28th February 2008

Let’s Talk 3rd Wave Mego World’s Greatest Super-Heroes!

Wait. Before we talk about the 3rd Wave, let’s take a minute to admire the 3rd Wave.

Green Arrow

(Above: Mego Green Arrow MIB and MOC)

Green Goblin

(Above: Mego Green Goblin MIB and MOC)

Lizard

(Above: Mego Lizard MIB and MOC)

Falcon

(Above: Mego Falcon MIB and MOC)

Iron Man

(Above: Mego Iron Man MIB and MOC)

Hulk

(Above: Mego Hulk MIB and MOC)

OK, enough drooling over the goodies. Let’s talk Mego.

Among questions I’ve gotten about the book, one of the more prevalent issues has to do with the 3rd Wave of Mego World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, which included Green Arrow, Green Goblin, Lizard, Falcon, Iron Man and Hulk. What seems to surprise people most is the fact that this wave of gorgeous action figures did not sell well, compared to other figures and waves within the WGSH line.

I touch on this in World’s Greatest Toys (Amazon pays me for purchases made through my Blog, so I thank you in advance for purchasing my book through links on this site). Here’s a snippet from the book (page 146, for those reading along), followed by a scan of the cited spread:

The 3rd Wave is comprised of one DC character, Green Arrow, and five Marvel characters: Green Goblin, Lizard, Falcon, Iron Man and Hulk. Mego did not heavily promote the wave to the industry, and it had a clear impact on sales. Granted a promotional feature in the February 1975 Toy Fair issue of Playthings, Mego announced additions to Planet of the Apes, upcoming Star Trek figures, and other lines such as The Waltons and Wizard of Oz. The solitary mention of Heroes makes no reference to the 3rd Wave. “Mego continues to build its Super-Hero line of basic action figures by adding new Fist Fighting Action to Batman and Robin, and the Joker and Riddler, the all-time favorites in this category.”

It is important to understand that the entire 3rd Wave of Super-Heroes performed terribly in the marketplace. Even Hulk, the only successful character in the wave, did not gain popularity until the CBS TV show gained momentum three years after the figure debuted. The wave’s failure impacts collectors today. Aside from Hulk, the other five 3rd Wave characters comprise many of the scarcest packaging variations today. The supply and demand is directly proportional to the relatively few specimens sold during the 1970s.

Perhaps contributing to the diminished support of 3rd Wave of heroes, Mego was aggressively adding new products in an attempt to find the next ‘big thing.’ While the line was ultimately abandoned in the planning stages, Mego even developed a “Doc Savage” line coinciding with the doomed film project. Drawings, models and prototypes still exist in the collections of a select few. It is unknown if these characters would have been promoted as World’s Greatest Super-Heroes.

1975

Eagle-eyed Mego-heads will notice that the pictures atop the Blog depict the 1st Version (Old Logo) box and the 1st Version (©1975a) 2nd Issue card for each character…

…except for Hulk! (shown instead is the ©1975b card)

I wish I could show the same iteration of each packaging style, but I am unable to do so. There are two reasons for this: 1) There is only one 2nd Issue card design for Green Goblin, Lizard, Falcon and Iron Man (proof these characters sold poorly, resulting in discontinuation) and; 2) I have not yet tracked down a specimen of the extremely rare ©1975a Hulk packaging variation!

“Wha…?!” you sputter. “But I thought Hulk was the most common Mego figure out there?!” you insist.

Well, yes and no. I discuss this in the book, too.

Here’s a snippet from World’s Greatest Toys (page 182, for those reading along), followed by a scan of the cited spread:

Hulk holds the distinction of being issued on every 2nd Issue U.S. Marvel card, along with a Canadian Parkdale Novelties card in 1978 that was created specifically for Hulk and Spider-Man. Likely due to the abundance of ©1978 and ©1979 Hulk cards, many collectors are unaware of the scarcity of the ©1975a and ©1975b cards. The ©1975a, in particular, is a rare find.

Hulk

The 3rd Wave of Mego super-hereos brought us some amazing figures. Sadly, the wave underperformed, which helps explain the scarcity of several of these characters’ packaging variations.

Feel free to post your thoughts and comments on the Mego Museum message board (NB: links to a specific thread about this subject). If you’re not already a member of the Mego Museum, now is the perfect time to join!

