G.I. Joe Character is the Heroic Lead in Pixar’s New “Toy Story of Terror” Special on ABC-TV; Short-Sightedness by Hasbro Prevents Credit.

GIjOE fans will instantly recognize that Pixar's "Combat Carl" was patterned after a AA Classic Collection "blockhead" sculpt, with the simle addition of a Carl Weather's moustache. The vest appears to be a police-style vest with zipper, shotgun shells and 2 vintage style, silver grenades. (Photo: Pixar)

GIjOE fans will instantly recognize that Pixar’s “Combat Carl,” as depicted in the recently arired, 30-minute Halloween-season TV special, “Toy Story of Terror,” was clearly patterned after an AA Classic Collection GIjOE “blockhead” figure. Keen-eyed observers will also notice that GIjOE’s trademark facial scar has been omitted and that a Carl Weathers moustache has been added (see comparison photo of an actual GIjOE below). Carl’s vest appears to be a police-issued zip-up, complete with shotgun shell bandolier and 2 vintage WWII Army-style, silver “pineapple” grenades. HOOah! (Photo: Pixar)

A quick, 5-minute, kit-bashed, "Combat Carl" (minus the Carl Weather's moustache) reveals his origins were not too difficult to discern. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

A quick, 5-minute, kit-bashed, “Combat Carl” (minus the Carl Weathers moustache) reveals his origins were not too difficult for GIjOE fans to discern. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

The “Masters of Missed Opportunity” Strike Again

Imagine creating the world’s most popular toy; an iconic action-figure line enjoyed by millions of boys and girls around the world. Now imagine refusing to allow a major Hollywood film company the rights to use the name of your toy in a movie (thereby giving up millions of dollars worth of free advertising), SIMPLY because the storyline indicates that the toy will be blown up with a firecracker by one of the characters in the film.

Now—imagine, many years later, your toy is being portrayed as the heroic star of yet another top-notch Hollywood production. But because you STILL refuse to allow the filmmakers to use the toy’s name, you (still) get ZERO credit for having created it, and for its heroic portrayal in the new film. D’oh!

In this screenshot from the scene in Toy Story, Andy's evil neighbor, "Sid," prepares to blow up a 12-inch GIjOE with a firecracker. Because of Hasbro's objection and subsequent refusal to grant permission to use its GIjOE brand name, Pixar was forced to change the action-figure's name to "Combat Carl." One of the classic corporate blunders of all-time, Hasbro's decision would cost them untold amounts of free advertising.

In this screenshot from Toy Story, Andy’s evil neighbor, “Sid,” prepares to blow up a 12-inch GIjOE with a firecracker. Because of Hasbro’s objection and its subsequent refusal to grant permission to use the GIjOE brand name, Pixar was forced to rename the iconic action-figure “Combat Carl.” Hasbro’s decision would prove to be one of the classic corporate blunders of all-time, depriving the company of untold levels of free advertising.

What a HUGE missed opportunity! By now, your publicists, PR people, and advertising execs must all be pulling their hair out in frustration. Who are we talking about? Why, the “Masters of Missed Opportunity” themselves, of course—Hasbro. Would someone PLEASE stop the insanity?! The toy company’s board members must all be kicking each other’s backsides for what has to be one of the biggest “bonehead” corporate decisions of all time. How (and why) the suits at Hasbro repeatedly backhand such easy opportunities to promote GIjOE (and recruit a whole new generation of fans for their venerable toy brand) simply boggles the imagination.

In this screenshot, GIJOE, er...sorry..."Combat Carl" co-starred with the "Green Army Men" in a series of short Toy Story "bumpers," to be shown between TV programs.

In this screenshot, GIJOE, er…sorry…”Combat Carl” co-stars with Toy Story’s “Green Army Men” in a series of short “bumpers,” to be shown between TV programs.

“Combat Carl Never Gives Up.
Combat Carl FINDS a Way!”

In stark contrast to Hasbro’s lackadaisical handling of the GIjOE brand, Disney’s new “Toy Story of Terror” (TSOT), was a masterstroke of media manipulation and branding reinforcement. The latest in the beloved Toy Story canon, TSOT was a blissful return to American television of yore. For 30-minutes, fans could put their feet up, share the couch with loved ones of ALL ages, and enjoy a top-notch quality program—together—as a family.

The resulting “feel good” emotional impact of the show was immediate and powerful. No matter what your age, it made you want to get up, run out to a store, and BUY SOME TOYS! It’s a shame that most parents were probably hearing, “Mommy, can I get a Combat Carl?” instead of “Can I get a GIjOE?” If Hasbro isn’t careful, Disney’s “Combat Carl” brand could someday usurp Hasbro’s hard-won “GIjOE” brand awareness in the minds of many children.

In this screenshot from Toy Story of Terror, “Combat Carl” assumes command of the toys and helps lead them to safety. When “Little Carl” doubts they can do it, “Big Carl” reminds him to “Find a Way!”

