Monthly Archives: May 2014

“Action Man Day 4” Show Set For June 1, Essex, UK

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There’s nothing we enjoy more than a locally produced and amiably hosted GIjOE and/or Action Man toy show. Fortunately for fans in the UK, there’s going to be just such an event held this Sunday, beginning at 9AM in the North Weald Village Hall in Essex. Intriguingly dubbed, “Action Man Day 4,” the 1:6 gathering promises to be a real “corker.” According to show organizers:

“Well folks, it’s that time of year again and I hope you are all looking forward to the 4th Action Man Day to be held in North Weald, Essex, on the 1st of June, 2014. As always, all of your favorite sellers will be there and also a couple of large collections will be sold off, so it’s sure to be the most exciting Action Man Day yet! 

 There’s also no rise in admission prices this year (still only £2.50 at the door) and children are admitted FREE. If your name is not on the list, then you are not booked in for a table. So anyone that wishes to book a table, please email me HERE. All details are on the poster. We look forward to seeing you!” 

Blimey! Security doors of the North Weald Village Hall in Essex, UK, hide the wonders that wait inside for the fans and collectors of Action Man that are fortunate enough to attend the "Action Man Day 4" toy show being held there on June 1st, 2014. (Photo: Google Maps)

They may be closed today, but the security doors at the entrance to the North Weald Village Hall in Essex (UK) will be opened to the public this weekend, revealing countless 1:6 scale treasures waiting inside for sale by (and to) fellow Action Man fans and collectors. Don’t miss it! (Photo: Google Maps)

Bottom Line: Sounds like a wonderful opportunity all around. Enjoy the show! Go, Action Man!

Don Levine, aka “The Father of G.I. Joe,” Dead at 89

In a grave message posted on Facebook by the GIjOE Collector’s Club, it was revealed today that the “Father of GIjOE,” Don Levine, has passed away. Here is the club’s message in its entirety:

“It is with great sadness that we pass along news that one of the original creators of 12” G.I. Joe, Don Levine, has passed away. Services will be held at Sunday in Providence, RI at Temple Bethel. We send our condolences to his family on behalf of the Club membership and G.I. Joe fans the world over.

Thank you, sir, for making growing up a little bit better. (We are double checking this to confirm.)”

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In a follow-up article released by the Associated Press, we learn the following additional intel:

“According to his wife, Nan, Levine died of cancer early Thursday at the Home & Hospice Care facility of Rhode Island. They were just about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Levine’s funeral will be held Sunday morning at Temple Beth-El in Providence. He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren.”

Bottom Line: Our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to Don’s family. Words cannot describe the depth of our gratitude or the sincerity of our feelings for the life of this wonderful man and his multitude of marvelous accomplishments. This is an incredibly sad day for all GIjOE fans and collectors. God Speed, Mr. Levine.

Kentuckiana G.I. Joe Club Continues Tradition of Outdoor Water-Rocket Parachute Launches, This Time With 1:6 Competitor: Captain Action!

This photo (taken during a previous club meeting) reveals jugs of water and other related launch detritus used to repeatedly provide thrust for the 1:6 scale parachute GIjOE missions. Out-STANDING! (Photo: KYGIJCC)

This photo (taken during a previous club meeting) reveals jugs of water and other related launch “technology” used to repeatedly provide thrust for the 1:6 scale parachute GIjOE (and CA) missions. Out-STANDING! (Photo: KYGCC)

God Speed, Captain Action!

In an egalitarian display of homemade model rocketry and outdoor “playsmanship,” members of the Kentuckiana GIjOE Club (KYGCC) gathered recently at a local park (covered in beautiful bluegrass, natch!) to launch one of GIjOE’s buddies (longtime sales competitor, Captain Action) high into the sky. As one club member stomped furiously on a pressurizing pedal, others stepped back warily. While children, unsure of what would happen next, took protective cover behind their parents. Finally ready, the launcher uttered his fateful countdown: “3-2-1, Liftoff!”

