Sunbow Productions memos

In the 1980s Sunbow Productions, based in New York but with an office in Los Angeles, oversaw production of the animated G.I. Joe cartoon.  Because the show was so intensive — dozens of characters, props, vehicles, and locations, the show bible and “briefing books” were by necessity large three-ring binders filled with photocopies of model sheets, sample dialogue, photos of toys, and lists of names.  All in an effort to properly and correctly feature and advertise Hasbro’s product.  Today’s post is two photocopies of memos to the west coast producers and story editors, likely from Terri Gruskin in NY.

Sunbow Productions internal memos G.I. Joe dated 1984

You may find posts like this — without artwork, or imagery of characters or people — to be dry.  But I find such documents fascinating.  In this case because it’s a reminder that the whole process was a series of revisions and rolling changes.  And even though the memo is unsigned, it’s a concrete document showing a decision being made, and representing the dissemination of that decision.

Also, mid ’84 appears to be when Tomax and Xamot’s names were finalized.  (Without Hasbro documents it would be unfair to call this definitive, but presumably there wasn’t a lag between the decision in Pawtucket and the directive in Los Angeles.)  It’s notable that the TV ad for Marvel Comics’ G.I. Joe issue #37 (printed in spring 1985, but the ad was in the works 6 to 12 months prior) refers to them only as “evil twin brothers,” so their names were in flux while (presumably) Legal cleared them.

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4 Comments

Filed under Animation, G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes

4 responses to “Sunbow Productions memos

  1. JMM

    I do think its kind of cool that we can narrow down the twins’ final naming to a couple of months. I also notice here that there may be some alternate code names there: Dusty/Gila, Quick Kick/Snap Kick.

  2. Nate

    With you, I find this to be pretty interesting stuff. Even if for nothing else than to see what the working names were that different teams were running with before they became the characters and vehicles we all came to know them as. Maybe I’m just a bad, uninformed G.I.Joe fan, but I never knew “Gila” was an alternate name for Dusty.
    Are you any closer to locating a publisher and establishing a publication date?!

  3. Offhand I recall those alternate code names are ones Larry Hama suggested when he wrote the dossiers — he would usually suggest two or three. As for a publisher and a date, I’m still writing and networking, so no news on that front. Thanks both JMM and Nate for your support.

  4. Jack Colby

    I love these kinds of documents. It’s completely fascinating to see the thought process and what might have been.

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