Monthly Archives: February 2014

New “2-Minute Product Review” Video Provides a Hands-On, Closeup Examination of the Work of Filipino “Master of Metal,” Jonathan De Guzman

If you have a 1:6 scale cannabilistic serial killer you need to transport, what better way than with one of Jonathan's outstanding, all-metal human "dollies?" Don't forget the fava beans! (Photo: Jonathan De Guzman)

If you have a 1:6 scale cannibalistic serial killer you need to transport, what better way than with one of Jonathan’s outstanding, all-metal “Hand Trucks?” (Photo: Jonathan De Guzman)

At a time when Hasbro has decided to cease production of 1:6 scale GIjOEs, vehicles and related equipment, fans and collectors are increasingly turning to outside manufacturers, customizers, and other 1:6 scale-related businesses to satisfy their needs. At the top of anyone’s list of the “world’s greatest customizers” would have to be Jonathan De Guzman of the Philippines. De Guzman’s miniature metal works of art have quickly become the “gold-standard” against which all others are struggling to compare (see our in-depth profile on De Guzman HERE).

Remember, Jonathan’s work is 100% handmade, so his prices can seem high to a fandom used to the vacuum-formed plastic, mass-produced in China, economic scale of toy production. However, with less and less 1:6 scale product available, a growing number of collectors have shown they are willing to wait and save ($) for the undeniable honor of owning “a De Guzman Original.”

Bottom Line: The main problem for fans who are still “on the fence” about the cost, is that Jonathan doesn’t have a sophisticated website or catalog. Fortunately, a new “2-Minute Product Review” video recently produced by Patches of Pride provides collectors with a unique opportunity for a closeup “hands-on” look of one of De Guzman’s recent works, a 1:6 scale “Hand Truck.” After seeing the video, any concerns about the worth and quality of De Guzman’s custom creations are quickly laid to rest. Our rating of this product: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5 diamonds out of 5).

It’s a Day of “Super Stats” For The Joe Report!

Bob the statistician. (Photo: ravenwerks)

(Photo: ravenwerks)

A Note From the Editor:

There’s one guy on The Joe Report (TJR) staff that we rarely hear from unless something exciting has happened, and that’s “Bob,” our resident statistician. Typically buried beneath mounds of facts and figures, Bob came running down the hallway today from his tiny office (actually, it used to be a closet) waving a sheaf of papers over his head and yelling at the top of his lungs:

“Wait til you see this, Boss! It’s like the planets have aligned or something. These numbers…they’re…they’re… absolutely AMAZING!”

(Photo: webstaurant)

(Photo: webstaurant)

Startled by his outburst, we sat Bob down and urged him to catch his breath before continuing. I knew this was probably something really big, so, despite the time of day, I asked our new intern, “Tiffini,” to go to the bar in the conference room and bring back some whiskey. We gave Bob a quick shot of “Johnnie Walker Red” and he knocked it back gratefully, slamming the shot glass back down on my desk before proceeding to tell us about a highly intriguing series of statistics, or “numbers” as he liked to call them. What Bob revealed was definitely exciting. It sort of felt like that moment when you suddenly see your car’s odometer turning over from 99,999 to 100,000 miles—really cool! Bob was right. We HAD to share this news with our faithful readers. And HERRRRE it is:

(Graphic: Google Images)

(Graphic: activerain)

Happy 2nd Anniversary, TJR!

Today is our 2nd Anniversary as a blogazine on WordPress! Exactly two years ago TODAY, The Joe Report first debuted across the world’s news readers with a simple little story about 1:6 scale Riddell baseball batting helmets (see article HERE). It was a fun and popular little “find” to be sure. And with that, we were off and running. Happy Anniversary, TJR!

Over a Quarter of a MILLION Views!

Today, our “Viewership” also ticked over 250,000 (to 250,992 to be exact). For ANY website to receive over a quarter of a million visits in only 2 years means it’s an undeniable success. A great big “THANKS” to all of our readers who’ve helped make it all possible.

Thank you for your comments. Keep 'em coming! (Photo: atomicreach)

Thank you for all your comments. Keep ’em coming! (Photo: atomicreach)

1,000 Reader Comments!

Finally, we received our 1,000th reader-supplied comment today. Comments come in from “all corners of the globe” and are always insightful, humorous and informative. If you wonder who was “commenter #1000,” it was longtime TJR supporter, Kent Williams. And yes, Kent will receive a prize for his timely and informative commentary: a FREE (1:6 scale) “unofficial” GIjOE 50th Anniversary t-shirt from Patches of Pride. Congrats!

Bottom Line: Although our statistician Bob has zero tolerance for alcohol, and was pretty much lost to us for the rest of the day, his exciting revelations served to remind us of all the great contributions we’ve receive from our readers. We truly and sincerely appreciate everyone’s input, and are VERY grateful for your support and 1:6 scale intel. Keep it coming, fellow 1:6ers! —Mark Otnes, Editor

Disgruntled Collectors Airing Protests on Newly Created “50 Years of G.I. jOE” Facebook Group; As “Open Letters to Hasbro” Pour In!

