G.I. Joe History

March 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Antique Toy History

As the Barbie doll was a favorite toy for girls, the G.I. Joe was the equivalent for boys. Boys who loved to play with toy guns embraced G.I. Joe. In fact, the Barbie doll spurred the conception of the G.I. Joe action figure. Stan Weston, a toy creator and licensing agent, wanted to duplicate the success of the Barbie doll with young boys. His idea was to create a line of Barbie-sized dolls with a military theme. Weston submitted his idea to the creative director of Hasbro, Don Levine. Hasbro introduced the G.I. Joe products in 1964. G.I. Joe, first toy titled an action figure, was 12” long. The first G.I. Joes represented the four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: Action Soldier (Army), Action Sailor (Navy), Action Pilot (Air Force) and Action Marine (USMC). Originally, the action figures were named “Rocky”, “Skip” and “Ace.” Levine was inspired by the popular 1945 film The Story of G.I. Joe which became the name for the popular action figure.

The G.I. Joe series has evolved with the times. A black G.I. Joe action figure was introduced in selected markets in 1965. Soldiers from France, Germany and England, joined the G.I. Joe line in 1966. The Action Nurse was made in 1967 and was the first female G.I. Joe. Today Vintage GI Joe Action figures are more popular than ever and collectors and enthusiasts are eager to find vintage action figures and accessories.

Vintage Johnny Hero Toys

February 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Antique Toy History

During the 1960’s, GI Joe was quickly becoming one of the hottest action figures on the market. In response to the success of GI Joe, Sears asked Rosko Industries to build a toy that would rival GI Joe and thus, Johnny Hero was born.

The action figure itself was about 13 inches tall with a plastic head and heavy foam body. Unforunately this foam was a bit of a downfall with the toy as it made it hard to remove the many outfits that children would collect and change the action figure into a new outfit. Over time the foam would break and therefore many of these action figures did not survive.

Johnny Hero was not specifically a soldier like GI Joe action figures, but a toy that could be dressed up like an athlete. Buying the Johnn Hero action figure was only the first step for a child receiving the Johnny Hero action figure. Now came the fun part of buying clothes to change the look of the action figure. The stock outfit was a red track suit complete with socks and running shoes. Soon, sports teams would catch on to Johnn Hero and used the toy as a means of marketing their team brand. Some of the teams that created Johnny Hero outfits in their team colours and logos were the Vikings, Redskins and Eagles to name just a few.

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