Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Story of G.I. Joe

Did you know that the "G.I. Joe" action figure (initially released by Hasbro in 1964) was named after a 1945 war film? Because the toy's creator, Don Levine, happened to see the film on TV one night, as they were struggling to name it. (That's according to the 1998 book GI Joe: The Complete Story of America's Favorite Man of Action, which you can buy from re-sellers by clicking on the title in red.)

"The Story of G.I. Joe" was a movie about World War II as told through the eyes of then-famous, real life war correspondent Ernie Pyle. The film starred a young Burgess Meredith (as Ernie Pyle), as well as Robert Mitchum. The real Ernie Pyle was killed in action at the Battle of Okinawa just two months before the premiere of this film.
(The toy's creators were apparently first thinking of calling him "Rocky." Coincidentally, years later Burgess Meredith would go on to portray Sylvester Stallone's aging trainer, Mickey, in...)

That's a pretty big leap (in pictures above) from Ernie Pyle to Destro......

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