“Forgotten Hollywood”- Creator of G.I. Joe Has Died…

Posted on May 26, 2014 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

   On this Memorial Day, it’s only fitting we remember the memory of the man who created the G.I. Joe. Donald Levine, the Hasbro executive is credited as developing the world’s first action figure. The innovator, who served in the Army in Korea, said he got the idea for the moveable figure as a way to honor veterans.

GIJoe_OriginalLineup   Levine shepherded the toy through design and its creation as Hasbro’s head of research development. His team came up with an 11½-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts, and since company employees included many military veterans, it was decided to outfit the toy in official uniforms of the Army, Navy, Marines, and the Air Force, with such accessories as guns, helmets, and vehicles. G.I. Joe hit the toy shelves in time for the 1964 Christmas season, and soon became a big seller at $4 apiece.

   It remained popular until the late 1960s, as opposition to Vietnam intensified and parents shied away from military-related toys. Hasbro countered in 1970 by introducing Adventure Team G.I. Joe’s that played down the military connection. Into the 1970s, G.I. Joe’s featured lifelike hair, and were outfitted with scuba gear.

   Over the decades, G.I. Joe has spawned comic books, several cartoons, two movies starring Channing Tatum, a G.I. Joe Collector’s Club, and its annual convention — GIJoeCon — held in Dallas in April.

   Donald Levene was 86.

——————————————————-bronze buckaroo

   Herb Jeffries was a jazz singer, who starred as a singing cowboy in several all-black Western films, in which he sang his own compositions. In addition to starring in the film, he sang and performed his own stunts as cowboy Bob Blake. His popular solo hits When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano and Basin Street Blues were released after he’d served in World War II.

   He began working with Erskine Tate and his Vendome Orchestra when he moved to Chicago from Detroit at the urging of Louis Armstrong. His big break came during the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair A Century of Progress Exposition singing with the Earl Hines Orchestra on national broadcasts live from the Grand Terrace Cafe. Jeffries then recorded with Duke Ellington from 1940 to 1942. His version of Flamingo with Ellington was a best seller in its day. He was replaced in the Ellington band by Al Hibbler.

herbj7   Jeffries was of Sicilian, Irish, and Ethiopian decent. As a singing cowboy in low-budget films, he became known as the Bronze Buckaroo by his fans. Race movies played in theaters catering to African-American audiences. He also starred with Angie Dickinson in Calypso Joe. Herb had guest roles in television programs, including Hawaii 5-0 and The Virginian. For his fine career in  cinema and the small screen, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 2004.

   Herb Jeffries (above) was 100.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Monday, May 26th, 2014 at 12:19 am and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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