Tripwire (1985 Listen ‘n Fun)
Just how big was GI Joe back in the 80’s? Let’s see: huge toyline, multi-year cartoon and comic book. All of those are hallmarks of a monumental property. The ancillary licensed merchandise is what I find telling about just how ingrained the Joe line became in the public consciousness.
Sure, Star Wars, He-Man, Transformers and other children’s entertainment of the 80’s all had curtains, pajamas, placemats, and even toothbrush holders. But the Joe line had something different; a product that incorporated an action figure, and an exclusive ones at that. I’m talking about read along or audio books; specifically the Listen ‘n Fun cassette with Tripwire. There was no book included in this case, but the concept is the same.
Read along books were a staple of children’s entertainment throughout the 70’s and into the 80’s. They were, for their time, an engrossing media experience. Of course, the effectiveness was largely dependent on the talent (writing, illustration and voice acting) involved. I’m saddened to report that the Listen ‘N Fun cassette was not the greatest hour for Joe entertainment media. The story, entitled The Cobra’s Revenge, is quite cheesy and downright goofy in most respects, but is good for a laugh and a reminder of a bygone era. Between the Peter Lorre impersonator as Cobra Commander and the bad Ronald Reagan impression, I almost blew my drink out of my nose several times.
Tripwire is a repaint of his 1983 original, this time in bright orange and red. Why? I suppose a mine detector may not have to wear olive drab and blend in, particularly if he’s assigned to navigate a
minefield placed around the White House in Washington D.C. (listen to the audio and it will make sense). Okay, I’m really just grasping at straws. I imagine that Marketing wanted a figure that would stand out on the shelves and help kids convince their parents to buy a toy they already had.
So as the package says, listen to the story and have fun playing with your orange Tripwire!