G.I. Joe When Hasbro introduced G.I. Joe action figures in 1964, the company was gambling on the possibility that boys would play with dolls as long as they weren't called dolls. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals

 

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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Collectibles > Feature: G.I. Joe
 


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G.I. JOE
The doll for boys that really put the action into "action figure"

When Hasbro introduced G.I. Joe action figures in 1964, the company was gambling on the possibility that boys would play with dolls as long as they weren't called dolls.

Fortunately, the gamble paid off.

He may have painted-on
hair, but this vintage
G.I. Joe is all man.

Unlike the tiny, green plastic "army men" boys had long played with, and unlike cast-metal soldiers their fathers and grandfathers had marched across bedspreads and tabletops, G.I. Joe was big and accessorizable, the rugged, gun-toting adventurer Barbie's Ken only dreamed of being.

The 12-inch plastic figures with 21 movable parts, clothed in highly realistic uniforms and carrying miniature but otherwise lethal-looking weapons, were a big hit with their largely male owners. The original Joe was soon joined by representatives of the U.S. army, navy, marines, and air force, then by increasingly specialized Joes. Hasbro issues new models every year, retiring earlier ones.

There have been painted-hair Joes and fuzzy-haired Joes, bearded Joes and bionic Joes, Joes of foreign extraction, Joes with Kung Fu grips, and Joes that talk ("Enemy planes hit the dirt!") when you pull their dogtags.

Caption.
G.I. Joe, accessorized
to the max.

A Green Beret Joe, a Blue Angel Joe, a space shuttle Joe, a George Washington Joe, a General Omar Bradley Joe, a Secret Service Joe, Desert Storm Joes, a female helicopter pilot Joe named Jane, and even a Bob Hope Joe have all had their moment in the sun.

For a man on the move, Joe doesn't exactly travel light. He has footlockers and cartridge belts, grenade launchers and bayonets, all-terrain vehicles and helicopters, as well as camouflage clothing for every possible circumstance.

Joe has come in several sizes over the years, as have his accessories, but the 12-inch model remains the most popular.

Toys have a tendency to get played with, of course, making early, unused Joes still in their boxes, guns and ammo intact, highly valuable. The seemingly endless variety of new Joes and accessories and their relatively short period of availability gives collectors much to hanker after, and armchair warriors a safe outlet for righteous urges.

 

 


The new official identification guide to GI Joe and accessories, 1964-1978
by James DeSimone

The Complete Encyclopedia to GI Joe
by Vincent Santelmo

GI Joe: Official Identification and Price Guide 1964-1999
by Vincent Santelmo

GI Joe: The Complete Story of America's Favorite Man of Action
by John Michlig, Don Levine

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