Fans and collectors of 12-inch GIjOEs are beginning to publicly air their displeasure regarding Hasbro's disdainful treatment of an American toy icon on what SHOULD BE its wonderful 50th Anniversary. This group of Joes and their Barbie girlfriends gathered outside the house of collector Laura Ann Ostermeyer recently, waving placards and shouting slogans in hopes of getting Hasbro's attention and receiving the recognition they deserve. (Photo: Laura Ann Ostermeyer)

Fans and collectors of 12-inch GIjOEs are beginning to publicly air their displeasure regarding Hasbro’s disdainful treatment of an American toy icon on what SHOULD BE its wonderful 50th Anniversary. This group of Joes and their families gathered outside the home of collector Laura Ann Ostermeyer recently, waving placards and shouting various slogans in hopes of getting Hasbro’s attention and receiving the recognition they so clearly deserve. (Photo: Laura Ann Ostermeyer)

Unofficial GIjOE "Rabblerouser," Rick Pell, stands outside Hasbro's Worldwide Headquarters building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pell recently formed the "50 Years of GIjOE" fan group on Facebook as a way to help others "vent" their frustrations towards Hasbro's apparent indifference to 12-inch GIjOE collectors. (Photo: Rick Pell)

Unofficial GIjOE “rabble-rouser,” Rick Pell, stands outside Hasbro’s Worldwide Headquarters building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pell recently formed the “50 Years of GIjOE” fan group on Facebook as a way to help others vent their frustrations regarding Hasbro’s apparent indifference towards fans and collectors of 12-inch GIjOEs. (Photo: Rick Pell)

Frustrated Fans Finding Ways to “Vent”

Whether they’re young or old, men, women or children, the authors of the various comments and “open letters to Hasbro” currently pouring into the newly created 50 Years of GIjOE (50YOG) page on Facebook, reflect a widely diverse group of collectors with one unifying purpose—a desire to show respect and reverence for the original 12-inch version of GIjOE. Much like the signers of the Declaration of Independence, each of the so-called “50-yoggers” is fearlessly contributing his or her own uniquely written testimony to the group’s growing “permanent record,” which is targeted directly at the executives and other “suits” currently controlling Hasbro. Many of the new group’s members openly confess they are confused, even dumbstruck, by the toy company’s recent (in)actions concerning GIjOE. Others prefer to wax nostalgic, throwing yet another emotional plea onto an already growing “pyre of persuasion.” And the rest? Well, they’re just plain annoyed—and angry!

And who can blame them? For over a half a century, profits from the sales of GIjOE have been filling the coffers of Hasbro’s ever-burgeoning bank accounts. For ANY product, that reflects a great deal of hard-won customer loyalty and valuable “brand equity,” built up over a very long time (50 years!). But to the “shock and awe” of millions of dedicated and devoted GIjOE fans, the very same ones who grew up with and (still) fervently LOVE the original 12-inch version, 2014 is turning out to be the year that Hasbro decided to bluntly, almost cavalierly—cast them aside.

What would the original "Hasbro Boy" think of the company's 2014 decision to turn its back on the iconic 12-inch action figure that made the company such a great success? We doubt he would be pleased!

What would the original “Hasbro Boy” think of the company’s 2014 decision to turn its back on the iconic 12-inch action figure that made the company such a huge success? (We doubt he would be pleased!)

A Major Corporate Blunder? Definitely.

To squander such high levels of brand loyalty (and equity) by telling your past customers to essentially “take a hike,” is almost unthinkable to other, less fortunate companies. And yet, that appears to be exactly what Hasbro is doing. Instead of producing something resembling ANYTHING to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “America’s Movable Fighting Man,” short-sighted, penny-pinching executives at Hasbro appear content to simply skip right over the occasion, hoping that no one (of importance) will notice. In fact, during last week’s “new product announcements” made during New York’s industry-wide Toy Fair, eager fans of Hasbro’s 12-inch GIjOE were met only with stony silence and corporate indifference. Fans of the “little Joes” are (for now) still “safe,” but if you weren’t interested in Transformers, Star Wars, Legos or the diminutive 3.75″ Joes, you were out of luck.

Possible Protest Petition Planned?

As was so clearly demonstrated by fellow fan, Tearle Ashby (see previous article HERE), it only takes ONE dedicated Joehead to stand up and make a difference. It’s easy enough for fans to sit on the sidelines and grumble, but nothing ever happens or changes unless and until someone stands up and says, “Enough is ENOUGH!” In this case, that “one” may be longtime GIjOE fan and collector, Rick Pell. Having received no apologies or words of encouragement from Hasbro, a clearly disappointed Pell decided to create the all-new 50YOG Facebook group so that other frustrated fans would have a place to share (or vent) their stories of frustration. According to Rick:

50YOG Facebook group organizer, Rick Pell. (Photo: Rick Pell)

50YOG Facebook group organizer, Rick Pell. (Photo: Rick Pell)

“I’m a GIjOE collector and I’m trying to get Hasbro’s attention to show that there are MANY collectors out there who are really dedicated—and disappointed—that Hasbro hasn’t done anything for the 50th Anniversary of GIjOE. To this end, I’ve started a new Facebook group (see HERE) that I invite all of you to join if you want to approach Hasbro and see if they will celebrate the 50th birthday of the 12-inch GIjOE we all grew up with. We are serious about GIjOE, and his 50th Anniversary will be remembered with or without their support. I live 2 miles from Hasbro’s corporate offices, so if we get enough members and feedback, I will personally go to Hasbro with our requests!” —Rick Pell
Reactions to Pell’s urgings have ranged from polite requests, to calls for petitions and outright protests against Hasbro. Here are a few of the comments and “open letters” he’s received so far:

“I say we go out in front of Hasbro’s HQ and hold up 12 inch boxes like picket signs and scream at them until they make 12 inch figures.” —Jared Fabie

