G.I. Joe is a line of action figures produced by the toy company Hasbro. The initial product offering represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Soldier (Army), Action Sailor (Navy), Action Pilot (Air Force) and Action Marine (Marines). The term G.I. stands for Government Issue and became a generic term for U.S. soldiers (predating the action figures), especially ground forces. The development of G.I. Joe led to the coining of the term “action figure”. Yes, these aren’t dolls, these are action figures!
But we can thank Barbie for the existence of G.I. Joe. in 1963, toy creator Stan Weston thought that since Barbie was so popular, he could come up with a similar toy for boys: a line of Barbie-sized dolls with military theme to be marketed for boys. Three prototypes were created: “Rocky the Marine”, “Skip the Sailor”, and “Ace the Pilot.”
Most of you are familiar with the G.I. Joe toy line from the 80’s, which is what I grew up with, but there was a whole other line of G.I. Joe action figures in the 1960’s, and these are awesome! The 1964 version of G.I. Joe were more realistic looking 12″ figures with the classic kung-fu grip and life like hair.