GI Joe, the world's first action figure, turns 50; collectors won't let toy soldier fade away

The Associated Press

This Jan. 31, 2014 photo shows a Gen. George Patton G.I. Joe action figure, right, and other G.I. Joes in a display at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. A half-century after the 12-inch doll was introduced at a New York City toy fair, the iconic action figure is being celebrated by collectors with a display at the military museum, while the toy's maker plans other anniversary events to be announced later this month. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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The exact date of G.I. Joe's introduction remains hazy. Ashby and others, including Hasbro, believe it was in February 1964 — but American International Toy Fair organizers say it was held in March that year.

Hasbro said it intends to announce details of its 50th anniversary plans during this year's fair in New York on Feb. 16-19.

G.I. Joe was elected into Toy Hall of Fame in 2004, six years after Barbie was enshrined. Hogan said the hall doesn't have policies prohibiting toy weapons from induction, although all candidates must be deemed safe. The U.S. was in the early stages of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq a decade ago, so G.I. Joe's induction didn't meet the opposition it might have faced as the conflicts dragged on, Hogan said.

"I suspect," she said, "most people would have acknowledged that G.I. Joe really does belong in the Toy Hall of Fame."

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