If Mego had a lasting mark on the toy fair, it was their showmanship.
Marty Abrams brought a splash of colour to Toy Fair and with it, record sales year after year, his escapades would be copied in events and toy launches, that occur to this day.
When Action Jackson launched, he brought in Milton Berle, for the Superheroes Adam West and Linda Carter suited up for a special film for buyers (which has now sadly been lost), giant names like Muhammad Ali, Sonny and Cher and of course, KISS showed up in the Mego booth but perhaps most famously, he held a special Wizard of Oz Reunion in 1975 which resulted in record pre-orders for the toy line.
1982 would be the last hurrah for Mego, plagued with rising debt and a lukewarm reception to theirhandheld electronic games in the marketplace, the World’s Greatest Toy Company pinned their hopes on licenses, Dominoes and their newest creation, Eagle Force.
Mego made Toy Fair 1982 star studded with former TV Wonder Woman Cathy Lee Crosby promoting “Domino Rally“, the “That’s Incredible” host had her face and endorsement (describing the sets as “Incredible”) on every box.
“Dukes of Hazzard” was a surprise smash for Mego (a license they paid a mere $5,000 for) and on hand was Boss Hogg himself, Sorrell Brooke. Mego VP Bill Baron would recall that Brooke stayed in the “Boss Hogg” character the entire time.
However, the big focus was for Eagle Force, Mego’s die cast figure line hoping to catch the growing renewed interest in military toys in the early 1980s. Inspired by Britains toy soldiers, Abrams hired comic artist Paul Kirchner to create the cast, the line had it all, dashing heroes, mean villains (some of them like Baron Von Chill, named after Mego staffers like Bill Baron) and a slew of vehicles and play sets.
At the 34th Street Heliport, a group of stunt men adorned in their Eagle Force Gold repelled down from their Eagle Force Chopper.
The team which included Captain Eagle, stood at attention while veteran actor Darren McGavin similarly adorned as the Eagle Force Commander in chief read their proclamation.
The resulting spectacle caused the kind of stir Abrams hoped for and the story of Mego’s new line went national and started a national discussion on the rising wave of “Anti-Terrorism” toys.
When asked by the press about this trend, Abrams stated “We’re focusing on the good guys,” he adding the dolls were intended to get boys to “feel proud to be American.“
Eagle Force would prove to be successful in it’s limited release but as former VP Bill Baron states in a Mego Museum Interview when asked about Eagle Force “about the time that [Eagle Force] was out there, the place was going under.” Baron was quick to blame buyer disinterest in anything Mego made
Sadly, the amazing Eagle Force launch would be Mego’s last splash at Toy Fair but in 1982 they went out with a bang.