Tag Archives: Don Levine

Stan Weston, The Inventor of G.I. Joe, Dead at 84

It Was His Idea— Stan Weston (at 82) holds up a copy of Hasbro’s original 1964 GIjOE Action Soldier, a product line produced from Weston’s original concept which he created and sold to the company in 1963. When the copyrights to GIjOE expired in 2020, Weston hoped to reclaim control over his creation in a court of law. It is unclear whether or not the lawsuit will continue. (Photo: Stan Weston)

As reported May 8, 2017 in the Hollywood Reporter:

“Stanley Weston, inventor of the G.I. Joe action figure and a pioneer of the licensing business, died May 1 in Los Angeles, his daughter, Cindy Winebaum, announced. He was 84.

Weston was born in Brooklyn in 1933 and served in the Army shortly after the Korean War ended. When he returned home to New York, he found a job with the advertising agency McCann Erickson and enrolled in night courses for an MBA at New York University, where he had studied as an undergraduate.

Weston soon discovered a talent for the up-and-coming licensing and merchandising industry, and he struck out on his own to found Weston Merchandising.

When Mattel’s Barbie dolls were introduced in 1960, Weston realized boys were an untapped market for the doll industry after noting that many of them played with Ken dolls. He conceived of the idea of a military action figure and in 1963 sold what would become G.I. Joe to Hasbro. The runaway hit would go on to be one of the most enduring toy lines in history, spawning hit TV shows and films as well.

Weston later renamed his company Leisure Concepts, which would represent clients such as Charlie’s Angels-era Farrah Fawcett, Nintendo and the World Wrestling Federation, as well as TV shows including Alf and Welcome Back, Kotter. His other notable achievements include helping create the 1980s animated phenomenon ThunderCats.

In 1989, he was among the inaugural class for the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame, which includes notables Walt Disney, George Lucas and Jim Henson.

Weston is survived by his brother, his three children and five grandchildren.”

Bottom Line: Stan Weston came up with the original idea for the GIjOE toy. He quickly sold the rights to Hasbro. Don Levine (see Levine’s obituary article HERE) took the idea and made an American toy icon that will probably live forever in some form or another. At this moment, we’re not sure whether Weston’s lawsuit to recoup trademark rights to GIjOE (see that article HERE) will continue in the courts, but whenever those plans are made public, we’ll pass the information on to you ASAP. Our sincerest condolences to Stan’s family. Rest in Peace, Mr. Weston and THANKS!

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Auction STUNNER! Don Levine’s CIA-Commissioned 1:6 Prototype Osama Bin Laden Action Figure Sells For $11,879.00 to Anonymous Collector

The figure's COA from the Nate and

The winning bidder of Don Levine’s controversial prototype Osama Bin Laden action figure also received a COA from the NDSA (and Levine’s estate) confirming its unusual history. (Photo: NDSA)

As the

The official bid window at the NDSA auction website revealed the final selling price of Levine’s Osama Bin Laden prototype was a staggering $11,879. WOW!

Even in Death, “The Father of G.I. Joe,” Don Levine, Continues to Make Action Figure History

When the auctioneer’s hammer finally came down on Don Levine’s prototype Osama Bin Laden action figure, its sale netted Levine’s estate the tidy sum of $11,879.00. As most collectors of 1:6 scale GIjOEs already know, the CIA-commissioned origins behind Levine’s most controversial creation have been well-documented here on The Joe Report, but this recent chapter in its unique history will undoubtedly make Don’s OBL figure even more intriguing to fans. After the auction ended, we asked NDSA copywriter/rep, Ian Gould, for a comment and he replied:
Ian Gould, NDSA copywriter and company rep (Photo: Ian Gould)

Ian Gould, copywriter, Nate D. Sanders Auctions (Photo: Ian Gould)

“I can’t reveal the identity of the final buyer, unfortunately. Generally, the bidding of the prototypes went fairly quietly. We received a few bids right at the end, 7 in total. The Osama Bin Laden figure was publicized in a number of media outlets, so when it sold for over $11,000, we thought that was pretty impressive. Russell Brand even did a bit about it on his show.”
British comedian, Russell Brand, relishes discussing the OBL action figure in a video recently released on YouTube. (Photo: Russell Brand)

British comedian, Russell Brand, clearly relished discussing the OBL action figure and its auction in a video recently released on YouTube. (Photo: Russell Brand)

Bottom Line: While Bin Laden’s real-life actions created misery for untold millions, it’s comforting to know that the sale of this OBL prototype has yielded the family and estate of (a truly wonderful man) Don Levine, a modicum of financial benefit. Finally, there’s been a (mostly) funny video (see below) made about this whole affair by British comedian, Russell Brand. Whatever your opinion of Brand and his views, his hyperactive dissection of Gould’s copywriting and description of the OBL figure is pretty darn funny. Thankfully, Ian can clearly take Brand’s ribbing, as he described the comedian’s video about his writing this way:

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“It was pretty cool, indeed. You never know what’s going to happen at this job!”
 (Editor’s Note: Our thanks go out again to Ian Gould at Nate D. Sanders Auctions for his generous contributions to this article. You ROCK, Ian!)

