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.