Attention G.I. Joe Ephemera Collectors———One of the Earliest Known Articles Mentioning G.I. Joe Discovered in July 1964 Issue of LOOK Magazine

LOOKarmyjoe

Lookin’ Good, Proto-Joe! This photo of one of the first prototype U.S. Army GIjOEs, is likely a Hasbro “stock shot” taken at the 1964 Toy Fair and appeared in the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine. Dubbed “model GI” by the magazine, this figure is (likely) one of the earliest appearances of GIjOE in popular media (i.e. media outside of Hasbro’s control). Remember, at this early time of the year in 1964, GIjOE was still largely unknown and unavailable in stores. Christmas was still 6 months away! (Photo: LOOK)

“Tough, Movable Action Figures” w/ “Battle-Incurred Facial Scars” are… “For Women Only?”

mikelynchlookcover

Look for this issue— Within the pages of the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine (on page M15, to be exact), you’ll find the previously unknown half-page article. (Photo: Mike Lynch)

If you’re one of those odd animals out there that enjoy collecting GIjOE ephemera (go ahead, raise your hand), it’s likely your pulse races at news of the discovery of anything PRINTED that describes or depicts GIjOE action figures, vehicles or equipment. And the older and lesser known that ephemera is, the more desirable it must surely become, as well.

If you’re not aware, “Ephemera” refers to fragile collectible or historic items, typically made out of paper. At the time of their creation or publication, such items were not expected to be kept, stored, or survive, for very long periods. Rather, they were meant to be read, utilized (if possible) and then tossed in the trash—never to be seen again.

Examples of GIjOE ephemera then, includes such collectibles as product instruction sheets, brochures, posters, newsletters and old “Andy & George” comic book ads. But what must be among the rarest of them all, are news articles mentioning or featuring the toy line in adult and/or general audience (i.e. non-toy industry) publications. One such “find” of publication ephemera is an unusual discovery made yesterday by The Joe Report’s very own research staff; a half-page, “for Women only(?)” article, that originally appeared in the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine.

LOOKnavyjoe

Is THIS the first-ever media appearance of GIjOE’s scuba diver? Perhaps. But what we find more interesting is the use of a photo backdrop behind the figure. Such a professional set-up (in 1964) confirms that the image was likely provided by Hasbro for press release purposes. (Photo: LOOK)

How the LOOK Article Was Discovered

We were holed up in our musty research library last week (i.e. my comfy living room chair watching TV), as our faithful research staff (me, myself and I) was flipping through piles of old magazines we’d recently unearthed (er…I’d purchased at a local garage sale) when suddenly we (I) came across an unassuming, half-page article in an old, yellowing copy of the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine.

LOOKairforcejoe

With all his cool equipment, it’s interesting that LOOK magazine decides to focus on the USAF pilot’s “jump boots.” What the…? This definitely looks like a Hasbro-supplied pic. (Photo: LOOK)

Bottom Line: Such a GIjOE ephemera finding would normally not be that unusual, but after rechecking the date of the article’s publication, we realized that this piece could actually be one of the EARLIEST known mentions of GIjOE ever made, especially out in the wider, “popular press.” Remember, GIjOE was introduced at Toy Fair in NYC Feb. 9, 1964—just 5 months earlier!

BONUS: Here’s the entire article as it appeared in LOOK. What a “time tunnel” trip. Enjoy!

joeLOOKarticle1

Joe’s History BEGINS— Here’s the entire “For Women Only” article that appeared in the July 1964 issue of LOOK magazine introducing GIjOE “action figures” from “Hassenfeld Bros., Inc” (Scan: Mark Otnes)

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2 thoughts on “Attention G.I. Joe Ephemera Collectors———One of the Earliest Known Articles Mentioning G.I. Joe Discovered in July 1964 Issue of LOOK Magazine

  1. Kevin Bolger says:

    Pretty cool Mark! I’m still wondering how rare is a piece of Joe ephemera which I own. I recently pulled out a small Joe handbill which I believe was handed out at the February 1964 Toy Fair. It features all four original figures including soft fatigue hats. I bought this years ago in a lot of ephemera directly from Sam Speers. I have never come across another copy but maybe someone else out there might know. This could be among the rare of the rare.

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