GIjOE fan and collector, Carin Reddig. (Photo: Carin Reddig)

GIjOE fan and collector, Carin Reddig. (Photo: Carin Reddig)

“Dear Hasbro – I grew up in the 1970s and even though I was a Barbie-loving girl, I was equally as crazy about GIjOE. Many happy memories playing ‘war’ with both painted-heads (hand me downs and yard sale finds) and fuzzheads. I thought the Sea Wolf was just about the coolest toy ever made! I have supported every Joe line ever made; Super Joe, RAH, Sigma 6, you name it. But NOTHING replaces the original 12-inch Joes and nothing ever will. You can’t throw a Mike Power figure into the KREO line and think that is a fitting tribute to Joe’s 50th. He deserves MUCH better—and so do I!” —Carin Reddig
GIjOE fan and collector, Joe Martin. (Photo: Joe Martin)

GIjOE fan and collector, Joe Martin. (Photo: JM)

“Hasbro, your lack of ANYTHING to celebrate GIjOE’s milestone anniversary is pathetic and an insult to every kid who ever owned the world’s first action figure. It’s also a slap in the face to all of your former employees who helped create and nurture the line throughout its various incarnations. Shame on you!” —Joe Martin
GIjOE fan and "playscaler," Laura Ann Ostermeyer. (Photo: Laura Ann Ostermeyer)

GIjOE fan and “playscaler,” Laura Ann Ostermeyer. (Photo: Laura Ann Ostermeyer)

“Dear Hasbro, I am 45 years old and can honestly say that 1:6 scale playscale is a hobby that is growing in leaps and bounds in popularity among all ethnicities and economic backgrounds, all over the world. Many fans are sharing this hobby with their children and grandchildren who will in turn, share it with THEIR kids. I feel like so many times, America, ignores its history. I know ‘play’ has changed so much from when I was born in 1968, but there are certain traditions that can still exist—if we believe and let them. For you to ignore GIjOE—especially its original 12″ incarnation—is a travesty. There are multitudes of us who would still buy him. Please think again before totally ignoring his 50th Anniversary. Thank you!” Laura Ann Ostermeyer
“I just don’t get it. What are you thinking Hasbro? Your company was built on GIjOE, and by that I mean the ORIGINAL, 12-inch military-themed, booger-pickin handed action figure. Along comes Joe’s 50th Anniversary and what do you do? Release some 3.75-inch Joes. Huh? What’s up with that?” —Keith Mayo
GIjOE fan and collector, Joe Uffner. (Photo: Joe Uffner)

GIjOE fan and collector, Joe Uffner. (Photo: JU)

“Dear Hasbro, you really should honor the toy that made you the company you are today. Bring back the 12-inch Joes and equipment sets to go with them. It worked back then and I’m sure it would work now. There are PLENTY of those folks around, plus collectors and kids, who would still eat that stuff up.” —Joe Uffner

Jim Haupt’s poignant photo comic perfectly captures the hurt feelings of fans and collectors of 12-inch GIjOEs in 2014. How sad! (Photo: Jim Haupt) Click to enlarge.

“GIjOE was a favorite action figure for me as a child, and I’m STILL collecting vintage 1960’s-1970’s Joes. This is its 50th anniversary, so I would like to see Hasbro make a 12-inch GIjOE to help mark this important milestone. I hope you have plans to include 12-inch GIjOEs in some sort of 50th celebration, Hasbro. If not, then SHAME on you!” —Jim Haupt
GIjOE fan and master chef, W. Michael Morgan, works intently on a culinary creation at his restaurant "around the corner" from Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, RI. Unfortunately, his recent conversation with a highly-placed Hasbro rep didn't produce nearly as nice a result as his superb cooking. (Photo: Phillip McKendall)

GIjOE fan and master chef, W. Michael Morgan, works intently on a culinary creation at his restaurant “around the corner” from Hasbro headquarters in Providence, RI. Unfortunately, his recent conversation with a highly placed Hasbro rep didn’t produce nearly as nice a result as his superb cooking. (Photo: Phillip McKendall)

Bottom Line: Hasbro’s unfortunate actions are undeniably short-sighted and ultimately—bad for business. To turn away vast numbers of adult customers, armed with deep pockets and readily available credit cards, for yet another “reimagining” of GIjOE as some sort of “virtual warrior” in 3D video games (or whatever) will end up costing the company untold future profits and lost goodwill. Instead of strengthening GIjOE’s brand equity, it seems likely to weaken it instead. Hasbro is saying “good-bye” to more than just a lot of money. Sadly, the most revealing quote of all came from one dejected 50-yogger Joe fan who happens to work very close to “the front lines.” We leave you with his not-too-rosy description of a recent personal encounter:

“I had a very special customer this afternoon at the restaurant. I work in downtown Providence, RI, around the corner from Hasbro HQ. Let’s just say his last name began with an H and ended in ‘feld.’ Questions about the anniversary of our favorite action figure were met with hostility and grumbles. I guess whatever we get from the national club will be all we’ll be seeing.” —W. Michael Morgan

Official Hasbro Commemoration of G.I. Joe’s 50th Anniversary Appears Unlikely; Company Inaction Creating Alternative Fan-Celebrations

Speak out! Determined to "spread the good word" about GIjOE on its 50th Anniversary, faithful fans such as Tearle Ashby are taking advantage of opportunities to discuss, display, and demonstrate the original and BEST version of "America's Movable Fighting Man" to audiences at libraries, schools, and even museums, such as Tearle's recent appearance at the in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Richard Goldenberg)

