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G.I. Joe, It Turns Out, Had More Than One Father

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/business/origin-of-gi-joe-toy-in-dispute.html?emc=edit_th_20170523&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=25913738&_r=0

G.I. Joe almost certainly had two fathers.

One was Stan Weston, whose obituary in The New York Times, published online on May 11, gave him sole credit as the creative force behind the military action figure. Obituaries in other prominent publications described Mr. Weston, who was a licensing agent, in the same way.

But further reporting shows that another man, a toy inventor named Lawrence Reiner, played a significant role as Mr. Weston’s lesser-known partner in the venture, although the exact nature of his involvement is difficult to establish.

Mr. Weston’s obituary prompted Mr. Reiner’s daughter Jodi to come forward to assert her father’s role.

It is fair to say that Mr. Reiner contributed, at the least, the idea to have G.I. Joe’s arms and legs articulate, or move. “My father always gave Reiner credit for the articulation idea and never claimed otherwise,” Mr. Weston’s son Steve said by email. “He was compensated at a commensurate rate consistent with that.”

Mr. Weston got a 65 percent stake in the venture and Mr. Reiner 35 percent, according to an unsigned document provided by the Reiner family.

“My father got $35,000, and he bought a house,” Ms. Reiner said in an interview.

Steve Weston said his father’s majority share in the venture suggested his greater role. “The owner and creator gets the lion’s share,” he said. “Quite simply, the idea was my father’s.”

Mr. Reiner’s family says it was his.

 

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Two creators, perhaps.

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