WHOOOSH!!!!!! Sitting atop a highly pressurized water-bottle rocket, Cap was sent soaring into the wild blue yonder, reminding all who witnessed the exciting event that day that: Toys were meant to be PLAYED WITH! After exhausting his craft’s harmless H2O fuel, Cap’s ‘chute popped open and he floated gently back to Earth.

While clearly pleased with the flight’s results, KYGCC club rep, Stephen Sherman, revealed that the group’s primary goal that day was actually to test the viability, strength and functionality (or lack thereof) of Cap’s vintage 1967 parachute. He described the successful mission this way:

“This past weekend, the Kentuckiana GIjOE club got together for one of our periodic Joe paratrooper water-rocket launches. This year, we decided to let Captain Action take his turn in the rocket. The jump was performed by Cap’s Playing Mantis stunt double, but his parachute was a 100% 1967-vintage ‘free’ 4-foot parachute. It still works!

KYGCC members gather underneath the park's pavilion to discuss and prepare for the day's events. (Photo: KYGCC)

KYGCC members gather beneath the park’s pavilion to discuss the day’s events. (Photo: KYGCC)

The Kentuckiana GIjOE Club has a long history of successful water-rocket-propelled parachute missions. If you haven’t seen it, you won’t want to miss the inspiring video (shown below) of their amazing 2009 launch of a GIjOE Mercury Astronaut strapped into a Space Capsule. Take a look:

Prior to his launch atop one of the club's famous "water-rockets," the astronaut GIjOE steps from his owner's superb custom Astronaut Support Vehicle. Amazing work, guys! (Photo: KYGCC)

Prior to his launch atop one of the club’s famous “water-rockets,” this GIjOE Astronaut steps out of his superb custom ASV. (Astronaut Support Vehicle). Absolutely amazing work, guys! (Photo: KYGCC)

Bottom Line: As the club’s newest mission video reveals, Captain Action’s launch was an unqualified success (just look at the altitude he achieved). It warms our hearts to see Cap’s vintage parachute still returning him safely to Earth nearly 50 years after its production. For more information about the creative, “play-oriented” Kentucky division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club, we recommend you visit the KYGCC Facebook page HERE. Go, Kentucky Joeheads! Go, JOE!

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Former ’70s TV Personality, Topless Bar Owner and Eureka, CA Mayoral Candidate, Tom “The Great Razooly,” Now An Artist and Creater of Superb 1:6 Scale G.I. Joe Dioramas and Vehicles

Tom Razooly enjoys playing with his GIjOEs in his idyllically forested "Joe Land" at his home in (Photo: Tom Razooly)

The multi-talented Tom Razooly (above, r), has reinvented himself once again, this time as an artist and sculptor creating unique 1:6 scale structures and vehicles with VERY high “play value.” He also enjoys staging elaborate outdoor battle scenes and “playing GIjOEs” with family members and friends in the forested “Joe Land” surrounding his home in northern California. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

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Tom as “The Great Razooly” on a promotional 8×10 glossy from his show, originally broadcast from Channel 23, Eureka, CA. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom as “The Great Razooly” on a promotional 8×10 glossy from his show, originally broadcast from Channel 23, Eureka, CA. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“I made my first G. I. Joe space capsule from a discarded Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket.” —Tom Razooly

During the 1970s-’80s, a multi-talented, self-reliant and creative young actor named Tom Razooly was making an unusual (yet eminently enjoyable) living in northern California portraying a mysterious, top-hatted host of a schlocky late-night television program called, “Horror Theatre.” Tom’s character, dubbed “The Great Razooly,” was a sort of macabre master-of-ceremonies who would ominously introduce each B-movie, provide sarcastic segue patter leading into and out of commercial breaks, and act in a variety of short comedic sketches produced on the cheapest of budgets.

Filming a scene for Channel 23's "Horror Theatre." (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Filming a scene for Channel 23’s Horror Theatre. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Actress Maila Nurmi as "Vampira." (Photo: Ed Wood)

Actress Maila Nurmi as 1950s “Vampira.” (Photo: Ed Wood)

Horror Theatre was a ratings success, and Razooly’s natural flair for dramatic and creative performing helped revive TV’s on-air hosting tradition. Ostensibly, the genre of hosted late-night horror programming originated on radio programs back in the 1940s, then naturally evolved along with television into the 1950s, ultimately producing such famous TV personalities as the impossibly thin-waisted “Vampira” (portrayed by actress Maila Nurmi) and the busty, suggestive sexpot, “Elvira” (aka actress Cassandra Peterson).