I have more great blogs lined up for the near future. Until then, I’ll see you on the boards!

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Mego boxes courtesy of Benjamin Holcomb and Charlie Balicki. 2nd Issue Mego cards courtesy of Dan Crandall and Scott Adams. Images published by Benjamin Holcomb and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in Book Status, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Questions, Random Musings, World's Greatest Toys | 0 Comments

27th February 2008

Wizard World Announces Programming for L.A.

Lucasfilms, Heroes, Screenwriting, Marvel, DC, Top Cow, The Incredible Hulk, Mega Movie Panel and Much, Much More!

Wizard has a lot of exciting panels and events for this year’s WWLA. Here’s the run-down of great stuff happening. I hope to see you there!

STAR WARS AND INDIANA JONES: WHAT’S HOT FROM LUCASFILM
Lucasfilm’s Steve Sansweet will showcase the exciting year that’s coming for fans. Enjoy sneak peek into the eagerly awaited animated television series, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” hearing insights from those closest to the creative process. Glimpse game play from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the ground-breaking new game from LucasArts that promises to make players feel like they are inside the next chapter of the Star Wars Saga. And in the Indy world, hear inside news on the upcoming “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Benjamin’s Book Recommendations:
Benjamin’s DVD Recommendations:

HEROES TV PANEL
Join Co-Executive Producer Jeph Loeb as he discusses the smash NBC TV hit. Find out about the deadly virus that has plagued season two of the series and hear what’s in store for season three’s “Villains” storyline.

Benjamin’s DVD Recommendations:

THE ULTIMATE SCREENWRITERS PANEL, PART 1 & 2
Want to know the secret to writing a great screenplay? Or maybe how to get your screenplay sold? Or just hear from legendary screenwriters? We bring together a pair of decorated screenwriters in Academy Award-nominated Bob Gale (“Back to the Future” and sequels) and Marc Guggenheim (“Law and Order,” “CSI: Miami,” “Eli Stone”) who also happen to be big-time comic writers (both will serve as rotating writers on Amazing Spider-Man). Additionally, hear from, Zak Penn (“The Incredible Hulk,” “The Avengers”), Mark Verheiden (“Teen Titans”) and John Cox (“Sgt. Rock”). This two-part panel represents a rare opportunity for a budding screenwriter to gain first hand knowledge from some truly amazing professionals.

ULTIMATES DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY
Joe Madureira has returned to comics and he’s doing it grand style, teaming with legendary writer Jeph Loeb to take a turn on the superteam The Ultimates, created by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. This will truly be an event as you’ll get to hear Madureira/Loeb dissect their first few issues of The Ultimates and tease what’s to come in this rare Madureira con appearance.

X-MEN PANEL

With the end of Messiah Complex and the future of the X-Men in doubt Craig Kyle, Chris Yost and Marc Guggenheim will provide insight into what lies ahead for the mutants in the Marvel Universe.

Benjamin’s Comic Book Recommendations:

DCU: COUNTDOWN TO CRISIS
Dan DiDio, Senior VP—Executive Editor DCU, and Bob Wayne, VP—Sales, are confessing secrets for a panel that’s not to be missed. The Sinestro War has passed, the Countdown is nearly over, and a Final Crisis looms! What lies ahead for our favorite heroes? Find out here!

Benjamin’s Comic Book Recommendations:

TOP COW 2008
Join Guest of Honor Marc Silvestri and the hottest creators from Top Cow as they give you a tantalizing sneak peek into Top Cow’s universe-altering 2008 plans! Find out about the buzzworthy new teams on Witchblade and The Darkness, check out the new candidates for Pilot Season 2008, and get the first hints about Top Cow’s super-secret summer event! Plus, every attendee will receive a FREE exclusive gift!

THE INCREDIBLE HULK RETROSPECTIVE WITH LOU FERRIGNO
Legendary TV personality Lou Ferrigno takes a unique interactive look at “The Incredible Hulk,” one of the most groundbreaking superhero-based shows in TV history. Featuring a riveting mix of video clips and photos, let Lou tell you about the makeup, fight scenes and dynamic with star Bill Bixby. Bonus: Hear Lou’s thoughts about June’s “Incredible Hulk” film!

