13th June 2008

Celebrating a Mego Birthday!

I spoke with Linda McNett yesterday. Between 1974-1978, Linda was (Mego V.P.) Neal Kublan’s Personal Assistant. Linda’s husband, John McNett — whom she met while working at Mego — was Mego’s Director of Design from 1977-1979.

Here are two shots of Linda working at Mego in the 1970s:

John and Linda McNett

Above Left: Linda in Mego’s ‘new’ offices at 41 Madison Avenue, NYC.
Above Right: Linda answering the phone in Neal Kublan’s office inside the ‘Old Building’ in 1975 (note the Mego Wants You To… Go Ape! poster in the background).

Here are two (never-before-published) 1978 photos of John, working and smoking* in his Mego office:

John and Linda McNett

Above: John, looking too-cool-for-school. They’re hard to make out, but there are the prototype Micronauts on his desk in the left-hand photo!

*Don’t smoke cigarettes, kids. Apparently, they’re bad for you. (NB: Smoking is still cool)

Both Linda and John helped me create the Mego book, improving it immeasurably. Early on, John critiqued my graphic design (he absolutely hated my type face… advice I really needed and happily accepted), while Linda shared her memories and photo albums of days spent working at Mego. I’m proud to say that Linda and John have become dear friends.

John and Linda McNett

Above: Linda, looking adorable in the “old” Mego office at 1 Madison Square Plaza, NYC; Linda McNett’s (Née “Larkin”) gold-foil Mego business card.

We hadn’t spoken in a while, and Linda called yesterday to check in with me, to see what’s up and ask how the book is doing. She told me that John recently celebrated his 70th birthday! Please join me in shouting-out-loud:

Happy birthday, John!

Thanks to Linda, we can be there in belated spirit. Here’s John, blowing out the candles on his 70th birthday cake:

John and Linda McNett

The Guest of Honor at John’s surprise party was none other than legendary Mego artist Sal Mucaro (whose son, Tory, also worked for Mego). I was thrilled when Linda Emailed me this photo of Sal Mucaro, chillin’ at John’s birthday party… and thumbing through the Mego book!

John and Linda McNett

Above: Legendary Mego artist Sal Mucaro perusing my book. Phew. How cool is that?!

Linda must be the coolest cat I know. Catching up on the phone, we talked about music and her love of Metal bands. Admittedly, I was taken aback by her musical tastes. Hell, the last time I discussed music with her, I was sending her bootleg CDs of vintage Harry Chapin concerts (courtesy of Mego-head Rob Chatlin). I guess I had her pegged for a ’70s folk music fan.

Lo and behold, Linda is a true aficionado of all things cool. She asked whether I am down with bands like Deftones, early Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Godhead and Static-X (for you old-skool Mego-heads: Yes, I did tell her that Static-X story).

Linda’s favorite album? The soundtrack to Queen of the Damned. Right on! No folk music on that record.

Jeez. I already knew Linda was cool. I mean, she got to work at Mego, for the luv o’ Mike. She loves to paint. She loves to travel and constantly learn. She has the most enviable “Joie de Vive” I’ve ever witnessed. And now she’s gotta be a hard-core, hipster music geek, too?! It’s just not fair.

Linda even loves her some cheez-metal (a particular weakness of mine), as evidenced by this snapshot of a Tshirt she feverishly hunted down:

John and Linda McNett

Yep. That’s a freakin’ Skid Row Tshirt. Linda searched for a long time to find a Tshirt featuring Baz with the entire band. And she finally found it.

And she’s stoked.

When I grow up, I want to be cool like Linda McNett.

Mego Ben’s Related and Cool Links:

Post your comments below. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Benjamin

Exclamation Want to learn more about Mego and the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes?
Pick up a copy of Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys from Amazon.com today! All sales support the author and help finance the blog. How cool is that?

posted in Acknowledgements, Articles, Book Production, Book Research, Daily Mego Adoration, John and Linda McNett, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

6th May 2008

Good-Bye, Old Friend

I’m ashamed to admit that I let time get away from me. I planned to start a particular Blog series some time ago, yet I continually put it off by making excuses. “It’s too much stuff,” I thought. “I want to wait until I have time to really dig into it,” I reasoned.

I will not put it off any longer.

While working on World’s Greatest Toys, I kept detailed notes in various Microsoft Word documents; discussions with lawyers, Mego chronology, even concepts for possible book designs.

One such document details my great fortune in meeting Danton (Dan) Burroughs, grandson of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. Following is a snippet from my datelined notes, from late 2006:

October 16, 2006. Publisher Emailed me with incredibly exciting news. “Just got off the phone with Danton Burroughs, or ERB, Inc. He called in response to my permission request, and said he doesn’t foresee any problems with having the Tarzan figure featured in the book. He was very friendly, and also said he’s got a file on the Mego stuff that he’d be willing to share for the book, and that you’re welcome to call him.”

