Saturday, May 24, 2014

Donald Levine Has Passed Away...

...and while you may be wondering, who was Donald Levine, let me tell you he brought many a happy adventure to the lives of countless children (mostly boys) in the 1960s and 1970s. You see, he was the head of research and development for Hasbro, the toy company, back in the mid 1960s though 1970s. He also was the creator of the first action figure with moving parts - GI Joe (source).

GI Joe hit the market in late 1964, when I was 9 years old. I remember some of my friends had them and I pestered my mom for one for a long time before she finally relented and got me one. I cannot recall if it was at the same time I got GI Joe, or later, when I was also surprised with a GI Joe footlocker too. I imagine I would have gotten a GI Joe without any fuss and much sooner too had we not been piss poor. Now, when I look back on it, I am surprised I got one at all; at $4.00 it was an expensive toy, at least for us.

Cost be damned, it was among the best toys I ever had and it got a lot of play time. My son got to play with GI Joe too, not the original sized 11.5" figure but the smaller versions that came out in the 80s.

GI Joe was based upon honoring military veterans and was accessorized with military uniforms, helmets, guns and other weapons of all sorts. The idea to create an action figure, with moving parts, and to dress them in military uniforms to honor vets was Mr. Levine's idea, he was a vet himself. Imagine kids being allowed, even encouraged, to play with military action figures and that they would not get expelled or suspended if they brought them and their tiny toy weapons to school. It was another age.

More on Mr. Levine's story here: http://www.foxnews.c...tcmp=latestnews

Rest In Peace.

All the best,
Glenn B          


Windy Wilson said...

Which one did you get? I'm apparently your age and got one at the same time. Mine was the Marine, and my brother got the sailor because our dad was in the Navy in WW2, and our other brother got the Army man. The boys in our neighborhood all got together and played GI Joes. One of the other kid's dads built him a to-scale boat. We had to make do with the jeep and helicopter :)

Glenn B said...

I had the Soldier as I recall but it could have been another because I remember the orange outfit and the knife strapped to his leg. Could be that later I got the other outfit for him. Too long ago and a lot of not so good experiences back during those days make it a bit fuzzy.