Throwback: The Rise and Fall of G.I. Joe

In a recent episode of its pop culture nostalgia video series, Throwback, the online magazine, Mental Floss, dives into the story of America’s greatest fictional military force, G.I. Joe.

In the episode titled “The Rise and Fall of G.I. Joe”, editor-in-chief, Erin McCarthy, walks viewers through the action figure’s nearly 60-year history, revealing the key players, events, and interesting decision points — like how Hasbro included a facial scar and inverted thumbnail in the 12-inch action figure in a bid to thwart counterfeiters.

After providing G.I. Joe’s origin story, McCarthy focuses on the franchise’s development in the 1980s — the height of the toy line’s popularity. Highlights include pivoting to upsize the figure to 3 ¾-inches following the success of Kenner’s Star Wars line, a partnership with Marvel Comics, and the advent of various animated television series that propelled the franchise to new levels of success.

Of course, no recap of this time period would be complete without acknowledging the television show’s heroes’ and villains’ poor aim, surprisingly few on-screen deaths, and cheesy public service announcements — all points which this episode dutifully points out.

Throwback: The Rise and Fall of G.I. Joe is an accessible foray into the Joe-verse. New and old fans of the toys, television shows, or movies will find something of interest here.

Watch the full video below.