October 17, 2006. Called Danton Burroughs and played Phone Tag for a few days.

October 20, 2006. Finally connected with Danton. Arranged to meet in person.

October 26, 2006. My first meeting with Danton. Went to his (amazing!) house. Took Danton to dinner in Tarzana. Ate steak and drank fine wine. At $270.00, the most expensive dinner I’ve ever had. Worth every penny! He gave me the original ERB Mego file to review and copy.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Dan was a veritable “Rosetta Stone” in my archaeological book research. Dan’s detailed notes from the 1970s pointed me toward the “father of Mego WGSH” Stan Weston, whom I will discuss further in future blogs. Dan’s notes illuminated previously unknown facts about my beloved “1st Issue” Mego/Kresge cards. Dan’s notes explained Tarzan’s mysterious disappearance from the Mego line.

In my April 7th blog, I acknowledged Danton Burroughs and his illness, writing:

“I want to send a special shout-out to Danton Burroughs, the sweetest and most generous man I have ever met. Danton, who suffers from a chronic and progressive disease, doesn’t even have a computer (let alone read blogs), so he will never see this. Still, I want to broadcast my respect and appreciation of him. Danton, you took the Mego book to a ‘whole nuva levoh’, and I am forever indebted to you.

I wish you nothing but the best, my friend, and may every day be ‘a good day.’”

Danton Dan Burroughs passed away this weekend, after a long and difficult battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

I am heartbroken, and I wish I had made more time in my so-called ‘hectic’ life to hang out with and learn from him.

Upon learning of Dan’s passing, I was reminded of a touching song by Chris DeBurgh, entitled “Old Friend.” While I was hardly an ‘old’ friend, we were most definitely friends. Upon learning the sad news, I instantly recalled DeBurgh’s lyric about sharing a fine bottle of wine. The night I took Dan to dinner, he handed his precious Mego file to me and said, “I really believe you will carry on the legacy with your book.”

I don’t know if I managed to do that, but I hope the book helps keep the family legacy alive. Thank you for everything, Dan. Rest in peace.

And you made a wish…

When the years are heavy, and my heart is growing cold,
Well I wish when the evening comes that there’ll always Be…
Some old friend who’ll miss me too…”

Well I do, so friend I’m coming through…
Yes, for you I’ll always find the time,
we will have a bottle Of wine
old friend, I’m here by your side, oh, to the very end…

— “Old Friend,” by Chris DeBurgh

Benjamin

posted in Acknowledgements, Book Research, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Tarzan | 1 Comment

10th April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Mego Spring 1975 Catalog (pp3-4)

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Thursday, April 10, 2008:

Mego Spring 1975 Catalog (Part 4 of 5)!

All week, we are revealing pages from the scarce Spring 1975 Mego Catalog, which comes courtesy of the Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) estate’s private Mego archive.

When John McNett (Mego’s former Director of Design) introduced himself to the Mego community, he and his wife, Linda, auctioned many of the remaining Mego items they had collected during their time spent working together at the venerable toy company. The McNetts also graciously granted me complete access to their memorabilia and photo albums, all of which is lovingly presented in the “Inside Mego” chapter of World’s Greatest Toys!

One of several random items John collected is an actual doorknob, embossed with the building’s logo, from the entryway to Mego’s Toy Fair showroom at The New York Merchandise Mart, where Mego held office space between 1976-1983.

When this particular item went on the auction block, I just knew I had to own it. I had immediate dreams of one day owning a nice big house with a dedicated “toy room.” Natch, I planned to install a door specifically suited to utilize the original Mego door knob.

Did someone say “door knob?”

Yeah, that’s me, all right (remember back in the ’80s, when “door knob” was a put-down?!).

Anyway, Mego’s Spring 1975 catalog has another such item. It may be ridiculous, but my first reaction was “ooooh. I wish I could have that!” And “that” is a group of stupid bean-bags that spell out M-E-G-O.

Spring 75 Catalog

Below are pages 3 and 4 of Mego’s Spring 1975 catalog (click images to embiggen):

Spring 75 Catalog Spring 75 Catalog

Check back tomorrow for the final two pages from Mego’s Spring 1975 catalog!

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Images published by Benjamin Holcomb, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in Book Research, Daily Mego Adoration, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Mego Catalogs, Mego Memories, Mego Spring 1975, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

9th April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Mego Spring 1975 Catalog (pp1-2)

Over at Plaid Stallions, Brian has posted a cool Evel Knievel toothbrush ad. Meanwhile, we have a little Evel memorabilia that is not so dentist-friendly!
Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Wednesday, April 9, 2008:

Mego Spring 1975 Catalog (Part 3 of 5)!

1975 Catalog All week, we are revealing pages from the scarce Spring 1975 Mego Catalog, which comes courtesy of the Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) estate’s private Mego archive.

When Mego produced the Spring 1975 catalog — during 1974, actually — they did not yet have production samples for several of the products being promoted. An example of this is the Evel Knievel toy line the company planned.

