Canadian TV producer was perusing the site and came across my page’s opening photo titled, “ATTACK OF THE JERSEY GIANT.” I was contacted by that person, interviewed, and am now to be featured on a CTV show called “Collectors.” They just finished filming the episode yesterday and I was told it will air sometime after September, 2013.”


This closeup reveals Neil Uricoli’s ultra-rare Tom Hanks figure is indeed NRFB. (Photo: Neil Uricoli)

Bottom Line: This is truly exciting news, not just for Neil, but for the entire GIjOE community. Whenever a Joehead receives such media recognition, we should all spread the word immediately. Congratulations, Neil! And it’s wonderful that you were “discovered” over on the GIjOE Collections website. We’ve been urging fans to post their collections there for years.

Editor’s note: If you haven’t done so already, we highly recommend you visit the GIjOE Collections website and submit your own collection. Adding it to the site is easy, FREE, and who knows? Someday you (or it) may end up on TV. Just ask Neil Uricoli…It’s GOOD to be the King!


3 thoughts on “New Jersey-Based G.I. Joe Fan to Appear on Episode of Canadian Television’s ABC Show, “Collectors”

  1. kneonknight says:

    Not sure of the veracity of this; but it has been reported that the reason the ‘Saving Private Ryan’ figure was not released at retail was due to concerns from the Ryan family. In any case, it’s a neat figure, it’s just too bad that Hasbro chose to use some of the worst sculpts in their inventory for the entrenching tool and Thompson smg.

  2. Neil says:

    Thanks to Mark I got the notoriety every collector dreams about. Mark’s dedication to our hobby oiur passion gives us all the ability to customize and take it one step further. Thanks again Mark!

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