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Don Levine “Prototype” Auctions Continue with Controversial, CIA-Sanctioned 12-Inch (1:6 Scale) Osama Bin Laden “Devil-Eyed” Action Figure

Ugh. What an ugly mug! Will someone please buy this pathetic loser and then strap a M-80 to his back and do him a favor by blowing him up ala Sid and "Combat Carl?" (Photo: NDSA)

Ugh. What an ugly mug! Will someone please buy this pathetic loser and then strap an M-80 to his back and do us all a favor by blowing him up ala Toy Story’s Sid and (the late) “Combat Carl?” THANK YOU. (Photo: NDSA)

Don Levine, "The Father of GIjOE" (Photo: topnews) Don Levine, "The Father of GIjOE" and the creator of 3 Osama Bin Laden "Demon-Eyed" action figures for the CIA. (Photo: topnews)

Don Levine, “The Father of GIjOE” and the creator of 3 Osama Bin Laden “Devil-Eyed” action figures for the CIA. (Photo: topnews)

Horrific, Historic Prototype Toy Currently Up For Sale to the Highest Bidder

Here we go again! In an unexpected follow-up to the recent Don Levine family estate auctions of assorted “prototype” GIjOEs, the family has now decided to sell Levine’s highly controversial “Devil-Eyed” Osama Bin Laden action figure. As readers of The Joe Report will undoubtedly recall, we described these unusual “face changing” figures in an in-depth, shocking “tell-all” article, revealing Levine’s previously unimagined, unheard of connections—with the CIA. We highly recommend you reread that article (found HERE) before considering the placement of any bid(s) for this undeniably unique (some say abhorrent) Levine collectible. According to the auction company’s official description, this figure is further described as:

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Perfect for Target Practice, this front view of Levine's OBL prototype reveals it would make a perfect target for repeated "plinking" with your pellet rifle or .22. If there's anything left, we recommend you dip it in hamburger grease and toss it over the fence to the neighbor's pit bull. When he's done with it, we're sure some road construction crew would LOVE to let your borrow their steamroller and make a plastic pancake out of it. Enjoy! (Photo: NDSA) Click to enlarge.

Target Practice, anyone? This front view of Levine’s OBL prototype reveals it would make a perfect target for repeated “plinking” with your pellet rifle or .22. If there’s anything left, we recommend you dip it in hamburger grease and toss it over the fence to the neighbor’s pit bull. When he’s done with it, we’re sure some road construction crew would LOVE to let you borrow their steamroller and make a plastic pancake out of it. Enjoy! (Photo: NDSA) Click photo to enlarge.

“Scarce and nearly unbelievable prototype of Osama Bin Laden doll intended for use in Arab countries in order to persuade children from idolizing the terror leader. This prototype was covertly designed for the C.I.A. by Donald Levine (the creator of the iconic G.I. Joe doll) in 2005 for an ”influence operation”, intended to strategically distribute a scary depiction of Bin Laden to children, ideally to dissuade them from joining a terrorist group such as Al Qaeda. The project was discontinued after the prototypes were developed, with this prototype being one of just three in existence. The other two remain either at C.I.A. headquarters or the Pentagon.

This back view reveals more detail of OBL's outfit. Why you'd care is beyond us, but this is what this cowardly killer looked like from behind. (Photo: NSDA) Click photo to enlarge.

This back view reveals more detail of OBL’s “hideout” outfit. Why anyone would care is beyond us, but this is what the cowardly killer looked like from behind. (Photo: NDSA) Click photo to enlarge.

The doll’s permanent head is a look-alike representation of Bin Laden, and comes with a removable head featuring a depiction of Bin Laden as a ”demon”. The removable head is a frightening representation of Bin Laden, with his face painted bright red with black facial features and bright green eyes. The doll wears traditional Islamic garb, a white removable five button robe over a four button white tunic with a mock collar, with off-white cloth pants and a pair of black mock velcro boots. The doll is affixed to a silver and white metal stand, with a clasp to the doll’s midsection allowing the doll to be displayed standing up. Measures 12” tall. One small glue stain to the right bottom of the robe, and to the back of the removable head. Near fine. From the estate of G.I. Joe creator Donald Levine with a COA from his son.”

In this screenshot from Disney's Toy Story, neighbor psycho, Sid, has strapped an M-80 to the back of his hostage GIjOE, er... "Combat Carl" with the intention of blowing him to smithereens. (Photo: Disney)

In this screenshot from Disney’s Toy Story, neighbor psycho, Sid, has strapped an M-80 to the back of his hostage GIjOE, er… “Combat Carl” with the intention of blowing him to smithereens. Will Levine’s OBL prototype face a similar fate or enjoy a comfy life in some collector’s display case? We shall see! (Photo: Disney)

Bottom Line: Yes, we know there are fans out there with 1:6 scale Himmler and Hitler figures in their display cases, professing that it’s better to remember history than to risk repeating it. We get that, we really do. We agree with the statement 100% and don’t begrudge ANY collector the right to decide what to collect or what not to collect. And we’re only half-heartedly kidding when we talk about using such culpable, repugnant and reprehensible historical figures as “target practice.” We know that if any 1:6 scaler is willing to spend these high 3 and 4-figure dollar amounts for 1:6 scum and villainy, it’s not likely he or she would want to go out in their backyard and destroy it, watching their new figure (and investment) go up in smoke. But just imagine… Imagine if such a figure as this OBL were given to a NYC fire department. Or to an NYPD precinct. Wouldn’t THAT be so much more satisfying than placing it in the back row of a dimly lit display case? Can you imagine what those REAL men would do with one of these pathetic, albeit rare, prototype OBL figures? We’re sure they would have no end of deliciously destructive ideas. THAT would be a sight to behold. And to videotape. And to play over and over again! (Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in adding Osama to your own 1:6 scale “Murderers’ Row,” we recommend you visit the NDSA auction website HERE and place your bid. It’s already up to $2,500!)

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Customizer Creates Astonishing Replica of Hasbro’s First-Ever Prototype G.I. Joe to Celebrate the Brand’s 50th Anniversary

GIjOE collector and customizer, Bill Lawrence, holds up the award he won recently for the creation of superb replica of the first-ever GIjOE prototype. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

GIjOE collector and customizer, Bill Lawrence, holds up the award he won recently for the creation of a replica of the first-ever prototype GIjOE. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Don’t tell longtime GIjOE fan, collector and accomplished 1:6 scale customizer, Bill Lawrence, that there isn’t anything fans can do to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “America’s Moveable Fighting Man.” After having a good laugh, he’d probably give you a knowing look, crook his finger and ask you to follow him into his Joe Room to witness one of the most astonishing custom figures ever produced: a perfect, piece-by-piece, modern-day replica of Don Levine’s first-ever prototype GIjOE (originally created over 50 years ago by the now deceased, “Father of GIjOE” himself and his 1963-64 team of artisans at Hasbro). In this exclusive account of Lawrence’s amazing 10-of-a-kind achievement, we’ll hear from the customizer himself and learn exactly how this stunning 1-year creation ultimately came to fruition. And so, without further ado… Herrrre’s, Bill!

