The Fridge, The G.I. Joe That Helped Win Super Bowl XX – G.I. Gary Vintage Toy Review

February 2, 2019 Author: Gary Viola

In late 1986, as the first wave of 1987 G.I. Joe action figures hit the stores, Hasbro released its latest mail away exclusive figure. “The Fridge,” G.I. Joe’s second real life member, William “The Refrigerator” Perry. During the Bears dominating 1985 season, the team spilled over and became pop culture celebrities. Once they won Super Bowl XX 46-10, the team was almost omnipresent in media, most notably “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” “The Fridge” became one of the players whose personality became larger than life, and most importantly, pretty kid friendly. It’s easy to see why Hasbro made the connection and the deal to license him. He was available from Hasbro Direct from 1987 through 1989.

You needed 5 of these coupons (or combination of coupons and 50 cent phone calls) in order to get him. Remember asking your mom or dad’s for permission to dial a 1-900 number? It was usually easier to get four more new figures!
The Fridge was not the first (or last) football themed character. Bazooka in 1985 is wearing Steve Grogan’s Patriots jersey. Coincidentally, Grogan was one of the quarterbacks that lost Super Bowl XX to the Bears. In 1990, Hasbro released Capt. Grid Iron, who even came with football shaped grenades!
Whipping his football shaped mace! Take that Cobra!

The Fridge did appear in animated commercials advertising his special offer. He did not appear in any comics or the TV show / animated movie.
Reading The Fridge’s file card his primary role was as physical training instructor. Either he had limited imagination, or Hawk felt he was a fearsome enough foe, as The Fridge was his own obstacle course! Keeping his secondary specialty as special services means that he can maintain reserve status and play football during the regular season.
Here’s a good look at the front of “The Fridge.”
He’s molded a little trimmer than his 350lb actual self. He’s wearing a sleeveless jersey and some jersey pants and white boots. The knees have some orange outlines that could represent kneepads. His teeth are painted keeping the gap intact. Reasonably unique is that his head only turns left to right (look at the size of his neck), as the ball swivel neck was the standard construction by 1987.
There are a couple variations with this figure. There is a belt difference regarding the buckle. Mine shown has a silver buckle with red G.I. Joe lettering. There is a variant where the buckle is brown like the rest of his belt and there is silver lettering. Also, the wrist bands are white with blue and red stripes. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the order of the blue and red. Each arm is available with either the red or blue on the inside, so there are a possible four variations just for the arms!
Paint wear is an issue with his belt buckle, hair, and boots. Also, his numbers on his chest can chip easily.
And a quick look at his back and you can see the detail folds that the sculptors crafted. Because he was a large and powerful defensive lineman, no weapons needed to be added to the sculpt.
Here’s a closer look at his weapon. Molded from solid plastic the mace is a fitting accessory for Fridge. I appreciate that it isn’t a traditional weapon, like a gun or sword. It really allows Fridge’s character to shine through and not diminish who he actually was in the real world. One downside of the solid plastic construction is that the chain is not flexible, especially after 30 years. Now would be a great opportunity for a customizer to find a broken one and cut the chain off and replace it with a string (like Shipwreck’s grappling hook). Another thing could be adding some paint, like they did with Big Boa’s punching bag.
Charging hard!

Is the Fridge a must have figure? He’s not really a part of the G.I. Joe mythos so most collectors don’t need to have him. He’s common enough sealed and bagged that he’s still less expensive than retail sealed figures. Nice loose examples are easily affordable for completionists or fans of the 1980s. I rate him a 3.5 out of a 6 pack, that silly grin gets that extra half beverage!

Until Next Time!

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