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Prod. and Airdates:


September 1983 - November 1986, syndicated

Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions


September 1989 - January 1992, syndicated

DiC Entertainment


Theme Songs:

mini-series (1983): The M.A.S.S. Device

mini-series (1984): The Revenge of Cobra

season 1 (1985)

season 2 (1986)

mini-series (1989): Operation Dragonfire

season 3 (1990)



ccording to the series' intro, "G.I. Joe is the code name for America's daring, highly trained special mission force. It's purpose: to defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world."


Created for the purpose of promoting an action figure and vehicle toyline from Hasbro, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero had an extensive cast of characters, many of whom appeared in only a few episodes. To create a sense of continuity, some characters appeared on a regular basis and composed the identifying nucleus of the series. These were mainly the head honchos of the Joe and Cobra teams, but over time even the featured characters changed as new characters were promoted over those that Hasbro no longer had an interest in. A few of the prominent members of G.I. Joe were Duke, Flint, Scarlett, Lady Jaye, Snake Eyes, Shipwreck and Sgt. Slaughter. For the Cobra organization, Cobra Commander, Destro, Zartan, The Crimson Twins, The Baroness and Serpentor made regular appearances. Forming the bulk of the Cobra organization, however, was the mass of nameless, indistinguishable soldiers it had at its disposal.



Supposedly taking place in the modern world, the standard technology used by both organizations was on par with the most advanced equipment available to real world military institutions at the time the series was created, with a certain amount of added eccentricity and the occasional super weapon or device. Guns that fire laser blasts do, after all, create a greater visual impression than the projectiles fired from kinetic weapons, and vehicles of a peculiar design (based on the toys) kept things from getting stale.


Because most of the Joe and Cobra members had unique skill sets to go along with their unique appearances, adventures took place all over the globe and under all sorts of conditions. There was never a lack for someone who was qualified to take on whatever challenge was presented. It quickly became apparent however that almost everyone was cross-trained to drive or fly any vehicle and handle any weapon, as most characters seemed competent to handle almost any situation. As an example, the G.I. Joe Skystrikers (their standard jet aircraft) were flown by anyone and everyone (without helmets to boot), so the idea of specialist commandoes at times got a little lost. But it allowed many of the characters to participate in the action wherever it was hottest, and the amount of action the series provided was enough to keep most fans happy.


The bickering, mistrust and jostling for power of the ambitious Cobra leaders provided for much entertainment. Notable to the series was the lack of serious injury to the combatants, considering the sheer number of fight scenes and explosions it contained; the cartoon probably holds the record for most scenes involving pilots who have ejected from a damaged aircraft parachuting to safety. The lengths the Cobra organization went to in its conquest for world power was ultimately for naught, however, because the G.I. Joe team proved time and again it could meet any challenge and was the best in the fight for freedom the world had to offer.


G.I. Joe was created as a five part miniseries in 1983, followed by another miniseries in 1984. The success of the toy line and the cartoon led to a regular G.I. Joe series in 1985, which lasted for two seasons. This was followed by a direct to video movie in 1987, and marked the end of Sunbow/Marvel production run on the series. DiC Entertainment took over production for the next five-part miniseries in 1989, followed by another two regular seasons of episodes beginning in 1990.






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