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The original helmet of the Hasbro prototype has not faired so well after 50 years. Fortunately, enough of it remained to provide Lawrence with a reliable painting and color guide for his recreation. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

The original helmet of Levine’s “Rocky” prototype figure has not faired well after 50 years. Fortunately, enough of it remained intact to provide Lawrence with a reliable painting and color guide for his 2014 recreation. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

My Custom 50th Anniversary GIjOE Figure
By Bill Lawrence, October 19, 2014
Written exclusively for The Joe Report

malecomment“With all the talk about the upcoming 50th Anniversary of GIjOE and the possibility that we may not be seeing anything in 1/6 scale to celebrate it, I decided that it was too important of a historical event to not do something to commemorate it.

And what better way to celebrate Joe’s 50th Anniversary than to do a custom of the figure that started it all; the prototype of the world’s first action figure, America’s Movable Fighting Man, Rocky. I also wanted to do something unique that hadn’t been done before and I believed that this would fit the bill. I also wanted it to look the absolute best that it could, so I assembled a team of professionals that have a reputation for being some of the best in their respective fields. Beginning with…”

1:6 sculptor extraordinaire, Andrew Covalt (Photo: Paul Wasson)

1:6 sculptor extraordinaire, Andrew Covalt (Photo: Paul Wasson)

Working With “the Pros” To Create a MasterpieceStep 1: The Sculpt

“I contacted a sculptor I’d met a couple of years ago at Mego Meet 2011, Andrew Covalt of Covalt Studios, about sculpting the head for me. He is a VERY talented artist that did several head sculpts for the DC Retro Action Super Heroes line by Mattel. Thankfully, he agreed to take on the project and work began in early October 2013. After producing the first rough sculpt, Andrew told me that he noticed some differences in the comparison pic I had sent him and wanted to re-work his sculpt some more to try to make it even closer to the original. All we had to go by were images we found on the internet and we never did locate a profile shot, so some guesswork was involved.”

Andrew Covalt's first, rough sculpt of "Rocky" (r) in comparison to the original (l). (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Andrew Covalt’s first, rough sculpt of “Rocky” (r) in comparison to the original (l). (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Covalt's revised head sculpt was ready for recasting in resin. (Photo:Bill Lawrence)

Covalt’s revised head sculpt (r) was much closer to the original. (Photo:Bill Lawrence)

“Now that the head sculpt was complete, the next order of business was attaching it to a body. This involved hollowing out the head, which was made of wax, and test fitting it on a vintage talker body that Andrew had lying around the house.”

Test-fitting the headsculpt to a vintage talker body. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Test-fitting the headsculpt to a vintage talker body. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

 “To me, the neck looked a little thick and hung over the base of the neck post too much. I also felt it was a touch long. Andrew said would see what he could do (see below).”

Small, but vital changes were made to more closely match the original. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Small, vital changes were made to more closely match the original head sculpt. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

“Things were really starting to come together and look great now! I noticed one thing in the update pictures Andrew was sending. Somewhere along the line it looked like the right eyelid had become slightly misshapen, not quite as rounded as the left. Andrew immediately made the minor adjustment and sent back what would be the final picture of the sculpting phase.”

GIjOE History—Reborn! This ultra-closeup of the custom head sculpt created by master sculptor, Andrew Covalt, reveals it is a superb likeness of Don Levine's original prototype GIjOE. OutSTANDING! (All photos courtesy of Bill Lawrence, exclusively for The Joe Report)

GIjOE History—Reborn! This ultra-closeup of the custom head created by master sculptor, Andrew Covalt, reveals its superb likeness to Don Levine’s original prototype GIjOE. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

The Final Headsculpts: Creating a Prototypeof the FIRST GIjOE Prototype

“Andrew told me that after he hollowed out the head, the neck had gotten pretty thin. He was a little worried about it getting damaged in the mail. He decided to make a mold and do a couple of resin casts to make sure we had a solid copy of it. After a couple of tries, Andrew informed me that he was having problems with air bubbles and couldn’t get a casting that he was happy with.”

Resin master, Austin Hough, is INDEED, a "Superman!" (Photo: Austin Hough)

Accomplished resin master, Austin Hough, is INDEED, a “Super man!” (Photo: Austin Hough)

“We discussed the issues he was facing and ultimately decided to carefully package and send the wax original to Mego Museum member Austin Hough, owner of reproheads.com, who uses a pressure pot method in order to minimize the bubbles that are sometimes formed during the molding and casting process.

I was also lucky enough to attend a seminar on casting put on by Austin at Mego Meet 2011. We knew he was the right person for the job and thankfully he agreed to take on the project for me. I contacted Austin and made arrangements for the wax original to be sent directly to him. On April 3, 2014 it was on its way!

The wax original arrived safely at reproheads.com on April 7. Whew, that was a relief! After about a month or so, I received the following picture from Austin (see below). They were done and looking good! I couldn’t wait to get them in the mail.”

Holy, WOW! Look at all the fantastic resin copies of "Rocky," as casted by famed resin master, Austin

Holy, WOW! Look at all the fantastic resin copies of “Rocky,” as cast by famed resin master, Austin Hough. Absolutely SUPERB work, Austin! (Photo: Austin Hough)

“They arrived! I opened the package to find the wax original tucked safely away in a plastic container carefully padded all around with foam and ten freshly cast Rocky heads in a one gallon baggie. They kind of looked like golf balls LOL.

Now it was my turn to get to work. I needed to drill out the necks and fit each one to a GI Joe neck post. Austin had cast them solid. This proved to be a better method than trying to cast them with the hollowed out necks. So, I rounded up all my tools and a 7/16” paddle bit and set out to accomplish this task.”

