GI Joe
How it All Began


Man walked on the moon, and I watched. I had been following the Apollo Missions since I was old enough to speak. I don't know why to this day, but I was fascinated by the moon shot. I had posters on my wall, I watched all the TV shows on the moonshot. I watched all the Apollo Missions I was alive for. And during the height of my fervor over the Space Race, and I had this toy:

This was the Marx Toys Cape Kenney Carry-All playset. It was a lithographed tin carry-case printed to look like Cape Kennedy compound with plenty of spring-loaded rockets, fuel trucks, a Mercury capsule, helicopter... man, this was my favorite toy when I was growing up. (That's me on the left. I have no idea whether or not my cousin appreciates me putting this photo up on the web, but hey...)

I recently bought an incomplete set from eBay, and I love it!

Note the orange and blue vehicle on the corner. That was an amazing toy too. It was a battery-operated amphibious vehicle which ran using the blue remote with the white trigger grip. It used pneumatic control. The trigger grip pushed air through a transparent hose to the vehicle which pushed a plunger and caused the vehicle to do various things.

Here's an image of it from the front. I'm pushing the control and watching it ram a pair of shoes.:

Who wasn't a fan of the old Batman series?

I was a huge fan. Here, you can see that my Corgi (or Husky in this case, Corgi's baby brother) Batmobile is never far away. The left picture shows my Batmobile with BatBoat in tow.


Also, I am now and was then, a huge fan of ViewMaster. What do you wanna bet I was looking at Batman reels? It's possible, I did own a set. Not sure when, though.


My aunt has sent me several more scans from Christmas of 1970. She confirmed the date, so here I was, six years old. I can't begin to describe how it feels to look at these pictures knowing my own daughter is precisely the same age as I am in these first few pictures.

Here, my aunt Ellen (age 16) opens a gift, and of course my exuberence can't be contained. I have to help. Dave (age 11) is opening one of his. I guess I already tore through the Sizzlers box. Johnny West and his horse were opened for me before I awoke.


Here, Johnny West climbs my aunt Ellen's arm. She's looking at the Battleship game Dave and I got for Christmas.


Look at this picture. Christmas morning, 1970. This is a veritable what's what of toys.

This is an interesting picture for another reason. Nostalgia. Look at that couch! Look at that coffee table!


This is my aunt Patricia, (age 17 here) playing with the Hot Wheelz Sizzlers set with me. She's the source of all these pictures.


My interest in Johnny West continued. Christmas, 1973.

That's Jimmy West, I believe, leaning against the corral. Further back is a sherrif of some kind, though I forget his name. The Johnny West ranch was a cardboard constructed toy, made from printed 1/8" cardboard that slotted together. You see the doors of the barn there, which was about 4" in depth, enough space to store one horse. Behind that, however, was a fairly detailed house section. But sadly, being made of cardboard, this toy didn't hold up well to my abuse.


My GI Joe years.

Here's the pic that tells the story. Left to right: my cousin Mike, (age 11, same as me) my little sister, Deidre (who can't be more than one-and-a-half or two in this picture), Mike's sister Shean (age 10) at the back, and me with my head buried deep in GI Joe Headquarters.

Mike's fitting the Land Adventurer's hands to the steering wheel of the tan jeep.

My Air Adventurer sits atop the tower, watching the console.

Deidre is watching intently.

Shean has Barbies and Ken reclines in his case at the back.


Yup. That's it. Those were some of my GI Joes. Mike went to Africa in the 70s, and collected 7 Joes. I had four of my own. These pictured were my original Joes. When he returned from Africa, he gave me his 7 Joes, including a Soldiers of the World Russian and German. Not long after this picture (less than two years) I was forced to give up my collection to another younger cousin, who destroyed it within weeks.

And that's what started it all.


GI JoeGI JoeGI Joe

Go To ToysGo Home

e-mail Sean