8th November 2009

Mego Memories: Scott Neely’s 1974 Christmas!

{EAV:f6f317fdffca24bd} My publisher recently received an Email from the very talented Scott Neely. Scott is an approved “Scooby-Doo” and Cartoon Network artist, working on such licensed properties as “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Cow and Chicken,” “Johnny Bravo,” “Courage The Cowardly Dog,” “The Grim Adventures of Billy And Mandy,” “Powerpuff Girls” and “Ed, Edd, and Eddy”. He has also worked on “Pokemon,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Strawberry Shortcake,” “Bratz” and “The Lil Learners Club.”

Scott wrote:

When I was down in Baltimore for the con I bought a bunch of books from Eric at the booth and got this INCREDIBLE Mego Toys book by Benjamin Holcomb. What a tremendous book it is! I scanned these pics of myself from pics at Christmas time in Dec of 1974 when I got the batcave and quite a lot of figures from Santa. I though Benjamin might like to see them since I also work for DC Comics on the side as well. Ha! I’ve attached them so you could see them.

Here are his FANTASTIC images depicting vast Mego Super-Hero goodness, including Batman, Robin, Superman, Spider-Man, Penguin, Joker and Riddler, as well as the Bat-Cave, Batmobile and Batcycle. Quite the haul, but Scott! No love for Aquaman or Mr. Mxyzptlk? Hey, you weren’t the only one. Heh.

-b

posted in Batcycle, Batman, Batmobile, Christmas Memories, Joker, Mego Batcave, Mego Memories, Penguin, Riddler, Robin, Spider-Man, Superman, Vintage Toy Photos, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

7th March 2008

Mike Armes 1970s Christmas Spectacular! (Part 5)

With Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 under our collective belt, here’s the 5th installment of our ongoing series:

Mike Armes

The year is now 1978, and “Star Wars” has gripped the imaginations of children throughout the world. The licensing explosion, advanced exponentially by Mego’s merchandising efforts, is in full swing. Before Mego blasted onto the scene in 1972, Disney was one of the few companies to fully capitalize on licensed merchandise.

I discuss this in the “Introduction to Mego” chapter of World’s Greatest Toys! Here’s a snippet from the book (page 6, for those reading along), followed by a scan of the cited page-spread:

Mego made its most significant contributions to the world of toys when it established itself as a leading manufacturer of licensed dolls and action figures. By the time Mego secured its first character license, the practice existed for nearly forty years. Herman “Kay” Kamen created the licensing business as we know it when, in 1932, he was hired by Walt Disney as the merchandise licensing representative for Walt Disney Enterprises. In the 1970s, Disney was the largest licensor in the world, with Licensing Corporation of America (LCA), through whom Mego would acquire many licenses, following closely behind.

At that time, it was typical for a licensor to take five percent off the top, as well as a percentage of sales. Mego routinely avoided that paradigm and as they grew larger, they were granted licenses for very little, if any, advance against royalties. With astonishingly successful licenses such as Cher and Planet of the Apes, Mego became the premier manufacturer of licensed toys by the mid-1970s. In 1981, for example, Mego bought the rights to “The Dukes of Hazzard” television show (from LCA, incidentally) for a pittance of $2,500.

Want to read more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $32.97 (save 34%)

World's Greatest Toys!

How appropriate Mike Armes and his little brother embraced the two companies that dominated the licensing world during the ’70s, as evidenced by this Armes family photo from Christmas 1978:

Mike Armes

(Above: Mike wearing his “Star Wars” pajamas, right, while his little brother, sporting Disney wearables, proudly displays his Gabriel Lone Ranger toys)

Did you catch the Mego goodness in the background? It’s Mego WGSH vehicles galore, with a loose Spidercar and a MIB Batmobile!

Later that morning, Mike and his brother gather ’round the latest gift, a pristine Mattel “Shogun Warrior” Mazinga:

Mike Armes

Once again, there’s plenty of Mego eye-candy in the background (and foreground!), including:

Mike Armes
(Above: The aforementioned MIB Batmobile, and a sweet little Sesame Street vehicle)

And then there’s this pair of Mego WGSH goodies:

Mike Armes

(Above: The drool-worthy MIB Mego Wayne Foundation and a case-fresh ©1976 Superman card. Wow!)

But wait! What’s that in the foreground, buried beneath the wrapping paper?! Why, it’s Mattel’s Pulsar, the “Ultimate Man of Adventure!”

Mike Armes

Very cool stuff. Mike’s family photos capture so much of the toy goodness available to us in the 1970s. We’re really lucky to have his memories and photos.

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, including at least one more “Mike Armes’ ’70s Christmas Spectacular” entries. Until then, I’ll see you on the boards!

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Images published by Benjamin Holcomb, Mike Armes, Mike Armes, Sr., Jeri Lyn Armes and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in Acknowledgements, Batmobile, Book Status, Christmas Memories, Mego Ancillary Toys, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Packaging, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mike Armes, Vintage Toy Photos, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

4th March 2008

Mike Armes’ ’70s Christmas Spectacular! (Part 2)

Mike Armes

We now continue our series of Mego Memories blogs from yesterday, which revealed pictures of the Armes family Christmas in 1973. Today, we skip forward one year, to 1974.

In the book, there are three photos from Mike’s family photo album, including this one:

Mike Armes

The caption in the book reads:

Young Mike Armes enjoys the spoils of a Mego-centric Christmas morning in 1974. Mom Jerri Lyn proudly displays boxed Batman and Robin figures (note the box variants and the mini-catalog inside the Batman box) while Mike prepares to open the boxed Batcave behind him or the Platform carded Batmobile in front of him. Mike confirmed he never owned the Batcopter or Batcycle, the only other vehicles Mego distributed on the scarce Platform card.

Here’s a detail of that photo:

Mike Armes

The third and final photo in the book:

Mike Armes

The caption in the book reads:

Late Christmas morning 1974, and Mike has already manged to lose the green cardboard insert to his boxed Robin figure.

Want to read more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $32.97 (save 34%)

Here’s a detail of that photo:

Mike Armes

Later that same day, Mike changed out of his pajamas and into a blue NASA-style jumpsuit. Mike, who is now a professional musician and television editor, demonstrated an early aptitude for guitar:

Mike Armes

Mike also displayed an early passion for Mego packaging, as evidenced by this photo of Mike and his little brother. While Mike’s brother enjoys his loose, Kenner “Duke The Super Adventure Dog” toy, Mike is content to keep his Mego Robin mint in box!

Mike Armes

Of course it wasn’t ALL Mego for Mike that year. Earlier in the day, he opened his Playskool “Familiar Places” McDonaldLand playset.

Mike Armes

In the foreground, note the super-cool Amazing Spider-Man playset, which featured cardboard stand-ups of Spider-Man characters.

Mike Armes

I think the Spider-Man playset was manufactured by either Amsco or Milton Bradley Ideal, but I’m not sure (UPDATE: Mike tells me it was manufactured by Ideal, in 1973). If you have anything to add, please 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, including more “Mike Armes’ ’70s Christmas Spectacular” entries. Until then, I’ll see you on the boards!

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: Images published by Benjamin Holcomb, Mike Armes, Mike Armes, Sr., Jeri Lyn Armes and TwoMorrows Publications. All rights reserved. Images may not be reprinted or published without prior written consent from the publishers.

posted in Acknowledgements, Batmobile, Book Production, Christmas Memories, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Packaging, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mike Armes, Vintage Toy Photos, Window Boxes, World's Greatest Toys | 0 Comments

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