G.I. Joe’s Cousins, the “Little Green Army Men,” Inducted Into National Toy Hall of Fame in NY

Ah, Little Green Army Men. <sigh> Don’t get us started… Oh, well. You already have. Millions of us grew up playing with these versatile little toys. Typically, they were sold in big bagged sets, with simple cardboard product cards stapled at the top. But this wasn’t a toy we bought for its package design. Looking through the clear bag, you could see all that you needed to know. Some even came with a tank or two (those were the best), or maybe even a little Jeep. I remember spending entire mornings with friends, setting up all the figures (loved those mine-detector guys) in strategic battlelines and then using various homemade projectiles such as rubber bands or “catapults” made out of rulers and bean-bags to try to knock them back down again.

Too grown up to play with toys? Why not become one? Yes, the popularity of the Little Green Army Men has even reached fans of Cosplay, or "costumed play." Yes, that's a REAL person you're looking at, dressed up as a sharp-shooter. Unbelievable! (Photo: like cool)

Too grown up to play with toys? Why not become one? Yes, the popularity of the Little Green Army Men (LGAM) has even reached fans of Cosplay, or “costumed play.” Yes, that’s a REAL person you’re looking at, dressed up as a LGAM sharp-shooter. Unbelievable! (Photo: like cool)

Simple. Cheap. And FUN! As this vintage bag of LGAM reveals, the card at the top was just something to hang the bag of swag by. We could clearly see what we were buying, and didn't really require further inticement. That card went right in the trash. (Photo: ebay)

Simple. Cheap. And FUN! As this vintage bag of LGAM “U.S. Soldiers” reveals, the card at the top was just something used to help hang this “bag of swag” on a peg. Kids could clearly see what they (er…their Mom) were buying, and didn’t really require any further enticement. (Photo: ebay)

We’d take turns lobbing our “objets d’ordnance” at them until a winner was finally decided, or our Mothers called us in for a bologna sandwich, bag of Fritos and Twinkies lunch, which we proceeded to wash down with refreshing cherry Kool-Aid made with REAL sugar. And yet somehow—we survived to tell the tale!

Properly fortified, we’d return to our living room devastation and consider building “forts” out of pillow cushions, or adding the sic-fi effect of a “giant soldier” or two, using such figures as 12-inch GIjOEs or Major Matt Mason’s friend, Captain Lazer (yes, we grew up in the 1960s). Anyway…

Bottom Line: Our bags full of “little green army men” gave us HOURS and HOURS of enjoyable, creative play and memorable entertainment for less than the price of hamburger. It’s no wonder then (to us) that they were just inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY. Those tough little toys came through for us time and time again. They deserve this honor and have EARNED it many times over. Thanks, guys! Congratulations!

(Editor’s Note: If you’ve forgotten how fun these toys can be, we recommend you watch the short video clip above. It’s a scene from Toy Story featuring the voice of R. Lee Ermey and is sure to put a smile on your face.)

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4 thoughts on “G.I. Joe’s Cousins, the “Little Green Army Men,” Inducted Into National Toy Hall of Fame in NY

  1. Ed says:

    Man….. I loved the Little Green Army Men! My brother and I did as exactly as you described. Hours of set up and then mass destruction via flying little plastic planes, rubber bands, bouncey balls. How much cheap fun could be had with a couple of those bags of LGAM. I remember the huge sets too, got one for christmas once. It had an actual fold out plastic play mat with barriers, trees, trucks, tanks, planes, and lots and lots of the little dudes. My favorite was always the commander holding the binocs and a 45 pistol.

  2. Matthew Pak says:

    I wouldn’t call that photo you have a bag of “vintage” army men, not with that choke hazard warning. Kids in my day were on their own!

  3. Joe Essid says:

    Small parts? Product warning? I actually swallowed the head of a little green army man, bitten off to make a rather gruesome casualty. Mom said, hardly looking up, “oh, go back to playing. You’ll be fine.” That would be hard to imagine today. I loved how you could get different colors for enemy forces as well.

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