Carl Weathers (shown above in "Predator"), provided both the physical inspiration and voice-talent for the latest incarnation of Pixar's "Combat Carl" action figure character. (Photo: 20th Century Fox)

Carl Weathers (shown above in “Predator”), provided both the physical inspiration and voice-talent for the latest incarnation of Pixar’s “Combat Carl” action figure character.
(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

Taking Charge and Getting it Done

If you haven’t seen Toy Story of Terror, all of the original film’s stars reprise their roles, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn and Joan Cusack. But this time around, the big news (for GIjOE and action-figure fans) is the addition of action-film superstar, Carl Weathers. You may remember Weathers as “Apollo Creed” from the Rocky film series, or as the treacherous CIA agent, “Dillon,” from the Schwarzenegger blockbuster, “Predator.” In Toy Story of Terror, Weathers absolutely steals the show by voicing the role of Combat Carl.

Yes, yes, we ALL know… Combat Carl is really a GIjOE. And as Joeheads remember (with a head-shake and an eye-roll), Pixar was originally going to call their Combat Carl character “GIjOE.” Can you imagine how great that would’ve been? It would’ve opened up a world of other opportunities for the filmmakers, such as the Mobile Support Vehicle, an ATV, etc. But sadly, Hasbro, in its short-sighted and limited wisdom, refused to grant Pixar permission. According to the official Pixar website:

In Pixar's Toy Story of Terror, the GIjOE-based character, "Combat Carl" was depicted in both scales. In this screenshot, the larger, 1:6 scale version, urges on his smaller buddy, reminding him that "Combat Carl Never Gives Up!"

In Pixar’s Toy Story of Terror, the GIjOE-based character, “Combat Carl” was depicted in both scales. In this screenshot, the larger, 1:6 scale version, urges on his smaller buddy, reminding him that “Combat Carl never gives up!”

“In the DVD commentary for Toy Story, John Lasseter mentions that he had actually wanted to use a G.I. Joe in the film, but Hasbro was upset that they were going to have Sid blow it up and wouldn’t let them use it.”

Bottom Line: It’s obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes that Combat Carl is GIjOE, 100%, through and through. From the tip of his Classic Collection “blockhead” noggin’, to the soles of his rubber boots, he represents a massive missed opportunity for infinite product and brand expansion. For Hasbro’s poor handling of GIjOE in this regard, we give them our lowest rating of ZERO diamonds. For Pixar’s handling of Combat Carl and the new Toy Story of Terror, we give them our highest, 5-diamond rating (♦♦♦♦♦). If you haven’t seen it, BUY IT when it becomes available. It’s worth every penny!

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9 thoughts on “G.I. Joe Character is the Heroic Lead in Pixar’s New “Toy Story of Terror” Special on ABC-TV; Short-Sightedness by Hasbro Prevents Credit.

  1. Joe Essid says:

    Typical Hasbro silliness. I did a couple of academic pieces about Linden Lab, makers of Second Life. Their corporate culture, like Hasbro’s, led to all sorts of failures for their product. It’s amazing how some companies shoot the goose that could lay their next golden egg…

  2. Tanker says:

    I wonder if Hasbro’s children blew things up after they were done playing with things. In all honesty the only thing I ever blew up were model cars and sometimes the odd airplane that fell off the shelf with no way to repair it. Hasbro needs to get their heads out of their asses and either continue with a 12″ line or sell the line to someone who will reboot the line and revive it. I would love to buy remakes of my favorite AT or military sets.

  3. GIJOEBILL says:

    It seems like they’re trying to save their brand “GIjOE” for something special down the road. Hello Hasbro….You’re running out of road!!! We are getting older. Are you going to just let the 12″ line die? Then what? The same for the 3 3/4″ line? Why so rigid? Trying to save your brand as if we where still 8-yrs old (okay, I may be mentally). You have iconic brands besides GIjOE, and seem okay with those being used!

    You screwed up with not having any control over your retail partners during the resurrection of GIjOE in the ’90s. You may have not have met your “profit expectations.” We get that. SO FIX IT!! With the technology that’s available, you could make retail GIjOE online and we would buy it.

    To just lie down and do nothing is shameful. Mr Hassenfeld and Stephen Hassenfeld would give you guys a swift kick in ass. Take control, Alan Hassenfeld!!! Dont let your legacy be “we tried…..sort of.” If your heart is not into it, find someone else!!

  4. Matthew Pak says:

    So…Hasbro is still getting paid for the licensing rights to Mr. Potato Head. I’m sure that someone in licensing HAD to get a script for approval, just to make sure that the brand is not damaged or defamed in any way, intentional or not. Someone reads the script and it has “Combat Carl” in 12 inch and 4 inch variations. Hello? Would I not jump up from my desk and go to management and say “We have an opportunity to exploit the G.I. Joe brand in this special. Can we make this happen?” The same thing would apply if the script had a generic “little pony” or a box of “bright lights” or an oven that was “easy to bake,” right? I’m afraid that Hasbro and opportunity are like high school sweethearts who keep missing their reunions.

  5. D7ana says:

    I could – just – understand Mattel getting upset that Barbie was blown up, but Hasbro being upset about G.I. Joe being blown up? Joe is a soldier; bad things like that happens to soldiers. Shrug. Pity that they didn’t jump on the opportunity. Maybe someone will point out to them that Mattel had initially refused to let Barbie be in Toy Story, but then they went for Barbie AND Ken in Toy Story. Maybe they need to know that.

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