MEGA MOVIE PANEL
Get ready for the next wave of comic movies. From “Iron Man” to “Incredible Hulk” to “The Dark Knight” to “Wolverine” to “Watchmen,” get the full scoop straight from Wizard Entertainment Editor Rickey Purdin on the movies that’ll be rocking the box office in the future. Bonus: Special guest appearance by “Wolverine” producer Jeff Katz!

“This could be one of our most amazing schedules of programming ever,” said Senior Vice President of Operations Joe Yanarella. “This year there is definitely something for everyone from the hardcore comic fan to aspiring filmmakers and those people who want the inside scoop of what is happening in the world of TV and feature films.”

For a complete list of events, registration forms, guests, activities, ticket prices and times, visit www.wizardworld.com.

posted in Acknowledgements, Collectible Toy Shows, Film & Television, Modern Toys, Random Musings | Comments Off

26th February 2008

On The Lot at Paramount Studios

Sometimes I really love living in Southern California. Not only was it gorgeous weather (80+ degrees) today, my boss and I got called into a meeting on the lot at Paramount Studios. We have a pretty big project in the works now, and I’m stoked.

I’d only been on the lot once before. It was months ago and, at the time, they were filming a boating scene for the new Indiana Jones movie, “Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull.” There were cool old boats and actors walking around in period outfits. Right in the middle of the parking lot was a very large pool of water, with a giant sky-mural background.

When we went to our meeting today, I was surprised to see that the ‘pool’ was suddenly filled with Benz’s and Lexus’. When the outdoor “ocean” set is not in use, Paramount drains all the water and uses the space for VIP parking. I noticed you have to have a special badge to gain entry into the Blue Lot.

I thought it was kind of cool to see a giant blue parking lot dug into the ground. Not as cool as seeing it filled with water and witnessing the filming of a movie I’m stoked about. But definitely cool.

This is how the set looked today:

Paramount

It looks like we’ll be going to the lot quite a bit in the coming months, so I’m really looking forward to what I might still see.
Benjamin

posted in Random Musings | 0 Comments

25th February 2008

Mego Bizarro: A Mr. Mxyzptlk Trick?

Bizarro

“Bizarro want make Mego marketing decision today!”

For years, vintage super-hero action figure enthusiasts have engaged in heated-but-healthy discussions surrounding Mego’s decisions regarding the characters included in their magnificent World’s Greatest Super-Heroes line, especially within the wave of World’s Greatest Super-Foes, which gave us Penguin, Joker, Riddler and Mr. Mxyzptlk in 1974.

Mr. Mxyzptlk One of the more controversial figures in the entire line is Mr. Mxyzptlk, particularly since the underutilized DC character ended up being the only 8″ Superman villain Mego ever produced.

Fans may not be crazy about Mr. Mxyzptlk (either the character or the Mego figure), but Mego clearly put a lot of effort into developing Mr. Mxyzptlk, ultimately sculpting two different heads (shown at left) for the character.

Note to collectors: Mego produced the “Smirking” head (far left) first and it is considerably scarcer than the revised version (near left).

I discuss the issue of Mr. Mxyzptlk, in relation to other Super-Foes, in the book, World’s Greatest Toys! (currently in-stock and available for purchase through Amazon.com; Amazon pays me for purchases made through my blog, so I thank you in advance for buying it here).

Here’s a snippet from the Mr. Mxyzptlk chapter of the book, followed by a scan of the spread (starting on page 136, for those reading along):

Collectors question Mego’s decision to produce Mr. Mxyzptlk, a relatively minor character. Mego clearly sought to capitalize on kids’ interest in Superman; the original packages proclaim “Superman’s Arch Enemy” in large type. Still, the character seems an odd choice compared to better-known Superman villains, including Lex Luthor and Brainiac. When pressed for an explanation in a 1998 interview, Neal Kublan offered “The [1978 Richard Donner] film had Lex [Luthor], but the comics had a lot of [Mr.] Mxyzptlk. The comics had a lot of it. And we did Superman before the first film.” A salient point, as Mego’s choice of Superman villain debuted four years before the movie opened.

