In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo, G.I. Joe action figures portray Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima in a display at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. A half-century after the 12-inch doll was introduced at a New York City toy fair, the iconic action figure is being celebrated by collectors with a display at the military museum, while the toy’s maker plans other anniversary events to be announced later this month.
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.
Marines with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, practice proper techniques to clear a stairway during an Urban Operations exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 9, 2014. Each building is designed differently to offer an unpredictable layout that Marines would normally experience in UO. The rooms are filled with distracting elements including holes in the walls, open ceilings and multiple doorways.
Lieutenant Gen. John Toolan, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, oversees the reenlistment of Staff Sgt. Timothy Williams, a section leader with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, during an award ceremony held at Camp Las Flores, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Calif., Jan. 7, 2014. Williams, a native of Hudson, Mich., was awarded the Silver Star Medal and Purple Heart for his heroic actions in Afghanistan when he maintained a tactical advantage while being ambushed by a larger enemy force. Williams helped save the lives of multiple Marines and destroyed several enemy positions during the 10 hour attack.
A Marine with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, provides security during a clearing operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 21, 2013. The company established temporary patrol bases and conducted dismounted patrols during a three day operation to build relations with local residents and counter any insurgent presence in the area.
Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines patrol towards their objective during an airfield seizure exercise as a part of Exercise Steel Knight 2014 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 11, 2013. Steel Knight enables 1st Marine Division to test and refine its command and control capabilities by acting as the headquarters element for a forward-deployed Marine expeditionary force.
Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro and other Marines from Delta Company, Infantry Training Battalion , School of Infantry-East, receive final instructions prior to assaulting an objective during the Infantry Integrated Field Training Exercise aboard Camp Geiger, N.C., Nov 15, 2013. Montenegro is one of three female Marines to be the first women to graduate infantry training with the battalion. Delta Company is the first company at ITB with female students as part of a measured, deliberate and responsible collection of data on the performance of female Marines when executing existing infantry tasks and training events, the Marine Corps is soliciting entry-level female Marine volunteers to attend the eight week basic infantryman and infantry rifleman training courses at ITB.