I was watching the episode of The Toys That Made Us G.I. Joe last week. Man It is such a great story. The few guys who had such a passion to create G.I. Joe then pitching it and convincing someone to make toys, comics, and cartoons. Not once but twice. First the original pitch of the 12 inch Joe in the 60’s which basically was pitching a doll to boys similar to the Barbie in size, but this was not a doll, this was an Action figure. Complete with military uniforms, guns, accessories and equipment that a boy could create adventures with a military toy.
Although pitching a military doll to sell to kids was a big risk, there were enough people behind it who put their heart and soul into the product to get it on store shelves and the rest was history. Eventually as the US went through the Vietnam war the Military Joe became the Adventure Joe, and fizzled out in the 70s. The late 70s ended up being a great time, especially for action figures. Hasbro was looking to make a toy to compete with the Star Wars 3-3/4 inch figure which was exploding at the time. In came a few passionate people about creating a 3-3/4 inch G.I. Joe. With a little Kit Bashing of some Mego 3-3/4 inch Chips figures, a few passionate people pitched an idea that eventually got accepted and when the product finally reached retail, absolutely just exploded off the shelves.
With a handful of guys passionate about the figures, the character development and delivering something special to the world, G.I. Joe took over and suddenly households and children were in full gear with new figures, new comics, and new cartoons on a regular basis. People live Ron Rudat, Larry Hama, and Don Levin were the backbone of G.I. Joe and the reason it made it into the mainstream, and was able to become so popular. After watching this show I took a look at the first Season of G.I. Joe the cartoon. I looked at it with a different light. I saw the passion that poured out of all of these guys into the figures, the cartoon, and everything else associated with G.I. Joe. I’m sure everyone has watched this episode of The Toys That Made Us, but if you have not watched it recently, go check it out again, it is so inspiring of what can happen if you put your heart and soul into something. It is the reason Joes are still very much alive in the collectors world and why there are still so many people passionate about G.I. Joe.
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