Mr. Mxyzptlk

On a side note, the snippet above bothers/intrigues me, because my original manuscript cited Bizarro instead of Brainiac. Yet somehow, through myriad edits, Bizarro was replaced with Brainiac. I have no idea how or when this happened. The revision is unfortunate because, even while working on the book, I was aware of the fact that Mego once submitted a fascinating trademark request: Bizarro

Following is Mego’s canceled USPTO submission, along with a clever “Superfriends” custom:

Bizarro

Bizarro

As referenced in my recent Mego copyright and trademark Blog, Webbed-Hand Aquaman: Search for Atlantis?, which details a fleeting interest in all-things aquatic, Mego apparently also discussed the idea of a World’s Greatest Super-Hero Bizarro figure, possibly on several occasions. At least once during the 1977/1978 production meetings documented in Brian Heiler’s amazing interview with Mego artist Vinny Baiera, Mego considered expanding the original wave of four Super-Foes… as evidenced by Baiera’s own 30-year old meeting notes (shown at right).

It’s interesting to note that Baiera jotted these concepts and ideas at least two years after Mego submitted the trademark request for bizarro!

What could this mean?

Bearing in mind that Mego often submitted trademark applications well after a toy was produced (sometimes years later), this could suggest that Bizarro — presuming the trademark referenced the DC Comics character (and what else could it be?!) — had also been considered for the original wave of World’s Greatest Super-Foes!

Surely this is a trick perpetrated by that vengeful, arrogant little bastard imp from the 5th Dimension! (By that I mean Mr. Mxyzptlk, not me. I was about 3 years old when this Queen-Mother-Of-All marketing travesties occurred).

As a collector today, what amuses me is that, had Mego known about the inferior materials they used toward the end of the line — resulting in the dreaded, grey “Zombie” head — they were but a sticker and revised blister card-back away from issuing a Bizarro Superman anyway (below)!

Bizarro

Feel free to post your thoughts and comments on the Mego Museum message board (NB: links to a specific thread about this subject). If you’re not already a member of the Mego Museum, now is the perfect time to join!

I have more great blogs lined up for the near future. Until then, I’ll see you on the boards!

Benjamin

posted in Book Production, Book Status, Copyrights and Trademarks, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Questions, Random Musings, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

23rd February 2008

Mego Mad Monsters: The Creature (From the Black Lagoon)?

We had a lot of fun discussing the mysterious “Webbed-Hand” Aquaman (if you’re interested in Mego’s Aquaman, I encourage you to read the related Mego Museum thread, which is filled with interesting thoughts and ideas, well beyond my original blog), so let’s talk about another web-handed character that Mego considered manufacturing.

You already know this thread is about The Creature, but allow me to set the stage first.

In World’s Greatest Toys, I discuss Mego’s introduction of the term “Official,” an attempt to differentiate Mego products from their competitors’ similar products. Here’s a snippet from the book (page 91, for those reading along):

Mego Ad“With the introduction of the Super-Gals, the toy line received a revised name. “World’s Greatest Super-Heroes” became “Official World’s Greatest Super-Heroes” (the Super-Gals were called “Official World’s Greatest Super-Gals.”) This amendment surely happened as a reaction to other companies’ relentless mimicry of Mego’s licensed properties. Tomland, Lincoln, AHI and Remco (which was acquired by AHI in 1974) were very effective at producing ‘knock-off’ figures. The particularly blatant AHI even issued their “Official World Famous Super Monsters” on blister cards nearly identical to Mego’s 1st Issue card. AHI also issued ersatz Western Heroes and Apes figures, looking to win the proverbial race for second place.

There was little flattery in the shameless imitation by its competitors, and it caused endless grief to Mego executives. But Mego did have a good sense of humor about it. When Mego introduced the Micronauts’ principle ‘bad guy’ character, Mego Director of Design John McNett named him “Baron Karza”. McNett recalled, “Karza is [Mego’s primary competitor Marvin] Azrak spelled backwards. I cooked it up as a joke but Neal and Marty loved it. They quickly trademarked Nivram, Smarba, Nalbuk, Ytram, Laen, and many other backward names to forestall any retaliation from Marvin Azrak.” Records confirm that Mego filed to trademark the name “Baron Karza” on July 21, 1977, then filed to protect the name “Ogem” (’Mego’, backward), on September 1, 1977.