Speak out! Determined to “spread the good word” about GIjOE on its 50th Anniversary, faithful fans such as Tearle Ashby (above) are taking advantage of opportunities to  display, demonstrate, and discuss the original and BEST version of “America’s Movable Fighting Man” to groups at libraries, schools, and even museums. Here, Tearle recounts the history of GIjOE at a recent appearance at the New York State Military Museum in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg, Joint Force Headquarters)

Clearly, GIjOE still has plenty of fans at "Boy's Life" magazine! This page is just part of some great coverage he recently received in the February 2014 issue. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Carin Reddig)

Clearly, GIjOE still has plenty of fans at Boy’s Life magazine. This page is just part of the great coverage he recently received in the February 2014 issue. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Carin Reddig)

Disgruntled GIjOE Fans “Refuse to Forget”

Riddle Me This, Batman: What are collectors of 1:6 scale GIjOEs to do—in 2014? With few new 12-inch releases planned, even the simple act of going out to a toy store to pick up a “50th Anniversary Commemorative GIjOE” has been taken away from them. What are fans to do when Hasbro—GIjOE’s own creator(!)—barely acknowledges the iconic 12-inch line’s existence anymore, much less celebrates (in any appreciable way) its half-century of sales and enduring popularity?

Fortunately, despite Hasbro’s laissez-faire attitude towards its former flagship brand (many would argue that Lego has now assumed that mantle), “Joeheads” around the world have begun demonstrating that they are not yet ready to lay down and surrender. In fact, many are viewing 2014 not as the END of the epic GIjOE saga, but as the end of its beginning; preferring to look forward instead—to the NEXT 50 years of collecting!

GIjOE collector and "advocate," Tearle Ashby, poses proudly with members of his superb 1970s Adventure Team at a special "50th Anniversay" exhibit held in the museum in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg, Joint Forces Headquarters)

GIjOE collector and advocate, Tearle Ashby, poses proudly with members of his superb 1970s Adventure Team at a special “50th Anniversary” exhibit held this month in the New York State Military Museum in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg, Joint Force Headquarters)

No room for Joe? While we're being somewhat melodramatic, there's no denying that toy store shelves will feel barren and dull without 12-inch GIjOEs in 2014. (Photo: Ross Franklin)

No room for Joe? While it may seem a bit melodramatic, there’s no denying that toy store shelves will seem barren and dull without 12-inch GIjOEs in 2014. (Photo: Ross Franklin)

The “Bare-Shelved Realities” of 2014

As with the first so-called “end of GIjOE” in 1978, the current disappearance of 12-inch product from store shelves and its subsequent evaporation from Hasbro’s line-up en toto, leaves little doubt that “America’s Movable Fighting Man” is (once again) entering a period of corporately-forced “product retirement.” Anxious fans and collectors are already wondering, how long will Joe be away this time? Of course, no one outside of Hasbro’s boardrooms can answer that for sure, but it probably will be quite a while before we see 12-inch GIjOEs on store shelves again.

Nevertheless, a handful of resolute Joeheads have begun showing that they simply “refuse to forget” GIjOE, especially during its all-important 50th anniversary. In fact, in ever-increasing numbers, die-hard fans have begun creating their own unique ways and means of celebration, pushing past the apathetic executives of “the big H” to post their ideas on public forums such as Facebook, The Trenches, and The Sandbox. Supporting businesses too, have begun to chip in their own celebratory products and ideas. For example…

Opinions about the club's JoeCon 2104 exclusive have been strong, running against box's lack of an illustration, preferably from renowned Joe artist, Larry Selman, to its blatant use of the "Codename" tag made famous by Joe's competitor, Captain Action.

Opinions about the GIjOE club’s box design for its 2014 12-inch exclusive range from disappointed to mixed. Probably for budgetary reasons, the club chose to go with an all-black box with red logo, completely devoid of any supporting photos or illustration. As the theme is supposed to be based on a Green Beret figure, it’s a shame they didn’t commission a special 50th Anniversary painting from renowned Classic Collection artist, Larry Selman. In addition, the use of “Codename” surprises many, as it was most recently made famous by Joe’s 12-inch competitor, Captain Action. Stranger and stranger! (Photo: CIGCC)

The GIjOE club's "official" 50th Anniversary t-shirt looks fine, but the logo chosen is from the 1980s-'90s. A minor point? Or a major mistake? The answer depends on your scale allegiance and/or preference for accuracy. (Photo: GIJCC)

Every 50th anniversary deserves a t-shirt, and this is what the club came up with. We suppose it’s okay, but the logo depicted is from the 1980s. Is that a minor point or a major mistake? The answer likely depends on your scale preference and/or penchant for accuracy. To be honest, we’re not too thrilled. (Photo: GIJCC)

The GIJCC Has Become “The Tip of the Spear”

In the absence of any official leadership from Hasbro, “spearheading” GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary during 2014 has fallen to the independently-run GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC). Their upcoming JoeCon 2014 in Dallas,TX, with its 12-inch “Codename: GIjOE” exclusive 2-figure set (see HERE) is the closest thing fans will see resembling anything “official” being produced for Joe’s 50th Anniversary.

Depending on your perspective, this “passing of the torch” to the club can seem like a good thing or a bad thing. They (the club) have made no bones about their desire to merge the worlds of RAH and Cobra with that of the Vintage and Adventure Team fans, skewing conventions more and more towards collectors of “the little Joes” over the years. Indeed, with each passing JoeCon, collectors of 12-inch figures have felt more and more sidelined. At last year’s event in Indianapolis (see complete review HERE), it was almost embarrassingly one-sided.

