Apes Week: Action Apemen

Apes Week: Action Apemen

What better way to kick off Apes week than talking about one of the more interesting toy legal battles of 1974? The AHI Action Apemen (that’s the trading card I made for them above) are interesting tale of a knock off that went too far. More after the jump:

You see, according to interviews with Mego execs, AHI got to the Planet of the Apes license first and Mego at the last hour, outbid them on the action figure part of the business. AHI managed to secure the rights to many other officially licensed products and honestly, we’re all better off Mego got the figure license because, well, those toys rocked.

However, AHI was still in the action figure business, they had the monsters and generic “Adventure Men” characters that sold rather briskly, so why not add a few Apes with rifles to the mix? The result:

The Action Apemen even came on cards that mimicked the Mego “Kresge” card used in stores (most notably K Mart stores)

Well, Mego saw red (it should be mentioned that in the very same year, Mego produced generic Monsters to mimick AHI’s officially licensed versions) and teamed with 20th Century Fox to smack AHI down good and publicly.

With the lawsuit settled amicably, the Action Apeman vanished quicker than the Ape Mania and lucky for us kids, AHI continued to pump out mad fun items with the Apes logo on them. There are more pics and info at the AHI Planet of the Apes gallery.Many thanks to Mike Jimenez for these wonderfully cool peaks at his collection.

About The Author

AKA Brian Heiler author of "Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings" and co-editor of "Toy-Ventures Magazine". Co-Host of the "Pod Stallions" podcast. Host of the Brick Mantooth Youtube channel, painter, designer, writer, mental health advocate, toy collector, Mego, and Mego Knock-Off enthusiast. I have large feet, ADHD and I live in Canada. Talk toys, not others.


  • Chris Cummins on August 1, 2011

    I had never heard of these before, and now they are my obsession. I'm not sure whether to thank you or curse you. Either way, keep up the amazing work Brian!

  • Alphacentaurian on August 2, 2011

    I know these count as "Mego-like," but do they count as bootlegs?

  • Anonymous on August 4, 2011

    I was trying to win one of these on eBay recently but I think it was a Tong knockoff. The figure was listed loose with wear and a limp leg. He went for $71! That goes to show you how rare they are.

  • PDXWiz on August 4, 2011

    Weird but cool, and definitely look like fun to collect. If only to give Kirk a new enemy alien race…LOL.

    So we have orangutans and what…chimpanzees? gorillas? a hybrid creature of the two?

    With their camouflage clothes, they'd be good opponents for a Battle for the Planet of the Apes scenario.

    Re the orangutan in the light tan outfit with the weird buttons up to the collar (like an old-style surgeon's smock from the 40s)…those pants are so light, he looks like he should be in CHiPs!

    Very neat pix…

    Gordon Long

  • wytchcroft on October 30, 2011

    Oh wants. wants wants wants.
    i could do a whole Time of the Apes thing with these, it'd be so nifty.

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