Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mego Museum Cards Go West

megomuseum cochise card

megomuseum cochise card

Scott has unveiled the two new Mego American West trading cards currently available, Cochise (which has never been revealed before) and Will Bill. Check them out here.

Trade Cards at the Megomuseum Card Forum.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mego Star Trek Headquarters

mego star trek display sign

This stunning piece of artwork is the from the Mego 1980 Toy Fair Showroom and is courtesy of Heroes West Coast. One can only imagine what the rest of that show booth looked. Click on it for a larger view.

Check out the MegoMuseum Star Trek Gallery if you're so inclined

Monday, April 28, 2008

Portrait of the Mego Penguin done in Magna Doodle

mego penguin

This portrait of the Mego Penguin figure was done by World's Greatest Toys scribe Ben Holcomb on a Magna Doodle. There is no more fitting canvas for a Mego product than on another Mego product.

Great OA! Paul made this neat Guardian figure from the Green Lantern, check out all the new homemade heroes in the Finished Custom Section of the Museum forums.

Check out the Mego Museum Blog tomorrow for a very rare, never before seen display piece from the 1980 Mego Toy Fair Show Room.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Concentration Strategy Scores Gains for Mego

(February 1974) NEW YORK-A switch to a "concentration" television advertising strategy scored gains for Mego Corp. and its customers in 1973.

The change involved Mego's spending less for TV than the year before, but-achieving greater in-depth impact in selected key markets. As a result Mego returned to the black, three of its products appeared on the Toy Hit Parade during the year, and its customers are said to have had a highly successful year with the line.
The concentration strategy was developed with the aid of Ed Libov Associates, New York, a full service broadcast advertising agency that specializes in spot TV for consumer products and retail chains.

It involved cutting the number of markets on Mego's media schedule from 69 to the 23 that account for the "lion's share" of sales; shortening the campaign from 24 weeks to 16, and positioning each spot on the schedule in order to better reach the key target audience.

'You Can Control Position'
"There's a myth among spot TV advertisers that you can't control position if you get a bargain on the air time," says Libov. "The fact is, you can. And if your resources are limited, you must."
The key to positioning the Mego spots, he says, was to combine "early fringe" and "prime-access" time with children's A.M. time, heavily weighted toward "early fringe," when most school-age children are watching.
The target audience for Mego mer chandise, Libov notes, is the "plus five to nine-year-old, who's in school during most of the children's time. 'Early fringe' and 'prime-access' may appear to cost more, but the impression on the target audience actually is more effective. "
The schedule also used network TV time to reach those markets not covered by spots.

Sales-to-Ad Ratio Doubles The new approach led to increases in Mego's sales and profits, and its sales-to-advertising ratio nearly doubled, according to Neil B. Saul, vice president of marketing. Three Mego products, Dinah Mite, Lainie and World's Greatest Super Heroes, became best sellers.
Until 1971 Mego had largely been known as a supplier of imported toys and dolls in the 88 cents class, and its promotional strategy had been built around that fact. That year the company introduced Action Jackson, an action doll in the $2 to $3 class, and backed it-with a $2 million "shotgun" TV campaign. The following year Mego added many Action Jackson tie-in items, and planned to repeat the same kind of TV approach.
"We tried too many things at once," Saul concedes. "Too drastic a change in company identity, too many new products at once, and too much of the wrong kind of TV." Bearing him out was the company's track record for the year-a loss, a poor sales-to-advertising ratio and spotty retailer success.

Late in 1972, with Ed Libov's aid, Mego adopted a new strategy of extreme selectivity in marketing and new product introductions and concentration in its advertising. While the planning was begun in '72, it bore fruit in 1973.

"We began with the conclusion that Mego is Mego and not Mattel," Saul states. "The line, however good, was small, distribution was limited, and obviously so were the funds available for advertising."

"Rather than try to outgun the big names in the TV toy business," he continues, "we instead settled on the more modest, but more realistic, goal of supporting the customers we had with TV advertising, and making sure the line was profitable for us and our retailers. "

"We'll be advertising more in '74," Saul says, "but we'll retain the concentration strategy and possibly refine it still further.

Neal Saul left Mego for Azrak-Hamway/Remco in 1975. For more vintage mego articles please visit the MegoMuseum Ad Archive.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Galaxy of Adventure includes Mego Buck Rogers

mego star trek
weird Buck playset Today's addition to the Mego Museum department store catalog archive is the second part to the two page spread with yesterday's Micronauts page. It's a whole page of Buck Rogers goodness.

According to former Mego VP Bill Baron, Buck Rogers was actually a good seller for the World's Greatest Toy company and that can be evidenced by it's appearance in three Mego catalogs. It's also a crazy fun line to collect now and very affordable.

The playset featured here isn't by Mego, it's another Sears exclusive most likely made by Tara Toys (See Monday's Hulk update) and was also sold with Star Wars figures.