The GIjOE Collector's Club is the only known businesses creating and selling officially licensed "50th" merchandise such as tees and caps. Attendees of this year's JoeCon can get them at the convention, and leftover copies are typically sold from the club's website. (Photo: GIJCC)

The GIjOE Collector’s Club is the only known businesses creating and selling officially licensed “50th” merchandise such as tees and caps. Attendees of this year’s JoeCon can get them at the convention, and leftover copies are typically sold from the club’s website. (Photo: GIJCC)

Remember toothat the club’s convention figures are NOT created by Hasbro. They are completely designed and created by the club (under license from Hasbro) and always in VERY limited quantities. Bearing all this in mind, as the Codename: GIjOE 12-inch sets are the only “official” figures being produced for Joe’s 50th, they’re bound to sell out quickly. If you can afford to pick one up, we recommend that you (and Mr. Mastercard) act sooner, rather than later.

In lieu of Hasbro’s lack of 50th products and obvious corporate indifference, numerous “unofficial” items have begun to circulate among fans in celebration GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. For example, copies of this superbly made commemorative t-shirt are currently being given away for FREE to the lucky winners of Patches of Pride’s “Operation: Joe Karma 2014″ prize giveaway. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

In lieu of Hasbro’s lack of 50th products and obvious corporate indifference, numerous “unofficial” items have begun to circulate among fans in celebration of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. For example, copies of this superbly made commemorative t-shirt are currently being given away FREE to lucky winners of Patches of Pride’s “Operation: Joe Karma 2014″ prize giveaway. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“Unofficial” Celebrations Led by Fans Hoping to “Spread Joe Karma”

Independent 1:6 scale-related businesses and GIjOE fans are, of course, free to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary in any way that they choose, as long as they do it in ways that don’t enable them to profit from the sale of items that may infringe upon the intellectual property or trademarks of Hasbro. One such “unofficial” effort comes to us from Patches of Pride owner, Mark Otnes, who has created nifty little “unofficial” 50th t-shirts and is giving them away as part of a unique promotion dubbed, “Operation: Joe Karma 2014.” When pressed for details, Otnes replied:

“GIjOE has given so many people so much pleasure for so long, that we were as shocked as anyone when Hasbro decided to let its 50th anniversary pass by practically unnoticed. So we thought giving away ‘freebies’ every day during 2014 could be the start of some sort of an ‘unofficial’ celebration. We hope fans enjoy the gifts and will spread their own ‘Joe Karma’ around as a result.”

Volunteering Your Time—For GIjOE!

It’s always a good idea to help spread some “Joe Karma” around, any way that you can. And one of the best ways fans are helping to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary is by sharing their collection and passion for the hobby with others; hauling the best of their collections out to libraries, VFW halls and even museums; speaking about Joe collecting, and giving of their TIME—for Joe.

One example that stands out so far this year, occurred February 8th at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY. According to the official press release we received from Colonel Richard Goldenberg of the NY Army National Guard:

“…to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of GIjOE, Tearle Ashby, who provided the figures for our ‘Toys and Tanks’ display, including vintage GIjOE, reproduction figures from the Timeless and Classic collections, 21st Century Toys, BBi, Dragon and others, will speak about GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary in a program at the museum on Saturday, Feb. 8th. Here’s another open invitation for GIjOE collectors in the Northeast to make the trip to Saratoga Springs, view the exhibit and maybe look up Tearle and give him incentive to start a Capital Region GIjOE collector’s group!”

Sure, WE know how cool GIjOEs and other 1:6 action figures are. But what about all those poor souls who don't know anything about our amazing hobby? Imagine the THRILL and surprise unsuspecting passersby must feel seeing displays such as this for the first time. Volunteer to show YOUR collection at a library, school, or museum near you TODAY! (Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

Educational, exciting and eye-popping! Imagine the THRILL of seeing displays such as this one for the first time. In honor of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary, why not volunteer to show off YOUR collection at a nearby library, school, or museum? (Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

Depending on the facilities, sharing your collection can be as "low tech" as bringing a few figures to your child's classroom, or "top-level" as this museum display featuring dust-proof plexi display cases, poster-sized blow-ups of vintage catalogs, and television displays running DVDs of original commercials or GIjOE documentaries. Fantastic! (Photo: Lori Van Buren / )

Depending on the facilities, sharing your collection can be as “low tech” as bringing a few figures to your child’s classroom, or as “top-level” as this museum display featuring dust-proof plexi display cases, poster-sized blow-ups of vintage catalogs, and television displays running DVDs of original commercials or GIjOE documentaries. You’re only limited by your imagination! (Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

The sincerity and detmination "not to forget" GIjOE's 50th Anniversary is written all over Tearle Ashby's face, as he speaks at a recent gathering in New York to discuss the impact GIjOE has had on his life, and that of millions of other fans around the world. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg / Joint H)

The sincerity and determination “not to forget” GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary is written all over Tearle Ashby’s face. What an inspiring fan! (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg / Joint Force Headquarters)

Bottom Line: Hasbro and the GIjOE Collector’s Club are both businesses first and foremost, each making their respective decisions based upon what they believe will generate the most profit revenue. Fans may be disappointed by some of their decisions, but business—is business. The passions and emotions of devoted fans cannot move mountains, nor can they alter these immutable facts. BUT…there are many things you CAN do in 2014 to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. For example…

Create a custom figure of a relative or famous military hero. Customize a vehicle or build a diorama. Take photographs of your efforts and share them with your family, friends and fellow fans. Display your collection at libraries, toy shows, schools and museums. Act as a local “advocate for GIjOE” like super-fan, Tearle Ashby (shown at right) and give a talk about the 1:6 scale hobby. Hand out any “extras” (gear, figures, etc.) that you may have as free gifts to others in a generous show of “Joe Karma.”

