Sunday, August 26, 2018

Can we have a national discussion about this vintage toy advertisement?

Why is a white man in a dress shirt rescuing a black man ... from a sleeping bag?

Why is a 1980s pro wrestler driving the rescue vehicle?

Did Permit Patty have something to do with this?

This was the Big Jim Rescue Rig, which was part of a series of toys sold by Mattel from 1971 to 1986. (That was right in the wheelhouse of my playing-with-toys youth, but I don't have any recollection of it.) The Big Jim Rescue Rig included a shovel, pick, axe, walkie talkie, lantern and chainsaw, according to, which has the lowdown on all things Big Jim.

The guy in the denim vest driving the rescue rig is Big Josh. The black man who is in dire need of rescue in the midst of his nap is Big Jack. According to, Big Jack came with trunks, a dumbbell, a baseball, karate board, muscle band and Big Jack Sportsbook.

Other elements of the wide-ranging Big Jim set of toys (all sold separately, of course) included: tattoo-covered Dr. Steel, arrow-shooting Chief Tankua, outfits for every conceivable sport, a tent, a "Real Action Gorilla," a treasure chest filled with treasure (actually small pieces of non-biodegradable plastic), a ski ramp, a "Kung Fu Studio," a sports camper, a motorcycle, a buggy, a "Sky Commander" set, a "Real-Action Alligator," a katamaran, and much, much more. Check out all the details on, and share your thoughts and memories about Big Jim and His Very Serious Adventures in the comments section.

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