Outlaw Racer, you might enjoy this, and so would others interested in the toy business or G.I. Joe. I found the gentleman whom I met in N.C. those 25-30 years ago. His name is Don Levine. I got some of my details confused. He is from New York, but moved to Providence R.I. to join Hasbro in the 1950's, where he hand carved the first GI Joe.<quoted text>I once met the man responsible for G.I. Joe. He was with Hasbro or Mattel or whoever did it. I answered an ad for an old car listed by a retired older man who lived somewhere in Western No. Carolina I think, maybe Waynesville or maybe Burnsville ?? It has been at least 30 years ago, and I don't remember.
Anyway, we started talking while I drove his car, and asked him what he did for a living. He told me that he was retired , but had been responsible for the development of G.I. Joe. I looked up his name later(which I have forgotten), and sure enough, I found that he had a toy company in New York(I think), and sold his idea and company to one of the big toy companies.
I asked him how he got his idea, and he told me that he was trying to come up with a doll for boys , for which the company could sell multiple accessories. Knowing that little boys liked to play soldiers and cowboys and Indians, he settled on a soldier, because there were many weapons accessories and vehicles that could be sold. Anyway, the guy was fascinating to talk to, but I didn't buy his car, as it had some rust from being in the Northeast.
Anyway, the guy apparently unretired, and has a line of Christian toys , sold in Christian book stores, Target, Toys r Us, Amazon, etc. He fought in Korea, and said that was where he got his inspiration for an action hero. There is an interview on the Christian Broadcast Network posted on line, where he talks about his history in the toy business and GI Joe.
It can be found at cbn.com/tv/1420249801001
If you don't find that google Don Levine CBN/700 Club. The story is in print and there is a link to the interview on the screen that says "watch it now."
I am not sure when the interview was conducted, but the man must have only been about 55-60 when I met him. I remembered him as being pretty old. That is younger than I am now. One's perspective changes later in life. Anyway, he was a very interesting man. He seemed sad and lonely, and had maybe lost his wife or someone just before I met him.