G.I. Joe Creator Passes Away

G.I. Joe creator Don Levinee

Final Mission

G.I. Joe creator Don Levine died of cancer early Thursday at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island. He and his wife Nan were near their 60th wedding anniversary.

Levine guided the action figure through the design and development stages as Hasbro’s head of research and development. He lead the team that  created the original 11½-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts. Since the company’s employees included many military veterans, it was decided that the figures would wear the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and would be equipped with accessories such as guns, helmets and vehicles. These large G.I. Joe figures also featured “lifelike hair” and their trademark “kung-fu grip.”  

12 inch G.I. Joe line

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

G.I. Joe landed on shelves during the 1964 Christmas shopping season and became a big seller at $4 apiece. However, the toy began to lose popularity in the late 1960s as opposition to the Vietnam War intensified and parents shied away from military-themed toys. Hasbro countered in 1970 by introducing Adventure Team. This new wave of  G.I. Joes played down the military connection by equipping the figures with such gear as explorer’s clothing for discovering mummies, and scuba gear to save the oceans.

Original G.I Joe figure

Over the decades G.I. Joe has continued to recruit fans. The 1980s saw the the toy line reimagined as a massive line of 3 3/4  inch figures with special accessories. Many vehicles  and play sets were also created for the line of action figures. This Joe line accompanied a popular cartoon series and comic book line. At the height of its popularity G.I. Joe was given an animated movie.

G.I. Joe became a pop culture icon that remains popular today. There have been different iterations of action figures, cartoons, comic books, games, and more recently two live-action movies. The property even has its own convention, G.I. JoeCon.

Levine’s funeral will be held Sunday morning at Temple Beth-El in Providence. He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren.

Toy Fair 2014 Marvel Figures

Hulk Action Figure

Toy Fair 2014

Marvel unveiled their upcoming toy lines at the 2014 Toy Fair. Marvel looks to have their TV and movie properties well represented with action figures for the Avengers Assemble cartoon, Guardians of the Galaxy movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, although it looks like  the Cap and Spidey waves will have characters that won’t be in the movies, and the 3.25″ Marvel Universe line will continue.

There will also be some role-playing masks so that you can be Starlord or Rocket Raccoon. I’m looking forward to Halloween. I call Rocket Raccoon.

Star Lord  Toy Fair 2014 Rocket Raccoon

Toy Fair 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy figures Toy Fair 2014 Amazing Spider-Man 2 figure

Toy Fair 2014 Amazing Spider-Man 2 figure Toy Fair 2014 Amazing Spider-Man 2 figure

Toy Fair 2014 Captain America The Winter Soldier Figures Toy Fair 2014 Captain America The Winter Soldier Figures

Toy Fair 2014 Marvel Universe figures Toy Fair 2014 Marvel Universe figures

Toy Fair 2014 Marvel Universe figures Toy Fair 2014 Starlord mask and gun set

Toy Fair 2014 Rocket Raccoon mask

Toys Assemble !

Toys Assemble!

New York City’s Toy Fair brings us an assortment of images of upcoming toy releases. Hasbro has an extensive toy line-up planned for the upcoming Avengers movie.  There will be numerous action figures in various scales, an assortment of  3-inch Mini Mighty Mugg two packs that packages a Mighty Avenger with one of their foes, vehicles, and role-play accessories. A few highlights are pictured below.


(Approximate Retail Price: $7.99; Ages: 4 & up; Available: March 2012)

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes…Assembled! A movie event five years in the making, THE AVENGERS brings together MARVEL big-screen heroes IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR, HULK and more for the ultimate Super Hero action spectacular! Kids and collectors alike will want to assemble the whole team from Hasbro’s line of THE AVENGERS 3.75-INCH Action Figures. These figures are fully articulated, movie accurate, and packed with exciting accessories. See all the core team members in their updated costumes, including BLACK WIDOW and new hero HAWKEYE! Each figure sold separately.


(Approximate Retail Price: $69.99; Ages: 4 & up; Available: Fall 2012)

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes need Earth’s most amazing vehicle! Straight out of the upcoming MARVEL film THE AVENGERS, this mobile battle station features launching projectiles and an incredible scale—at over 3 feet long, it’s the largest MARVEL vehicle ever created by Hasbro, with space for over 30 3.75-inch MARVEL action figures! (Figures sold separately.)


(Approximate Retail Price: $29.99; Ages: 4 & up; Available: March 2012)

The signature vehicle from the upcoming MARVEL film THE AVENGERS comes to life as a heroic movie-accurate vehicle. THE AVENGERS QUINJET can speed into battle evil with two modes of action play – Super Sonic Mode and Attack Mode, with launching projectiles! Comes with a 3.75-inch IRON MAN action figure.


(Approximate Retail Price: $24.99; Ages: 5 & up; Available: March 2012)

Offered for the first time in Hasbro’s MARVEL line, kids can pretend to be THE AVENGERS’ mighty archer with this bow! Based on the newest hero from the upcoming film THE AVENGERS, the HAWKEYE BOW features high-performance launching for three included darts, with space to store your extra arrows!


(Approximate Retail Price: $24.99; Ages: 5 & up; Available: March 2012)

CAPTAIN AMERICA’S iconic shield is back, with electronic disc-launching action! Featuring the iconic movie design, the CAPTAIN AMERICA ATTACK SHIELD fires miniature foam disks up to 20 feet! The shield has a diameter of 15 inches and comes with five foam discs. Requires four “AA” batteries, not included.

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