Tuesday, October 24, 2006

guys & dolls

During the mid to late 60s I played with action figures.
I wasn't really into maiming small, arboreal, creatures with pellet guns or much of a car guy so action figures were my thing.

These action figures were of course articulated, playscale models (12inches = 6feet) that were big enough to play with ( ie.manly) and you could really appreciate all of the fine details in their costumes and accessories....sooo cool!

Yes many of my school friends would literally say that it was totally gay to play with dolls but I didn't care. I thought that they were amazing.
Remember this is before the advent of cable TV, watching videos or playing video games so we were forced to use our imaginations and make our own fun.

There wasn't as much societal pressure for parents to force their kids to participate in after school activities every second of their lives like we started doing in the 80s. It was still OK to let your kids just play.
Now of course I started out with the ubiquitous GI JOE, the gateway action figure, although I never had the JFK version that is featured here..

I spent countless hours living vicariously through my GI JOEs exacting our collective revenge on the evil GI JOEs who would be outfitted in Nazi uniforms. This is before political correctness was made law so we still called those bastards Gerrys or Krauts.

I don't imagine that any of these companies would be making Osama action figures for modern GI JOEs to hunt down, interrogate, torture and then kill over and over again. The entire premise sounds ludicrous in this day and age..or does it?
When CAPTAIN ACTION came out I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. He was the coolest thing EVER!

I mean just look at all of the superheroes that he could turn into!


I did have a hard time trying to understand his uncanny resemblance to DEAN MARTIN but hey I was only 10 years old.

JOHNNY WEST was also around to satisfy any hankerin' for a good old western shoot 'em up but how do you compete with a guy who could be Superman, Captain America, Aquaman and Batman? I had no idea who the hell Steve Canyon was so I didn't bother getting that one.

Eventually I managed to cajole my parents into acquiring the entire collection and spent years hiding in my basement setting up fabulous scenarios of GOOD VERSUS EVIL.

My sister of course had BARBIES so eventually there was plenty of exploratory hanky panky going on....
which eventually made me start to wonder why I was in my basement playing with, I mean by myself, and not out chasing real girls.

Then wouldn't you know it...
within a few years my voice was changing,
I got hair in funny places,
and my fascination with playscale lapsed into the blurry hormonal hell that we call adolescence.

Yes those were simpler times and I wish that I had kept these marvelous toys.

They would be worth a fortune on EBAY!


  1. I hated Barbies when I was a kid. I bit Barbie's tit off.

  2. mj,
    OMG! Wow that startling revelation is some kinda feudian jackpot which of course I cannot decipher because I haven't ingested enough cocaine this morning to understand where Sigmund would be coming from.

    You must have one set of chompers to be able to gnaw through that hard plastic breast...
    that succulent sphere of perfection..
    that wonderful,warm, magical appendage of pleasure...


    I'm not whispering in my head am I?

  3. I had GI Joe, with the space capsule, the jeep and spot light trailer. ALL GONE! Hell I remember having 3 complete sets of the origianal Star Wars trading cards. I can just imagine what they would be worth today. A sign of the times. You can buy the Mark Foley action figure on ebay. here's the link. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230039721735

  4. Simpler times...yes!
    When one used their imaginations..
    and just played!
    Sounds like you had lots of fun
    back then!
    Gosh...there was a JFK GI JOE...
    I bet that would be worth a few pennies today!


  5. Yeah, sweet post, HE. And I've found some interesting journals to read, up there with Action Man, which was the British GI. Thanks x

  6. i never had barbies... i had a "cindy" doll and my sister and i regularly fought over my mom's "skipper" doll, but i digress. i shmarked the cars- when we visited our cousins i would disappear behind the fig trees with all my (their) favourite cars in my skirt and play for hours on my own.
    my damien has action figures too (the 12 inch fully articulated ones)! i dunno what damien's action figures are- they're very snazzy but cheaper than gi-joe... he has LOTS- bad guys with funky coloured hair and scars- and the handsome good guys. he also has lots of gadgets and accessories including horses, dogs, tents, sleeping bags, a 4 wheeler, footlockers... even fake food! he spends hours making fire places and barricades out of sticks and stones and glue.
    his games get VERY involved and i dare not touch anything until he decides he's done playing!

  7. ooh ooh- i nearly forgot- my favourite way of torturing damien when we go shopping is to threaten to buy him a couple of barbies for his soldiers to have girlfriends!
    frankly- i think barbie would look hot in action man's fatigues! mwaaaaaaahahahahahahaha...

  8. I played with Barbies well into my freshman year at high school. Then I got a boyfriend. I don't know what happened to my Barbies...

  9. I'm told I played with Barbies at an early age... however my own memories are of playing with other dolls at age 11 or 12... when I say "playing" - my dolls would commit suicide by jumping out a window, my dolls beheaded each other, and my dolls hung from their neck overnight before being miraculously revived the next day to do it all again!