Joe Flaherty as "Count Floyd" on SCTV. (Photo: SCTV)

Joe Flaherty as “Count Floyd” on SCTV. (Photo: NBC)

Over the years, there have been many TV horror-hosts, and many performers influenced by them. For example, it’s not inconceivable to believe that Razooly’s Horror Theatre, broadcast in the Pacific Northwest, was seen at some time by comic-actor Joe Flaherty, providing him with the inspiration for his own hilarious “Count Floyd” character on Canada’s SCTV. Similarly, the “Great Svengoolie” (as currently portrayed by Chicago actor, Rich Koz on the MeTV channel) shares many similarities with Tom’s character AND Count Floyd, both in terms of appearance and “schtick.” (If it ain’t broke…)

Perhaps the world's most famous and successful late-night horror host, actress Cassandra Peterson portrayed the well-endowed and sarcastically hilarious, "Elvira the Mistress of the Dark" on station KHJ in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo: KHJ)

Perhaps the world’s most famous and longest-running late-night horror hostess, actress Cassandra Peterson has portrayed the cleavagely-advantaged (and sarcastically hilarious), “Elvira the Mistress of the Dark” on station KHJ in LA since 1981. (Photo: KHJ)

After his tenure on television, Razooly reinvented himself as the founder and operator of an adult-oriented business on the outskirts of Eureka, CA known as the Tip Top Club. As the years went by, Tom became a well-known (although somewhat controversial) figure among the local citizenry of Eureka, which encouraged him to run for Mayor (at least two times, both unsuccessfully).

In 2014, MeTV's "Great Svengoolie" borrows much of The Great Razooly's persona and costuming, including Tom's famous black top hat. Despite the similarities, each performer is unique in their own ways. (Photo: MeTV)

MeTV’s “Great Svengoolie” (actor Rich Koz) also favors a black top hat. (Photo: MeTV)

Eventually, Tom sold the Tip Top and retired from business altogether. Now, years later, he is reinventing himself once again, focusing on the more laid-back pursuits of art, travel, costumed “cosplay,” and the rekindling of a long-lost childhood love— GIjOEs. Predictably, the creative symbiosis between art and GijOEs quickly inspired Tom to scratch-build a growing collection of 1:6 scale structures and vehicles, which he thoroughly enjoys setting up in elaborate and imaginative outdoor “adventures.” (Imagine that. Playing with GIjOEs—OUTDOORS!) Here are some examples:

Reminiscent of the 1970s Adventure Team tower, Razooly's scratch-built, all-wood guard tower has a superb, rough-hewn texture so perfect for the forest in which it is displayed. What a FANTASTIC photo! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Razooly’s guard tower is hand-crafted out of “found” wood pieces and has a superb, rough-hewn appearance that’s perfect for use in a forest setting. This extreme perspective is misleading. The tower is MUCH taller than it appears. Take a look at the figure up in the top shack! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom is obviously having a lot of fun in his own private "Joe Land." What a GREAT photo! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom is obviously having a lot of fun in his own private “Joe Land.” What a GREAT set-up. Look at all the details. Go, Tom! Go, JOE! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom's wonderful photo of two climbing soldiers makes incredible use of sunlight. WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

This wonderful photo of two of Tom’s climbing and rappelling soldiers makes incredible use of natural outdoor sunlight. WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom's 1:6 barracks is a perfect piece for display or play. The wood is nicely weathered, there are two bunk beds, a bench, and numerous other details. FANTASTIC job! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom’s 1:6 barracks is a perfect piece for display or play. The wood is realistically weathered, there are two bunk beds, a bench, and numerous other details. What a FANTASTIC structure for GIjOE! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom clearly enjoys taking photographs of his hard work and sharing it with other customizers of 1:6 scale. According to Razooly:

“It feels good to have others see my photos. Feel free to share them with any G.I.Joe fans you may know!”

