by G. Jack Urso
Take a trip down memory lane on the Aeolus 13 Umbra YouTube channel!
If you grew up in America during the 1970s, Mego action figures were an almost ubiquitous feature of childhood. In addition to their line of DC and Marvel superheroes, Mego also had complete toy lines and playsets for Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Micronauts, Evel Knievel, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and many more. The quality wasn’t always great, but they provided fodder for countless hours of make-believe. The commercials featured above from 1973-1976 provide a glimpse at the company, its products, and the era.
Interspersed with the commercials are a couple “special messages” from Mego, presumably to retail and media outlets, promising “better promotions and big profits” for the 1973 toy line (at 3:30 and 7:17). While the commercials in this video were seen on TV, this particular compilation is a direct-to-retailer release, so some segments are only available in this production. For those interested in advertising or public relations, it gives a look into how national companies promoted themselves in the 1970s.
Some of these commercials don’t translate too well 40 years later, such as the promo for the unfortunately named Ball Buster game (37:25), which definitely falls under the “what were they thinking of” category. Mego also produced other items that remind us of the limitations of 1970s-era technology, like the Star Trekulator (36:48) which was the size of a notebook and could only add, subtract, multiply, and divide. There were, in fact, a whole range of Star Trek electronic toys (starting at 29:50), some of which I owned as a child. With complete lines of action figures and playsets, games, and electronic toys, Mego's broad span of products shows a company interested in imagination and innovation. Unfortunately, after stellar sales in the 1970s, the company's investment in electronic toys did not pay off as they expected and Mego was out of business by 1983.
UPDATE JULY 2018: Recently, Mego has reemerged under the leadership of Marty Abrams, chairman of the original Mego Corporation, and has begun releasing updated versions of its old action figure line as well as new figures, so get them now while supplies last!
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