Sunday, May 25, 2014

RIP Donald Levine - Inventor Of GI JOE

Donald Levine, a Hasbro executive credited as the "father" of the immensely popular GI Joe toyline, passed away this past Thursday after succumbing to cancer at the age of 86. Since GI Joe spawned the idea of and the term "action figure," Levine was actually a father to an entire industry.
Levine and his Hasbro team created an 12-inch figure with 21 points of articulation, which went on sale during the Christmas season of 1964. Levine, who served in the Army during the Korean War, outfitted the figure with military uniforms, helmets and guns, both to appeal to boys and honor veterans. Fifty full years later, GI Joe action figures are still available, and have spawned cartoons, live-action movies, videogames, and more.
If you're one of the countless millions who played with GI Joe figures — whether the original 12-inch ones, the 3-3/4th-inch Real American Heroes figures — or enjoyed the cartoon growing up or the recent movies, take a moment today to think of Levine.




Super-Duper ToyBox said...

pretty great box art!

Kal said...

Their box art was always the best. I would never buy one of these sets without the box art but they are very pricey. I would love the one manned Wolfsub.
I did have everything pictured as a kid however. I loved the training tower.

david_b said...

It was the gold standard for box art.

Levine was a bit of an ass though. The guy who had the cool '90s 'Masterpiece Edition' idea (box with repo figure and book side-by-side) lives in my area and I even had him autograph my ME Astronaut.

He told me Levine was a cool guy at first, but kinda swindled the idea after it became successful and sold it to Paramount for those Trek Captain's editions you later saw..

All in all though, Levine gave us such a wonderful gift, for generations to come. To me, he's essentially the grandfather of boy's articulated 'action figures'.