Drilling out the new heads required patience and a steady hand. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Drilling out the new heads required patience and a steady hand. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

“I had some problems with the paddle-bit wollering out the hole to the point that the neck got very thin in places on several of the heads. In hindsight, I suppose I should have used a smaller bit, like 5/16”, and then fine-tuned it with a Dremel. I used Milliput to build up the thin spots and then finished up with the Dremel to get the final fit.”

Busy, busy, BUSY! Custom figures don't create themselves. They're a LOT of work! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Busy, busy, BUSY! Custom figures don’t create themselves. They’re a LOT of work. But the final results are well worth it and make them treasures—beyond compare. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

“It worked great! The white Milliput was almost an exact match to the resin, both in color and composition. Now for the final touches and then off to paint.”

After being drilled, sanded and tested for fit, the first head was ready for paint! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

After being drilled, sanded and tested for fit, the 10 heads were ready for paint. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

David Howard, GIjOE Collector (Photo: Joelanta)

Graphic Designer and Illustrator, David Howard, of the DFW GIjOE Club, handled the all-important task of painting the 10 head sculpts to match the 1960s original. (Photo: Joelanta)

Step 2: The All-Important Paint Job—Matching the PAST

“At first I entertained the idea of painting all 10 heads myself. Then I thought of artist David Howard, member of my local DFW GIjOE Club. I had seen some examples of his work through the box art he designed for a couple of our club exclusive figures. It was impressive. What if he could paint them for me?

I ran the idea by Greg Brown and he said he would reach out to David and ask him for me. David agreed. I got in touch with him through email and we discussed the project. We finalized the details and the heads were packed up and on their way to him.

I received an update from David on August 5, 2014. He told me the paint was coming along nicely and that the likeness to the original was “very close.” Then he asked if I wanted the final sealant to be gloss or flat. The original looked glossy because they likely used oil based enamels to paint it. I didn’t want it too shiny, so I asked if we could go with a semi-gloss sealant. David said he would see what he could come up with.

 I emailed David at the end of September for an update on the painting. He was planning on attending the DFW GIjOE and Action Figure Show on Oct. 4-5, 2014. He told me he would bring the completed heads with him when he came up on Friday. I tried to have everything done on my prototype so all that would be left is attaching a head for its debut on Saturday morning.”

You never know where you'll find parts or materials ideal for use in creating custom figures. These common olive-drab shoelaces proved to be perfect for part of the backpack assembly. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

You never know where you’ll find parts or materials ideal for use in creating custom figures. These common olive-drab shoelaces proved to be perfect for part of the backpack assembly. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Step 3: Rocky’s Uniform and Accessories

“I had a difficult time finding a seamstress that would agree to sew the outfit for me, so I tossed around ideas on how to get it done. I could find some vintage Vietnam-era military clothing and use an old GIjOE Action Soldier uniform for a pattern and make the jacket and pants myself. I thought they probably did something similar back in 1963 when making the prototype. That would be cool, just like they did it in the day! But there was one problem with that idea: I would have to learn how to use a sewing machine to pull that off (not likely). Fortunately, one day I was looking through one of my GIjOE books and came across a picture of a #7505 Field Jacket. Ahh…

The vintage GIjOE Army Field Jacket proved to be a close match to Rocky's original uniform. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

The vintage GIjOE Army Field Jacket proved to be a close match to Rocky’s original uniform. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

“It had a very similar look to what I needed. It had a zipper instead of snaps, but I could live with that or possibly even remove the zipper and sew in a couple snaps later. Ultimately, I decided to go with this jacket and a pair of 2-snap, Action Soldier fatigue pants. The original boots were handmade and looked pretty rough. This wasn’t something I entertained doing by hand so I decided to go with standard issue short black boots.”

A little brown paint, a new white chin-strap, and VOILA! A near-perfect recreation of Rocky's original helmet. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

A little brown paint, a new white chin-strap, and VOILA! A near-perfect recreation of Rocky’s original helmet. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

“I also equipped Rocky with a standard canteen and a marine camo helmet. I had to add brown camo paint spots to the helmet and I also changed the black elastic to white in order to better match the original.

I also had to come up with a way to recreate his unique parachute harness and backpack. I wasn’t sure I was going to have the resources to have them custom-made for me, so I tried to see what I could put together.

I started by looking at an Army-Navy store down the street from where I work. There, I found a tan belt that worked perfectly for the bed roll, and eventually found my solution for the harness and back pack with a vintage GIjOE Marine medic bag and a pair of store-bought olive drab shoe strings!”

Bill's custom "Rocky" figure was coming together nicely, due to the help of many other fans and his own ingenuity. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Bill’s custom “Rocky” figure was coming together nicely, due to the help of other fans, his wife and his own, creative ingenuity. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Another view of Bill's superb recreation of Rocky's hand-crafted backpack and harness. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Another view of the work Bill’s wife did recreating the original Rocky’s hand-crafted harness, etc. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

When All Else Fails—Recruit the Aid of Your Wife!

“My wife agreed to lend her sewing skills to the project. She surprised me with a prototype of the harness and pack one weekend when I was out-of-town. There were some adjustments to make, but overall I really liked where the design was headed. As the week of the show arrived, I still needed to complete the parachute harness and my wife and I spent a total of 6 hours over 3 evenings finishing up the design. We debated altering the envelope shaped top to the medic bag to go straight across but we liked the way it looked so much already that we left it as it was.”

Recreations of Rocky's original handcrafted patches were also handcrafted, this time by Dave Tedesco of The Patch Hut. Superb! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Recreations of Rocky’s original handcrafted patches were also handcrafted, this time by Dave Tedesco of The Patch Hut. Superb! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

“Next, I had to figure out how I wanted to recreate the sleeve patches. On Rocky’s left sleeve was a Sergeant rank patch and on his right sleeve was the same, but with the addition of a 3rd Infantry Division patch above it. I knew there were places to order 1/6 scale patches, but I wanted to first explore the idea of making my own. I decided that I would try to make the Sergeant patches and go ahead and buy the 3rd Infantry ones. Both Dave Tedesco from The Patch Hut and Mark Otnes from Patches of Pride were kind enough to send me examples of their 3rd Infantry Division patches to try out.