Whatever you choose to do, if you’re waiting for Hasbro to hold your hand in 2014, you can stop waiting. According to all trusted and currently available sources, other than the activities being planned for this year’s JoeCon 2014, nothing further of an “official” nature is being prepared to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th. For simple business reasons, the “Big H” has decided to take a very laid back attitude toward GIjOE’s anniversary, and that’s just a fact fans will have to live with. But we can still REFUSE—to forget. Go, JOE!

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SHOCKER! Never-Before-Seen 1964-65 G.I. Joe TV Commercials Discovered; Will Be Shown to Public For the First Time EVER Exclusively on Vintage3DJoes Site; Original Child Actor ID’d

In the first of 3 newly discovered vintage GIjOE commercials from 1964, child actor Paul O'Keefe reacts as "Dad" shows him a new GIjOE equipment set. The first of the three 1-minute commercials was recently premiered for the first time EVER (since it was last seen 50 years ago) on Matt McKeeby's "Vintage3djoes.com" website. (Screenshot: Matt McKeeby)

In the first of 3 newly discovered vintage GIjOE commercials from 1964, child actor Paul O’Keefe reacts as his “Dad” shows him a new GIjOE equipment set. This scene is from the first of 3 vintage (1-minute, b&w) commercials recently premiered for the first time EVER (since it was last seen over 50 years ago) on Matt McKeeby’s “Vintage3djoes.com” website. Absolutely AMAZING! (Screenshot: Matt McKeeby)

GIjOE fan, collector and Vintage3djoes.com "curator," Matt McKeeby. (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

GIjOE fan, collector and Vintage3djoes.com “curator,” Matt McKeeby. (Photo: MM)

Earliest Known GIjOE Footage Made For TV

Like a modern-day “Indiana Jones,” renowned GIjOE collector and curator of the famous Vintage3djoes website, Matt McKeeby continues to discover, restore and ultimately SHARE some of the earliest known examples of vintage GIjOE history with eager and insatiable fans. First it was the vintage figures themselves, displayed and photographed in full, glorious 360-degree “rotating” color photographs (see article HERE). Now McKeeby has announced the discovery of three “lost” GIjOE television commercials, which are quite likely the earliest ones to ever have been broadcast over the airwaves to the public. Of course, the last time anyone saw these commercials was over 50 years ago. Since that time, they’ve been hidden away by an unknown individual who now wishes to remain merely an “anonymous donor” to McKeeby’s unique online museum. According to Matt, the discovery of the three film reels proved to be quite fortuitous:
“These rare black-n-white commercials were very generously given to the Vintage3djoes website by an anonymous donor, who has earned the gratitude of Joe fans everywhere. When he was a teen in the 1970s, he found them (along with others, now in a private collection) as a salvage company demolished a building that had housed an advertising agency in Ohio.”
The first commercial opens with a wide shot of O'Keefe walking by a toy store window filled with racks of GIjOEs, equipment cards, and window-boxed uniform sets. As he walks, he sings "GIjOE, GIjOE, Fighting man from head to toe..." (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

The first commercial opens with a wide shot of O’Keefe walking by a toy store window filled with racks of GIjOEs, equipment cards, and window-boxed uniform sets. As he walks, he sings “GIjOE, GIjOE, Fighting man from head to toe. On the land, on the sea, in the air!” (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

An enthusiastic O'Keefe even pumps his fist while singing the famous GIjOE jingle, as the camera moves to a closeup revealing prototype packaging and early advertising graphics. (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

An enthusiastic O’Keefe pumps his fist while singing the famous GIjOE jingle, and this closeup reveals early GIjOE point-of-purchase advertising. (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

Can you imagine? If McKeeby’s mysterious “donor” teenager had not been on the ball, and if that wrecking ball had brought down that building in Ohio any faster, all of this important GIjOE advertising history would have been lost to the world—forever! Thankfully, the three B&W 16mm film reels are now in safe and secure hands. What do Joe fans have to look forward to? According to McKeeby:

“They are 1-minute spots produced by Hasbro’s advertising agency very early in the run. Careful viewers will be able to spot some great early issue and prototype items, along with a prototype footlocker which leads me to date these between mid 1964 and early 1965. These commercials have not been readily available to fans for nearly 50 years, and are shared exclusively on Vintage3DJoes.com!”
This superb screenshot from the first commercial shows an early prototype soldier with slightly different hand sculpts. Maybe we should call those "grenade-throwing" hands? (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

This superb screenshot from the first commercial shows an early prototype soldier with slightly different hand sculpts. Maybe we should call those “grenade-throwing” hands? (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

Keen-eyed Joeheads will be able to spot all the handmade prototype equipment in various shots of spot #1, including this Marine and his unique ammo-belt. OOHrah! (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

Keen-eyed Joeheads will be able to spot all the handmade prototype equipment in various shots from spot #1, including this Marine and his unique ammo-belt. OOHrah!
(Photo: Matt McKeeby)

