Netflix series features Youngstown's authority on G.I. Joe - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Netflix series features Youngstown's authority on G.I. Joe

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

We all had our favorite toys growing up. A new Netflix series features some of the more popular ones, and one of the guys they interviewed happens to be from Youngstown; a home-grown authority on G.I. Joe.

Like a lot of kids around his age, Dan Klingensmith grew up playing with the 3.75" action figures and their vehicles.

"It started as a kid. Primarily, just like any kid, just wanted to play with toys," said Klingensmith. "It wasn't until after I graduated that I really got into collecting. After that, just created a storm."

A storm that eventually filled an entire room in his house.

"I had everything from '82 to '94 probably by 2000/2001. Then the new G.I. Joe stuff started coming out, so my completist mentality got ahold of me. So now I have everything from '82 until 2016 I think was when they last produced," said Klingensmith.

The more he collected, the more he started thinking about all the people who were really behind the toys, developing the artwork and the concepts. In 2015, he published his first book "3.75" Joe," a series that's now four volumes strong.

"After knowing what I know from the creators, there's a lot of passion that was put into the brand and it shows," said Klingensmith. "I'm about preserving the brand as much as I can and sharing the stories of the creators and showcasing the original concepts and all the process."

A couple years ago he put together a reunion for some of the people who worked on the toys and then helped "Has-Con" do something similar this year, giving fans and collectors a rare opportunity.

"I got to witness something very interesting and magical in a sense in seeing these people get together," said Klingensmith. "The legends and the creators are shocked sometimes that they had this much of an impact on our generation."

Just a week ago, a new Netflix Series called "The Toys that Made Us" debuted with an entire episode devoted to G.I. Joe. They interviewed Dan for the show and he says, he's hoping that might reignite interest in these little figures.

"I hope it does spark people who 'Oh I remember having that as a kid' and go seeking it out, whether it be online on EBay or Facebook or whatever... in turn, if they're interested in the creators and the history of the brand, then that's where my books will come in," said Klingensmith.

And just maybe a whole new age group will see G.I. Joe the way Dan does: as more than just action figures, as a piece of history.

If you want to check out Dan's books, head over to his website at 334inchjoe.com. The G.I. Joe episode of "The Toys that Made Us" is available now, along with three other episodes on Netflix.

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