14th May 2008

Mego Price Stickers: Children’s Palace!

With thanks to Mego-head Don Cassetori, here are two intriguing “Children’s Palace” price stickers to compare and contrast (and this is just plain weird!).

Don sent me a price sticker detail of his 1st Version (”Error”) Lizard box (below left, see page 170 of World’s Greatest Toys), which is strikingly different than the price sticker on my 1st Version “4-digit” Supergirl box (below right, see page 63 of World’s Greatest Toys):

Price Sticker

What intrigues me is the fact that (based on prices alone) the $2.77 Lizard box seems to have been available BEFORE the $2.97 Supergirl box. However, Supergirl (in this particular box) was first available around December 1973, while Lizard was not offered until approximately June 1975… a year-and-a-half later!

So, what’s the deal here?

Did Children’s Palace have differing (perhaps regional) pricing?

Was Supergirl such a ‘peg-warmer’ that Children’s Palace was still digging out unsold specimens in 1975?

Did Mego distribute early-edition Gals boxes for several years (remember, Mego subsequently issued the “5-digit” box)?

Did the Children’s Palace toy wholesaler (assuming they didn’t buy directly from Mego) simply dole out Mego toys randomly, rendering my Supergirl box a late-distribution anomaly?

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 Children's Palace, Daily Mego Adoration, Lizard, Price Stickers, Supergirl, Window Boxes | 1 Comment

4th April 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with 1st Issue Gals!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Friday, April 4, 2008:

1st Issue Kresge Super-Gals’ Card Backs!

The whole point of my so-called “Poster Fun!” series is to showcase analogous Mego photos that I could not fit into World’s Greatest Toys!

My unabashed adoration of “1st Issue” blister cards is no secret, so I’ll probably devote quite a few Blogs to that particular packaging style. Today, we enjoy the card-backs for each of the 1st Issue/1st Version (Kresge-branded) Super-Gals cards (documented on page 97 of World’s Greatest Toys!). Enjoy!

Super-Gals

Gorgeous. Every last one of ‘em. And I dare say they look even more impressive when lined up together.

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: 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 1st Issue Blister Cards, Batgirl, Catwoman, Daily Mego Adoration, Mego Packaging, Posters!, Super-Gals, Supergirl, Wonder Woman | Comments Off

26th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with 2nd Issue ©76 DC Cards!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Thursday, March 27, 2008:

Poster Fun: 2nd Issue ©1976 DC Cards!


Here’s a new addition to my Poster Fun series, wherein I create large, composite photos of different groupings of Mego Super-Heroes and packages. Today, we marvel (ahem!) at every 2nd Issue ©1976 DC card, in chronological order of release. There are 13 such cards. Enjoy!

Daily Mego Adoration

Want to learn more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $32.97

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: 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 2nd Issue Blister Cards, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Catwoman, Daily Mego Adoration, Green Arrow, Joker, Mego Corporation, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Posters!, Riddler, Shazam!, Supergirl, Superman, World's Greatest Toys | 10 Comments

25th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with 1st Issue Cards!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Wednesday, March 26, 2008:

Poster Fun: 1st Issue Cards!

Here’s a new addition to my Poster Fun series, wherein I create large, composite photos of appropriate groupings of Mego figures and packages. These are the types of images I couldn’t fit into Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys!, but they’re an awful lot of fun to look at!

Mego issued numerous “1st Issue” card variations, yet manufactured just 17 characters using this exquisite packaging style. Here’s a composite of all 17 characters produced on 1st Issue cards, in chronological order of release. Enjoy!

Daily Mego Adoration

Want to learn more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $32.97

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: 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 1st Issue Blister Cards, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Captain America, Catwoman, Daily Mego Adoration, Green Arrow, Joker, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Posters!, Riddler, Robin, S.S. Kresge, Shazam!, Spider-Man, Supergirl, Superman, Tarzan, Wonder Woman, World's Greatest Toys | 8 Comments

24th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Poster Fun with Loose Mego WGSH Figures!

Daily Mego Adoration Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Tuesday, March 25, 2008:

Poster Fun with Loose Mego WGSH Figures!


I wish I had been granted more pages in the Mego book, Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys!

At 256 pages, it’s already chock full of Mego goodness. But had it been longer, I would have included a whole bunch of other Mego goodness, such as large, composite photos of appropriate groupings of Mego figures and packages.

Sigh.

Since I didn’t have enough room to include such indulgences, I have decided to start a new Blog series to showcase my intended goodness, and I’m callin’ it Poster Fun!

Up first, a composite of every 8″ Mego World’s Greatest Super-Hero figure, in chronological order of release. Between 1972 and 1982, Mego issued 37 different Super-Heroes. Enjoy!

 

Daily Mego Adoration

 

Want to learn more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $32.97

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: 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 Aqualad, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Captain America, Catwoman, Conan, Daily Mego Adoration, Falcon, Green Arrow, Green Goblin, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Girl, Iron Man, Isis, Joker, Kid Flash, Lizard, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Fantastic, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Posters!, Riddler, Robin, Shazam!, Speedy, Spider-Man, Super-Foes, Super-Gals, Supergirl, Superman, Tarzan, Teen Titans, The Fantastic Four, Thing, Thor, Wonder Woman, Wondergirl, World's Greatest Toys | 6 Comments

19th March 2008

Daily Mego Adoration: Counter Display Boxes!

Here is our Daily Mego Adoration for Wednesday, March 19, 2008. Daily Mego Adoration
This is one of my favorite Mego subjects, so strap in, and let’s talk about Mego’s awesome Counter Display Boxes!

Mego Catalog Mego first promoted the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes line with a late addition to their 1972 Toy Fair catalog.

