We celebrate G.I. Joe Day on February 1 every year. These action figures have been a boy’s first choice since their introduction in 1964. The movable toy came in different superhero models who had different characters, but with one common theme: Action. This was the best-selling toy centered on boys and a pioneer for other toys being created. Did you know that G.I. was initially taken to mean “Galvanized Iron?”
History of G.I. Joe Day
G.I. Joe Day is celebrated on February 1 because the toy was introduced to the market in February 1964 by Hasbro, a toy company. The toy was created by Stanley Weston, a toymaker who felt a toy should be created for boys like Barbie was created for girls.
This idea would turn out to be one of the greatest ideas in toy history, as the G.I. Joes took the world by storm, transforming the toy industry forever.
G.I. stands for ‘Government issue’ or ‘General issue’, and the term G.I. Joe referred to U.S. soldiers during the Second World War. The name was adopted for Hasbro’s military-themed action figures. The toy had different models initially: Action Soldier, Action Sailor, and Action Pilot, each representing the different arms of the army.
A girl version, Action Nurse, was also introduced. But later on, newer versions and variations were created. In 1982, the 3.75-inch model was introduced and was a massive success in the market.
The G.I. Joe action figures became a cartoon series on T.V. in 1983. A movie about the toy was also created in 2009. Hasbro merged with Marvel Comics to release a comic based on the toy collection. Several video games with different storylines on the action figure characters were created. The toy collection has become scarce, although the rarest models like Snake Eyes and Action Nurse are of high value and are sold for over $10,000. Additionally, a 6-inch line of action figures was launched by Hasbro in 2020 called G.I. Joe Classified, which has also been very popular with fans and collectors.
G.I. Joe Day timeline
Cartoonist Dave Breger coins the name G.I. Joe after getting drafted.
Hasbro introduces an action figure toy for boys.
The G.I. Joe cartoon series is aired on T.V.
The toy is installed in the National Toy Hall of Fame, New York.
G.I. Joe Day FAQs
Why was the G.I. Joe discontinued?
It was canceled due to poor marketing and low sales.
How was the G.I. Joe invented?
It was invented to create an option as a toy for boys, just as dolls were for girls.
Was the G.I. Joe cartoon series canceled?
Yes. After the first season broadcast, the show went on a hiatus, without news of renewal.
G.I. Joe Day Activities
Watch a cartoon episode
Celebrate the G.I. Joe toys by watching the old cartoon episodes. They are so entertaining, you might lose track of time.
Dig up your old toy
You probably have the toy boxed up somewhere. Dig it up and have some fun! Perhaps even make it part of your shelf memorabilia.
Share your toy story
Let the younger ones know how you enjoyed your childhood with the action figure. You could even get a new toy to show them.
5 Important Facts About G.I. Joe
The G.I. Joe nurse
A female version of the action figure was created but failed in the market. However, it is now worth a lot of money as it is rare.
The Joe weirdo
A new G.I. Joe superhero, Bullet Man, was introduced but failed in the market as well.
The most expensive G.I. Joe figure is Snake Eyes, which sold for $12,900 on eBay.
Hasbro coined the term to make the toy marketable, as dolls were seen as a girls-only word.
The action star's cereal
G.I. Joe had cereal with variations of the action figures in action poses.
Why We Love G.I. Joe Day
It's one of our favorites
G.I. Joe used to be our first choice for toys (as boys). The holiday reminds us of them.
These toys take us back to the days of boyhood. We spent every break we had reenacting war scenes with our G.I. Joe action figures.
We had fun
While watching the episodes, we had incredible fun. Not only did the episodes have cool characters, but the storylines were immersive too!
G.I. Joe Day dates