It would be extremely safe in my opinion to say that when the television series CHiPs began airing on the night of September 15th of 1977 on NBC – it became something of a smash hit. Running for 139 episodes and one television movie for six seasons, CHiPs was a television show that my Family would not miss. I have many fond memories of laying in the middle of my Grandparent’s living room while watching the show but I also recall the Mego CHiPs action figures and accessories that my cousin and myself received during the Holidays. We would pretty much take over the entire kitchen and if memory serves me correctly, he received the Ponch figure and I got the Jon version. As I remember it, a lot of the adventures we put our Mego CHiPs figures involved them not protecting the innocent and arresting bad guys but charging at each other on their motorcycles… over and over again. Maybe we had already seen 1981’s Knightriders from the late and great George A. Romero by that point?
I guess I should clarify that the Mego CHiPs action figures I am talking about were the 8″ figures and not the 3.75″ versions – in fact I would say the 8″ versions were basically dolls. Granted they were dolls that had pistols, billy clubs, helmets, sunglasses and even wrist watches. All of the equipment I suppose that Officers of the California Highway Patrol need to keep the streets safe from rampant traffic pile-ups – drug deals gone bad – and even an appearance by H.R. Pufnstuf. Interesting fact about CHiPs – the characters of Ponch and Jon never drew their firearms in the series itself – they were too busy I reckon showing off their moves on the dance floor of the local disco!
Besides the Mego CHiPs figures and vehicles, including a wind-up motorcycle set similar to the Evel Knievel version – which my Cousin and myself owned as well, there were Colorforms, a board game, and even coloring and activity books. To say nothing of what I would describe as five and dime toys like plastic Police cars and motorcycles as well as attachable sirens for your own bicycle. For my money though – those 1979 Mego CHiPs action figures were the greatest, while I may not have the toys any longer I can at least relive the memories thanks to vintage TV commercials like the one below.