For those not familiar with his name, Stan Weston is GIjOE’s largely unsung, original concept creator; the man who first came up with the idea that would ultimately become “GIjOE: America’s Movable Fighting Man,” the most popular toy in the world.
Mr. Weston’s crowning achievement in toy history netted him a tidy short-term profit and great fame in his profession. But unfortunately, Stan would make a regrettable business decision that later denied him millions of dollars of guaranteed income. Let’s look back on this intriguing story; the very FIRST chapter of GIjOE’s long, 50-year history…
Imagine you’re Stan Weston. As an up and coming product developer, you’re trying to break into the toy business. You’ve come up with a new idea for a children’s military toy line that includes a “rugged-looking scale doll for boys.” It seems promising enough that you spend $52 of your own money on some art supplies and props to create an official business presentation to Hasbro.
Executives at the toy company, including the eventual “Father of GIjOE,” himself, Don Levine, approve your ideas and greenlight a new product line that ultimately becomes GIjOE. In return for your initial pitch (and personal investment of $52), Hasbro offers you a fair choice of compensation: a small royalty on sales in perpetuity (i.e. forever), or a one-time, “complete buyout” payment of $75,000. Which should you choose?
Tough negotiator that you are, you decide to hold out for $100,000. “Deal!” Hasbro replies. You go home, cash in hand. with NOTHING to be ashamed of and EVERYTHING to proud of. Your “rugged doll” concept jumpstarts the creation of what is now recognized as, “The World’s Most Popular Toy.” Pretty good for a couple of days work!
Unfortunately…while the $100,000 you received was a LOT of money back in 1963 (it really was!), your decision to accept Hasbro’s buyout offer quickly proves to be one of the biggest missed opportunities of anyone’s lifetime; ultimately resulting in your loss of MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars of guaranteed income.
Bottom Line: Over the next 50 years, Hasbro goes on to sell over a BILLION dollars worth of GIjOE merchandise. With no end in sight, the loss in income to Mr. Weston is literally staggering. Fortunately, Stan appears to have few regrets and prefers not to dwell on the past. In an article over on The Huffington Post found HERE, Stan’s brother, Jay Weston, describes Stan’s outlook this way:
“Stan once told me a story, about how he was introduced at a convention as “The Father of G.I. Joe,” and a young boy came up to him and said, “Thank you. Joe made me a better student and a better boy.” That’s probably worth more in the realm of heaven than any royalty.”