The ones from the Patch Hut arrived first, and I needed to get Rocky ready to debut the following weekend at the DFW GI Joe and Action Figure Show, so I went ahead and tacky glued one on the right sleeve. As for the sergeant rank patches, I came up with the idea of using a dark green denim iron-on patch and some .005” brass sheeting.

They came out okay, but were very tedious to make. It also got a little sloppy with the glue, mainly because I was working with such small pieces. I am going to have Dave at the Patch Hut custom make me some sergeant patches to match the style of the 3rd Infantry patch. I feel they will look a little cleaner and save me a lot of time!”

After locating images of the box panels on the internet, it was output in glorious full color, cut, folded and assembled into this wonderful replica of the original Hasbro prototype box. OutSTANDING! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

After locating high-res images of the original “Rocky” box art on the internet, the panels were retouched, output in full color by box expert, Jay Cosenza, who then trimmed, folded and assembled it all into this wonderful replica of Levine’s original. OutSTANDING! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Yes, the box for Bill's figure is equally amazing as its contents. Absolutely PERFECT in every conceivable way! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

The custom box for Bill’s custom “Rocky” figure is as amazing as its contents. Absolutely PERFECT in every way! Click to enlarge. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Creating a Replica of Rocky’s Prototype “Coffin Box”

“Rocky’s custom box was made by Trenches member, Jay Cosenza. Luckily, when Levine’s original, hand-painted prototype box came up for auction in 2003, Heritage Auctions had taken some high-resolution pictures for the auction listing and they were still out there on the internet. I sent them all to Jay and he promptly got it all laid out.

I wanted to honor the golden anniversary of GIjOE by placing a seal on the box. I searched Google Images for 50th Anniversary logo ideas and found several I liked, but nothing really caught my eye. One day, I was reading some back issues of The Joe Report and saw a t-shirt design that Mark Otnes had created for his “Dirty Dozen” at Joelanta 2014. THAT was the logo I wanted for the box! I emailed Mark to ask if I could borrow the image and he agreed and forwarded me a JPEG. I sent that along to Jay with a couple of notes on some slight changes I wanted to make.”

Bill and Jay tried many altered versions of Otnes' logo, but were never happy with the changes. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

While looking for the perfect logo for his custom boxes, Bill and Jay tried many altered versions of Otnes’ “unofficial” 50th logo, but were never completely happy with their changes. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Step 4: Choosing a Logo to Celebrate GIjOE’s 50th

“Jay worked on the design and sent this back to me. I really liked the way he did the 50! It was my suggestion to also include ‘1964 – 2014’ on the logo, but I didn’t really like how it came out. It just looked a little busy. So, I asked Jay to remove it altogether and move the word ‘YEARS’ down to where the dates were. This looked better, but something still wasn’t quite right about it. Something was just ‘off.’ Since we had gone back and forth several times and I kept trying different ideas and not really getting it just right, I suggested to Jay that we go ahead and print the boxes just like the original and make the 50th logo a sticker that I could include with the contents. On August 12, 2014, Jay sent me pictures of a mock-up of the finished box for approval and it looked great. On September 1st, the boxes were done and ready to ship. The boxes finally arrived on September 18th. As I expected, they were absolutely PERFECT!” 

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The final “Rocky” boxes were undeniably PERFECT. Who wouldn’t want to add one of these beauties to their collection? WOW! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

The "unofficial" 50th Anniversary logo design Lawrence ultimately chose to create as stickers, which were included with his 10 custom "Rocky" boxes. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

The “unofficial” 50th Anniversary logo design Lawrence ultimately chose and used for stickers, which were included with his 10 custom “Rocky” boxes. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Back to the 50th Anniversary sticker. Mark’s logo was the one that initially caught my eye. I decided to quit messing with perfection and just go with it as is, not change a thing about it! I spoke with the print shop across the street from work about having some stickers printed up. The price was very reasonable. I emailed the image to the print shop and received an email back on 9-24-14 that they were ready to be picked up!

Step 5: Putting All the Pieces Together

“It was show time! I arrived at the convention center to load in and set up my booth (Vintage Toy Rescue). The first thing I needed to do was to find David Howard. I found him setting up his own booth and after a brief chat, we got down to business. Surprisingly, he told me he had ‘some good news and some bad news.’ (uh-oh).

I said, ‘You brought me at least ONE head didn’t you?’ He quickly assured me that he had. That was the good news. The BAD news was that he had been unfamiliar with the brand of semi-gloss sealant he had used and applied to all 10 heads earlier in the week—and that the paint had ‘bubbled off each and every one of them!’ Aaaaaaugh!!!

Bill Lawrence's beloved, custom "Rocky" figure BARELY made it to his own debut at the DFW Joe Show. Thankfully, he showed up in full gear and a custom box, to boot! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Lawrence’s custom “Rocky” figure BARELY made it to his own debut at the recent DFW GIjOE Show. Thankfully, he DID show up, and with full gear, custom box and 50th sticker. Phew! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

The fully-assembled "Rocky" awaits his astonished fans at the DFW GIjOE Show. It's SHOW TIME! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Lawrence’s fully assembled “Rocky” awaits his astonished fans at the DFW GIjOE Show. It’s SHOW TIME! (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

“David said he hollered every cuss word he knew and then even made up a few! At the end of this tragic story, he handed me a small box. I peeked inside and staring back at me—was Rocky! He looked AWESOME! The likeness to the original was incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better final product. I immediately popped him on the body I had waiting and set him up for the show.

In the end, everything came together beautifully. The process, from start to finish, took about one year. Rocky debuted on Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at the DFW GI Joe and Action Figure Show and was well received by all. In fact, he won first place in the custom action figure contest! Going into this project, I set out to make 10 figures. Those 10 were gone within the first hour of the show Saturday. Thoughts of a second run are already being entertained, but I want to complete the first 10 before I decide how to proceed with the next run. I will say that I want everyone that wants one to be able to have one.

