BEST. GIFTS. EVER. Advent Calendar Day 13: Holy Ship!

Best Gifts Ever

We’re soldiering on with our BEST. GIFTS. EVER. advent calendar with one of the greatest toys of all time!

USS Flagg – G.I. Joe by Hasbro (1985)

Even an image of this toy doesn't fit on our page!
Even an image of this toy doesn’t fit on our page!

I never owned this toy. I also never had my own butler, a dog named Dollar, and I never took a dive into my own skyscraper sized money-bin. The USS Flagg is probably the most iconic “must-have/never-had” toy of my generation, and as such there are no shortage of blog posts and podcasts dedicated to this massive nostalgia-fetish item.

While I was always more of a fan of the crazy scifi weapons and vehicles of GI JOE, I can see why this big guy has some a warm place in our hearts. From its Wikipedia page:

As a toy, it is the largest G.I. Joe playset, measuring in at just under 7’6″. Had it been built to the scale of an actual Nimitz (the aircraft carrier it was modeled off of) for 3 3/4″ figures, the Flagg would have been over 65 feet long, and 13 feet wide. It featured an electronic public address system, which could broadcast a child’s voice, and a two-piece utility vehicle that was part “low tow” tractor, and part fuel delivery trailer. The Flagg had radar, missile launchers, an “Admiral’s Launch”, an elevator deck, and an arrestor cable that fit snugly into the rear stabilizers of the Skystriker aircraft. It came with the “Admiral Keel Haul” action figure.

The toy was bigger than the adults that gave it to you, unless those adults happened to be professional basketball players, which given the 1985 price-tag of $109, was more than likely. Also, I like the part where the PA system could broadcast a child’s voice… not your voice, mind you, but some unknown child’s voice the military actually used on its own aircraft carriers. Creepy.

Also, because you all demanded it, here is what Admiral Keel-Haul looked like.

Hello, sailor!
Hello, sailor!

By far my favorite story involving this toy is apocrypha involving NonPro‘s own Big Poppa Pete. Legend has it that Big Poppa’s poppa bought the toy for Pete when he was young, stowed it in the attic as a surprise, and unceremoniously forgot about it. For years it aged like a fine-1985-boxed-toy (some analogies just don’t translate) until it was uncovered decades later to much shocked fanfare. I may be misremembering this story, as a mint-in-box USS Flagg is worth several thousand dollars and I recently caught Pete riffling through the studio trashcans like Rocket Raccoon on a bender.

Got a fond gift memory you’d like to share? Simply email [email protected] and ask us about writing a guest post!

We’re always interested in hearing from fans and sharing their stories. And if you are a toy maker or seller interested in sponsoring a post, we can make that happen too!


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