“As a kid, I used to play on the fire escape of my apartment in New York City, with my GIjOEs. One day, a kid from a downstairs apartment climbed up the fire escape to my floor, and wanted to trade a switch-blade for a Joe. I did the trade, but that night, I dreamed that my Joes were climbing down the fire escape with ropes, and wearing the black caps and black spy outfits, in order to get into that kid’s apartment and liberate their teammate.” —Albert Batista
GIjOE: A Subject to Sleep On—and DREAM About!
For ardent fans and collectors of GIjOE, it’s not unheard of to actually dream about “America’s Movable Fighting Man” while sleeping. Of course, the idea of dreaming about a child’s TOY may seem ridiculous to non-Joeheads, but to his legions of fans, it’s not surprising at all. The love and affection they hold for the iconic action figure reaches deep into their personal psyches, recalls countless childhood (and adult) memories, and occupies a multitude of waking hours of nearly every day. So…
Why wouldn’t we dream about our 1:6 and/or 1:18 scale hero?
Let’s examine the reality of this intriguing phenomenon: Over the last 50 years, millions of children have grown up with GIjOE. Playing with the versatile and adaptable toy encourages creativity, artistic expression, the study and discovery of world and military history, and participation in indoor and outdoor recreation; resulting in literally YEARS of interactive amusement. Indeed, those fortunate enough to have owned GIjOEs have (by now) had DECADES of imaginative “practice” acting out their hero’s myriad adventures, carefully plotted and then played out—in their minds. As adults, those same individuals now find it quite easy to include Hasbro’s adventurer in their nightly dreams. That’s easy to understand. After all… GIjOE is the stuff dreams are made of!
“I often dream about being in Toys ‘R Us, the way it used to be when I was young, and finding GIjOE or Action Man back on the shelves. (Sometimes BOTH!) In the dreams, I’m just walking up and down the aisles, looking at things and seeing all the exciting ‘new items’ that have been released.” —Omar Syed
Normally, I don’t remember my dreams.
Once I’ve awakened from deep REM slumber, my dreams tend to immediately vanish into the morning ether. However, I’ve discovered that if a dream is particularly elaborate or intriguing, it sometimes stays with me just long enough to recall it later. Similar to Syed’s dream (see quote above), last night I dreamt I was at a local Target store, hunting and searching for the newest GIjOEs. In reality, I had shopped there earlier in the day for towels and such. That visit must’ve stirred up some old ’90’s memories and prompted this:
“In my particular “Joe Dream,” some company, not necessarily Hasbro, had returned GIjOE to Target’s toy aisles. There were all sorts of primarily fuzzhead figures, in rather bland brown boxes, but the variety of new equipment sets was literally mouth-watering. Sadly, before I could examine it all in detail, I woke up and POOF—my visions had all vanished. D’oh!” —Mark Otnes
Do I have to be asleep? Do my daydreams “count?”
Most assuredly they do! Whether you’re laying in bed staring at the ceiling, resting beneath a tree watching clouds float by, or chewing on a pencil and staring off into outer space, a daydream is often one of the best ways fans can find to contemplate the past, present and future fate(s) of GijOE. Here’s one story that illustrates just how enjoyable a Joe daydream can be:
“I don’t know if this classifies as a ‘dream,’ but when I was a kid in the ’60s, I would play with a lone GIjOE sometimes as if he had crash-landed on a world of giants, who were of course, us. No doubt my ‘dream’ was influenced by the Irwin Allen TV show, Land of the Giants.
My Joe would fashion a grappling hook and line from a safety-pin and string and then rappel up and down the furniture, always hiding from the giant cat and the giant woman inhabitant (my Mom). Eventually, he would find or fashion the part he needed to repair his Mercury space capsule and escape back to his home planet.” —Mark Longmire
Bottom Line: Whether you’re fantasizing or daydreaming about finding a rare “lost” figure at a flea market or auction, setting up GIjOEs and playing with them in an imaginative and exciting “backyard battle,” or (as was the case with me last night) dreaming that the 12-inch line had somehow (miraculously) returned to store shelves, rest assured that you’re not alone. Dream On!