A Catalog Wish
There are no calling birds to be found on this fourth day of the twelve Joe A Days of Christmas, but there is a calling from a simpler time–1984, to be exact. From a childhood tome of toy wishes, and its aged pages come memories of the Real American Hero’s less remembered product.
We’ll never see the likes of the old Christmas catalogs again. All of the major stores of the past have either discontinued their catalog ordering system in favor of online sales or disappeared completely. The Montgomery Wards and Service Merchandise of the world are gone forever, and with them a quaint old way of doing business. When I was a kid, I waited eagerly for each year’s holiday catalog come September, expecting to see the latest toy offerings.
Along with the toys came the ancillary merchandise, which was usually interspersed throughout the catalog in the appropriate sections. Of course, most of the non-toy sections of the Christmas catalogs were passed over by me. However, sometimes a few items would catch my eye. The Wards catalog of 1984 changes things up a bit by presenting each toy line’s other merchandise on the facing page. A nice marketing strategy, I think, and a way to better sell some of the crazier offerings of the time.
On this page, we’ve got a decent selection of role play and indoor camp-out items. The kid tent and sleeping bag were a staple of the times, and the Joe items fare pretty well in terms of the graphics. The sleeping bag in particular has some cool depictions of Grunt and Flash, two of my early figure favorites. The roof of the tent features the iconic cover to Marvel Comics issue #1. I’d love to have both of these items for the JAD Man Cave, but my feet would most likely stick out.
If ride-ons were your thing, the GI Joe snowmobile and Power Cycle (come on, it’s a Big Wheel) would have kept you busy in the driveway throughout the year. I never had, or knew anyone who had one of the snowmobiles, so I can’t attest to its prowess in the snow, but it sure looks cool. A Polar Battle Bear deco would have been ever better, but alas, one can only dream.
Finally, Joe fans got a plethora of walkie-talkies. From headsets to a field phone, and the traditional hand held sets, you and your friends could stay in touch on the battlefield. That field phone bears a remarkable resemblance to Firefly’s famous phone. And hey, they’re all FCC approved!
For a final jolt of nostalgia, and in case you’re curious how modern prices stack up to the old stuff in regards to inflation, check out the prices at the bottom of the page. Man, I want a $19.97 Skystriker! Now, where did I park my DeLorean?