Impressed by his 1:6 creations, we asked Tom to elaborate on his latest reincarnation as a GIjOE fan and customizer. He replied:

“Well, when I retired from business several years ago, the thought came to me; ‘What could I do with all my old GIjOE friends and my artistic skills on a budget?’ EBay’s prices for 1:6 scale vehicles and props were outrageous, so I set out to make ’em all myself!”

This early production shot reveals the various "found" bits and pieces that Tom combined to create his outstanding 1:6 scale locomotive. Absolutely ingenious work! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

This early production shot reveals the various “found” bits and pieces that Tom combined to create his outstanding 1:6 scale locomotive. Absolutely ingenious work! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“As my 1:6 scale modeling skills increased, I challenged myself to do more and more complex modeling. Beginning with simple things like fuel barrels and coffee pots, then on up to dump trucks, trains and bombed-out chalets.”

Tom's scratch-built 1:6 scale steam locomotive with cargo car is an absolute MASTERPIECE. Look closely and you'll notice it's coming through a 1:6 tunnel! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

This view of Tom’s completed, scratch-built, 1:6 scale steam locomotive (with attached cargo car) reveals it is an absolute MASTERPIECE in 1:6 scale. Look closely and you’ll notice it’s coming through a realistically detailed 1:6 scale tunnel as well. Tremendous work, Tom! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom with fiancce, Amber NAME. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom with fiancée, Amber Hughes. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Razooly’s life has been an ever-changing tapestry of creative experiences. Originally from San Francisco, he now resides in Blocksburg, CA, and has recently become engaged to be married. In addition to living his real life, like many GIjOE fans, Tom also enjoys pursuing the fantasy world of costumed role-play, or “cosplay.” After reviewing photos of his many outfits, we returned to his original horror get-up and asked him if his famous “Great Razooly” top hat was real or simply a cheap knock-off from the TV station’s prop room. He replied:

Tom's newest top hat is the perfect finishing touch for his amazing "Dr. Fate" costume from "The Great Race" (remember Jack Lemmon chewing up the scenery in this?). (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Razooly’s famous top hat is the perfect finishing touch for his superb “Professor Fate” costume from the movie, The Great Race. Remember Jack Lemmon chewing up the scenery in this? (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“My top hat? Ahh… very astute of you. It is indeed ‘real.’ I’m so old now, everything has a story these days. When I was 15 years old, my father gave me a 70-year old ‘beaver felt top hat.’ I loved that hat and wore it all through my teen years, and into my adult life as a local late-night TV horror host. Eventually, my old antique hat wore out. By that time, my daughter had grown and was working in the movie industry as a set designer. She let me know of a Hollywood costume company that made movie quality costuming. I gave my antique top hat to them and asked for a brand new replica. They made this one for me 15 years ago, and it is PERFECT!”

Half the fun of "playing GIjOEs" is making your own stuff. The other half is setting it up, playing with it, and taking pictures of the results. In this one amazing photo, you can see Tom's handmade 1:6 scale dumptruck, guard shack, and road barrier (complete with a little stop sign). WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Half the fun of “playing GIjOEs” is making your own stuff. The other half is setting it up, playing with it, and taking pictures of the results. In this photo, you can see Tom’s handmade 1:6 scale dump-truck, guard shack, and road barrier (complete with a little HALT sign). WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom sets up a command post diorama using found sticks, rocks and whatever else he needs from the woods around him. Just like when he was a kid! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom sets up a command post diorama using found sticks, rocks and whatever else he needs from the woods around him. Just like when he was a kid! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Most fan THINK about building their own 1:6 scale wooden bridges, but Tom's actually done it. Here, his GIjOE tank commander crosses over Razooly's scratch-built bridge which can be moved and reused—again and again! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Many GIjOE fans THINK about building their own 1:6 scale wooden bridges, but Tom has actually done it. Here, a tank commander has just crossed over Razooly’s scratch-built bridge which can easily be moved around and reused—over and over again. So… get out there and PLAY! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

