History of Gi JoeWhat's in a name?
Long thought to stand for "Government Issue" the GI in the popular action figure GI Joe if used correctly, actually stands for "Galvanized Iron." It is believed that when Hasbro named the toy when it was first created back in 1964, they believed the still current misconception that the initialism "G.I." stood for Government Issue.
Though the term can be considered accurate used as Government Issue today, it is interesting to know what the term stood for originally.
The name was actually inspired by the 1945 film "The Story of G.I. Joe"
A doll for boys?
After noting the success of the "Barbie" doll, Stan Weston decided to make a doll that could be marketed toward boys. Since the term "doll" had a girly connotation, the term "action figure" was born for Joe.
Stan pitched the idea to Hasbro's creative director Don Levine. The idea was approved and G.I. Joe was put into production shortly thereafter. The first ever 12" line of GI Joe figures launched on Feb 2, 1964.
Joe Line Up
The original line up of G.I. Joe action figures included "Rocky" the Marine, "Skip" the sailor and "Ace" the pilot.
In 1965 the first black Joe was released (in select markets).
1966 saw the introduction of international soldiers added to the Joe roster including Joes from France, Germany and England.
In 1967 Hasbro created the first ever talking G.I. Joe figures.
Later in 1976 Hasbro stopped producing the 12" figures and scaled them down to 8.5". The purpose of the change is believed to be monetary.
Return of a classic
The 12" Joe returned to the production lines in 1991 and was sold exclusively at Target retail stores. The 12" Joe was retired once more in 2005