Guys and Dolls: G.I. Joe Is 50

On this day in 1964, Hasbro introduced an American icon.

The original team. Should we worry that Joe's dog tags are as big as his head? (Hasbro)

Fifty years ago today, the toy company Hasbro released that American icon, G.I. Joe. Three prototype dolls—whoops, we mean “action figures”—were created: Rocky the Marine/Soldier, Skip the Sailor, and Ace the Pilot. 

Wondering about the scar? Neatorama explains that as the human figure cannot be copyrighted, the scar acts as a trademark. (Wikipedia adds that another, “unintentional” trademark was the “placement of the right thumbnail on the underside of the thumb.”) 


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U.S. Air Force pilot and astronaut Buzz Aldrin busts a move. (Hasbro)

So, how many pilots or astronauts have had a G.I. Joe figure created in their likeness? The list may surprise you. There are obvious choices, like Buzz Aldrin, honored for his status as the second man to walk on the moon. But World War II heroes like Jimmy Doolittle and George S. Patton (who earned his pilot’s license in 1940) are also represented.

Robert Crippen, pilot of the first space shuttle flight (as well as STS-7, STS-41-C, and STS-41-G), has an action figure. So do Dwight Eisenhower (he got his private pilot’s license in 1939) and Douglas MacArthur. 

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Robert Crippen was on the first space shuttle to reach orbit in 1981. (Hasbro)

Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams (commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps as a naval aviator in 1944) is honored, as is journalist Ernie Pyle (the country’s first aviation reporter with a daily column).   

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Ted Williams so enjoyed flying that the Navy had to order him to leave training to accept his American League 1942 Major League Baseball Triple Crown. (Hasbro)

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