G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (The MASS Device)


"It's G.I. Joe against Cobra and Destro
Fighting to save the day...."

.....The date is September 12th, 1983. There is only one daytime talk show, Donahue, on the air. There are no judge shows. The dominant forms of daytime television are game shows and soap operas. The internet as we know it does not exist. Cable television is in its infancy, with networks like A&E and Nickelodeon time-sharing the same satellite feed. The Red Sox have not won the World Series since 1918, and the Patriots have never been to the Super Bowl. The Supersonics are still in Seattle, the Kings in Kansas City, and the Clippers in San Diego. The Colts are still the pride of Baltimore, and the Browns are the same to the city of Cleveland. The tallest buildings in New York City are the two towers of the World Trade Center. But, for a generation of children, whether they are watching TV or not, their lives change forever on this day.
.....Known popularly as The MASS Device, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was the first salvo in a historic onslaught of cartoons made directly for animation, the overwhelming majority of which were based on toys, which were suddenly legal again in the US thanks to the deregulation-happy efforts of the Reagan administration. G.I. Joe's path to television screens was a bit more convoluted than most, in no small part because of the history of the original G.I. Joe toyline, which was sold in some fashion from 1964-1978 before being crushed by Kenner's smaller, more diverse line of action figures based on Star Wars. When Hasbro decided to revive the line in 1982, they wanted to use animation to advertise the toys (as their advertising agency, Griffin-Bacal, had a fledgling animation studio named Sunbow Productions), but network rules limited the amount of animation that could be used in toy commercials.....but not for comic books. So, Hasbro struck a deal with Marvel Comics to make a G.I. Joe comic book, giving Marvel (and the writer eventually hired to write it, Larry Hama) free reign to create personalities for the toys (the concept of Cobra being one concept that is credited mostly to Marvel Comics) provided that they integrate the plots of whatever commercial Sunbow would make into the newest issue. The strategy was a huge success for both Hasbro and Marvel, as the comic and the toys were big hits.
.....
The next year, 1983, saw the decision to create a fully-fledged animated series out of the concept. Hiring a writer named Ron Friedman, who was a veteran of live-action TV shows (most prominently Fantasy Island), Sunbow almost entirely reimagined the entire concept, integrating the newest toys along the way. Partnering with Marvel's animation division, Marvel Productions (which itself began life as DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in the '60s before Friz Freleng retired in 1980 and sold the studio to Marvel Comics), the result was a lavishly animated five-part miniseries that told a complete story while leaving the door open for further adventures.

Multimedia

Opening (Apple Lossless format): gijoerahopen
Closing (Apple Lossless format): gijoerahend

 

Episodes

"The Cobra Strikes" (a.k.a. The MASS Device Part I)
"Slave of the Cobra Master" (a.k.a. The MASS Device Part II)
"The Worms of Death" (a.k.a. The MASS Device Part III)
"Duel in the Devil's Cauldron" (a.k.a. The MASS Device Part IV)
"A Stake in the Serpent's Heart" (a.k.a. The MASS Device Part V)

 

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