Donald Levine, the Hasbro executive credited as the father of G.I. Joe for developing the world's first action figure, has died. He was 86. Levine shepherded the toy through design and development as Hasbro's head of research and development. He and his team came up with an 11½-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts, and since the company's employees included many military veterans, it was decided to outfit the toy in the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, with such accessories as guns, helmets and vehicles. Levine, who served in the Army in Korea, said he got the idea for the moveable figure as a way to honor veterans. G.I. Joe hit the shelves in time for the 1964 Christmas shopping season and soon became a big seller at $4 apiece.
TOP 10: BEST SELLING TOYS IN HISTORY
1) BARBIE DOLLS - Sales remain at $3 billion per year, and considering that the pint-sized princess has been a mainstay in little-girl culture for more than 50 years, we’d be willing to bet she’ll be around for a long time to come.
2) THE YO-YO - On the commercial US market, they’ve been around since Pedro Flores opened the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara, California, circa 1928. Just one year later, Flores had expanded his operations from one plant to three, employing 600 workers and producing 300,000 yo-yos per day. Donald F. Duncan knew a good thing when he saw it and purchased the business from Flores just one year later, and the "Duncan Yo-Yo" was born.
3) THE EASY-BAKE OVEN- In February 2013, the Easy-Bake Oven celebrated its 50th anniversary. At that point, Kenner reported more than 30 million ovens had been sold throughout the product’s existence along with another 150 million+ mix refills.
4) THE RADIO-FLYER WAGON- Radio Flyer, based in Chicago, came in to existence in 1917 and as of 2012 had sold more than 100 million wagons and carved a spot in popular culture.
5) SILLY PUTTY- In 1943, Scottish engineer James Wright, while working at General Electric’s laboratory in New Haven, Connecticut, combined boric acid and silicone oil in a test tube. The resulting compound became “polymerized,” according to the team at Crayola. The last reported numbers from 2009 indicated that more than 300 million eggs of Silly Putty have been sold since its inception.
6) TRANSFORMERS- The shapeshifting robots have only been around since the 1980s. The hugely popular international toy line has earned more than $2 billion in profits.
7) G.I. JOE- Introduced in 1964 by Hasbro, the company had sold more than 400 million figures as of 2004. Considering Joe is as popular today, and much more popular than he was at his inception, we’d say tacking on another 100 million to that number is a conservative estimate.
8) HOT WHEELS- The classic die cast toys from Mattel were introduced in 1968. The company has gone on to produce more than 4 billion cars featuring 11,000 variations and over 800 models. Mattel estimates that 41 million have grown up playing with their miniature cars, and that the average collector has around 1,550 cars in their collection.
9) ETCH-A-SKETCH- According to Ohio Art, the makers of Etch-A-Sketch, more than 150 million of the devices have been sold since 1960, the year it first went to market.
10) LEGOS- Invented by carpenter Ole Christiansen in 1949, the LEGO company patented the idea just nine years later. Today, the company has produced more than 320 billion blocks.