A Great American Hero- Stanley Weston

If you ever yelled the phase “Go Joe!” or “Thunder- Thunder- Thundercats” then someone who helped form part of your childhood has taken their Final Taxi.stanley-weston-th

Stanley Weston, 84 was the inventor of the G.I. Joe “outfitted action figure” and creator of the popular animated series “Thundercats” in the 1980’s.

Weston had served in the Army during the Korean War and soon after discovered a talent for the licensing and merchandising industry. He founded Weston Merchandising.

In 1960 as Mattel introduced Barbie to the public, Weston saw a product-starved market for rough and tumble boys who thus far had been limited to playing with mild mannered Ken. After Weston read through a 23-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica set, seeking inspiration and drawing on his wartime experiences, he made repeated trips to Army-Navy stores in New York looking for ideas. He conceived of the idea of a military action figure and in 1963 sold what would become G.I. Joe to Hasbro. At the time G.I. Joe came with no backstory, no sworn enemy and no specific mission – just a pink scar across his face and a wardrobe of different uniforms. Becoming one of the most enduring toy lines in history, G.I Joe spawned hit TV shows and films as well as a Marvel comic line.

Weston went on to market action figures for the likes of “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett, the World Wrestling Federation and Nintendo characters. In 1967, he signed a 10-year agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association for the likenesses of virtually every ballplayer in the National and American leagues He was also associated with marketing efforts for the TV shows Alf and Welcome Back Kotter, and films like Star Wars.

In the 1980s Weston saw how popular He-man and the Masters of the Universe had became, and approached the Rankin-Bass animation studio with his idea for a sci-fi/ fantasy cartoon called ThunderCats. It became one of the most memorable animated series for generations of kids. Weston’s company also brought Pokemon to the U.S from Japan.

In 1989, he was among the inaugural class for the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame, which includes notables Walt Disney, George Lucas and Jim Henson. Now you know Stanley Weston’s story and as they say “ Knowing is half the battle….”