How G.I. Joe Jump-Started the Action Figure Craze

Action figures were originally toys that were ready for “action,” because they were more flexible than similar-sized dolls. Designed with multiple joints, G.I. Joe could wage war, Jane and Johnny West could ride their horses and Evel Knievel and Derry Daring could perform motorcycle stunts.

With the introduction of Star Wars action figures in 1978, these toys became smaller and less flexible. Today, action figures are still meant for action-oriented play, but they’re also something many people collect and display. Here’s how the popular toys have evolved (and shrunk) over time.

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