1982 JC Penney Christmas Catalog: GI Joe
Here’s the first offering of the Real American Hero line in the JC Penney Christmas Catalog. I find these catalog shots fascinating for several reasons: the often missing or incorrectly assembled vehicles, custom made diorama elements, and non-Hasbro accessories.
This setup looks quite hastily assembled in comparison to later gorgeous displays featured in 1983 and 1984. First off, the GI Joe logo. I know, this is the era before Photoshop and digital imaging, but the poor Joe logo looks like a rushed cut-and-paste affair. Maybe Penney’s didn’t get their product in time to put together a real smash-bang display for their photo session. There is something to be said for such a stark display of product, however. The figures sell themselves.
Sometimes the catalog shots get the some assembly required wrong, or leave out parts of the line. The FLAK and VAMP are noticeably absent. The lack of a major first year Joe ride like the VAMP is surprising. The JUMP is missing the jet pack, and its control unit is simply sitting to the side. Maybe Grand Slam has it out for repair.
My favorite part of this page is the military command HQ. That’s actually what it’s called in the listing. At first, I thought this thing was a re-release of the Mego Batcave playset, but on closer inspection of the tiny inset photo, it appears to be something different. I’ve checked around online, and this thing is a real mystery. It also apparently came with the playmat in the photo. Anyone have info on it? The scale of the playmat and the cannons on the top make me wonder if it might even be a repurposed 54mm (think Marx army men) playset. Certainly Intriguing.