G.I. Joe, the figure made to celebrate veterans, turns 50 - WRBL

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G.I. Joe, the figure made to celebrate veterans, turns 50

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G.I. Joe is turning 50 this month. The world's first action figure was introduced in time for Christmas in 1964, and cost customers $4 a piece.             

G.I. Joe collectors will take the opportunity to mark the 50th birthday by displaying their action figures at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs.
          
In the past five decades, the military-themed toys have undergone many changes but it 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.

 Don Levine, then the company's head of research and development, is often referred to as the "father" of G.I. Joe, the  11½-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts.  Many of the company's employees included military veterans, so it was decided to outfit the toy in the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, with such accessories as guns, helmets and vehicles.

Levine, who served in the Army in Korea, said he got the idea for the moveable figure as a way to honor veterans.  

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