By the time Mego completed the Final 1975 catalog, they had procured a plethora of Evel-related bicycle goodies (as demonstrated by the Final 1975 Catalog page, shown at right).

Prior to that, however, Mego lacked actual production samples and opted to mock-up a simple page, using a peculiar-looking kid and the promise of a few ill-conceived freezer treats. Surprisingly, Mego actually offered the strange “Sky-Sicle” and “Motor-Sicle” molds in the Final 1975 Catalog. Wow.

As evidenced by the Spring 1975 catalog’s back cover (see yesterday’s Blog), Mego did not receive production samples for the Bend N’ Flex Super-Gals or Bend N’ Flex Super-Foes in time to include product photography. But Mego did receive samples of the Bend N’ Flex Planet of the Apes toys in time… so those are depicted.

Below are pages 1 and 2 of Mego’s Spring 1975 catalog (click images to embiggen):

Spring 75 Catalog Spring 75 Catalog

Check back tomorrow for the next two pages from Mego’s Spring 1975 catalog!

Benjamin

Links: Plaid Stallions MegoMuseum.com 1975 Mego Catalog 1975 Mego Catalog - WGSH (Mego Museum) 1975 Mego Catalog - Evel Knievel (Mego Museum)

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Images published by Benjamin Holcomb, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in Daily Mego Adoration, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Mego Catalogs, Mego Corporation, Mego Spring 1975, Planet of the Apes, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

8th April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Mego Spring 1975 Catalog (Covers)

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Tuesday, April 8, 2008:

Mego Spring 1975 Catalog (Part 2 of 5)!

All week, we are revealing pages from the scarce Spring 1975 Mego Catalog, which comes courtesy of the Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) estate’s private Mego archive.

Mego actually produced and distributed the Spring 1975 catalog during 1974, with the intention of offering an early preview of the products they would ultimately offer at the following Toy Fair (in February 1975).

Comparing this early catalog to the Final 1975 Catalog reveals that certain items were still in development at the time the Spring ‘75 catalog was printed!

For example, Mego planned to offer Bend N’ Flex Super-Gals and Bend N’ Flex Super-Foes in 1975, yet they did not have any production samples to show. Thus, they were forced to use box-art illustrations and a promise of “Super Coming Attractions” to represent those lines.

The front and back covers of Mego’s Spring 1975 catalog look like this (click images to embiggen):

Spring 75 Catalog Spring 75 Catalog

If you review the Final 1975 catalog, you’ll see that Mego received production samples of the new Bend N’ Flex figures between production of the Spring 1975 and the Final 1975 Catalog.

Check back tomorrow for more pages from Mego’s Spring 1975 catalog.

Benjamin

Links: MegoMuseum.com 1975 Mego Catalog 1975 Mego Catalog - WGSH (Mego Museum)

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Images published by Benjamin Holcomb, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in Book Research, Daily Mego Adoration, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Mego Catalogs, Mego Corporation, Mego Spring 1975, Super-Foes, Super-Gals, World's Greatest Toys | 0 Comments

7th April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Vintage ’70s Mego Toy Kid!

Daily Mego Adoration

Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Monday, April 7, 2008:

Mego Spring 1975 Catalog (Part 1 of 5)!

Who IS this peculiar-looking kid, and just WHAT is his connection to Mego?!

Spring 75 Catalog This week, we proudly reveal a thorough examination of the incredibly rare Spring 1975 Mego Catalog. I discovered this scarce, 8-page catalog inside the Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) estate’s private Mego archive, and it is as interesting as it is informative.

While researching World’s Greatest Toys!, I was truly blessed to gain access to ERB’s private Mego documentation, which sat in a file cabinet, untouched — until I came a’ knockin’ — for more than 30 years.

The Spring 1975 Mego catalog is one of many special artifacts I discovered during my exciting encounters with Danton Burroughs, grandson of the late Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.

In other words, be aware that there are many more, amazing and insightful Mego blogs coming in the near future.

Vintage 1970s toy goodness abounds!

World’s Greatest Super-Heroes! Planet of the Apes! Bend N’ Flex! Super-Gals! Super-Foes! Collector Banks! Plush toys!

Be sure to check back each day this week, as we will publish daily spreads of every single page from this long-lost Mego ephemera!

I want to send a special shout-out to Danton Burroughs, the sweetest and most generous man I have ever met. Danton, who suffers from a chronic and progressive disease, doesn’t even have a computer (let alone read blogs), so he will never see this. Still, I want to broadcast my respect and appreciation of him. Danton, you took the Mego book to a ‘whole nuva levoh’, and I am forever indebted to you.

I wish you nothing but the best, my friend, and may every day be “a good day.”

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Images published by Benjamin Holcomb, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in Book Research, Daily Mego Adoration, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Mego Catalogs, Mego Spring 1975, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Planet of the Apes, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

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