Definitely the greatest action figure ever made, and possibly the greatest toy ever made, despite its notorious fragility. I talk about toys based on R rated features of the ’70s and early ’80s here, where I first mentioned Kenner’s magnum opus. The figure didn’t sell well due to price point and parental puzzlement, but everyone I knew wanted one. (The toy reportedly lost Kenner “more than $1 million and was produced for only one year.”)
All it took to draw the kids in was a good trailer (Alien had one of the best), solid lead up press in the genre magazines (Starlog, etc.), and eye-catching merchandise. (If you don’t already have it, go get a copy of Alien: The Illustrated Story, the 1979 graphic novel by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson originally published by Heavy Metal magazine).