In promoting the Super-Foes, Mego placed comic book ads [shown above] exclaiming, “Look for this emblem for the real thing” next to the new masthead. Inexplicably, the 1st Issue cards for the Super-Foes, released around the same time, do not feature the word “Official”.

Mego did not hesitate to file lawsuits against those who infringed upon their licenses, and doing so apparently solved the problem.”

Between January 1974 and January 1976, Mego submitted paperwork with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in an effort to protect their line of “Mad Monsters” line of characters, including Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolfman. Mego created these generic toys without a license from Universal Studios, widely recognized as the Intellectual Property owners of these famous characters. Following are Mego’s USPTO submissions:

Dracula
Frankenstein
Mummy
Wolfman

As discussed in the book, Mego fought a constant battle with competitor Azrak-Hamway, Int’l (also known as AHI, which Mego-Heads pronounce AH-HEE). The struggle is best exemplified by AHI’s “Official World Famous Super Monsters” packaging design, a blatant rip-off of Mego’s 1st Issue blister card design.

AHI Monsters

AHI CreatureI don’t know the exact chronology of Mego and AHI’s respective Monster lines, but given the AHI Monsters’ use of the term “Official,” I’m guessing the AHI Monsters were intentionally designed to mock Mego’s attempts to protect the words “World” and “Super” in the action figure trade. And yes, AHI president Marvin Azrak and Mego president Marty Abrams were mortal enemies on a professional level. They really did ‘duke it out’ in the toy industry…

… a lot.

Throughout the entire 1970s, in fact.

The order in which the Mego and AHI toys were distributed is potentially important, because AHI also created the (particularly rare) “Creature” figure [shown at right].

Why is it an issue? Because Mego submitted — then subsequently abandoned — a fascinating trademark request: The Creature

Mego Creature

I created the ‘artist’s rendtion’ pictured above, by altering a Star Trek “Neptunian” figure (a character Mego invented, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain inhabitant of a certain Black Lagoon). I removed the wings, changed the tunic color and added a “Creature” head from a wholly different toy.

But you get the idea.

So, what’s the deal here?

Did Mego intend to create a fifth character for their Mad Monsters line? Did Mego scrap the idea because AHI beat them to market with the same character? Had Mego already done some development on this toy? If so, did Mego re-work the existing toy into a brand-new Star Trek alien?

Benjamin

posted in Book Status, Copyrights and Trademarks, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Questions, Random Musings, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

21st February 2008

Webbed-Hand Aquaman: Search for Atlantis?

AtlantisOne of the great Mego Mysteries is the origin of Mego’s fascinating and unique “Webbed-Hand” Aquaman figure.

Only one specimen is known to exist today, but the figure (perhaps the same specimen) features prominently in Mego’s own 1978 product catalog, not to mention a hand-drawn appearance in the Fall 1978 “Heroes World” catalog (shown at right).

In both catalogs, the bizarre hands are attached to an 8 inch Mego Aquaman figure, ostensibly sold in conjunction with a battery-operated toy shark, under the title “Aquaman vs. The Great White Shark” (alarmingly, no Webbed-Hand specimens have yet surfaced in “Aquaman vs. The Great White Shark” playsets, to corroborate Mego’s intentions). Mego’s “Aquaman vs. The Great White Shark” is a fascinating toy that continues to garner heated discussion and speculation among collectors.

According to Brian Heiler’s amazing interview with Mego artist Vinny Baiera, the concept of underwater-themed toys came up several times during 1977/1978 production meetings, as evidenced by Baiera’s own 30-year old meeting notes:

Vinny Baiera

Note the highlighted areas, including references to TV’s “Man from Atlantis,” (DC’s) Aquaman and (Marvel’s) Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner.

I discuss this subject in World’s Greatest Toys! several times, including the Aquaman chapter:

Aquaman

And here is yet another Mego factoid to confound the issue: A mysterious United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) submission from Mego: “Search for Atlantis”

With a Filing Date of November 4, 1976, Mego claimed a ‘First Use’ date of July 26, 1976 (falsely, since it was never produced), under the category of “Dolls, Doll Clothing, Playsets and Equipment Sold as a Unit for Playing a Game.”

