A Time of Innocence—A Time of Play
For many of us, growing up in 1960s, ’70s or ’80s America meant getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, eating sugary breakfast cereals, playing outdoors—all day!—without a care in the world, climbing trees and playing in tree-houses, reading comic books while fantasizing of becoming football stars and superheroes, and watching astronauts land on the moon while building models of our favorite airplanes, spaceships and monsters (remember all those cool Aurora kits?). It was a time when childhood was still filled with innocence. It was time when children still PLAYED. It was the perfect time in American history—for GIjOE!
It’s a GIjOE Christmas “MIRACLE!”
I can remember being just 6 years old and sitting at the dining table, painstakingly going through our family’s Sears and Montgomery Wards mail order catalogs, studying all the photos of the toys and trying desperately to figure out which ones I should ask Santa for that year. Oh yes, at 6, I firmly believed in Santa Claus, and I remember thinking how MAGICAL the whole Christmas experience was; I could write a list of toys I wanted and Mom would mail it off to Santa at the North Pole. Then somehow, on Christmas morning—there were presents left for us under the tree. Wow!
Remembering “First Moments” With GIjOE
With Christmas 2013 now less than a week away, we thought it would be enjoyable to take a look back at those magical, “first moments” with GIjOE. If you think about it, your earliest memories of GIjOE were probably when you first received him as a gift, typically on a birthday or Christmas morning from the past. As a result, most of these vintage Christmas photos also capture the child’s wonderment and excited first interactions with the toy, leading to what would become (for many of us) a life-long, and deeply personal connection—to GIjOE.
Bottom Line: We were thrilled with the response we received after calling for reader photo submissions, and were able to locate a few more on our own as well. Wherever possible, we’ve credited the photographer of each image, but if you see yourself in any of these old pictures, please write in to The Joe Report HERE with your memories or descriptions of your first “Christmas with GIjOE.” Thanks, and… Enjoy!
“It was the biggest package under the tree that year and the last to be opened. Fairly impressive, considering I have three older and one younger sibling. I remember ripping into it with great anticipation, then staring at the box art for the longest time. I was completely blown away. Everyone thought the ‘Official GIjOE Sea Sled’ the coolest toy ever. I wholeheartedly agree!” —Tim Weedn
“The Christmas I received my GIjOE Space Capsule, I remember being enthralled by how its canopy slid open, its intricately detailed instrument panel, the embossed GIjOE logo on its tip, etc. I must’ve played with that toy and my Sea Sled in the bathtub for hours and hours and HOURS, practicing splashdowns and rescues. What great memories!” —Mark Otnes
“In 1972 I was 6 years old and I got a GIjOE ATV (all terrain vehicle)! And what is that in my left hand? A sarcophagus? Yes, it’s the GIjOE sarcophagus! I know the picture says May 1973, but it took that long for my folks to get photos developed.” —Bob, aka “Retrohound”
“In 1974, I got a GIjOE, a couple GIjOE outfits, and the ‘Abominable Snowman’ set! That would be worth some money if I still had it in good condition. My Mom sold ALL my GIjOE stuff in a garage sale when I was out of town once. She bought into all that crap about guns and stuff not being good for kids and was always conflicted about letting me have anything ‘violent.’ Plus, I was about 13, and she figured I was too old for toys. The bummer is, she didn’t’ even give me the money!” —Bob, aka “Retrohound”