The G.I. Joe action figure it probably one of the most popular of all times. Donald Levine, the Hasbro executive who designed this figure, the world’s first action figure, recently died at 86. As head of Hasbro’s research and development team, Levine took the toy through the design and development stages.
Levine, who served in the Army in Korea, said that he got the idea for the figure as a way to honor veterans. The G.I Joe figure hit the shelves in time for Christmas in 1964 and it sold for $4. It was popular until the late 1960s, when opposition to Vietnam intensified and parents started to move away from military related toys.
In the 1970s, to revive the love for G.I Joe, Hasbro added “lifelike hair” and a “kung-fu grip” to the figures and outfitted them with scuba gear to save oceans and with explorer’s clothes.
Today, the G.I. Joe figure has a following that includes comic books, cartoons, two movies, a G.I. Joe Collector’s Club, an annual convention and more.