The Power of Packaging: Chuckles (1987)

How can you make a figure like Chuckles stand out on the shelves and get kids to buy him? I don’t really know, but I certainly picked him up back in 1987. Maybe it was the Hawaiian shirt. Actually, it was probably the cool removable holster.




  • ”Let Chuckles and his Hawaiian shirt join” Magnum P. I”.,in Hawaii,along with Johnathon Higgins”.

  • I had the same thought. Seemed like a safe Magnum p.i…. safe from lawsuits by removing the moustache and changing the hair from brown to blonde.

    For me, Chuckles ended up being bought later in the year, along with the likes of the plain-looking Sneak Peek (who, if painted in dark army colors drawn from 1982, how little would he have differed from 1982 figures?), and the similarly oddly-dressed Gung-Ho. Notice 1987 had 2 Joes not exactly dressed for battle. Sneak Peek had terrible packaging art though.

  • James From Miami

    I ended up getting Chuckles back in 1987 because he was a character that was featured in G.I. Joe The Movie, and also because of that very cool looking removable gun holster. Unfortunately, I ended up losing that tiny little gun in the carpeted floor, soon after I had just gotten the figure. I looked for it like crazy, thinking that I would easily find it, but I never found it. It’s almost as if the carpeted floor had just swallowed that thing. And I was not able to fit any of the other Joe guns that I had in that holster. So I was screwed. Anyway, this figure is way better than that really awful fruity looking 2007 sleeveless shirt version. My only beef with this figure, is that it didn’t look like the way that Chuckles looked in the movie. In the movie Chuckles’ shirt was white, with yellow flowers on it, I think. And his pants were dark blue, not army green. And he did not have that machete sheath on his right leg. In the movie he looked much more like a Miami Vice undercover, than the actual figure did. Some people might see Thomas Magnum in this figure, but others might see Sonny Crockett. Now this might sound crazy, but Big Lob in the movie, was actually wearing Chuckles’ green army pants, with the machete sheath on his right leg. I’m not making this up. Look it up for your selves, and y’all see it. Speaking of differences between the figures, and how they looked in the movie, or the cartoons, Tunnel Rat had on dark blue pants, not black pants. Jinx had the G.I. Joe logo on the right leg of her pants. The dragon on the front of her shirt, was bigger in the movie. And the black belt that was wrapped around her waist, was longer on the front of her body in the movie, than on the figure. And I have always preferred the green shirt that the 85 Flint had in the cartoons, than the black one that he had on his action figure.

    • His animation appearance may have been due to the animators modelling him on an early concept. On the subject of the ’87 movie, I’m also of the opinion that Big lob was an early design which eventually became ‘Hard ball’. There is also a rumour about ‘missing’ animation from the movie. Though in comparison to the Transformers ’86 movie, there wasn’t much either cut or left out.

      • James From Miami

        Sorry for taking too long to respond back to you, but I just wanted to thank you for that information. By the way, both G.I. Joe The Movie, and Transformers The Movie, have always seemed rushed to me. So I have always wondered if there was some extra footage that was left out of both movies. For the Transformers movie there most likely might be some extra footage kept somewhere, in some place. I don’t know about the G.I. Joe movie, but I have read some rumors in some websites.

  • Yeah I always thought Sonny Crocket.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Galoob had the A-Team and LJN had Magnum PI, but too bad they weren’t made with the superior Hasbro construction. If you want to make a Magnum, just swap the head on Chuckles with one of the dark haired guys that has a mustache. Footloose might be the best match for a Tom Selleck head.

  • I thought the figure was pretty lame when my brother got him. But, the holster and pistol salvaged him. I used him as a generic civilian for a while who would either get slaughtered in a Cobra attack or be a terrorist who would attack Joes from inside an A Team van. My opinion of him was also heavily shaped by the terrible Comic #60 artwork. Yeah, yeah, Todd MacFarlane. I still thought it looked weird and Chuckles as a heavily muscled, hairy armed cheeseball kind of killed the character for me for a long time.

  • Chuckles’ saving grace is his filecard writeup. I didn’t really grasp the dark slant as a kid, but I thought it was pretty cool. I remember for a while having him infiltrate the Terror Drome (swapping him with a CG or Viper) and spying on Cobra. But the actual figure with his eye bags is not as exciting as his youthful and dynamic cardart.

  • I actually bought him as a kid because of G.I. Joe #60. He seemed like a tough, take-no-sh!t kind of character. Of course, I was a little disappointed by his old looking head sculpt and lack of muscular features, but in my imagination he was a pretty tough dude.

  • Two words: John Tesh.
    (or, P. Allen Smith)

    Highly overrated figure imo – not much “undercover” about a guy with a big ol machete strapped to his leg.

    Also Flints pants not being camo on his figure & bazookas not being tan on his

  • Magnum P.I. + Templeton Arthur Peck + Sonny Crockett = Chuckles.
    Chuckles is my fave G.I.JOE member!

  • Great figure. Great packaging. Period. There was definitely a Magnum P.I. influence…He was sadly never officially released in the UK, why I’ll never know, maybe Hasbro UK thought he’d be a peg warmer? Yeah, and we got Deejay ironically later down the line during its final hurrah here…Maybe it was to do with how many new figures they could mix with old in the UK / EU range led to him not getting a release here? We always did lag behind the US range by a few years…That said, he’d have made a great mail in figure for the UK market…

    Were kids more sophisticated back then? I think so. The packaging reeks of the fact most kids thought about their choices, the bios written back then were eloquent, well thought out (on the whole) and gave us a wider picture of the toyline and the character you bought…we cannot say that of todays market where everything has to be disposed of, where theres minimal character bio on the back…perhaps kids today are downright lazy, or perhaps designers and copywriters are the lazier ones? Its a real shame…I really wish the Joe line would come back with the same well-thought out design aesthetic that it had in its heyday….Ergo, this is a fine example of great, all round packaging….

  • SpiritoftheBeachhead

    @pork_chop78 : thanks for the great thoughts. As a father with two boys, I hear ya! The toys are in some ways more advanced but also disposable today. I’m amazed now looking back and re-collecting ARAH Joes how much thought and care were put into these toys. They didnt have to have these detailed, sometimes ironic, often accurate bios and back stories with MOS and which weapons they were proficienct with, etc., nor include animals and multiple weapons, bipods, visors, etc. Did we back then really require this to buy or would a figure with just an uzi have convinved us and sufficed? It seems they went above and beyond what they needee to sell toys – like a real labor of love. That seems available today but only with niche and collector markets, not mass market for children.

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