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The Hidden World of G.I.Joe
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 Post subject: Greg Berndtson "Mini-Interview".
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:32 pm 
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EDIT: A portion of this interview has been cut to be addressed at a later date. As it turns out there is more information that can and will be provided in regards to the cut portion. So once all that information is compiled we will release it in its entirety and it will hopefully shed a more interesting and more INFORMED and complete light on the subject. Stay tuned!!


This was a "mini-interview" done with Greg Berndtson back in December of 2011. Greg was one of the most important and influential Hasbro designers on the GI JOE line. Basically, Greg has been interviewed dozens of times and has done panels at Joe Con etc so instead of the usual "What's your name?" and "Why is Duke always smiling?" questions that he and countless other Hasbro designers have been asked over the years... this approach was basically to get some very specific answers to some very specific questions. So it isn't exactly and interview about Greg as much as an attempt to pick his brain and lock down some specifics in regards to age-old rumors and speculation. It's very short but there will be more "mini-interviews" to come from some other former Hasbro designers. I was going to hold off on this until I'd compiled a few more but Greg's ebay auctions always seem to strike up discussion so I figured I'd just let this one go now instead of later. The questions for this "interview" were submitted by Chris "TOPSON" Murray and Pat "notpicard" Stewart. The first question is of course introductory, as not everyone has heard of Greg Berndtson. But other than that everything else is pretty much very specific in nature. These were basically questions WE wanted answers to. A special thanks to Chris Murray and Pat Stewart for compiling some questions and of course a very very very very special thank you to Greg Berndtson who is always very generous with his time and his stories. I talk to Greg every few months and he's always got some amazing anecdote or tale from his days on GI JOE and of course the prototypes and preproduction items he's unleashed unto the collecting world are amazing to say the least. Again this is very short, but then again there's a bunch of interviews with Greg out there so by all means go hunt them down and absorb the history at your leisure.

Some of the answers to these questions we or others have "known" or has been "known" for years but some stuff is always good to ask again in hopes of gleaning more knowledge or better answers or what have you. So for anything that seems redundant to what is already known, keep in mind that not EVERYONE knows. Some people will read this and not have known any of it prior.

This is the Hidden World of GI JOE.

1977:
When did you work for Hasbro / on GI JOE and how did all of that come
about?

I started work ay Hasbro in November of 1977. I was hired as a designer to initially work on a Lego like building block toy concept called TENTE that was licensed by Hasbro to be introduced to the toy world for 1978. After 2 years the line ceased production and I was moved to the general design group. By 1980, the company knew that I was involved in doing military minitures as a hobby so I was utilized to do accessories and small playsets for the then budding concept of GI Joe. By late 1985 I was named as Design Director of the GI Joe design group and was leader of the group till 1994.


1984:
There are many indications that the Killer WHALE was originally going to be a motorized vehicle. Was this feature removed because of cost or
because of the difficulty in getting it to function?

There was never any desire to make this a motorized vehicle. We did want to have the motorcycle or sea sled be able to shoot out when the ramp opened.


1985:
The 1985 Tripwire figure that was included with a "Listen & Fun" book and tape was quite different in color compared to the other G.I.Joe
figures. Was the color of this figure designed by the regular G.I.Joe design team of the time or was it done by the group doing Listen & Fun?
Were any other Listen&Fun GI Joe figures planned?

That was not done by our design group. Something like that would've probably been handled by the marketing group.

1986:
What accessories were going to come with Rocky Balboa?

He was to come with boxing gloves that could fit on his hands and a punching bag on a stand.


1987:
Crystal Ball's filecard is rumored to have been written by Stephen King while Sneak Peek's filecard bears the filename of his son, Owen King.
An entirely different filecard submitted by Larry Hama has been found. Stephen King visited Hasbro in the 80s. Can it be confirmed that
Crystal Ball's filecard was written by King?

Usually the file cards were handled by the Marketing person working on the brand at the time. But we also heard those rumors so I cannot confirm or deny them.

1989:
Why were some figures intended for release in the US produced in South America when the majority were manufactured in China (and Hong Kong)?

The special segments like Slaughter's marauders and Tiger Force were done there due to tooling being there and the company wanting to utilize the capabilities of the South American licensees. Personally I didn't mind as I had wanted to go there and see the area. ( I never went though).

1989-1992:
A Cobra helicopter appeared repeatedly in the DiC cartoon episodes but was never seen in toy form. Its distinct design suggests that it
probably came from Hasbro rather than being a simple placeholder created by the animation company. Do you have any other details
regarding this helicopter?

There were many things in the cartoons that were not toys. As designers of the toys, we felt we were the lead in doing the figure and vehicle designs. However, DIC did do some off the wall type stuff that appeared in the cartoons.



1995: We know that some previously existing characters were considered for release in the Sgt. Savage toyline. Was this Duke created for the
Sgt. Savage set? If not, what was the purpose of this figure? http://www.yojoe.com/archive/preprod/95/duke.shtml

No. This was just a test shot for a new way to make a 'beefier' style figure as an attempt to compete with the changing marketplace. This change would've been incorporated line wide.

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Last edited by Gyre-Viper on Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Berndtson "Mini-Interview".
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:14 pm
Posts: 192
Location: Greensboro, NC
Pretty interesting read. I had never seen nor heard of that Duke or the Battle Scan concept and while I had heard that Big Boa was made from what would have been Rocky, I hadn't heard that Big Boa's accessories would have come with Rocky too.

Thanks for posting this!

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Berndtson "Mini-Interview".
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:23 am
Posts: 7
Location: Denver, CO
Quite fascinating! The Battle Scan was years ahead of its time, but judging how the Star Wars CommTech system played out in 1999, it would've tanked. The Sonic Fighters may've been a little cheesy, but it's worth it just to hear Stalker yell "Let's Party!"


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Berndtson "Mini-Interview".
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:05 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 55
Agreed. I'd take the Battle Talkers over the Battle Scanners any day of the week.


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 Post subject: Re: Greg Berndtson "Mini-Interview".
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:48 pm
Posts: 20
Location: The Morg, CO
A very interesting interview.

I'm especially interested in the last question about existing character in the Sgt. Savage. Is there any additional information floating around about that?

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 Post subject: Re: Greg Berndtson "Mini-Interview".
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:33 am 
Booth Staff
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:35 am
Posts: 292
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Battle Scan question/answer has been removed by request. (Don't worry... if you missed it... it will return.) heheh.
That portion of this interview has been cut to be addressed at a later date. As it turns out there is more information that can and will be provided in regards to the cut portion. So once all that information is compiled we will release it in its entirety and it will hopefully shed a more interesting and more INFORMED and complete light on the subject. Stay tuned!!

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http://jdso.podbean.com/


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