Sunday, June 21, 2015

At Flashbak: Big Jim (Mattel) - Toy Renaissance Man

My other article at Flashbak this week looks back at the Big Jim Toy line by Mattel.

Here's a snippet, and the url ( )

"As a child growing in the 1970s, I was never as much into Hasbro’s G.I. Joe as some of my friends were. Instead, I absolutely loved Mattel’s toy line, Big Jim.

In case you’re not familiar with this toy personality, Big Jim is a globe-hopping adventurer. Instead of being a soldier in the U.S. Army (like G.I. Joe), Big Jim is what in you might term a renaissance man -- an athlete, a secret agent, an astronaut, a scientist and an outdoors man.

Big Jim’s buddies included Big Jack, Big Josh, Big Jeff, Dr. Steel and Chief Tankua (a Native American man). Many of these figures featured karate chop arms too. You could press down on a square in their backs and they'd expertly deliver a karate chop to an enemy.

As much as I enjoyed these action figures (though I think I only had Big Jim and Big Josh), what really thrilled me were the vehicles and playsets of the line.

I still remember the day my parents bought me the Big Jim Sports Camper, which was released by Mattel in 1972. This eighteen inch-long, four-wheel vehicle came equipped with a yellow fishing boat, two oars, a fishing rod, and a variety of other important camping supplies too.

The camper also included a brown coffee pot, pots and pans, a motorcycle rack, a card table and two fold-out chairs. There' was even a camp fire, a skillet, a lantern and sleeping bag.

The van’s interior also reeks of the disco-decade, fully kitted-up and decorated with cool sporting competition posters, Big Jim's medal/trophies and other goodies. The rear of the van features a small kitchenette with sink and stove, molded in dark brown plastic.

If Big Jim just wants to take in some air, kids could prop open one of the van's side doors as a kind of tent roof. The other side features a sliding plastic door that you can remove all together. The van's rear has a "pop-up" window.

Another great toy was Big Jim’s Rescue Rig. Though created from the same mold as the Camper, the Rescue Rig is a bit longer than the camper, and originally sold for about $13.00.

The huge vehicle, described as "a large mobile unit," features an "Adjustable Rescue Boom" cherry picker, plus such accessories as a fire-axe and hook pole."

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