Monday, August 31, 2009

Now and Then ... Vintage G.I. Joe

If your calendar is anything like mine, it is hard to tell what holiday is around the corner. As schools resume classes, we know there is a day coming that signals the end of summer. Sometimes it is confused with Memorial Day - but it is actually Labor Day.

Recently I found some interesting cards relating to American military men. These were included as a subset in the Topps Heritage product. It seems that there is alot of these inserted into the baseball sets and some non-sports sets.

Although the card below depicts Teddy Roosevelt - it is one of his fellow Rough Riders whose boot leather is displayed on the card- one such Maj. General Austin may have wore these in a charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War. Austin was actually Captain of the 71st Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry entering the war. His wife was also related to President John Adams.

Another card in this set holds a swatch of a signal flag from World War I. Could this have possibly been used to send in the troops or warn a battleship of an attack ?

These are truely cards for grown ups. I am satisfied that the relics disected for these cards were not rare or irreplacible artifacts. Unlike some of the jersey, bats and other sports items - these are common enough to share.
When I was growing up, I always wanted the cool G.I. Joe set with all the accessories - guns, rifles, granades, maps and, of course, a jeep.
What we could afford was the card set made by the Whitman Publishing Company in 1964. It was a good looking colorful set. The G.I. Joe card game was just one of many themed play sets made by Whitman.
The deck consisted of four "suits" - which were the branches of the armed services - an Army foot soldier, a Marine flame thrower, an Air Force pilot and a Navy frogman.

The artwork was exceptional and the design very much in tune with the 1960's. I wonder how good a custom made card might look with a swatch of 1960's uniform added to one of these Whitman cards ? Naaaaaah.
One of the drawbacks of today's issued sets is that they are aimed at strictly at adults. A little more play and a little less labor would be a good advice for the hobby.


Sal said...

Nice cards, but where's Snake-Eyes, Duke, Lady Jaye and Cobra Commander?

Chuck's Used Cards said...

If there are cards of those guys - send them my way - I'll post them.

We never knew about COBRA or any villians by name.

We had plastic army guys - Americans, Germans, Japanese and Russian - made by MARX.

It was the 60's , man.


CaptKirk42 said...

My brother and I had this game as kids. Then for many years we used to find a few of the scattered cards in the basement laundry room which doubled as a storage room. Before the internet I hadn't seen those cards in years then a couple of years ago I searched for them on a whim and found an entry like this one on one of those Classic toys/games sites that apparently was also selling them, but they were out.

Right now I am eying a full set that is on Ebay.

@Sal those Named Joe's were created in the early 1980s when Hasbro shrunk G.I. Joe down from a 12" Action Doll to 3" Action Figures. These cards that chuck is showing were from the 1960s/70s Before Cobra and before all the Joes had names. Back when G.I. Joe really stood for his name "General Issue Joe"

Sal said...

@CaptKirk42 - Oh yes, I know. I was being factious :)

Did you know that the original G.I. Joe was actually integrated into the "Real American Hero" storyline of the 1980s/1990s?