  10. Nothing gave me more pleasure as a poor kid than mounting a tuna can on a board, arming it with small lead pipes loaded with firecrackers and a peeble, and punching holes in the side of confederate coke bottles! Yea, I was a damn yankee even as a small, imaginative kid deep in the heart of dixie. My crude reanactments of the Union Monitor versus the Confederate Merrimack had to do since my foster parents weren't about to buy me a doll to play with.......

  11. I think we know what happened...you abandoned your action figures when you started playing with yourself.

    That's a lot of money down the drain for your mom and dad. And Bev probably was whining about what happened to her Barbies.

    Eventually you became the Woeful Womanizer that I met in college. Nice life segue, but totally makes sense.

  12. Have you seen the new GI Joe's? They are totally different now. They look like they're ready to ship out to Mars and fight aliens or something. The times have changed.

    I never once had a GI Joe. I did have dozens of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles though. Awesome. I still have them too.

  13. grumblant9:11 p.m.

    I held out for the Inaction Figures that never came (Parayz-zuh
    Jayz-sus-suh!), like a Jabba the Hutt cross-dressed by Princess Leia
    but, alas, no market penetration
    materialized (except the isolated
    institutional customer. here or there). No need to dream up elaborate causalities or clever plots- just park h(is|er) fat ass
    off to the side somewhere. End of

  14. I had Johnny West and some brown skinned Indian outfitted in light green injun cloth. Man would we kill that damn indian.

    Whoops, I'm not whispering in my head either...am I?

  15. I have an Einstein action figure at home complete with frizzy hair and a piece of chalk. Stace got it for me.... I think most young men learnt the facts of life playing with matel products.
    It is a shame we dont encourage kids to think for themselves, let something entertain you instead of entertaining your self.

  16. I gotta inbutt and say it...

    While Homer Escapeon's post is brilliant and something only he could think up, Aidan's Einstein doll from Stace takes it...

    And did you and he, with his chalk in hand, debate the theory of relativity endlessly, then?

  17. Not a Barbie girl but I had the requisite one or two -- hairless of course. My brother was a GI Joe fanatic and he used to do unspeakable things to my hairless "fashion models." Now Johnny West -- that was more my style. That is, his equine freinds: Comanche,Pancho et al.

  18. I apologise to one for the delay but
    F$@#*N" Blogger ate all of my F&#@N'COMMENTS!
    I'll try again tomorrow

  19. Am I the only one who made Barbie 'hunch' the 'action figures'....nonetheless in a hut I built out of twigs and pine needles.

    Yes, I need help.

    Call my doctor now.

  20. Oh dear, HE, have you upgraded to Blogger Beta?

  21. Anonymous9:44 a.m.

    What always bugged me about GI Joe was they were not anatomically correct. Barbies had big boobies that everyone could see, and seriously, who cares? but Joe? Nothing. Huge disappointment to me.

    Looked at the Joe website. Okay... those action figures are scary and creepy. I've never bought toys like those for my nephews (never bought Barbie's for my nieces) and now I'm glad I never did. Check this guy out: GI Joe Sigma 6 Cobra Ninja Storm Shadow Figure, suitable for five and up. WTF? Five? FIVE?

    And I bet it's not anatomically correct, either. Bastards.

  22. If ever decide to go into the exciting world of fashion design, you could have a second childhood.

  23. I would like to collect those rock star replicas...so far I have only seen Beatles, Kiss and Metallica but if they made Bowie and Cure, XTC, 10cc, Kate Bush..I better stop now.
    I just likes 'em is all.

    What if they had the Barbie Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner dolls for JFK to fool around with..or the Watergate series..Contragate..ohh la la.

    Thanks..Action Man still seems to have a few diehard fans. That is a cool site, if you mean the one with all of the Comic er Illustrated Novel connections.

  24. angel,
    I can totally relate..setting up your own scenarios with all of the stuff was like being a movie director. I spent hundreds of hours lost in my little make believe world.

    Do you mean to say that your boyfriend stole your barbies?
    I would have thought that he would have wanted to play with your boo..er..barbies..you did say High School right?.

    I love your 911 Barbie collection. You sound like Wednesday from the addams family. Be very afraid.

  25. THE michael,
    Wow a civil war nut..cool. There is an undertone in your reply that I respect and acknowledge and appreciate.
    I know that I was pretty lucky..but I had a Dec birthday and I would write out very complete lists for all of my relatives so that between my B-Day and Christmas I could wrangle a decent collection from the entire family.

    Woeful? Now Now. Playing BY myself was fun and a safe place for a painfully shy kid. You have to remember that I was a very private person until...well..I am not sure what happened. It was money well spent and my sister's Barbies didn't seem to mind a little action now and then.

    My sons are continuing the TMNT traditon but SPIDERMAN is my youngest son's favorite now. Spidey has made quite the comeback..those movies were the best superhero flicks...and Batman is great ..the Begins one with Bale..the others were horrible.

  26. man...i never had dolls as a kid. Guess its not very famous over here last time.

    Humans projection of their desires through materials. But wanting something should actually mena working for it...not imaging something.

