April 2, 2011 in Nation/World

G.I. Joe gathering opens with parachutes

Jon Busdeker Orlando Sentinel
 

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dolls don’t strap on parachutes and jump off buildings.

Action figures do. And on Friday morning more than 300 plastic G.I. Joe figures went parachuting off the roof of Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Hotel to kick off G.I. JoeCon, a two-day convention at the site for fans of the Hasbro toys.

With help from a cluster of collectors, the 300 G.I. Joes were thrown from the building to a group of fans below. When the figures floated down to earth, the fans ran to where they landed in hopes of snagging one of the soldier souvenirs, which are exclusive to the convention.

G.I. Joe brand manager Alexander Sturke said the parachute drop has become a tradition.

“The whole idea of throwing a guy up in the air and having him parachute down is a fun thing to do for kids,” Sturke said.

The 18th annual convention is a celebration of the action figures that first appeared in 1964 and, almost 50 years later, continues to inspire a new generation with comic books, cartoons and feature films.

Collectors and fans from around the world will be at the convention, which features thousands of rare and vintage figures, panel discussions and contests.


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