Merrill Hassenfeld took over as CEO in 1974 with his son, Stephen D. Hassenfeld, becoming president. The company became profitable once again, but had mixed results due to cash flow problems from increasing the number of toys in the line to offset G.I. Joe's declining sales. In 1975, the G.I. Joe line was ended by Hasbro, caused by the rising price of plastic via its raw material and crude oil's increasing prices. In 1977, Hasbro's losses were $2.5 million and the company held a large debt load. That same year, Hasbro acquired Peanuts cartoon characters licensing rights. With the financial situation poor, Hasbro's bankers made the company temporarily stop dividend payments in early 1979. The toy division's losses increased Harold Hassenfeld's resentment regarding the company's treatment of the Empire Pencil subsidiary as Empire received lower levels of capital spending to profits than did the toy division. With Merrill's death in 1979, Harold did not recognize Stephen's authority as the successor to the chairman & CEO position. As a solution, Hasbro spun off Empire Pencil in 1980, then the nation's largest pencil maker with Harold trading his Hasbro shares for those of Empire. Stephen then became both the CEO and chairman of the board. Between 1978 and 1981, Stephen reduced the Hasbro product line by one-third and its new products by one-half. Hasbro focused on simple, low cost, longer life cycle toys like Mr. Potato Head. Hasbro thus stayed out of the electronic games field which went bust in the early 1980s.
In 1960, Henry died and Merrill took over the parent company and his older brother Harold ran the pencil-making business, Empire Pencil. Hassenfeld Brothers expanded to Canada with Hassenfeld Brothers (Canada) Ltd. in 1961. The company was approached in 1963 to license a toy based on , which they turned down because they did not want to be tied to a possibly short-lived television series. Instead, in 1964, Hassenfeld Brothers produced the toy, which they termed an "" in order to market the toy to boys who wouldn't want to play with "." In 1964 and 1965, G.I. Joe accounted for two-thirds of Hassenfeld's sales.
In 1982, Hasbro produced another successful toy franchise, . In 1983, Hasbro purchased Infant Items, a manufacturer of infant products and the world's largest bib producer and , a struggling subsidiary. Hasbro paid Warner with 37 percent of its own stock—paid into a Hasbro executive control voting trust—and also received a cash infusion. In 1984, took over as president from his brother Stephen, who continued as CEO and chairman. That same year, the company (then the nation's sixth-best-selling toymaker) acquired the (then the nation's fifth bestselling toymaker), bringing , , and into the Hasbro fold and transforming Hasbro into Hasbro Bradley. Stephen Hassenfeld became the merged company's president and CEO with Milton Bradley chief James Shea Jr. taking the chairman position. However, the executives clashed and Shea left after a few months, and Stephen and Alan returned to their previous positions.
In the 1940s, Hassenfeld Brothers produced doctor and nurse kits, its first toys, and modeling clay, becoming primarily a toy company by 1942. With Hillel's death in 1943, Henry Hassenfeld became CEO while his son, Merrill, became president. The company entered the plastic fields during World War II to support its toy line. Hassenfeld Brothers' first toy hit was , which the company purchased from in 1952. The toy was a smash success. In 1954, the company became a Disney major licensee.