The PopCult Toybox
Weston was the inventor of GI Joe, but he sold his interest in the first action figure to Hasbro early on. Just last year he settled with Hasbro over other ownership considerations for an undisclosed sum. Weston approached Hasbro’s Don Levine in 1963 with the concept of a posable 12″ figure that would have a cloth uniform and plastic accessories as a way to create a toy based on a military TV show that he was representing. The TV show didn’t last long, but Hasbro was still interested in the concept and moved forward with GI Joe, which went on to become one of the highest-grossing toys of all time.
In addition to GI Joe, Weston also came up with Captain Action (seen above, with Mr. Weston. Click the photo to read an interview with Weston) and arranged for MEGO to acquire the licenses for DC Comics and Marvel for their best-selling World’s Greatest Superhero line.
In 1970 he co-founded Leisure Concepts Incorporated, which changed the face of the toy industry by initiating many pervasive licensing deals. His company even developed the idea for the Thundercats action figure line and cartoon series in the 1980s. If you bought any licensed toy or knick-knack from 1970 to 1990, Stan Weston likely had a hand in its production.
Weston was quite a character, and I’m sorry that I never got the chance to meet him in person. A couple of years ago he was very helpful aiding me in busting a pop culture fraud, but we only had contact through a mutual friend.
Weston was 84 years old, and is survived by his brother, his three children and five grandchildren. PopCult extends its condolences to his friends and family.It’s always sad to see one of the creators of our favorite toys leave us.