Few cartoons represented the spirit of the 1980s more than G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. A team of hard working American men and women, each with their own skills and unique personalities, fighting threats against freedom all over the world. It’s as if Ronald Reagan himself hand-picked the members of each team! All that was missing was a guest appearance by E.T., Knight Rider saving the day with a Rubick’s Cube, and a copy of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
While the G.I. Joe cartoon was, essentially, a scheme to sell action figures, it stood out for some pretty creative writing. Most notable was “The Viper Is Coming,” which not only had a great twist ending, but also gave us a look at what COBRA does when they’re not, you know, trying to take over the world.
So, with that in mind, here’s some fun G.I. Joe trivia.
There were two different G.I. Joe series in the 80s.
The original G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero premiered on September 12, 1983 with a 5-part mini-series. It actually wasn’t until 1986 — following a second mini-series — that it actually got a full pick up. Throughout the run of the first series, Hasbro — the company that produced the G.I. Joe action figures — had been shouldering the production costs of the show. After all, it was essentially a half-hour commercial for the toy line. By 1986, however, Hasbro couldn’t handle the load on their own. So, in 1986, Sunbow/Marvel Productions stopped production.
It wasn’t until 1989 when DIC Entertainment (the animation studio behind Inspector Gadget) offered to restart production and shoulder the burden of the production costs. With a new company came an almost entirely new voice cast, and by the time the series ended for good in 1992, Chris Latta (Cobra Commander) was the only cast member left from the original series.
There was also G.I. Joe Extreme (in 1995, so of course it was extreme), G.I. Joe: Sigma Six in 2005 (where the Joes learn corporate synergy, apparently?) and G.I. Joe: Renegades in 2010 (which was basically “G.I. Joe meets The A-Team).
Sgt. Slaughter left WWE to be in G.I. Joe
Hulk Hogan wasn’t the only all-American patriotic pro wrestling superhero in the 1980’s. When Bob Remus began as the Sgt. Slaughter during the 80’s in the then-WWF, it was as an evil Marine drill instructor who took pleasure in inflicting pain on his opponents. As tensions between the United States and Iran grew in the real world in 1984, Sgt. Slaughter was switched to a patriotic good guy and began feuding with the Iron Sheik in arenas all over the country.