If you were to judge a products popularity by it's TV commercials, you would think Mego's Action Jackson had sold like Beanie Babies. The commercials were crammed with testosterone and produced with character animation & a manly theme song ("Think of what you want to be and count on meeeeee."). Watching the commercials today makes me want to start an instant Ebay collection, but in his time, Jackson wasn't a runaway hit.
Action Jackson was Mego's entrance into the action figure market in the US. Like GI Joe, Action Jackson was a fully articulated figure with outfits, accessories, cool vehicles and a strong TV campaign. Also like GI Joe, Mego's man of action had spent some time abroad in some undisclosed quasi-military capacity. Now semi-retired, he split his time between thrill seeking, treasure hunting and his volunteer work as park ranger & fire fighter.
The biggest difference between Jackson and all the other figures of the time was his size. Action Jackson was the first 8 in figure (Big Jim was released by Mattel in 1972) making him about 3/4 the size of GI Joe. The new size was cost effective for Mego and it also made AJ cheaper. In the world of kids on a small allowance, cheaper meant more bang for your buck and that gave the new figure enough traction to stay on the pegs for three or four years.
While Action Jackson was never a huge hit, he got Mego into the action figure market. An American hero to the end, Jackson's last act was to donate his body to "The World's Greatest Super Hero" series of action figures which helped make Mego one of the largest toy companies of the mid 70's & 80's. It's rumored AJ's original scary head without a beard is in a cryogenic freeze waiting for butt ugly sculpting to make a comeback.
Looking for Action Jackson info? Try the Mego Museum or the 3 aMego's
want to see a few commercials? Try these at YouTube:
Jeep & parachute ad
6 of AJ's outfits (I especially like the ever so macho voice whispering "Action Jackson" in the background)
AJ's motor scooter, fire rescue copter and what may be the funniest 'vehicle' any figure ever had, the "bucking bronco".
The jungle house [not to be confused with the Elvis jungle room at Graceland]
Jeep & personal helicopter