I’ve always felt that one of the best ways to honor our fallen veterans is to do everything possible to avoid sending even more young people to their deaths. Our video tonight is an anti-war cartoon from the National Film Board of Canada that uses stop-motion animation and GI Joes to send an anti-war message. From 1966, Toys is a classic by animator Grant Munro that takes a dark look into the war toys often given to children at Christmas time. Starting off as harmless objects, the toys quickly take on the gestures of real soldiers, mimicking the actions and penalties of a real war. This critical commentary on war and glamorized violence creates a real and frightening battle.
Now, to be honest, it’s not really the anti-war message or loose connection to Memorial Day that earned this film a spot in PopCult. It’s the beautiful, pristine footage of so many terrific vintage toys. Of course, my ulterior motive in presenting this film is that it’s really, really cool to see GI Joe animated so well. I’m a long-time GI Joe collector (even though I concentrate on the Adventure Team era rather than the military stuff), and this is just really cool to watch. There are toys being used and abused in this film that would be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars today. In addition to seeing almost the full range of GI Joe product available in Canada in 1966, we also get to see some other cool toy planes and tanks, and even some vintage Barbie and Ken dolls.
I mean, you could see this as an anti-war film, or you could see it as a cautionary tale about giving children bad LSD. Etither way, just look at those cool toys!