Action Sailor

It’s not often that we bring up Big Questions around here. So on the occasion of Nice Pants Week 2017, we ask one about one of the oldest GI Joe figures. Why did sailors at one time wear bell bottoms? I thought I knew the answer thanks to a relative who served, but after scouting online sources, it turns out the reason may be forever lost to the mists of time.

Regardless of the historical significance of the circumference of dungaree leg openings, I still find the original GI Joe uniforms to be some of the most interesting clothing in the history of the brand. Part of the reason–it’s actual clothing. Now, does collecting and playing with toys that wear actual mean that you’re collecting and playing with dolls? In the past, I would have said no and staunchly defended Hasbro’s appellation of its movable, clothed figure as an action figure (or movable action man) but as time has worn on, and particularly after I’ve had children, I’ve rethought my position. It’s been a process, but I have no problem identifying action figures as dolls. Your mileage may vary of course, but that’s where I am.

The clothing for the early twelve inch figures is uniquely detailed. The sailor’s work trousers are nicely textured and colored, and I’ve always been impressed by the way the material falls on the figure. No matter how you identify your movable action man, there’s no mistaking nice pants.

One comment

  • I thought that the sailors in the U.S. Navy were still wearing those bell bottom pants. Anyway, I have always wondered if those pants were bell bottom pants, or wide bottom pants. Or are bell bottom, and wide bottom pants, the same thing? As for this figure, it is just too bad that the Hasbro folks did not do an o-ring version of it back in the 90’s. Now that I’m thinking about it, none of the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection figures were black. Maybe they should have released those figures in a box set. But then that box set today would be most likely worth a lot of money, just like the 1997 Bronze Bombers set from Toys R Us. Speaking of the Bronze Bombers, this figure kind of reminds me of the Wayne “Golden” Alexander figure from the 1980’s. Except that one has it’s boots on the outside of the pants. Anyway, I thought about doing an o-ring custom of this figure using the head of that Bronze Bombers figure, but, since their faces are totally different, I don’t think it’ll work.

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