GI Joe Adventure Team

GI Joe Sea Adventurer With the winding down of the Vietnam War and the public's increasing sickness and distrust of all things military, Hasbro knew by the end of the 1960's that they had to find a way to re-imagine their popular and successful GI Joe line of action figures, or they stood to lose millions of dollars.

Fortunately, they came up with a solution that was elegant and completely desirable: GI Joe (despite the name) would henceforth be not a World War II-era soldier, but a more general man of adventure, finding himself in far-flung scenes of danger all across the globe. Instead of violence, the action figures would now take on a theme of derring-do, but the boffins at Hasbro were smart enough not just to change the line, but to fill it with enough imagination and quality toys that kids would eat it up; and they did.

The Adventure Team debuted in 1970. The original line consisted of the Sea Adventurer (at right; formerly the Action Sailor); the Land Adventurer (formerly the Action Marine); the Air Adventurer (Action Pilot); the more general Man Of Action (Action Soldier); and the Black Adventurer, a new figure.

One marked difference between the former military Joe figures and the Adventure Team line was that the latter arrived with more realistic flocked hair, rather than the previous painted-on hair (although a number of the earliest figures sported heads left over from previous production runs, so that their flocking was done directly over the painted hair!). The process had been perfected by Pallitoy in England, who were a Hasbro licensee. (The Ken doll from the Barbie line was the first doll/figure with flocked hair.) In addition, the line took another step away from the military look in that three of the figures (the Land, Sea, and Air Adventurers) also sported flocked beards.

Each figure came with its own distinguishing uniform which prominently displayed the Adventure Team logo (a stylized AT in a circle); they also wore distinguishing dogtags, and black boots. In addition, each basic figure was packaged with a revolver in a shoulder holster.

These four initial figures were soon followed by the Talking Adventure Team Commander, an astronaut (who was also released as the Talking Astronaut), a Talking Man of Action, and so on.

One thing that made the series stand out for young boys was that many fascinating vehicle and adventure sets were released. The Adventure Joes were sent on missions to Egypt, the Antarctic, and even into space; to fight fires, detect radiation, or capture dangerous rare animals. The accessory packs helped realize fully the 'adventure' potential of the figure line. Rather than fighting a faceless enemy on the battlefield, the Joes were involved in (more or less) real-world danger situations, no less thrilling for kids than the previous incarnation.

The line proved successful and continued to expand. Soon Hasbro started an Adventure Team Fan Club, which offered such premiums as an identification card, an iron-on patch of the AT logo, a magazine, and more. Other, ancillary toys popped up featuring the Adventure Team characters, such as a Colorforms set, Viewmasters, audio records, and more.