Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mego Action Figures

Some of the greatest toys that Maz and I had while growing up were produced by the Mego toy company (now out of business). The toys were 8 inch action figures (yeah, yeah. They had removable clothing, so technically they were dolls, but I will always call them action figures…)

One of the coolest things about these toys is the number of licenses that Mego had to create action figures for. Nowadays, because of the ‘collector’s paraphernalia’ that was really started by Lucas’s Star Wars, it would be unthinkable for the DC comic characters and the Marvel comic characters to be created by the same company in a way that the characters could actually interact, but in the 1970s, they were.

Maz and I had a huge collection of these. Most of the characters were the truly mainstream DC characters – Batman, Robin, Aquaman, and Superman. For villains, the majority were Batman foes – the Joker, the Penguin, and the Riddler, with superman’s bizarre foes Mr. Mxyzptlk. We even had a couple of the women – Wonder Woman and Batgirl. We also had Captain Marvel (Shazam) who at that time was owned by Fawcett (DC bought them out eventually). And of course, they had playsets and vehicles. We had a Batmobile, the Batcoptor, and the Batcycle,

For Marvel, we had Spider-man, Captain America, Hulk, the Thing, the Falcon, the Green Goblin, and Thor.

Mego didn’t just have Superheroes. They also had a good sized Star Trek Collection – Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, a Klingon, and the Gorn. We also got and the Star Trek Enterprise bridge playset which came with a transporter.

I also had a Davey Crockett in there somehow. And the Scarecrow and Tinman from the Wizard of Oz.

We weren’t the only ones who had these toys. Brad Gottschalk had some of the Planet of the Apes figures, and Harley Jebans had the rest of the Fantastic Four, Conan the Barbarian, and Green Arrow (I was very jealous of that character. Only saw him in a store once, but didn’t have the money to get him!) Someone also had the Fonz from ‘Happy Days’ and Starsky from the ‘Starsky and Hutch’ television shows.

Several other of our friends had these as well, and we would bring them over and play and create adventures with them. One of our favorite things was at Brad Gottschalk’s house. They had this big, very cool laundry chute. We’d have the characters fall down the chute, and sometimes we’d get a rope and have them ‘climb’ back up the chute.

Maz and I were very hard on our toys. Eventually, these action figures made it out to our sandbox. We created castles and caves, and then there would be cave ins and they’d have to be rescued. The costumes got ruined, the characters would break at the joints, we’d lose accessories (Cap’s shield was notorious for disappearing), and the poor vehicles and playsets got destroyed. The characters were also held together by elastic or by rubber bands – very thick rubber bands, but rubber bands none the less, so they did break on occasion.

As I was cleaning and going through things, I found the remnants of our Mego action figures. Only one of them ‘survived’ relatively intact – a Mr. Spock. We have a legless Falcon and a legless Kirk. Thor fell apart when I picked him up – still had his hammer, although his helmet was long gone. Still had the Hulk, although he was wearing the Thing’s clothing and only had one arm. I still had lots of costume pieces and accessories. I got rather nostalgic as I looked at the pieces, and stashed them away again. They are somewhere out in my garage, waiting for me to do something with them…


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