The famous “1964 Toy Fair” sales film (HERE), of which we are all very familiar and which was produced for the eyes of major department and toy store buyers only, most certainly predates these three reels, but it was never actually shown on television. By contrast, Matt’s three films are all bona-fide commercials, created and intended to be seen by the vast, American viewing public. And at the time, 1-minute television spots were not uncommon. They allowed viewers to get better, longer looks at brand-new products.
Paul O'Keefe (left) appeared as Patty's "annoying brother Ross" in the Patty Duke Show. This promotional still from the show is dated 1963, which seems correct. When he appeared in the GIjOE commercial, Ross appears to be 1 or 2 years older. (Photo: ABC Television)

’60s child actor, Paul O’Keefe (left), appeared as Patty’s “annoying brother Ross Lane” on The Patty Duke Show. This promotional still taken from the show is dated 1963, which would be correct. When he appeared in the GIjOE commercial, Ross was about 2 years older. (Photo: ABC Television)

TV’s First “GIjOE Kid?”

The young actors seen in vintage 1960s-’70s GIjOE sales films and commercials were all largely “unknowns.” Originally hired by advertising agencies more as “child models” than for their acting ability, the names and identities of most are now lost to eternity. However, “the kid” who was to be cast in this first GIjOE TV spot would be required to sing the GIjOE jingle, clearly narrate the various scenes, and act convincingly alongside an onscreen “father.” That upped the ante quite a bit and required the skills of a real child ACTOR. But who?

Fortunately, an eagle-eyed fan over on the Trenches forum known as “toyfan” was able to identify the child actor featured in Matt’s first commercial, revealing:

“That kid is the actor that played the little brother ‘Ross’ on The Patty Duke Show. That is an awesome commercial, Matt. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to see the others.”

TV's first "GIjOE Kid," actor Paul O'Keefe, as he appears today at age 62. (Photo: IMDb)

TV’s first “GIjOE Kid,” actor Paul O’Keefe, as he appears today at age 62. (Photo: IMDb)

“Ross,” as it turns out, was actor Paul O’Keefe, who at the time, was 12 years old and playing the character “Ross Lane” opposite Patty Duke on ABC’s The Patty Duke Show. O’Keefe is now 62, and as far as we could determine, he is still acting. However, despite our best efforts, we could not reach him for comment (yet).

Bottom Line: What a wonderful gift to present and share with the GIjOE collecting community on our hero’s 50th Anniversary! We owe a great debt of gratitude to Matt’s unknown benefactor for preserving these film reels all these years, as well as Matthew McKeeby for assuming their current ownership and stewardship. For more information on this astonishing discovery, we highly recommend you visit Matt’s Vintage3djoes website. You can also view this first GIjOE TV commercial on Matt’s  Vintage3djoes Video Channel on YouTube.
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“G.I. Joe Coffee Company” Attempts Fundraiser on Indiegogo; Badly Mishandled Effort Fails

Talk about "mixed messages;" for some reason, the GIjOE Coffee Company felt "autographed photos" of unknown models in sexy costumes was an appropriate inducement for a recent fundraising effort. For a business that is purported to exist to help disabled veterans, the offers of clothing, sexy posters, and vacations surely confuses many. (Photo: GIjOE Coffee Company)

Sure, they’re pretty, but talk about sending “mixed messages” to your target market. WOW. For some reason, the GIjOE Coffee Company believed photographs, autographed by three unknown models (dressed in sexy, military-esque costumes) would be an effective and appropriate inducement for their recent fundraiser on the Indiegogo website. What the…? For a business that is purported to exist to help disabled veterans, incentive offers of clothing, posters, and even 4-day vacations to Costa Rica surely must’ve confused—and even deterred— many potential backers. (Photo: GIjOE Coffee Company)

This screenshot of GIjOE Coffee's fundraising "progress bar" reveals how far (sadly) the company fell short of its goal on the indiegogo website.

This screenshot of the GIjOE Coffee Company’s fundraising “progress bar” reveals it received pledges for only $610 of its $100,000 goal. OUCH! (Graphic: Indiegogo)

For Unknown Reasons, Company Still Failing to Reach Out to GIjOE Fans and Collectors An online fundraising effort conducted by the GIjOE Coffee Company (GCC) fell predominantly onto deaf ears recently, largely due to the fact that the fledgling business completely misjudged its target market and demonstrated a stunning lack of common-sense during the campaign’s execution. In fact, the campaign was so poorly handled (see HERE) that the company’s goal of $100,000 fell embarrassingly short—with only $610 pledged!

One of the more appropriate message graphics utilized during GCC's recent fundraiser on Indiegogo. (Photo: The GIjOE Coffee Company)

One of the more appropriate message graphics utilized during GCC’s recent fundraiser on Indiegogo. (Photo: The GIjOE Coffee Company)

We’re not sure who advised the GCC on this particular promotion/fundraising boondoggle, but we do think they should seek out more experienced PR counsel before attempting such an event again. The negative publicity and potential public backlash created from such mishandled promotions is too great to risk happening again. Let’s examine specifically what went wrong, beginning with… Ignoring Built-In Supporters Makes No “Cents” For reasons known only to the GCC, the company continues to fail to reach out to the vast, worldwide fan-base and community of GIjOE, Action Man, and Geyperman collectors. Hello? We’re right HERE! And there are literally thousands of GIjOE-related websites, fan forums and blogs that the GCC should be communicating with on a daily basis, leaving posts, placing ads, etc.

