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1964 Hasbro introduced a new kind of action figure, a new
kind of toy. These are called GI Joe's.
It was all because of Hasbro's marketing plan, that Louis
Marx had to counter with their own figure. Stony Smith was
born, and was quickly followed by the well known Best of the
West Johnny West line. Marx was a world class leader with
injection molding and plastics. It was this technology that
would make the Marx action figures we have grown to love and
hunt for today.
The first versions of GI Joes were painted head variations.
They were sold with 4 hair colors, blonde, black, red, and
brown. The painted head versions were produced until 1969,
replaced by "fuzzy hair" versions. The fuzzy heads,
or "Adventure Team" figures, were produced until
Ironically this is when Marx stopped selling the Johnny West
line. Funny how the marketing changed for Hasbro and Marx.
As far as I am concerned, this is where it ended for GI Joe.
GI Joe's (what my friends and I called all 1/6 scale action
figures) were mixed in heavily with Marx figures. GI Joes
came with detailed and painted HP (polystyrene)accessories,
Vs Marx accessories which were solid mold color polyplastic
accessories. For this reason, things tended to get cross mutated
in my toy room. As far as the GI Joes playability, they were
pretty tough to use in combat without a way to hold a weapon!
The hands were stiff, non-pliable like Marx hands. For this
reason, we had limited interest. Johnny West dressed in military
GI Joe fatigues could hold rifles much easier, and handle
the falls down the stairs, hey he was molded in "unbreakable
poly-plastic..". While you may laugh, we had imaginations
as kids. The body mold color was no big deal. What was a big
deal was the lameness with the GI Joe Hands, and some of its
limitations. Nonetheless, We liked our GI Joes and what they
stood for. Many of our fathers fought in live combat, they
were real GI Joes. Based on that alone us post baby boomers
loved these toys. I think of them today as great displaying
If you like the vintage GI Joes, I suggest you try to pick
up the 40th Anniversary series figures. They were well done
in my opinion. Resemble Vintage quite well. They can be found
(if you are lucky) at Toys r US and Walmarts. GI Joes have
nice detail. I really like the Soldiers of the World figures
and hope they will reproduce them. The vintage versions are
pretty hard to find. The detail they have for being made in
the 60's, is pretty impressive, after all they were made as
toys. They were not produced like Dragon models and some of
the other highly detailed figures made today.
Shown in these pictures are a vintage Caucasian G.I. Joe,
next to a timeless reissue African American G.I. Joe. I also
have the paperwork and packaging shown in the background.
I highly recommend Darryl Depriest's and James Desimones books,
a few of Vincent Santelmo's books have some good color pictures
Tom- VTR ....