A young Tom Razooly posed for this "Apollo Moon Rocket" model kit by Revell in 1969. (Photo: scalemates)

Did a young blonde(!) Razooly pose for Revell’s “Apollo Moon Rocket” box in 1969? (Photo: scalemates)

Some of Razooly’s gifts and talents were recognized and utilized at a very early age. In fact, according to Tom:

“Back in my youth, I worked as a child model for ‘Revell Models.’ I did a photo-shoot once for their ‘Apollo Saturn V Moon Rocket’ kit. I don’t think that’s me on the ‘Collector’s Set’—but it MIGHT be.”

Interesting! It’s been well established that many young boys of the 1950s and ’60s were deeply influenced by the building and collecting of model kits (and GIjOEs) when they were young. (Sadly, today’s less “hands-on” generation suffers greatly in this regard.) And now, as an adult, Razooly continues to enjoy building and creating, using whatever materials he can easily and affordably “scrounge” from nearby sources. According to Tom:

“My GIjOEs gave me days and days of wonderful, imaginative entertainment. And I honed my adolescent art skills by making my own 1:6 scale props from old oatmeal containers, pieces of cardboard and good ol’ masking tape. In fact, I made my first GIjOE space capsule from a discarded Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket!”

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Build it. Set it up. PLAY with it! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“Recently (for some reason), I got it into my head to create a big, GIjOE camp. I couldn’t really find or afford many of the pieces I wanted, so I slowly began to make them as well as I could. Of course I went on the web, looking at those new super-cool, all-metal Willy’s Jeeps. But the price tag was just too rich for my blood. So instead, I cobbled together, and detailed-out 5 plastic jeeps I’d bought that were damaged and had missing parts for only about $19 each. I still dream of finding a damaged Jeep with enough parts that I can make a custom canvas-covered troop carrier out of it.”

Don't have a heavy-duty dumptruck? Build one! Tom pieced together this entire machine out of leftover Jeep parts and scrap wood. You can too! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Don’t have a heavy-duty dump-truck for your GIjOEs? Then BUILD one! Tom pieced together this entire machine out of leftover Jeep parts and scrap wood. You can too! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom had to back WAY up in his workshop to get the entire 1:6 scale guard tower in the frame of his camera. WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom had to back WAY up in his workshop in order to get the entire 1:6 scale guard tower in the frame of his camera. Fan-TASTIC job, Tom! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“I’m never too exact with my 1:6 Joe stuff. I just like to create things that the kids and I can PLAY with. Occasionally, no budget and a little experience can pull you through!”
Tom Razooly

Bottom Line: Tom’s work reflects a lifetime of talent, backed up by solid creativity and an obvious appreciation for “hands-on,” scratch-built craftsmanship. With an entire forest at his disposal and his own private “Joe Land, ” we can’t wait to see what he makes next. And we can’t help but wonder: Will we ever see “The Great Razooly” on TV again? Or maybe “LIVE and in person” at a GIjOE show—with some of his cool 1:6 scale custom creations? Stay tuned!

THIS JUST IN… We were able to track down a photo of Revell’s 1969 “Collector’s Set” that Tom mentioned, but the boy’s face on the box is turned to the side somewhat and in shadow, making it difficult to say if it’s him or not. The chances are pretty good that it IS, because the boy’s hair is more brunette and parted on the same side as Tom’s hair is today. Razooly said he wasn’t sure if it was him, but that it MIGHT be. What do you think?

Is it, or isn't this, Tom Razooly? Although he can't remember, and the identity of this young man is most likely lost to the ages, the reality is that Tom was a child model for Revell during the 1960s, and posed specifically for their line of NASA kits. As a result, the likelihood that this is in fact a young Razooly, is very high. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Is this, or isn’t this, Tom Razooly? Since Tom can’t say for sure, the actual identity of this young man may be lost to time. The reality is that Tom was a child model for Revell during the 1960s, and posed specifically for their line of NASA space exploration kits. As a result, the likelihood that this is a young Razooly, remains high. (Photo: ebay)

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