This unique 180-degree "panorama" image of the dealer showroom of JoeCon 2013, shows the convention at its peak attendance. However, the picture does not clearly show how few dealers there were. While quality of goods was high, quantity was LOW. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

This unique 180-degree “panorama” image of the dealer showroom of JoeCon 2013, shows the convention at its peak attendance. Obviously, a business called “The GIjOE Coffee Company” should have a booth that is FRONT and CENTER during such an event! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Question: Can anyone explain why a company with “GIjOE” in its name would ignore such an obvious and automatic base of supporters? Any marketing or public-relations person worth his or her salt should be advising the GCC to “zero-in” on GIjOE fans and collectors. Company reps should be attending ALL of the GIjOE shows, giving out free samples, and raising awareness of their products and charitable goals. Why the GCC continues to ignore “Joeheads” remains (for them) a nonsensical and unprofitable mystery. Someone stop the Madness!

As this screenshot shows, some of the pricier incentives were downright weird. Anyone with any knowledge of the high cost of travel for a "4-night stay at a luxury resort" can compute that once this trip is fully paid for, there would be little left of the original contribution to apply toward's the company. Whatever the numerical realities, it's obvious why backers were hesitant to contribute. But oh, look at that..."Shipping is FREE!" (Huh?) (Graphic: GCC)

As this screenshot reveals, some of the pricier incentives seemed completely over the top. Anyone with a basic working knowledge of the high cost of travel for a “4-night stay at a luxury resort” can compute that once this trip has been paid for, there would be little left of the original contribution to apply towards much else. But whatever the financial realities may be, it’s obvious why the public became reluctant to contribute. (Graphic: GCC)

Straying From Your “Core Message” Is Risky This is all very basic, “Public Relations 101” sort of stuff, but we’ll quickly recap it for those of you who are outside of the field. It’s very simple. Stay focused on achieving your stated goals and objectives. Target your market carefully. Switching marketing strategies in mid-stream serves only to muddle a company’s message and confuse its customers. The GIjOE Coffee Company made exactly those mistakes and blurred their message from one of compassion and support for disabled veterans, to promises of sexy girly posters and 4-day vacations. Such prurient tactics may work when trying to get 18-24 year-old males to buy a new brand of beer or an “irresistible” body spray, but a business hoping to support disabled veterans requires a more tactful approach; one that demonstrates a genuine desire to “give something back” out of respect and gratitude.

Offers of merchandise and vacations in exchange for financial contributions sent conflicting signals to potential buyers and supporters of GIjOE Coffee, resulting in confusion, hesitation, and low response. (Photo: GIjOE Coffee Company)

Offers of merchandise and vacations in exchange for financial contributions sent conflicting signals to potential buyers and supporters of GIjOE Coffee, resulting in very low response. (Photo: GCC)

Bottom Line: We love vacations and pretty girls as much as anyone (maybe more so!), but hopefully, the GIjOE Coffee Company has learned some important lessons from their recent fundraising flop. In our opinion, the best way to gain customers, supporters and contributors for their new coffee business, is not by targeting the libidos of young men, but by appealing to the hearts and minds of GIjOE fans, military families, and American citizens everywhere. Go, GCC!

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G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Announces “50-Day Sale”

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My, how time flies, and prices fall. The "Terror on the Sea Floor" convention set from 2007 originally rang up at a whopping $250. Durring the GIjCC's "50-Day Sale," you can snag this extraordinary set for just $100. Great gobbling Sea Clams...What a value! (Photo: GIJCC)

My, how time flies, and how prices fall. The “Terror on the Sea Floor” convention set from 2007 originally rang up at a whopping $250. But now, during the GIjCC’s “50-Day Sale,” you can snag this extraordinary collectible for just $100. Great gobbling Sea Clams…that’s a heck of a deal! (Photo: GIJCC)

FLASH! This Sale News Just In…

The Dallas, TX-based GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) has just announced that it is commencing with a so-called “50-Day Sale” in honor of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. This sort of sale (conducted on the club’s website HERE) provides great opportunities for fans to pick up past convention exclusives, reproduction vintage figures, assorted uniform sets and related 1:6 scale accessories. According to the GIJCC’s official press release:

“We have started the huge sale we have been promising! In honor of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary, we are having a sale that will last 50 days. Twice a week we will add approximately 12 items to the sale. All of these items are at least 50% off and some are as much as 90% off. Many of these pieces are fairly limited, so when you see something you want, don’t wait long. This will be a great time to fill in the holes of your collection. Check out the first items at GIJoeClub.com/shop. Then click on the GIjOE Sale/Clearance Items.”

The "Drive Into Danger" 12-inch exclusive set from JoeCon 2011 remains a "must-have" for Adventure Team fans. It's original sticker price of $325 kept many collectors away, but during the "50-Day Sale" it's being sold for just $162. Of course, add the cost of shipping and you're back up to about $200. (Photo: GIJCC)

VROOOMMM!!! The “Drive Into Danger” 12-inch exclusive from JoeCon 2011 remains a “must-have” for most Adventure Team collectors. Until now, its original $325 pricetag has kept many fans away, but during the club’s “50-Day Sale” it will be sold for just $162. We can smell the desert sands now! But be careful… Add in the cost of shipping and you’re back up to about $200. (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: We LOVE sales, and this one is looking like it’ll be a doozy! We recommend that you heed the club’s recommendation and check back in every 12 days or so to see what new items have been put up for sale. Keep your fingers crossed. You never know what might happen! Go, JOE!

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