The Mego Corporation had a pretty good run of licensed action figures in the 1970s, covering huge franchises like Doctor Who, James Bond, and Star Trek. It’s the Planet of the Apes line that catches my eye, though, and it’s mostly because of the commercials.
The toys themselves are no slouches; the action figure dolls were of high quality and the playsets where detailed and, for the most part, inventive. But the ads! Atop a bed of an “Also Sprach Zarathustra” soundalike the plight of “The Astronaut” unfolds as over the course of several commercials he becomes captured and escapes the clutches of those damned dirty apes.
The more coherent of the ads featured kids actively playing with the toys, presumably creating the stories as they go. The more esoteric ads feature just the toys themselves, telling the story in progressive still shots.
Most bizarre is the fact that in most, if not all, commercials, the apes win. Or, the child controlling the apes’ side. Sometimes.