Monday, March 19, 2012

"CHiPs" (Mego)



ChiPs - California Highway Patrols. The series starred Erik Estrada (as Ponch), and Larry Wilcox (as Jon), which ran from 1977 to 1983 for a total of 139 episodes over six seasons.

In 1979 Mego produced two lines of toys based on the TV series. One was their 8 inch series of dolls (which coincided with much of what Mego was famous for during this time period), and the 3 3/4 line (which we'll take a look at today).

Mego was relatively new to the 3 3/4 line of action figures, but following the huge success of Kenner's Star Wars line, the company was eager to find a staple in the toy isle with their own toys - Which while successful, never saw the sales that companies such as Kenner (Star Wars) or Hasbro (G.I. Joe) had.


Five figures were produced for the line, which consisted of the three main characters, Ponch, Jon, and the Sarge. Two villians were also produced, but interesting enough were never part of the series itself. Wheels Willy, and Jimmy Squeaks were actually just recycled CB McHaul villians which Mego threw into the line.

The front of the packaging was fantastic for its time. Beautifully painted art of the characters dominated most of the front of the packaging. The back of the packaging wasn't as exciting. Consisting of all white, with three small boxes which showed the officers from the toy line, but oddly enough as the actual cast photos, and not the toys themselves. The back also advertised other Mego 3 3/4 lines such as Buck Rogers, and Star Trek - Though only in text blurbs.

A motorcycle was produced for the toys. Since it was a rather generic looking cycle, Mego hoped that children would buy multiple pieces, one for each officer. Canadian fans were treated to a two pack of cycles which also came with Ponch and Jon figures. No other vehicles were produced for the line.

***UPDATE***

Thanks to the anonymous reader below, we've found and updated this post with the Freewheeling Highway Patrol Police Chase Car with Sarge!

Much is the case with the secondary market, dealers price each individual figure at twenty-five to fifty dollars each, which is more than most people are willing to pay. Entire lots of the five figures (minus the cycle) can be found for as little as seventy-five dollars, which averages out each figure to a more reasonable price of about fifteen dollars each.

The motorcycle is much rarer, and incredibly difficult to come by. As a reult, the cycle can fetch as much as fifty dollars for a mint on card toy. Though one must be careful when buying a loose version to ensure it is authentic to the series. Due to the generic nature of the bike, it's easy to be duped into buying a motorcycle that was not produced specifically for the line.

Join us next Monday for our look at Video Game Superstars - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time!

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3 comments:

  1. Great article!

    Mego also sold a police car for Sarge. It used the same '50s-like mold that was used for Rosco's police car from the Dukes of Hazzard line, which in turn was the same mold as a police car from the CB McHaul line.

    I distinctly recall seeing in some toy catalog or sales circular of the time a photo of a Sarge police car that was based on Mego's General Lee. I've never seen any photos of this online, so my mind might be playing tricks on me...

    ReplyDelete
  2. The wrong actor's name is listed for Jon. He was played by Larry Wilcox and Robert Pine played the Sergeant.

    ReplyDelete

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