Explore the MegoMuseum Buck Rogers Gallery today and don't forget to check out the Prototype Twiki Page.

This Week's Custom Spotlight

Speaking of television Science Fiction, Museum Member Drwhofan74 has created an 8" custom of Tom Baker era assistant Harry Sullivan (played by the late Ian Martyr) and it's pretty darn terrific!

Mego Meet Quickly Approaches

mego meet convention

The fourth Annual gathering of Mego Collectors is quickly approaching, be sure to come check out the official Mego Meet Website to see what it's all about. Hope to see you there!

mego meet convention

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Enter a Galaxy of Adventure with Mego Micronauts

mego star trek
weird star trek playset I'm loving this addition to the department store catalog archive today because it's a nice shot of the Mego Micronauts. It's a wonderfully dynamic shot of the rocket tubes playset.

Also neat is what appears to be an early Hornetroid prototype, which has a missile launcher in the front. For more on the developement of the Hornetroid check out this article by Ray Miller.

Early Birds aren't just for Seniors dept.

Cast Away Toys is offering an Early Bird Special on their upcoming Captaion Action and Doctor Evil figures, you not only get to be the first kid on your block with them but they'll be all variant and stuff. Read more here....

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mego Star Trek Returns Twice Plus Captain Action News

mego star trek
weird star trek playset A new addition to our growing department store catalog archive is this Sears 1980 Catalog Page featuring the return of the 8" Star Trek line. Even though Mego had stopped producing the figures in 1977, they made a return to Sears by the late seventies on what many call the "Blank Back Cards" (check the Museum Star Trek pages for more info).

You'll also notice a weird playset on this page, it's actually a recording studio playset for 12" Fashion dolls that has been all "spaced up" so to speak and is not a Mego product.

Speaking of Star Trek returning, our own Roberto (Aka Blue Meanie) has shared some terrific photos of the EMCE toys Star Trek display at this past weekend's New Yory City Comic Con, click here to see more.

Roberto also reports on the Cast-A-Way Captain Action display at last weekend's Comic Con and was very impressed, check out his thoughts on Captain Action, Doctor Evil and the Phantom here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Quick Mego Superfriends to the Hulk Hideaway!

mego superheroes
A new addition to our growing department store catalog archive is this neat spread from the 1980 Sears Wishbook depicting the Heroes hiding out in the Tara ToysHulk Hideaway playset.

I love the Hulk transformation chamber in this piece so I've added a better look, you even get a cardboard Bruce Banner.

You'll also notice the Empire Toys Hulk Helicopter in the top left and the rest of the merchandise on the page is related to the Mean, Green one himself, due to his "Incredible" popularity on the small screen at the time.

Speaking of Mego Superheroes, be sure to check out Benjamin's World's Greatest Toys blog where he has been obsessing over vintage price stickers and department store catalogs, an awesome combination!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Captain Action Returns!

captain action and dr evil from castaway toys

This great image of the upcoming Cast-A-Away Toys Captain Action and Doctor Evil figures was in my box this morning. This anticipated new 8" series will be on display at this year's New York Comic Con. For more infomation on this and other lines, check our Replica Forum.

Dida Displays
In other news, the first Dida display sets are starting to ship, for more on these cool customizable "displaysets" check out Dida Displays dot com.

Friday, April 11, 2008

MegoMuseum Takes a Look at Superman: The Movie

December 15th, 1978 saw the release of the Richard Donner helmed Superman: The Movie, the world's first (but definitely not last) comic book blockbuster movie.

Mego Corporation, being the toy licensor for action figures was well prepared for this event and created a great deal of product to coincide with this fantastic opportunity.

Having a good relationship with DC Comics meant Mego had plenty of reference materials from the film itself.

Former Mego Designer Harvey Zelman elaborated in his interview " I remember sitting down with everybody and they lined up all the still frames from the movie and we got the insight of what was going on. Sitting there in the meeting saying: OK, we gotta do a Fortress of Solitude, we gotta do this, we gotta do that"

Evidence can be seen from Mego Designer Vinny Baiera's production notes from one of those meetings, the notes mention that the "New Movie Line" would feature and "Ali Size" (10") Chris Reeve, a Krypton with Space Ship playset and a series of action figures that would be 12.5" tall.

While most would have imagined there would be additions to the 8" World's Greatest Superheroes line, Mego President Marty Abrams had an inclination to produce figures in 1/6th scale for movie characters.

Harvey Zelman explained this philosophy to the Museum "You got a lot more for a 12" [figure] than you did an 8" figure. [Abrams] wanted more detail to the outfits, when you did a 12.5" figure you did nice, dressy outfits whereas the 8" were [not as nice]. "

Mego ordered six headsculpts from toy artist Ken Sheller, they included a Reeves Superman, Jor El, Lex Luthor, General Zod, partner in crime Ursa and his silent henchman Non. It's not known why the latter two were not released maybe Mego was made aware that much of their contribution to Superman The Movie would be put into the sequel (The majority of Superman 2 was filmed at the same time as the original) but in the end four 12" characters were released.

