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!

Listen ‘n Fun – The Cobra’s Revenge

9 comments

  • Oh my gawd, as soon as I clicked play I was instantly transported back to the 80’s. I still remember getting this back in the day and actually remembered the goofy Commander and RR impersonator. Sadly, the Listen N Fun Tripwire of mine never got much play and I sold him on eBay not too long ago. I couldn’t get past the orange and mine now lives in Canada!

  • I recall seeing the figure on the shelves but passing on it since I already had the original Tripwire. Man, that music is so 80’s! Gotta give the guy voicing Regan credit for his performance. This stuff was goofier than the older Peter Pan Records, a couple of which I did have. As for the figure itself, I’d say that Trippy here is the spiritual father of everything Neon that came along later.

  • Great, now I want to see a Joe parody with Ren Hoek as Cobra Commander. “Oh boy, Destro. We sure had fun today didn’t we?”

  • The figure is one of those collector’s items that you just can’t explain. But that audio is so bad it’s good!

  • I spotted this at a Radio Shack back in the day and alerted my friend, The Kid Whose Parents Bought Him Everything.

    They bought it for him.

  • L&F Tripwire here and RoC arctic Doc are a coin toss for winner the obnoxious repaints you’ve covered in recent times.

  • Jonah Hardenbrook

    I’ve never heard the story, or even seen this figure in person. Is it fairly scarce?

    The colors would fit in perfectly with my Eco-Warriors!

  • All of these guys blew their noses off just walking around without mine detectors. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I’m not being fooled twice because I have a mine detector now.

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