R.I.P. Donald Levine, The Creator Of GI Joe

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. Donald Levine, The Creator 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.

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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.

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Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

[Via The Wall Street Journal]

Image: Victoria Arocho/Associated Press.

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DISCUSSION

DarthClem3
DarthClem3

I had mine during the '70s "Adventure Team" era. I remember buying a friend's command center and jeep at a garage sale, and putting the command center on our ping pong table to turn it into an aircraft carrier. (No, I didn't think to pretend to launch the jeep from the carrier's launch catapult. I was never quite that abusive with my toys.)

I was disgusted when the short figures came out.

UPDATE: This command center.