Oh, and for those that caught it and are wondering why Rocky is holding his helmet tucked under the wrong arm in my pics; it’s simply because his right elbow was too loose to hold it. That’s it for now, I have work to do!” —Bill Lawrence, Texas

A rear view of Rocky showing all his gear. AMAZING. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

This 3/4 rear view of Rocky shows off all his custom gear, patches, head sculpt, paint and more. AMAZING. (Photo: Bill Lawrence)

Bottom Line: Typically, we’d sum up here with a couple of paragraphs of laudatory praise for Bill and his A-Team of 1:6 scale customizers (all OUTSTANDING), but today, we’re turning the reigns of The Joe Report immediately back over to Bill, who wanted to offer his own heartfelt words of gratitude to those connected with this amazing project. Take it away, Bill!

“Yes! Thanks to friend and fellow DFW GIjOE Club member, Greg Brown of Cotswold, who was a big help throughout the process, acting as my consultant. I bounced just about every idea off of him first, soliciting his valuable advice. And thanks again to Andrew Covalt of Covalt Studios for his amazing work sculpting the head, David Howard of Design Ranch for painting the heads, Cozette Lawrence for helping with the design and sewing of the parachute pack and harness, Jay “aiwaloki2” Cosenza for making the amazing boxes, Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride for the use of his 50th Anniversary logo and sample patches, and Dave Tedesco of The Patch Hut for sending some 3rd Infantry patches and custom-making the Sergeant sleeve patches for me. You were all wonderful. THANKS!”

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SHOCKER! “Father of G.I. Joe,” Don Levine, Worked Secretly With The CIA To Produce Prototypes Of Osama Bin Laden “Devil Eyes” Propaganda Doll

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The headsculpt of a CIA-proposed, 1:6 scale action figure depicting 9/11 terrorist and mass-murderer, Osama Bin Laden, utilized a special dissolving face paint that peeled away to reveal a startling, underlying “Devil Eyes” appearance. Despite secret assistance from GIjOE’s co-creator, Don Levine, the controversial U.S. propaganda doll was never actually produced or sold. (Photo: Adam Goldman)

Don Levine, "The Father of GIjOE" (Photo: topnews)

Don Levine, aka “The Father of GIjOE” (Photo: topnews)

Creepy 1:6 Scale OBL Action Figure Intended to “Spook” Children—NOT Inspire Them

For Don Levine, a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, former executive of Hasbro Toys, and co-creator of America’s iconic GIjOE action figure, that first phone call from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must’ve struck him as quite extraordinary. After having spent over half a century of his life creating toys that entertained and inspired millions of children (and later too, adults), Levine must’ve been stunned when the voice on the other end of the line suddenly began asking for his help, not to inspire millions yet again—but to REPULSE them.

Indeed, in a surprising story published today by The Washington Post (TWP), it was revealed that Levine (now deceased) had worked secretly with the CIA to create a 12-inch, 1:6 scale action figure of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) for use in an oddly contrived propaganda scheme designed to discourage young children and their parents from idolizing and following the world’s most infamous terrorist leader. Prototypes of the unusual (and never-produced) action figure utilized a special “heat-dissolving” face paint that when handled, was easily peeled away, revealing what a CIA spokesman described as OBL’s “Demon Eyes.” TWP reporter, Adam Goldman, provides the following additional intel on this bizarre toy idea:

Adam Goldman, reporter for The Washington Post (Photo: Adam Goldman)

Adam Goldman, reporter for The Washington Post (Photo: Adam Goldman)

“Beginning in about 2005, the CIA began secretly developing a ­custom-made Osama bin Laden ­action figure, according to people familiar with the project. The face of the figure was painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, with piercing green eyes and black facial markings. The goal of the short-lived project was simple: spook children and their parents, causing them to turn away from the actual bin Laden.

The code-name for the bin Laden figures was “Devil Eyes,” and to create them, the CIA turned to one of the best minds in the toy business…Donald Levine, the former Hasbro executive who was instrumental in the creation of the wildly popular G.I. Joe toys that generated more than $5 billion in sales after hitting the shelves in 1964. The CIA’s interest in Levine was twofold: He had an eye for toys and a vast network of contacts in China, where the bin Laden action figures were ultimately manufactured. Levine had done business there for nearly 60 years and had the means to have the action figures discreetly developed and manufactured.

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These prototype headsculpts for the OBL figure are actually quite excellent. In them, GIjOE collectors will recognize the familiar style and expertise of an unknown Hasbro artist responsible for many of the company’s “Classic Collection” line of GIjOEs during the 1990s. (Photo: Adam Goldman)

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Without handling this OBL prototype figure in person, it’s difficult to say exactly which 1:6 scale body type was used. But judging from its hands and familiar “arms akimbo” stance, it’s likely one of the large, “bendy” HOF muscle bodies from the 1990’s. (Photo: Adam Goldman)

“Levine died last month at age 86, after a lengthy battle with cancer. In response to questions about his work on the bin Laden toys, his family said in a statement:

‘Don Levine was a dedicated Patriot, and proud Korean War veteran. When called on, he was honored to assist our country.’

There’s a dispute over how many of the figurines, if any, were ultimately delivered. A person with direct knowledge of the project in China said hundreds of the toys — one of which was seen by The Washington Post — were made as part of a pre-production run and sent on a freighter to the Pakistani city of Karachi in 2006. The CIA, while not disputing that it had commissioned the bin Laden figures, said the project was discontinued shortly after the prototypes were developed.

‘To our knowledge, there were only three individual action figures ever created, and these were merely to show what a final product might look like,’ CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said. ‘After being presented with these examples, the CIA declined to pursue this idea and did not produce or distribute any of these action figures. Furthermore, CIA has no knowledge of these action figures being produced or distributed by others.’

Regardless of how far the “Devil Eyes” project proceeded, it appears to have borne all the hallmarks of what are known in intelligence parlance as “influence operations.” As part of its covert action programs, the agency has for decades tried to win the hearts and minds of local populations or turn them against a particular ideology.
 Beginning around 2006, the CIA began developing an Osama bin Laden toy to counter his influence.”

