by G. Jack Urso
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 below 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). These were never broadcast, but for those interested in advertising or public relations it gives an interesting look into how national companies promoted themselves 40-plus years ago.
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 (staring 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.
Take a trip down memory lane on the Aeolus 13 Umbra YouTube channel: