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

  1. kneonknight says:

    According to this article (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/g-joe-action-figure-turns-50-article-1.1605329), Hasbro does intend to have a 50th Anniversary product line and it will make its debut at this year’s Toy Fair which runs from February 16 to February 19. I’m hoping like Hell they aren’t going to just trot out some of the “inaction” figures from last year with a hastily designed 50th logo pasted onto the box.

    Keep your fingers crossed, folks.

    • Thanks for the link. Fingers are crossed. But expectations are extremely low.

      • kneonknight says:

        I hear ya, Mark. Seeing how low-key/non-existent Hasbro’s promotion of the 50th has been compared to the 40th, I really don’t expect to be overwhelmed. But, If they come out with just a few interesting pieces, I’ll probably add them to my collection. I honestly don’t expect anything as extensive as the 40th Action Man line, but I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

  2. Roy Jones says:

    It would be exciting to see Hasbro offering something really good for the 50th. I think for a lot of us it would be the last hurrah.

  3. Matthew Pak says:

    I actually think it makes great business sense to create a limited collectible line for the 50th anniversary. Find a major retail chain to carry ONE of each item: Soldiers of the World reproduction goes to Amazon, Devil of the Deep to Target, Search for the Stolen Idol to Wal-Mart, etc. Avoids having shelves overstocked and gets collectors to visit each store.

    • Wow. Absolutely the BEST idea I’ve heard in a LONG time. Great marketing approach for GIjOE during his next 50 years. Phenomenal idea, Matthew!

    • T rent says:

      Great idea, but it won’t happen. Hasbro has just given us 12-inchers the finger. In a big Toy Fair reveal………….we get ……..nothing! Not even the 40th Action Man stuff we didn’t get here. No new stuff. No old 40th stuff with gold tags and 50 stickers. We get nothing !!

      • Matthew Pak says:

        Extremely disappointing. At the very least I would have expected re-issues of the 1964 and/or Adventure Team coffin box figures (same mold, same packaging with a 50th anniversary logo). The smart simple move would be to reissue the Masterpiece soldier with the filled footlocker from the 40th. Not what I want, but a decent substitute, especially for new customers who might discover G.i. Joe based on the anniversary. Instead, nothing.

        To be fair, the 3 3/4 inch releases seem slapped together as well. Hasbro’s executives quite honestly don’t seem to care

    • Roy Jones says:

      The only time toy shelves are overstocked has been with the ARAH line. No offense to the people who collect that line but it happens to be the truth. When has our line of Joe’s ever been overstocked? It’s usually gone even before it hits the shelves. Walmart anyone? How many of you were able to buy any of that at retail. i didn’t even see it.. Hasbro doesn’t care because they don’t have to their stock is at 52+ a share now…

      • Stories of the Walmart Joes vary, but I concur. At our local Walmart, I saw the Joes, bought my share (2 or 3) and checked back about 1 to 2 weeks later. All gone. Never made it over to “discount row.” Other fans reported slower sales at their Walmarts, and clearanced Joes later. I guess it depended on WHERE you were and the “density of collectors” in your area. Either way, it sure was exciting while it lasted! 🙂

  4. ruby says:

    I want a GIjOE 50th year figure with the tee shirt. How do we purchase one?

    • Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Hasbro will be offering 50th Anniversary figures, or t-shirts. If you’re interested in possibly winning one of those “unofficial” 50th t-shirts, Patches of Pride is currently giving them away to randomly selected winners. No guarantees you’ll get one, but at least there’s SOME hope! For more information, go to: http://www.patchesofpride.com

  5. David Manganaro says:

    Bummer. But we still have a lot of cool stuff to look forward to. Cotswold, new Geyperman reissues and hopefully more stuff from the club.

  6. kneonknight says:

    You know, I want to say I’m surprised that there isn’t a 12″ line for the fiftieth, but I’m not. Hasbro has been giving the 1/6 collector the figurative cold shoulder and/or middle finger for some time now. I don’t understand it, the 12″ Joe is what started the whole collecting frenzy, so why are we being seen as unworthy of Hasbro’s attention now? Meh, like Mr. Manganaro said, there’s still Cotswold and the new Geyperman reissues. It’s really no skin off my nose if Hasbro doesn’t want my money. That just means I can buy the 50th set from the collector’s club without straining my collecting budget.

    • Roy Jones says:

      I think Hasbro really just wants to get away from military and it shows. You will not see any GIjOE products on their website big or small. They have Transformers. They have movies for promotion of the Transformers line. They have Star Wars. They have movies for promotion of the Star Wars line. They even have NERF. They are doing better than Mattel and they do not need GIjOE. I would bet that they will never produce another 12″ retro product and from a business standpoint I can’t blame them.

      Yes it would be great to see a 50th anniversary something but it looks very doubtful. There is plenty of stuff on the secondary market to keep everyone happy. I am sure no one has it all. On Geyperman: I can’t see anyone shelling out that kind of money unless they have the entire 40th and retro Action Man line. I’m sorry, but you can still get the original stuff cheaper.

  7. Trent says:

    Lots of common sense and rational thinking being posted by adult, well-learned men and women. Hasbro is a company, and profit is there main focus. I understand, agree with and see ALL of the valid points being made. Yes, we still have our memories and conventions, but you know what I’m still angry about? On every media outlet (magazines and TV), the 12-inch figure in front and center. It’s the 12-inch GIjOE’s 50th anniversary, that’s the version that is 50 years old. If Mr. Potato Head gets a retro-figure set why not GIjOE?

    And I want NEW stuff, but I know I won’t get it. I want 4 “aged” soldiers with dress uniforms. Ain’t happening. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect at LEAST a token 12-inch figure. And don’t tell me the molds are all gone, not in an age with laser scanners and 3-D printers, etc. I bet there is leftover stock they could slap a 50th sticker on.

    Hasbro COULD also have also announced at Toy Fair that there will be a 12-inch “anniversary figure,” available as a limited-edition at the GIjOE convention, to club members. That would have been a great way to support the club and create SOME buzz, increase membership, etc., but they didn’t.

    I’m on the plus-side of 50 myself, so my “filter” doesn’t work too well anymore. I am SO tired of all the BS. The year has just started, Hasbro. There is still time to get a birthday figure to us by Christmas. That’s the day most of us old effers got our first Joe. Please go to the following link https://www.facebook.com/groups/50yearsofjoe/

    To quote a great film, “NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!”

  8. Anonymous says:

    I will never buy any merchandise with a modified RAH logo that was created to represent the Joe I know! Not even close to what it should be!

    Rick

  9. T rent says:

    There have been a whole lot of great suggestions, and I want ALL of them. But if this is to be a successful “operation,” it needs to be something that can be done, without a massive outlay of money for production costs, at least for the first, and I hope the first of many such figures. We all have to realize that we have to get behind a consensus figure to make it a viable operation for the Club.

    It is the 50th anniversary of the 12-inch GIjOE. This birthday figure should reflect his original 1964 roots. Yes, I want an “aged” adventure team, the rest of the lost talkers, the soldiers of the world, and (please) a complete State Trooper. But they are from a few years later, and they are going to take an awful lot to do.

    For the first figures, my first choice would be the original four as “aged” soldiers, with anything but nose-picker hands, in coffin boxes, with carded dress uniforms for each, medals for their chests, gold dog tags, and “50th anniversary” on the box. But even this would take a lot of time and money to accomplish.

    So I am going to propose a SINGLE figure which I feel is within the club’s ability to produce and will not end up costing the customer too much money: an aged General Joseph Colton figure in a dress uniform with medals, non nose picker hands, gold dog tag in a coffin box, and appropriate artwork showing “50 years of GI Joe.”

    I think It’s a great choice, since he has been designated as the “first Joe,” and will make a great companion piece to his 30th anniversary figure.

  10. Roy Jones says:

    It is my opinion that the best thing Hasbro could produce and get 5 stars from every collector is to do the 1964 Air Force Fighter Repair #7821 that they never released. Imagine getting something that was planned but never released for GI Joe’s birthday. If I was working for them this is the exact set I would do.

  11. I know the convention set isn’t pleasing many people, but Hasbro could have released something like that: A Box set with one Painted Head Joe, A Fuzzhead, A Super-Joe, A RAH Joe, A SA Joe, A Sigma 6 Joe, and A Kreo Joe. It would at least have been a good way to honor the Joe legacy.

    – Stevenlore

  12. Mike Nash says:

    A great, balanced piece of reporting. Thanks for the read.

    Something I noticed:

    In the photo of the Boy’s Life Magazine spread, the Joe picture in the magazine is holding a set of Marx “Best of the West” binoculars.

    I am oddly amused by that. 🙂

  13. Charles Benterud says:

    I don’t get it, Falcon can get these sets made and have them for sale, maybe the best export that Spain can get created and sold whether only on Ebay or through Cotswold Elite Brigade I do understand the overabundance of store stock that didn’t seem to sell. I know the Joes with the plastic formed clothes to me were not something I was going to purchase. Would this make them valuable in the future? Possibly, it does not mean that everything that has G.I. Joe on it is worth hundreds of dollars.

    Remember, like in all other collectibles ( Anyone remember Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch?) people trying to explain they have a collectible worth 100’s of dollars, a collectible is only worth what another person is willing to pay for something. Those selling to Frank and Mike on American Picker’s would attest that these men try so hard to not over pay for items, why? Because them being there is only because of buying something cheap enough to take for those who want these items in their collections. Without the buyers and their ability to purchase items to round out the items that having the things together to either wow their friends or impress those who know of those items.

    In the GiJoe world, it is similar. I lost my collection and thus was actually not thinking of going back into doing as I had done before looking for everything. But going to a toy show my resolve was if I could find things that were Star Wars or GiJoe for not too much then I would be back in. I didn’t find any Star Wars ones I could afford because the Star Wars sellers had figures that were way over priced compared to what I was willing to part with money over.

    But the Joes were from the 70’s with flocked hair and the Hall of Fame flocked hair figures as well. I was back in. Now I have hundreds this began in the spring of this year but it is as far as I am concerned not the same as it had been because I have parameters on where my collecting will take me. A fixed income that will be the constraint of what I can afford to collect and or seek.

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