NORFOLK, Va. -- June 26, 2002 -- Hundreds of G.I. JOE brand enthusiasts from around the world meet each year to celebrate the world's first action figure -- the one most identified with American heroism and bravery by kids and collectors alike.
With a rich military history and home of the world's largest naval installation, Norfolk is playing host on June 29 and 30 to the 2002 International G.I. JOE Collectors' Convention, sponsored by Hasbro, Inc. and the G.I. JOE Collectors' Club. This year's theme is "Legacy of Valor," paying tribute to the themes of heroism, bravery and courage exemplified by the brand for almost four decades.
To get this year's convention off to a flying start, hundreds of parachute-equipped G.I. JOE figures will fill the skies over Norfolk. On Friday, June 28, G.I. JOE enthusiasts will convene atop the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside hotel (the convention site) to let fly more than 500 specially-equipped, 3.75-inch tall G.I. JOE figures, which will drift down to earth as their chutes release. The parachute drop is open to all registered attendees age 13 and over (minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian).
The convention is not the only highlight of exciting activities for the G.I. JOE brand this summer. The original fan-favorite G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero animated series is returning to Cartoon Network for a six-week run, beginning July 1.
"The convention is always exciting for Hasbro because it gives us the opportunity to meet and reaffirm our commitment to loyal G.I. JOE collectors, many of whom have been big fans since they were kids," said Derryl DePriest, Director of Marketing for Hasbro's G.I. JOE brand. "The G.I. JOE brand is also a big hit with the current generation of kids, one of the reasons why the original G.I. JOE animated series is making a return to television this July. We're looking forward to many more celebrations like this one, which is the ultimate expression of the excitement and fun of the G.I. JOE brand."
"G.I. JOE has become an integral part of Americana, a real hero who we can all identify," said Brian Savage, president of the G.I. JOE Collectors' Club. "We're honored and excited this year to call Norfolk the Convention's home, and are looking forward to a terrific weekend for G.I. JOE fans from all over."
The world's first action figure, G.I. JOE, has captivated the adventurous minds of children and adults for more than 38 years. Since 1997, the annual conventions have drawn large crowds, reflecting G.I. JOE brand's enduring appeal. This year's convention offers something for everyone, including a 18,000 square-foot sales area with more than 200 tables of G.I. JOE merchandise. The schedule includes collecting seminars, package tours, pre-convention tours, and a charity event to benefit the Hasbro Children's Hospital are also featured. Guest appearances include Josh Blaydock, current writer and artist for the G.I. JOE REAL AMERICAN HERO comic book; and Larry Hama and, the entertainment and comic industry veteran credited with the creation of the "G.I. JOE VERSUS COBRA" universe of stories and characters. Other events include diorama, photography and custom figure contests sponsored by Toys "R" Us, with more than $1,700 in prizes available.
Convention-goers can choose from a variety of attendance packages. This year's "Generals Package" comes with two Battle of Leyte Gulf figures representing the largest naval battle in history. The 12-inch talking figures -- an American Battleship Captain and a Japanese Battleship Captain -- feature vintage reproduction body styles. Each figure says six different phrases (the Japanese figure speaks Japanese) and comes equipped with two uniforms: service dress and undress (work clothes).
General admission to the convention is $8 for adults and $6 for children. Children under 4 will be admitted free of charge. General admission hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Hasbro International G.I. JOE Collectors' Convention is the only official Hasbro-sponsored G.I. JOE event. It is held each summer in different cities across the U.S. For additional information about the Convention, or to order a registration packet, call 817/448-9863, or visit www.mastercollector.com.
Hasbro is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, SUPER SOAKER, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
(a) Instructions for the parachute drop with be distributed at the convention.
G.I. JOE is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc.(c)2001 Hasbro, Inc. All rights Reserved.