While it is absolutely true that the first toy series that I followed as a kid was the figures and vehicles offered by Kenner’s Star Wars line – I equally loved both Hasbro’s The Transformers as well as their G.I. Joe series. A lot of that had to do with the animated series for those last two toy lines, something I could watch after school every single weekday and even on the weekends in the case of G.I. Joe. Around the time that Kenner was winding down their Star Wars line of figures my attention was starting to be drawn to the quasi-futuristic toys of G.I. Joe – really it was the 1984 line of those iconic figures beginning with Destro where I truly started paying attention to the toy series.
And while I certainly wasn’t lucky enough to receive something as massive as the USS Flagg – when the Holidays and my birthday rolled around I did manage to snag some amazing vehicles and “new recruits” for my Cobra and G.I. Joe armies. I’m not sure how you might have played with your toys but my G.I. Joe figures were frequently seen hanging out in various Star Wars playsets or even in Castle Grayskull. Having said that, many a battle took place between Cobra and the Joes in Kenner’s Star Wars Imperial Attack Base playset – which I am happy to say I still possess… even if a few pieces have gone missing since 1980.
Probably around 1985 I happened to be with my Grandmother and Grandfather while they were out and about visiting garage sales. This would have been in the Summer when I was out of school and leaving at the crack of dawn and not returning until the early afternoon – after hitting dozens of sales. While I was in no way a perfect kid – I truly do think I was better behaved than most… what I’m getting at is I didn’t ask them to buy me stuff very often. While at one of the sales we came across a rather amazing collection of toys – I’m talking Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe, and even Micronauts.
My Grandmother saw how freaked out I was and told me to pick out a few items and then we would see what kind of bargain might be struck… she was the Queen of haggling, my friends. I ended up with about four G.I. Joe figures that I had wanted and I was about to head over to the Lady running the sale… when my Grandmother asked if I had seen the big box underneath the table where the Joe toys were laid out. I had seen it and thought it was some Hot Wheels race track stuff – I was totally wrong – it was 1983’s G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center playset. I looked through it quickly and was kind of amazed by what I was seeing – this thing had a dual cannon, a prison, a motor pool and communication center and more!
Somehow I had missed seeing the TV commercial for the G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center playset, friends. I do not have the foggiest idea how this escaped my attention but I can also tell you that I NEVER saw this playset in the stores where I was shopping as a kid. So I did ask my Grandmother if there was any way I could pick up the Headquarters – especially since it had a $15 price tag on it. My Grandmother managed to purchase it for a five spot… and I’m going to save the story on how that happened for a future podcast segment. However I hope you will enjoy getting a closer look at the G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center playset courtesy of the folks at RetroBlasting – much like with that Imperial Attack Base playset – I still have the Headquarters in my collection.