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Action Jackson was an early 8" action figure line from
Mego. It was meant to be a smaller, less expensive alternative to the popular
G.I. Joe Adventure series
(the more civilian adventure series of that character, emerging in the anti-military, post-Viet Nam era).
Jackson first appeared in 1971 with a variety of figures and accessories. The doll came in a variety of hair colors - black, blonde,
even red - and without or without a beard; there was even a black Jackson figure. Additional items necessary for globe-trotting
adventures could be purchased, of course, includinga scramble van, motorcycle, and helicopter; even additional clothing such as SCUBA
gear, a karate outfit, and a football uniform were manufactured. Action Jackson was meant to be a wide-ranging, catch-all figure meant
to appeal to any boy's sense of adventure, whatever form the kid's imagination could take.
Mego, Jackson's creators, made a mistake in commissioning a line of television commercials for the doll to be produced by Mel Hellitzer
Advertising. The commercials showed our 8" hero running, fighting, and otherwise cavorting in a series of stop-motion-animated
adventures - which turned out to be against television industry rules. Toys at that time weren't allowed to be shown doing things in
commercials that the product themselves couldn't do - child actors could be shown holding the toys and pretending they did various things,
but tricks like animation and special effects were out. Taken aback, Mego continued to produce the action figure, but the line received
a blow from which it never really recovered. Additional accessories, playsets, and even a female Jacksonian named Dinah-Mite were
introduced, but by 1973 it was all over.
However, some good did come out of Jackson's failure. In an attempt to bounce back from the loss while at the same time cutting costs,
Mego re-used the bodies of the AJ figures in a new line of figures to be launched in '73: the World's Greatest Superheroes. This toy
line would reap the parent company millions over the next several years.