Even more interesting is the trademark citation, “Registered November 29, 1977,” which places the mysterious toy well within the chronological boundaries established by Mego’s 1978 distribution of their “Aquaman vs. The Great White Shark” playset.

Atlantis

Does this USPTO submission have anything to do with Mego’s mysterious “Webbed-Hand” Aquaman figure? Does it explain Mego’s creation of a strange, battery-operated Shark? Or does it simply corroborate the fact that Mego was interested in underwater themes at the time? Feel free to post your thoughts and comments on the Mego Museum message board (NB: links to a specific thread about this subject). If you’re not already a member of the Mego Museum, now is the perfect time to join!

I have several similar blogs lined up for the near future. Until then, I’ll see you on the boards!

Benjamin

posted in Book Status, Copyrights and Trademarks, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Questions, Random Musings, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

19th February 2008

The Toy (1982)

If you’re a die-hard Mego collector, you’ve probably spent nearly as much time pausing your DVD of Richard Pryor’s 1982 epic “The Toy” as much as your favorite… well, any other DVD. I am talking about, of course, the infamous “Wonder Wheel” scene in the movie, wherein Richard Pryor first meets his new “Master Bates.”

The back-drop for much of this scene, which takes place inside a Chicago department store’s toy department (Update: Mego Museum member TheAntiqueTiger reports the store was actually “Godcheaux’s, in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana”), is a positively jaw-dropping array of 2nd Issue Mego World’s Greatest Super-Heroes cards.

I have attempted to document the entire contents of that marvelous end-cap. Here are two screen captures, courtesy of Mego Museum curator Brian Heiler:

The Toy

I have included details of each image, broken apart by top and bottom shelves. Here is the top shelf, in black-and-white, and in color:

The Toy
The Toy

Here is the bottom shelf, in black-and-white, and in color:

The Toy
The Toy

From these images, I have been able to identify a few of the specimens. If you can illuminate more items, using the DVD or any other screen captures, I’d be much obliged! Send your findings to: benjamin@worldsgreatesttoys.com.

The Toy UPDATE: Thanks to Dr. Geektarded and his fabulous Blog, GEEKTARDED, we now have these two excellent screen captures (shown at right) to assist in the identification.

With the addition of these new images,
here’s what we have thus far:

TOP SHELF

1st ROW

01. 12″ Spider-Man
02.- 12″ Spider-Man
?
?. 12″ Spider-Man
?. 12″ Spider-Man

2nd ROW

01. 1977 Batman
02. 1977 Batman
03. 1977 Batman
04. 1977 Batman
05. (year?) Superman
06. (year?) Superman
07. ?
08. ?
09. ?
10. 1977 Robin
11. 1977 Robin


3rd ROW

01-15. Spider-Man Web Shooters

BOTTOM SHELF

5th ROW

01. 12″ Spider-Man
02. 1979 Hulk
03. 1979 Hulk
04. Spider-Man Web Shooter
05. Spider-Man Web Shooter
06. Spider-Man Web Shooter
07. ?
08. 1979 Hulk
09. AHI Parachuting Batman
10. AHI Parachuting Batman

4th ROW

01. 1976 Shazam
02. 1975 Thor
03. 1976 Isis
04. 1976 Isis (?)
05. 1975a Conan
06. 1975a Falcon
07. 1975a Conan
08. 1975a Falcon
09. 1975 Thor
10. 1977 Robin

3rd ROW

01. 1979 Hulk
02. 1979 Hulk
03. 1979 Hulk
04. 1979 Hulk
05. 1979 Hulk
06. 1979 Hulk
07. 1979 Hulk
08. 1979 Hulk
09. 1979 Hulk
10. 1979 Hulk
11. 1979 Hulk

2nd ROW

01. 1976 Shazam
02. 1976 Shazam
03. 1977 Batman
04. 1977 Batman
05. 1977 Batman
06. 1977 Batman
07. 1977 Batman
08. 1977 Batman
09. 1977 Batman
10. 1977 Batman

1st ROW

01. 1976 Shazam
02. 1976 Shazam
03. 1976 Shazam
04. 1976 Shazam
05. 1976 Shazam
06. 1976 Shazam
07. 1976 Shazam
08. 1976 Mr. Mxyzptlk
09. 1976 Mr. Mxyzptlk
10. (Year?) Superman
11. (Year?) Superman

