G. I. JoeG.I. Joe is a military-themed doll made by Hasbro Corp. The name is taken from a 1945 movie, The Story of G.I. Joe, about war correspondent Ernie Pyle in World War II.
G.I. Joe is a popular cartoon television show that ran in the 1980s. The basic premise being good vs.evil, GI Joe is America's highly capable branch of military whose purpose is to defend America and the world against enemy attack and all other evils, their main adversary being the COBRA Organization, a terrorist organization who'll stop at nothing to control the world. The cast of each group is full of colorful and eccentric characters, each having their own individual powers and abilities. The animated show, although dealt with war and fighting, still contained an almost "G" rating as characters were rarely, if ever, killed...even in the most dire of circumstances. G.I. Joe has also appeared as a comic book, with many if its characters being made into action figures. GI Joe, by definition according to its 1980s animated series, states "G.I. Joe is the code name for America's daring, highly-trained special mission force. Its purpose: to defend human freedom against COBRA, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world."
G.I. Joes represent characters of all branches of the United States military, both male and female, to fight against their "enemy", the Cobras, also produced by Hasbro and marketed under the G.I. Joe brand.
Seeing the market success of the Barbie doll, Hasbro thought it needed to have an action figure with whom boys could relate. Because of that, in 1964, they launched the G.I. Joe brand, named after the aforementioned movie. At that time, the G.I. Joe figures were about the size of the Barbie dolls.
In 1967, G.I, Joe talking figures were introduced.
In 1969, soldiers of international armed forces joined the G.I. Joe line up, and Hasbro decided that the entire toy line will be named G.I. Joe. By 1974, the Kung Fu fever had arrived in the United States, so G.I. Joes started to be produced with a "kung fu grip."
In 1975, a bionic warrior figure named Atomic Man sold over one million copies. In 1976, The Intruders, a line of outer space arch rivals, was introduced.
In 1978, the petroleum crisis directly affected G.I. Joes. Since the toy is produced with plastic and petroleum is a major component in the manufacture of plastic, the cost of producing the toy rose substantially, so Hasbro decided to discontinue it.
This was only for a short period, however, as G.I. Joes made a comeback in 1982. The new figures were downsized, being produced at about the size of Star Wars action figures. This was the beginning of the 1980s G.I. Joe frenzy that would eventually lead to the production of posters, t-shirts, video games, board games, kitess, animated movies, and even a cartoon series based on the characters. In 1983, DESTRO was introduced as one of the first characters at the service of the Cobra Commander.
In 1985, both Toy & Lamp; and Hobby World magazines ranked G.I. Joe as the top-selling American toy.
In 1986, wrestler Sgt. Slaughter became the first real person to join the G.I. Joe forces. Football player William "Refrigerator" Perry followed suit in 1987. In 1988, Battle Force 2000 was introduced.
In 1991, the G.I. Joe Ecowarriors line was produced to raise environmental awareness. At this time also, Barbie-sized figures were re-introduced, as part of an exclusive contract with Target retail stores. In 1992, G.I. Joe joined the war on drugs by introducing the Drug Elimination Force (DEF) line of figures.
In 1993, it was decided to separate all G.I. Joes into separate, themed armies, such as the Hall of Fame Joes, the ones with the original figure size. In 1995, figures were released in a new, 4½-inch tall G.I. Joes size.
In 1996, G.I. Joe Extreme figures were introduced, alongside a comic book. In 1997, G.I. Janes were introduced, the first 12-inch female dolls in the G.I. Joe line-up since 1967. This doll is a helicopter pilot.
In 1997, the original G.I. Joe returned via the G.I. JOE MASTERPIECE EDITION (), a unique book-and-figure product.
In 1998, the definitive history of the product, G.I. JOE: THE COMPLETE STORY OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE MAN OF ACTION , by John Michlig (Chronicle Publishing), published.
In 2000, a Navajo Code Talker was introduced, the first G.I. Joe talking figure since the 1970s. The figures include a toy bomb that detonates if handled incorrectly.
In 2001, G.I. Joe honored the soldiers of Pearl Harbor by releasing a line of Pearl Harbor soldiers.
All major GI Joe characters are based on the animated series and commonly referred to by their code names.
- Duke - First Sergent and Field Commander
- Flint - Cheif Warrent Officer
- Scarlet - Intellegence
- Shipwreck - Sailor
- Roadblock - Machine Gunner
- Barbecue - Fire Fighter
- Gung-ho - Marine
- Lady Jaye - Covert Operations
- Bazooka - Bazooka/Missle Specialist
- Alpine - Mountain Climber
- Footloose - Infantry
- Quick Kick - Nija
- Spirit - Tracker
- Torpedo - S.E.A.L.
- Snowjob - Snow Specialist
- Snake Eyes - Commando (Ninja)
- Wild Bill - Helicopter Pilot
- Blowtorch - Flame Thrower
- Cover Girl - Super Model turned Tank Driver
- Beachead - Army Ranger
- General Hawk - Brigader General
- Sgt. Slaughter - Drill Instructor
- Dialtone - Communication Specialist
- Lifeline - Medic
- Iceberg - Snow Specialist
- Lift-Ticket - Helicopter Pilot
- Mainframe - Computer Specialist
- Wet Suit - S.E.A.L.
- Low Light - Night Spotter (Sniper)
Real Life persons honored with G.I. Joe figures
The G.I. Joe brand has honored some real life persons that it deemed as Real American Heroes, as the G.I. Joe slogan says. Among those:
The character is such a part of the U.S. vernacular that a 1997 movie starring Demi Moore was called G.I. Jane.
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