As the little girls in their winter dress-up dresses wandered in and fell into awe at the American Girl store in Manhattan earlier today, I wondered why little boys don't have a GI Joe store for themselves?
Little girls have their store and cafeteria and a store that sells all kinds of things that make little girls special and precious. Jeepers, it's right across from Rockefeller Center, a block or so away from where the little girls can spend a few hours watching the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes dance through a performance of their Christmas show.
But guys. What do we have?
They were ACTION FIGURES, not dolls. Call them dolls and I'll sock you!
I had a squad of GI Joe action figures. Mine were the original GI Joe action figures issued in the mid-1960s.
I had the IKE jackets, the boots, the rifles, machine guns, etc. We were ready for the Commies.
If I still had them, I could sell them and buy a second house in Nutley. However, when I reached a certain age, I gave them to a friend of mine who had been a Scout leader with me. He came from a large family and had a lot of little brothers yet to grow up. His dad had worked part time at the Two Guys From Harrison department store across the river in Harrison, N.J. The father worked in the sporting goods department and at the end of the season got to take home the tent models - which, fit perfectly to the GI Joe scale in those days.
So, I shipped out my troops and all their packs, rifles, machine guns, ammo boxes, utility shovels in a cardboard box to Bobby's house and that was the last I saw of them.
If there were a store that sold those memories, I think it would do quite well with the guys. At least us old guys who had ACTION FIGURES.
I still have my little men - the cowboys, Indians, Army guys, sailors, marines, horses and stuff. They are in an old battered cookie tin in the attic. You never know when you'll need to call out the troops.
Ernie Pyle by Hasbro
Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.
Hasbro's GI Joe
Ernie Pyle - The Story of GI Joe