Here is the breakdown of toys by character and type:

8″ DC MEGO CARDS
Ten (10) 8″ 1976 Shazam cards
Two (2) 8″ 1976 Isis cards
Two (2) 8″ 1976 Mr. Mxyzptlk cards
twelve (12) 8″ 1977 Batman cards
Four (4) 8″ Superman cards (year unknown); could be as many as seven (7)
Three (3) 8″ 1977 Robin cards; could be as many as six (6)

8″ MARVEL MEGO CARDS
Two (2) 8″ 1975 Thor cards
Two (2) 8″ 1975a Conan cards
Two (2) 8″ 1975a Falcon cards
Fourteen (14) 8″ 1979 Hulk cards

OTHER MEGO TOYS
Approximately six (6) 12in. Spider-Man cards

OTHER TOYS
Eighteen (18) “Fun Stuf” Spider-Man Web Shooter cards
Two (2) “AHI” Parachuting Batman cards

Not a bad score! Now if we could just track down that leftover stock….

Any additions? Let me know!

posted in Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Questions, Random Musings, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

19th February 2008

Rob Chatlin’s Mego Collection

During the four years that I worked on World’s Greatest Toys, editor Rob Chatlin and I developed a fantastic system for photographing his mind-boggling collection of Mego Super-Heroes toys. Rob has since sold off some of these toys, which he amassed during more than ten years of serious toy hunting.

Fortunately for all of us, Rob made his immaculate collection available for the book. Nearly every weekend, I would drive over to his house on the West side, and we would chow down on some scrumptious Dim Sum. By the way, if you’re ever in L.A., I strongly urge you to seek out “V.I.P. Harbour Seafood” (I believe it’s located in Westwood). The restaurant is almost always packed, but it’s well worth the wait.

After stuffing face, Rob and I would retire to his house to pack up yet another case of rare, vintage Mego goodness. Here’s a snapshot from one of those days.

Rob's Toys

Just marvel at the top row!

Each week, it was like this for me. I drooled over his Circle Suit Spider-Man figures (there are several!). I stared longingly at his Montgomery Ward-exclusive “Secret Identity” outfits… his Minty-fresh Super-Heroes. His collection of unique and special figures seemed endless. These are memories I will cherish forever.

Cheers to you, Rob. You went above and beyond — countless times — and your efforts are much appreciated.

Benjamin

posted in Acknowledgements, Book Production, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Random Musings, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

18th February 2008

Auditioning for TV’s “Deal or No Deal” and “1 vs. 100″

As discussed in yesterday’s blog, my buddy Rob Chatlin and I sold vintage toys at the L.A. Comic Book and SciFi Con this past Sunday. During the show, an adorable young woman approached our tables and thumbed through my book, Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! She was very sweet and we chatted for a little while.

About 20 minutes later, she returned to our table and asked whether I was aware of TV’s “Deal or No Deal” or “1 vs. 100.” I confessed being a fan of both shows, and she introduced herself as a casting agent for the production company responsible for the shows. Kindly offering that she ‘liked my personality,’ she asked whether I would be interested in auditioning to appear on either show.

“The top prize is a million bucks, right?” I asked.

She nodded.

“On both shows, if I’m not mistaken” I stated, with inquisitive intonation.

“Yep, that’s right,” she confirmed.

“Uhhh, yeah. I’m in.”

I was told to call her this morning to set up the audition, which I did. Around 11am, I got the official Email inviting me to audition for both shows, at the production company’s offices inside Culver Studios in Culver City, CA. I had to be there promptly at 5pm, which is no small feat, given that I had to work today, my starting location of Burbank, and typical L.A. traffic (heavy even on this holiday Monday).

I arrived and filled out the requisite paperwork (an application and preliminary contract). Looking around the waiting room, I realized it was a “cattle call” audition. I asked around and discovered that most people were there to audition for a future game show revolving around Movie Trivia… NOT “D.O.N.D. or “1 vs. 100.” I also learned that many people had responded to an advert on CraigsList.org. I thought this was a good sign, since I was actually invited to audition.

