Hollywood, California - When the new improved "G.I. Joe" with "Kung-Fu Action Grip" hit the toy store shelves in 1974, it left boys in the neighborhood stuck with their older versions of the 12-inch action figure holding their manhood cheep. So why when did the makers of the "G.I. Joe" movie try giving the audience the slip like they did to the movie critics, leaving it to moviegoers instead to ask the embarrassing question: "What happened to 'G.I' Joe's Kung-Fu Action Grip?"
"I remember when Johnny from across the street got the new G.I. Joe with the Kung-Fu Action Grip," said Albert Conway, 49, who took his son to see "G.I. Joe" movie over the weekend. "All the kids in the neighborhood suddenly lost, through away or feed their old G.I. Joe to their dog."
Later that summer, little Albert Conway finally got his G.I. Joe with Kung-Fu Action Grip after the sudden unexplained choking death of his 5-pound Chihuahua, "Titan".
Created by the Perpetual War Department division of the Hasbro Corporation, G.I. Joe bridged the greatest generation gap ever, blinding the American public of the broken promise of WWII being the war to end all wars, usurping the terminology of that era and perversely applying to the latest generational conflagration for a profit
"Few people realize that the term 'G.I. Joe' was a rather contemptuous one," said James Monroe, a World War II historian. "The 'G' standing for government, and the "I" standing for issue. Or Government Issued Joe, because the life of the American combatant was considered so cheaply regarded by the United States government that the solider thought of himself as no more valuable, or even less at times, than the war equipment the government was issuing at the time. Sadly not much as changed to this day."
In the late 1960s, G.I. Joe hit its peek in popularity the American household chiefly by appealing to head wage earner's nostalgia. That of dad's glory days in action: chasing the Desert Fox, Rommel, through the arid climate of North Africa, storming the beaches of Normandy, raising the American flag on the decimated islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the dropping of the Atomic bomb on Japan. That finally finished yet another fight the Europeans started and which fell to him to finish.
"G.I. Joe not only allowed young boys to re-enact the Vietnam conflict they saw on their living room TV sets on a daily bases in a healthy constructive way," said Dr. Phil by satellite phone. "But with that doll that stood 12-inch high without high heels on, little boys were provided with a sense of release. As a consequence, they were better equipped to reconnect intergenerational-ly with dear old dad, and sometimes more importantly, with dear old mom, too."
By braking down the gender barrier, shattering the social taboo of little boys playing with girly things with their mommies, claims Dr. Phil.
"I know if I didn't have a G.I. Joe doll growing up as a kid, I never would have discovered my feminine side," continued Dr. Phil. "To this day, I take out my G.I. Joe doll and play dress up with my full-grown sons. Just like my mother did with me in her kitchen after daddy left for work each morning. We'd spend hours putting on his uniform, polishing his boots and applying lipstick on his tiny plastic pale lips. Then it was off to the backyard to fight the Vietcong: Mrs. Johnson's cat, 'Charley'. He was part Siamese, you know."
"Yeah, I remember my dad taking me to the toy store and helping me pick out my first G.I. Joe doll," said Lester Anderson, 48, interior designer. "I stopped at the aisle that had the 'Malibu Barbie' RV camping set with her boyfriend 'Ken', but my dad grabbed me by the arm and dragged me kicking and screaming to where they had G.I. Joe with Kung-Fu action grip. Well, I didn't like my G.I. Joe at first. We hardly ever made eye contact, but I eventually grew to love him and especially that Kung-Fu action grip of his. It was to die for. You can retrieve anything with it."
Meanwhile, while the debate on in the minds of psychologists, Gay Activists and radical Feminists as to whether G.I Joe was an action figure or a doll rages on still to this very day, the dust from that argument was settled long ago by the boys in the neighborhood, spilling their imaginary macho blood, sweat and tears on backyard battlefields. Asserting their manhood and yes their heterosexual orientation too, with simulated violence, fighting some guy named "Charlie" from the Vietcong, somewhere in the delta region of Vietnam, mostly -- sometimes Cambodia when nobody was looking. And yes occasionally each other, too. Just like real men do.
"That was one of my favorite scenarios," said Congressman, Roger Masinguover, one of the founding members of the Blue Dog Democrats. "My G.I. Joe doll -- I mean action figure -- would suddenly suffer a psychotic breakdown and join the Republicans -- I mean 'Charlie' -- turning on his fellow Congressmen -- I mean men -- fighting them on healthcare reform -- I mean to the death. Forcing his own party -- I mean platoon -- to take action against me -- I mean him. Oh, how it seems like it was only today -- I mean yesterday -- I mean those were the days."
"I feel cheated," said Conway, as he exited the theater with his son in tow, headed for the parking lot. "I really looked forward to seeing that Kung-Fu Action Grip of his in on the big screen."
Without G.I. Joe's Kung-Fu Action Grip, sharing an all to common childhood experience of senseless simulated carnage with his son, just like he did with his father, now seemed as pointless and mindless as the random acts of valance just witnessed on the silver screen, according to Conway.
"Watching G.I. Joe takeout the bad guys without him using his Kung-Fu Action Grip somehow just wasn't the same," said Conway, pausing to pull out his car keys. "It must be time catching up with me, but I remember the day Johnny let me play with his G.I. Joe with Kung-Fu Action Grip and I accidentally tore its head clean off using its own Kung-Fu Action Grip. Johnny cried the whole daylong. Yup, I'll never forget that day. I remember it clearly because later that same day I found Titan, my Chihuahua, in the backyard lying on the battlefield dead."
Apparently cloaked to death by a tiny hand, judging from the marks left behind, said the Vet.
"But dad made it all better by buying me my own G.I. Joe with Kung-Fu Action Grip," said Conway as he buckled up his seatbelt and prepared to drive away. "You know, it's a strange thing and totally unrelated in way to the matter we were discussing, but Johnny later ended up on death row for murdering a family of Amish people that he clamed at his trial he had to kill in self-defense. Huh, go figure. I never knew the Amish were so prone to such violent outbursts. I guess it has to do with their religion or something."