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This test head reveals peeks at the red and black “devil” face hidden beneath a test coat of the experimental dissolving paint. Weird stuff! (Photo: Adam Goldman)

Absolutely fascinating. Think of it, a major governmental “intelligence”agency considers using TOYS to counter the very real dangers of very real terrorists. What a bizarre/weird/wonderful(?) concept! Maybe someone working for the CIA had taken one too many missions to “Spy Island” as a kid? Curious about Levine’s involvement in Project “Devil Eyes,” Goldman’s article goes on to declare:

“Levine was initially asked to help with the toys for boys. ‘It appealed to [Levine] because it had nothing to do with actually hurting someone,’ said a person familiar with his decision to get involved. ‘It was the softer side of the CIA.’ CIA officials later approached Levine about the possibility of producing the bin Laden figures and having them sent to Pakistan or Afghanistan. Levine was initially ambivalent about the project but would later throw himself into the work, according to the people familiar with the project.

Levine developed prototypes before settling on a standard 12-inch figure with the facial features bin Laden. The head was superimposed on a figurine that was already in production in the Chinese city of Dongguan. A Chinese artist took publicly available photographs of bin Laden and created an image that was strikingly close in appearance to the al-Qaeda leader. The final prototype was dressed in traditional garb and packaged in a cheap box covered with plastic and presented to the CIA for approval. Levine was said to have been pleased with the final product Although the CIA said it decided not to move forward with the operation, at least one of the figures remains at the agency’s headquarters.”

Bottom Line: What an amazing “capper” (or caper) to Don Levine’s already storied and incredible life, legacy and career. But we still have some questions… Were only 3 actually made? Or was it 300? Were these face-peeling OBL’s ever shipped off to Pakistan and given out to confuse and “spook” Pakastani children as originally planned? If so, what were the results of the “mission?”

Regardless of the answers, it’s our considered opinion that if Levine’s OBLs had been sold in the U.S., they would have sold fairly well, if only because so many Americans would have loved to use its “devil-eyed” head for target practice—or as a pit bull’s chew toy! (Editor’s note: Our sincerest thanks to intrepid TWP reporter, Adam Goldman for his fine work in “peeling back the layers” of this intriguing (and repulsive) subject. Go, Joe! Go, ADAM!)

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Famed Author & G.I. Joe Historian, John Michlig, Confirms That Hasbro’s Interest In Reviving the Original 12-Inch Version Has Always Been Low

They weren't perfect, but the "Masterpiece Edition" GIjOEs that came packaged with John Michlig and Don Levine's ground-breaking book, "GIjOE: The Story Behind the Legend," proved to be an exciting reintroduction to the GIjOE collecting hobby for thousands of fans. Unfortunately, Hasbro had little interest in the project and proved to be more of an opponent than an ally. (Photo: Vectis Auctions)

No, they weren’t perfect, but Don Levine’s “Masterpiece Edition” GIjOEs were the first Hasbro-licensed reproductions of the original 12-inch figures that fans had seen since the 12-inch line ceased production back in 1976. John Michlig’s ground-breaking book, “GIjOE: The Story Behind the Legend,” also proved to be a revealing and historic commemoration of the iconic toy. Unfortunately, Hasbro showed little interest in Michlig and Levine’s 2-part project and proved to be more of an apathetic observer than a supportive or encouraging mentor. (Photo: Vectis Auctions)

 hasbrologonewApathetic Company Forces Fans to Fend For Themselves

With all the silent stonewalling emanating from Hasbro in 2014 regarding GIjOE’s 50th and (so-called) “golden” anniversary, it should come as no surprise to fans to learn that the company’s stunning indifference to its 12-inch action figure is in actuality—nothing new. In fact, in a revealing post made just last week over on the new “50 Years of GIjOE” fan group (hosted on Facebook HERE), the renowned GIjOE author and historian, John Michlig, bluntly and forthrightly recalled the many “blank stares” he received and the surprisingly minimal interest Hasbro had in reviving what they derisively described as, an “ugly old body.” According to Michlig:

Author and GIjOE historian, John Michlig. (Photo: John Michlig)

Author, GIjOE historian and Masterpiece Edtion co-creator, John Michlig. (Photo: John Michlig)

It’s been interesting catching up with ‘Friends of GIjOE’ via groups like this on Facebook. Hasbro’s apparent attitude toward the 12-inch ‘original configuration’ GIjOE on its 50th birthday brings to mind the blank stares we received when proposing the return of the original GIjOE via the Masterpiece Edition back in the mid-90s. I naively thought it would be a no-brainer: After all, I was going in with Don Levine himself(!), who was willing to bring his reminisces to the book aspect of the project as well as his expertise to the re-creation of the tooling, etc. Instead, we heard, ‘Who wants that ugly old body?’ Hasbro really didn’t see the attraction. So, we ponied up SIX FIGURES for a license and re-tooled the original ‘ugly old body,’ and the rest is history. Of course, after we sold a whole bunch of Masterpiece Edition sets, Hasbro thought enough of the ‘old’ Joe that they introduced the Timeless Collection line.”