Eventually, the entire lot of us was called into a conference room, where we were instructed to ‘go around the room’ and introduce ourselves, talk about our interests, vocation, etc. Because the audition included the as-yet unnamed Movie Trivia game show, we were also asked to state our Top Three favorite films.

I was appalled that every potential contestant — one after another — cited “Star Wars” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as two of their three favorites! I like “Star Wars” as much as the next guy (though I loathe “Lord of the Rings”), but how about a little originality, people?! The room was essentially a herd of nerd lemmings.

When it came around to me, I introduced myself as an Art Director who recently published a book about the ‘World’s Greatest Toy line’ from the 1970s. “Which,” I mockingly announced to the room, “is NOT Star Wars.”

Oooooh. BIG groan from the room. I probably shouldn’t have taken a dig at my fellow contestant wannabes, but, oh man. I enjoyed it immensely.

Anyway, copping to the fact that I wasn’t a film buff there to compete on a Movie Trivia show, I cited “Bladerunner,” “Raising Arizona” and “Somewhere in Time” as my top three. I could just as easily have said “Alien” or “Aliens,” not to mention “Contact” or “American Beauty.” But my choices were irrelevant. I’m no film nerd, and I’d probably get my butt handed to me on a Movie Trivia show.

Once everyone had spoken, the two casting agents excused themselves from the room to discuss… well, I have no idea what they discussed. Who the cutest guy was, for all I know. They returned about five minutes later, expressing how much they enjoyed everyone in the room. And that was that. We submitted our applications and we were on our way, right off the lot. But not before giving my casting agent friend a copy of the book! If I’ve learned anything while promoting this book, it’s the fact that every office seems to have an employee who knows and loves Mego. Hopefully, my book will make the rounds in the game show production offices.

Who knows if I’ll ever get a call-back? I probably won’t, but it sure was a fun experience. I figure, as long as I live in Southern California, I should take advantage of such opportunities.

“When in Rome,” and all that.

I’ll post more here if anything ever comes of it.

posted in Book Status, Collectible Toy Shows, Contests, Game Shows, Mego Corporation, Modern Toys, Random Musings, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

17th February 2008

L.A. Shrine Show: A Success!

It was show-time today, as Rob Chatlin and I had three dealer tables at the Los Angeles Comic Book & Sci Fi Convention at the Shrine Auditorium.

Shrine Show

Above: Me (left), Rob Chatlin (middle) and our Mego buddy Jay (right)

As with last month, we had a broad range of Mego figures — MOC, MIB and Loose — on display and available for purchase. We also had vintage Kenner, Mattel, Popy, Medicom and more. It was a vintage toy lover’s dream, and we sold a lot of great toys. I also had copies of the Mego book on hand, and signed seven books!

I was also approached by a casting director, who discussed testing me for TV’s “Deal or No Deal” and “1 vs. 100.” I would dig being on either show! I will audition for them tomorrow, and I’ll report more here if anything comes of it.

Rob and I will have three tables at the next show (not until May, unfortunately). Here’s the info, for future reference:

Shrine Auditorium
Expo Center
700 West 32nd St.
Los Angeles, CA

The official Web site for the con is here:

Los Angeles Comic Book & Sci Fi Convention

Guests included stars from TV’s “Jericho,” actress Katy Sagal and Teen Titans Year 1 Writer Amy Wolfram.

Thanks to everyone who came out and said hello. I hope to see you in May!

UPDATE: MORE PICS!

Jay sent me more pics from the show:

Shrine Show

Above: Rob sells a copy of World’s Greatest Toys! (left) and a young Mego-head-to-be (right) peruses the book

Shrine Show

Above: Benjamin signs a copy of World’s Greatest Toys!

Shrine Show

Above: Rob (far right) and Benjamin hard at work selling awesome vintage toys

Shrine Show

Above: Benjamin (left) buying a little something for himself (the Blue Mego Batcycle with both Batman and Robin… for just $70!) and one of our repeat customers (right, a high-end comic book dealer), buying a Michael Jackson “Beat It” doll MIB for his brother’s birthday

Shrine Show

Above: A sampling of Benjamin’s side of the table… a bunch of Mego goodness

posted in Book Status, Mego Corporation, Modern Toys, Random Musings, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off