Earliest Known GIjOE Footage Made For TV
“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.”
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!”
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.”
“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.