Mental Floss has a fantastic article on the history of the iconic G.I. Joe action figures, and how Joe had to be rebooted in the 1970s to appeal to new consumers.

What I didn’t know was how Joe shrank from a 12 inch doll to a 3 3/4 inch one - the size of the ones that I used to play with - as a result of the 1973 Oil Crisis. As the cost of oil jumped, so too did the production cost of each toy.

One of the first hurdles Prupis had to clear was the price of petroleum. Middle East oil suppliers had cut production, causing the cost of petroleum to jump from $15 to nearly $40 per barrel. The increased expense of this raw material for plastic would have to be passed on to the consumer, meaning the retail price of new 12-inch G.I. Joe figures and vehicles would be too high for the average household.

Even more interesting was the shift from a realistic toy to one that was more fantastic over time, taking on the qualities of a superhero, rather than that of a regular soldier.

Read the entire article here.

Image Credit: Getty Images.