Current feature: GI JOE, by Hasbro! 1964!

What is this action figure that spawn the birth of Marx Action figures? The first being Stony Smith-

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In 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 1976.

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 models.

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 too.

Tom- VTR ....


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