G.I. Joe: Favorite Toy of the Century

G.I. Joe Action Figures
G.I. Joe Action Figures

The results are in. Over 24,000 folks, young and old, voted for their favorite toy of the last century and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis announced on Tuesday that G.I. Joe beat out such childhood favorites as Raggedy Ann (number 11) and Mister Potato Head (last place at number 20). The first plastic action soldier came off the assembly line at Hasbro ready to do battle in 1964.

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Growing up without brothers, I didn't get the appeal of the stocky little military man. In fact, my girlfriends and wouldn't have even considered him an acceptable date for Barbie (number four) when we ran out of Ken's. The museum asked voters to share memories about their most loved playthings. Reading through some of the stories, Joe's popularity makes sense.

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"When I was a kid I loved GI Joe! He stood for all that was America. I remember going out in the yard with Joe and defeating all evil, be it the ruthless Nazis or Aliens from another planet. Through Joe, I was able to travel to the moon, through the pyramids of Egypt and save people in distress, without ever leaving my backyard. I still have my Joe's today!" wrote Charlie from Maryland.

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Todd from Illinois remembered, "I had received a red haired G.I. Joe Sea Adventurer (hard hands) as my first Joe. I was a military kid so as I moved my friends would change, but my Joe was my constant companion who was always there for me. You could say he was my Woody (from 'Toy Story')."

"The stories people have shared about intergenerational learning, family traditions and memories has been heartwarming and life changing in some cases," notes Jeffrey Patchen, museum president and CEO in a press release. "Toys are a powerful tool for exploration and imagination as we learn and grow." Kids so often feel small, weak, and scared. What better toy to make them feel tough and strong than a soldier?

To get their results, the museum asked the public to vote on the '100 Toys (and their Stories) that Define Our Childhood.' Museum curators had initially selected the top one hundred. The 20 winners are:

  • 1. GI Joe

  • 2. Transformers

  • 3. Lego

  • 4. Barbie

  • 5. View-Master

  • 6. Bicycle

  • 7. Cabbage Patch Kids

  • 8. Crayons

  • 9. Play-doh

  • 10. Monopoly

  • 11. Raggedly Ann

  • 12. Spirograph

  • 13. Etch A Sketch

  • 14. Little Golden Books

  • 15. Hot Wheels

  • 16. Lincoln Logs

  • 17. Candy Land

  • 18. Roller Skates

  • 19. Silly Putty

  • 20. Mr. Potato Head

The museum points out that all of the favorites have been manufactured for at least 25 years. "Objects such as crayons and bicycles have been around for decades--evoking strong emotions and fond memories with children, parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents," says Patchen. "These toys give us common ground and are good conversation starters involving the entire family."

What's your favorite toy? Did it make the list?

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