The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

February 6, 2014

GI Joe, the world's first action figure, turns 50

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — G.I. Joe is turning 50.

The birthday of what's called the world's first action figure is being celebrated this month by collectors and the toy maker that introduced it just before the nation plunged into the quagmire that would become the Vietnam War — a storm it seems to have weathered pretty well.

Since Hasbro brought it to the world's attention at the annual toy fair in New York City in early 1964, G.I. Joe has undergone many changes, some the result of shifts in public sentiment for military-themed toys, others dictated by the marketplace.

Still, whether it's the original "movable fighting man" decked out in the uniforms of the four branches of the U.S. military, or today's scaled-down products, G.I. Joe remains a popular brand.

"Joe stood for everything that was meant to be good: fighting evil, doing what's right for people," said Alan Hassenfeld, the 65-year-old former CEO for Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro Inc., whose father, Merrill, oversaw G.I. Joe's development in 1963.

But it's Don Levine, then the company's head of research and development, who is often referred to as the "father" of G.I. Joe for shepherding the toy through design and development. Levine and his team came up with an 11½-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts, and since the company's employees included many military veterans, it was decided to outfit the toy in the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, with such accessories as guns, helmets and vehicles.

Levine, who served in the Army in Korea, said he got the idea for the moveable figure as a way to honor veterans.

But he and his team knew the product wasn't in Hasbro's usual mold, and it took years of pitches before Merrill Hassenfeld gave it the company's full backing.

Text Only
AP National
  • Obama voices skepticism on Russia in Ukraine WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama conveyed skepticism Thursday about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United State and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn't make good on i

    April 18, 2014

  • Late sign-ups improve outlook for Obama health law WASHINGTON (AP) — A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults. Nonetheless, Obama's announcemen

    April 18, 2014

  • Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target's computer systems last December. But the agency says it could take years to identify the criminals who sto

    April 18, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. UKRAINIAN MILITIA DENIES CALLS TO FREE BUILDINGS Pro-Russian insurgents in the east who have been occupying government buildings say they will

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy WASHINGTON (AP) — A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether

    April 18, 2014

  • A year after background check defeat, modest goals WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic worries about this November's elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Ba

    April 16, 2014

  • Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies WASHINGTON (AP) — Negative campaigning and mudslinging may be a fact of life in American politics, but can false accusations made in the heat of an election be punished as a crime? That debate makes its way to the Supreme Court next week as the justi

    April 16, 2014

  • College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT WASHINGTON (AP) — Anxious students — not to mention their parents — can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years. Sample questions for the new version of the college-entrance test were released on Wednesday by the College Boa

    April 16, 2014

  • End of NYPD Muslim surveillance program applauded NEW YORK (AP) — Muslim groups and civil liberties advocates applauded the decision by New York Police Department officials to disband a controversial unit that tracked the daily lives of Muslims as part of efforts to detect terrorism threats, but the

    April 16, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. NEARLY 300 PEOPLE ARE MISSING AFTER KOREAN BOAT SINKS The accident involving a ferry that was headed to a tourist island killed three passenger

    April 16, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National