  27. Awaiting:

    Duh. Does "hunch" mean what I think it must?

  28. Oh man, memory time!!!!!1

    I started out with 'Action Man' and let me tell you, the uniform sets for that beat the crap out of what Hasbro offered in the states in the '60's.

    My favorite was the British Army Red Devil parachutist with working malfunctioning parachute.

    And then there was the Deep Sea Diver with the realistic bends effect when you stopped blowing air into his air supply/magnetic compass.

    And the Australian Army Action Man with a big can o' Fosters.

    And the Free French resistance fighter with working Communist sympathy and a MAT 49

    And the SS Action Man with his own ODESSA membership card, forged Paraguayan passport and reserve of Reichsbank gold bullion

    And the Soviet New Action Man with Degtyarev machine gun and itchy wool suit

    And the Gus Grissom Action Man with working, sinking Mercury capsule - some with working heat shields, some without - try 'em out with dad's propane torch, kids!

    I got slightly disillusioned when they came out with the 10-inch (that's height, you smutmongers) G.I. Joe with 'realistic' facial hair that wore off in patches for a realistic ringworm effect.

    But for tres cool action figure fun in the late 1960's, you couldn't beat Mattel's Major Matt Mason, Captain Steve Storm and their three-story Space Station/moon maiden bait pad and lifting body earth re-entry glider. The best part was playing with the Mason space team and their poseable limbs until the wires broke and they lost all motor control.

    A few years ago, with the commemorative G.I. Joe craze at full tilt, I did run into what had to be the coolest G.I. Joe item I'd ever seen - a quad-mount 40 mm Bofors shipboard anti-aircraft cannon. Wish I'd bought it for a desk display to let my former general manager know with just how much warmth and affection I regard her.

  29. I never owned a Barbie when I was a lil girl...but I did have many other dolls :)

    **GI JOE

    LOL so cute!

    So wut were ya upto in the basement lil boy? ;-)

    G'bye HE Im off to Kiwiland tomorrow for a wedding. See u in abt 12days :) TC!


  30. grumblaya,
    I am sure that they make inaction figures... somewhere in the world somebody's kid is re-enacting a scene from some chapter and verse ..they may update the lingo a bit.

    Life of Brian,
    Aha! That horse and saddle was the cat's ass. Johnny wasn't very pliable but I always thought that his condition was the result of years on the rodeo circuit.

    HELLO! I am so proud of you for admitting that. Did you ever try to fix his hair?

    You have a point they should make a heroes of Science line; Newton, Darwin,and Bill Nye the Science Guy!

  31. andrea,
    Dare I ask why you shaved their heads? Hey Barbie kept hangin' around...my GiJoes hadn't seen a woman in ages either...what do you expect?
    Johnny was awesome..that big, square jaw and all that campfire cookin' gear YEEHAW!
    The horse was beautiful.

    Oh Yeah! I could have called my guys GIGGITY Joes..those guys knew how to party!
    I didn't even understand exactly what they were doing to those Barbies but I knew that I wanted some of that too.They made it look so easy.

    I fear change...won't I lose all of my mojo if I switch to BETA?

    laura elizabeth,
    Oh my...you have a valid point GiJoe was some kind of hermaphroditic marvel. Perhaps that is why he harboured so much anger and needed to lash out.
    Those web sites look fairly scary. I guess that they have to compete with video games...

    it seems to me that little boys always somehow end up playing the same KAPOW..BOOM..AARRRGGH..types of games.

  32. kyknoord,
    As soon as I wrap up my first childhood. I am not sure if I could function as a designer?

    How do you maintain your composure when you are surrounded by beautiful 5'12" chain smoking heroin addicts who left school in grade 8 to move to Paris?
    Talk about shooting fish in a barrel!

    The 'Go US' attitude that permeated North Anmerica after saving the entire world in WW2 is the reason that Canadian kids like me were still recreating the Second World War in the late 60s.

    I mean really GiJoe could have been fighting a
    Viet(Charlie Don't Surf!)Nam Resistance fighter.

    You are OUTTED baby! I knew from your obvious fascination with replicants that you must have been a dolly-boy like moi.
    LOL ringworm, forged Paraguyan passports and itchy wool suits!
    My favorite uniform was the West Point Cadet!!! Talk about Fancy Schmancy..the Barbies were literally throwing themselves at the Joes when they wore those threads. Oh Yeah!

  33. keshi,
    Off to KIWILAND! Have fun.
    I was in my basement playing GOD like every other kid. It was fun deciding who would live and who would die...but I wouldn't want to do it everyday.

  34. but i absolutely loved american cartoons...!

  35. ghosty,
    Johnny Quest was my all time favorite cartoon!

  36. Mmmm.... Johnny Quest.

  37. Anonymous12:54 p.m.

    Johnny Quest was so coool...although I always wondered about his Dad's relationship with his bodyguard,Race Bannon?
    Talk about being ahead of the times ..two Dads and an adopted brother from India Hadji...way ahead.


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