Mego was optimistic about the line and Marty Abrams was especially impressed with Sheller's work, as Mr. Sheller relates "when I delivered the six wax heads, I recall that Marty (Abrams) was so happy to have them that he held up the Chris Reeve head, looked at it, said "he looks great Ken!" and then gave it a big kiss. He did this probably for two reasons. One, he liked the head alot and two, he had to get on a plane to Hong Kong right away with them, and I'm sure that he was very happy that I made the deadline."

Only the Christopher Reeve Superman Figure bore both a head sculpt and outfit that matched the movie character. The rest of the line had outfits that followed the directive of their comic counterparts. It's not known why Mego chose to do this, it may have involved rights to the movie costumes or the fact that the company simply felt the movie apparel wasn't "toyetic" enough. Certainly in the case of Lex Luthor this is true, most would prefer purple and green to one that resembled Hackman in the movie.

Mego also pitched a playset for the 12" line that would include different scenes from the Movie, the playset though not released seems to have gone through several transitions and can be seen in great detail at it's new gallery page.

Mego also added new characters to their fledgling Pocket Super Heroes line in the guise of Jor El, Zod and Luthor. These figures appeared rushed as did their resulting generic packaging and were not good sellers for Mego.

Later revisions to the Pocket Superheroes packaging would still show the movie trio but they were not produced past their initial run.

Mego also pitched two playsets for this line, both movie based The Fortress of Solitude and Earth Quake sets were clever recycling of old "Comic Action Heroes" molds that made sense but buyers balked at the concept and both were not released.

In the end, the man of Steel movie merchandise did not fly for Mego. Former Mego VP Cindy Schriebman explained in a 1982 newspaper interview "Superman didn't increase sales for us" she added "It came out at the time of Star Wars and other blockbusters. It was a question of vying for dollars for action figures."

Today, the Mego Superman line is somewhat underrated, the Pocket Heroes can be found MOC for under $20 and the high quality 12.5" figures are somewhat under appreciated for what they are. We are pleased at the Museum to debut our new galleries for this line:

Discuss this on the Mego Forum

Also be sure to check the World's Greatest Toys Blog today, as they present the fifth and final segment in their series unveiling the 1975 Mego Spring Catalog, today's reveal is all about the heroes!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

EMCE Star Trek News at Megomuseum

mego mr sulu

Mego fans might want to pick up this week's issue of Toyfare magazine as it shows the another original figure from the EMCE toys "retro cloth" Star Trek line, none other than helmsman Hikaru Sulu! Discuss it in our replica chat forum.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Heroes World Ad: Mego Black Hole

A fun ad in our Heroes world gallery today, this time it's a wonderfully illustrated piece for the Mego Black Hole 12" and 3 3/4" figures.

shifty old ernieWhat's best about this image is how sneaky they depict Ernest Borgnine's character. Look at those shifty eyes, you know he's up to no good. DUN-DUN-DUN!

If this has left craving more Mego Black Hole, cruise over to our Black Hole Gallery for shots of loose, carded and even prototype items from Mego.

mego customs

Mike Rogers unveiled his latest custom figure, Detective Dan McGarrett from Hawaii Five-0, which I think is gangbusters. Mike also has the Custom Spotlight this week with his Dracula figure, he's on a roll. Check out all the latest creations at Custom Mego.

Over at the World's Greatest Toys Blog, Benjamin is unveiling a page from the recently discovered 1975 Mego Spring Supplement , today's reveal is a never before seen page for Mego Bend N Flex, neat-o!

That's all the Mego for today, stay tuned this week for when the Mego Museum takes a look at Superman : The Movie merchandise.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The World of the Micronauts!

mego superheroes in the 1979 wards catalog

Another beautiful addition to the Mego Museum Department Store Catalog Archive . The 1979 Mongomery Wards Catalog had an impressive selection of Mego Micronauts including the Rocket Tubes playset.

Buy and Trade Mego Micronauts at the Mego Museum Forums, click here

We've expanded the Mego Custom Universe at our forum, now will three individual Custom Forums to serve you better, check out the expanded Custom universe at Custom Mego.

Only two months left for Megomeet, the world's only Mego Convention. Check out the official site for more information.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Mego Superheroes Still Strong in 1979 Wards

mego superheroes in the 1979 wards catalog

To start a new month off right why not showcase a beautiful page such as this in the Mego Museum Department Store Catalog Archive . The 1979 Mongomery Wards Catalog had an impressive selection of Mego Superheroes including the Elastic Heroes and the larger then life play set The Wayne Foundation.

Buy and Trade Mego Superheroes at the Mego Museum Forums, click here

Speaking of Superheroes, check out this killer Mr.Fantastic figure, it's this week's custom spotlight. Check out all the cool goodies at Custom Mego.

Only two months left for Megomeet, the world's only Mego Convention. Check out the official site for more information.