GI Joe Turns 50, The First Action Figure in the World Celebrates
As GI Joe turns 50, we reminisce over the history behind the movable fighting man. GI Joe, the world’s first action figure, was unveiled in 1964 at the annual toy fair in New York. The original GI Joe came in uniforms from the four branches of the military.
“Joe stood for everything that was meant to be good: fighting evil, doing what’s right for people,” states Alan Hassenfield, whose father Merrill oversaw GI Joe’s development.
However, Don Levine, head of research and development, is often known as the creator of GI Joe. Don Levine came up with the idea as a way to honor veterans. It took him several pitches to receive Merrill Hassenfield’s blessing.
“Most boys in the ’60s had a father or a relative who was or had been in the military. Once you’ve bought Joe, you need to buy all the accessories and play sets and add-ons, which was great for business,” states Patricia Hogan, curator at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, home to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
GI Joe originally sold for $4 each. The world’s first action hero became available during the 1964 Christmas shopping season.
GI Joe was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2004. “I suspect, most people would have acknowledged that G.I. Joe really does belong in the Toy Hall of Fame,” states Patricia Hogan.
GI Joe Turns 50, The First Action Figure in the World Celebrates.