Don Levine interviewed on CBN (Photo: CBN)

Don Levine interviewed on CBN (Photo: CBN)

Hasbro’s (by now, almost predictable) lackadaisical attitude toward 12-inch GIjOEs has long acted as an anchor, dragging down attempts by fans like Michlig and other enthusiastic supporters. Over the years, renewed suggestions and repeated requests from collectors for Hasbro to return to its original “razors and blades” marketing concept continued to fall on deaf ears in the corporate boardroom. Fortunately, Michlig was able to recruit powerful allies, and went on to describe how he met and gained the full cooperation of creator Don Levine and many others, stating:

“The Intrepid event is where I first encountered ‘GIjOE fandom,’ and also the place where I first met Don Levine. I have a picture I took of him attending the press conference where they were announcing the new ‘Sgt Savage’ line, and he looks like a guy watching his son graduate from college. Right after I took the picture I walked up and said, ‘You had something to do with this, didn’t you?’ A LONG conversation followed.”
Former Hasbro Product Manager, Kirk Bozigian. (Photo: GIJCC)

1990s Hasbro Product Manager, Kirk Bozigian (Photo: GIJCC)

Fortunately for fans and collectors, that “long conversation” would turn into the highly prized “Masterpiece Edition” line of books and figures, which prompted renewed interest in 12-inch GIjOEs among grown men seeking to reconnect with “an old friend,” and young children who had never seen a toy quite like it before (no, we don’t count Barbie’s beau, Ken!). Michlig concluded his reminiscences by lauding another who had helped inspire the revival of 12-inch GIjOEs:

“Frankly, had it not been for Kirk Bozigian ‘on the inside’ at Hasbro—he seemed to be the only guy there who had any enthusiasm whatsoever for the concept, and was a tireless advocate—I very much doubt that the Masterpiece Edition would have gotten past the drawing board. If you have it, grab your copy of GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Man of Action, and look at the photos on page 12. Creating GIjOE back in the early ’60s was basically MAD MEN with toys. It’s UNBELIEVABLE to me that they aren’t celebrating the accomplishment (and risk) if not the action figure itself!” —John Michlig

Bottom Line: GIjOE fans and collectors owe a great debt of gratitude to men like Michlig, Levine and Bozigian. When faced with corporate indifference and tremendous financial hurdles, these intrepid and creative souls committed themselves and forged ahead to accomplish great deeds, helping to advance the 1:6 scale GIjOE hobby as we know (and LOVE) it today. Think about that. Without their efforts, where would GIjOE collecting be today? In closing, the ever humble Bozigian took a moment to reply to Michlig’s praise and sums it all up nicely, by saying:

“John, thanks for the shout-out, but the genius was YOURS. You had the vision of writing the definitive history of 12-inch GIjOE and your secret weapon—a replica of the action figure that started it all!”

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Ace Allgood Discovers Rare, Vintage, “Japanese Yellow-Body” Prototype G.I. Joe at Joelanta 2013

Widely respected collector and renowned authority on GIjOEs, Ace Allgood, holds up a vintage 1960’s Japanese “Yellow-Body” skin-color prototype figure recently discovered at the Joelanta 2013 toy show in Atlanta, GA. According to Allgood, the figure is 1 of only 3 known to exist. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“Officially, this figure NEVER existed.” —Don Levine

In this side-by-side comparison, a standard mass-produced vintage Japanese GIjOE appears to console his much rarer "yellow-bodied" cousin. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

In this side-by-side comparison, a standard mass-produced vintage Japanese GIjOE (left) appears to console his much rarer “yellow-bodied” cousin. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Ace Allgood could barely contain himself as he ushered me over to his dealer booth last Sunday, at Joelanta 2013.

“Mark! Come here and take a look at THIS!” he said, excitedly.

Although I’m used to seeing Ace all “hyped-up” at GIjOE shows (he REALLY loves GIjOEs), I couldn’t help but wonder what he had found.

“What is it?” I replied, curiously.

“Check it out, dude! A Japanese Yellow-Body! Ever hear about these? Betcha haven’t seen one before!” he said, by now practically squealing with delight.

For those of you who’ve never met Ace, he is truly a great guy and one of the leading “unofficial ambassadors” of the GIjOE-collecting hobby. A widely respected authority on vintage-era figures, Allgood believes this figure is an ultra-rare, “Japanese Yellow-Body” skin-color prototype that GIjOE’s “father,” Don Levine officially declared “never existed.” But clearly, this rare Joe DID exist.

Despite its superb headsculpt, Hasbro's difficulty reproducing accurate Japanese skin tones was evident again over 40 years later with its odd "clay-colored" Nisei figure. (Photo: amazon)

Over 40 years later, Hasbro again attempted to create an accurate Japanese skin tone for its 442 ID Nisei figure. Despite a superb headsculpt, the figure’s skintone received mixed reviews from collectors. (Photo: amazon)

The obvious difference between this unproduced prototype Japanese figure and any later, mass-produced version, is its sickly, jaundiced-looking yellow body color. It seemed clear to the fans who had gathered around to discuss the rare piece, that Hasbro must’ve produced a small batch of them for a quick series of pre-production skin-color tests.

The prototype’s too-yellow color must’ve seemed controversial or “fake” and therefore was deemed unacceptable for public sale. But how such a rare test figure (typically discarded) had ended up in a hotel conference room in Atlanta, GA over 50 YEARS LATER was anybody’s guess. But there it was. And Ace couldn’t have been happier!

Bottom Line: Something new and intriguing about GIjOE’s history is always being discovered. According to Allgood, this prototype “yellow-body” is just 1 of 3 that are now known to exist, making it a very rare collectible indeed. Congratulations…and BONZAI!

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Fateful Decision Denies Stan Weston, Creator of G.I. Joe, Millions of Dollars in Future Profits

Stan Weston's creation has made Hasbro over a BILLION dollars in profits...and $100,000 for Stan. (Graphic: Jason Liebig)

GIjOE creator Stan Weston’s concept for a “rugged-looking scale doll for boys” has netted Hasbro over one BILLION dollars in profits so far….but only $100,000 for Weston. (Graphic: Jason Liebig)

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GIjOE creator, Stan Weston
(Photo: Jay Weston)

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?

This is the letter that confirms Stan Weston as the creator of GIjOE, netting him a one-time payment of $100,000. (Photo: Jay Weston) Click to enlarge.

This is the letter that confirms Stan Weston was the creator of GIjOE, netting him a one-time payment of $100,000. (Photo: Jay Weston) Click to enlarge.

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.

The original protoype figure for GIjOE, created by Don Levine and Hasbro. (Photo: Don Levine) Click to enlarge.

The original protoype figure for GIjOE, created by Don Levine and Hasbro. (Photo: Don Levine) Click to enlarge.

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:

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“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.”


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