It’s pretty funny that Hasbro decided to follow-up the short-lived Drug Elimination Force line with the over-the-top macho craziness of Battle Force. I mean, it’s not like the D.E.F. line was overly serious (see: Headman), but all that “very special episode” stuff is out the window in favor of neon, muscles and spring-launching weapons.
From perusing the fantastic YOJOE.com I realized that the early 90s were my personal heyday when it came to getting Joe toys. Some of the lines were crazier than others, but I was a kid who wanted to play with he-men, ninjas and evil bad guys, some covered in armor, so it was all gravy for me. How, I didn’t get into the sci-fi-themed Star Brigade figures and why there’s not a commercial for the whole line on YouTube will remain a mystery for now.
The early to mid 90s were a crazy time for kids. There was this huge push to make sure we didn’t use drugs or join gangs so many schools (including mine) decided to scare the crap out of students by presenting them with way too much information. I remember one time when a cop came and showed us samples of drugs most of us hadn’t even heard of and an assembly where they showed us videos about gangs that gave me nightmares for a good long time. Thanks Christ the King!
The anti-drug message carried over into the world of animation and toys, as you can see in this commercial for the G.I. Joe: Drug Elimination Force line captured by Dinosaur Dracula. They are hitting this thing hard and not even going for a subtle metaphor in the slightest! I thought the gangster-esque bad guy was even called Hitman, but it’s actually Headman as you can see on the packaging.
While watching this commercial, I was surprised to realize I had a few of these toys, specifically Cutter and Mutt with Junkyard. I’d have to dig through my box, though, to realize if they were actually part of the D.E.F. line or Battle Corps which came out immediately after this and will be the subject of next week’s TCT! I hope it also features amazing live-action craziness!. That’s my favorite thing about looking back at these old spots. Has anyone tried to put them all together as an actual film? Because they should.