As a kid, I’ve always loved “The Viper is Coming." It’s the one where someone calls Barbeque’s home and announces “This is the Viper” which sounds ominous and threatening. GI Joe preemptively attacks Cobra around the world but doesn’t find “The Viper." It turns out to be a misunderstanding, The Viper is really the Window Wiper.
I thought it was hilarious as a kid and still thought it was pretty clever when I rewatched it in the recent boxset.
Today, I noticed one of my students reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I remember these books as a kid as well. The student was reading a short story called “The Viper” in the book. When I glanced over, imagine my surprise that it’s essentially the same story as the GI Joe episode!
It’s a very brief one page story. The line “This is the Viper” and the punchline is the same. I don’t remember reading “The Viper” when I was younger. Then again, I don’t remember about these scary anthologies other than their gruesome pictures.
The copyright in the book is from 1981 while the GI Joe episode broadcasted in 1985. I’m not accusing the GI Joe writer David Bennett Carren of swiping to cause a ruckus. Plus I'm sure most of the cartoons I loved as a kid were inspired by something else. I just think it’s fascinating that two things I enjoyed as a kid had something in common!