Mego staffers inserted a photographic one-sheet (shown at right) into leftover copies of the original, bound ‘72 catalog. The page features the actual prototype Superman figure (see page 17 of the book for a detailed view of the Superman prototype).

Given the impressive WGSH sales generated by Mego’s ‘test marketing’ (conducted at stores operated by retailer E.J. Korvette during Christmas 1972), it’s not surprising Mego scrambled to promote their sizzling new line as quickly as possible… even if it meant manually inserting a one-sheet into each catalog distributed throughout the year (after Toy Fair, which was held each February).

From the outset — before the other three original figures were developed, even — the one-sheet reveals that Mego planned to: 1) sell figures in individual Solid boxes (i.e. no acetate window) and; 2) ship each case of 24 boxed figures inside an “Overall Printed Counter Merchandizer” (AKA the “Counter Display Box”).

By the time the next Toy Fair rolled around in February 1973, Mego’s WGSH line had already proven to be tremendously successful, and the company was finally able to show the entire range of four characters (shown below), which included Batman, Robin and Aquaman, in addition to the Superman figure depicted in 1972 (note the earliest costume variations, including the Large ‘S’ Superman emblem, ‘Skinny’ boots, Robin’s cloth belt and the removable masks for Batman and Robin):

Mego Catalog

Mego was also able to show the revised Counter Display Box. The prototype Counter Display Box depicted in the post-1972 Toy Fair catalog (shown below left) includes just eight individual boxed figures, while the 1973 catalog (below right) boasts a fully-loaded Counter Display. Interestingly, Mego modified the die-cut opening between 1972 and 1973, as demonstrated in the comparison below.

Mego Catalog

Just look at all those Solid Boxes! Like, Zoiks, Scoob!

Mego’s 1973 WGSH Assortment Number (1310) was identical to 1972, as was the case-pack assortment:

(9) Superman
(9) Batman
(4) Robin
(2) Aquaman

Now you know why Aquaman is the rarest of the early Mego Super-Heroes!

By Toy Fair in 1974, Mego had expanded the super-hero offering to include four new characters: Captain America, Tarzan, Spider-Man and Shazam. Mego granted this 2nd Wave of Mego Heroes a new Assortment Number, 1311.

Mego Catalog

Mego also modified the Counter Display graphics, to accommodate all eight heroes:

Mego Catalog

Above: the 1974 1310/1311 Counter Display box, as depicted in the 1974 Mego catalog (left) includes a strange assortment of boxed figures, including 2nd Wave heroes Captain America, Spider-Man, Shazam and Tarzan, along with three of the four Super-Foes wave (no Joker) and one Batman. The same Counter Display from my personal collection (right) is filled with a slightly more appropriate combination of 1310 and 1311 figures.

The 1974 Assortment Numbers are as follows:

Asst. 1310:
(4) Superman
(10) Batman
(6) Robin
(4) Aquaman

Note that the quantity of Superman figures dropped from nine to four… in just one year! Until the “Superman” movies started appearing, the Mego Superman figure just was not as popular as collectors once assumed.

Asst. 1311:
(4) Captain America
(4) Tarzan
(12) Spider-Man
(4) Shazam

Note the confidence Mego had in Spider-Man (half of the entire assortment!), not to mention the ambivalence Mego suffered in guessing the other three characters’ potential popularity. “4… and 4 and, ummm… 4? Yeah, that sounds good.”

Mego’s 1974 “1310/1311″ Counter Display Box looks great either open or closed (below):

Counter Display Box

1974 also marked the first year Mego promoted their new Super-Gals and Super-Foes lines.

In 1974, Mego offered retailers the option of receiving Super-Gals packaged in 1st Issue blister cards or window boxes, the latter of which included a wonderful Counter Display Box:

Mego Catalog

The 1974 boxed Gals Assortment (1340) included the following case-pack quantities:

(7) Wonder Woman
(3) Supergirl
(7) Batgirl
(7) Catwoman

Now you know why Supergirl is the rarest of the four Gals!

That year, Mego offered retailers the same packaging options for the Super-Foes:

Mego Catalog

The 1974 boxed Foes Assortment (1358) included the following case-pack quantities:

(8) Penguin
(8) Joker
(4) Riddler
(4) Mr. Mxyzptlk

Oh, if only Mego had predicted kids’ distaste for Mr. Mxyzptlk. Riddler might not be so rare today!

Sidebar The Counter Displays for both the Gals and Foes waves are extremely rare: an example of the Super-Gals Counter Display, auctioned on eBay on February 9, 2008, sold for $7,100; an example of the Super-Foes Counter Display, auctioned on eBay two days earlier, sold for a whopping $9,600.

I really adore the Mego Counter Display Boxes. Adding one to my collection was a significant moment in my life as a toy collector. I discuss Mego “Shipping and Counter Display Boxes” in World’s Greatest Toys.

Here’s a snippet from the book (page 233, for those reading along), with a scan of the cited page:

World's Greatest Toys!With each case of 24 boxed figures, Mego shipped a graphical Counter Display box, designed to help retailers merchandise the figures. To prepare the box for display, retailers took the following three steps: 1) Remove and discard the perforated portion (see photo 1); 2) Fold the exposed front and top flaps together (see photo 2) and; 3) Tuck the front flap behind the figures, allowing the top flap to stand upright, becoming a display header card (see photo 3).

All very scarce, there are at least eight* different Counter Display boxes:

1] 1972/73 1st Wave (#1310)
2] 1974 1st and 2nd Wave (#1310 and #1311)
3] 1974-76 Gals (#1340/51340)
4] 1974-76 Foes (#1358/51358)
5] 1975/76 DC Assortment #1 (#51310)
6] 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #2 (#51311)
7] 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #3 (#51312)
8] 1976 Assortment #4 (#51313)

Most boxes are white. 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #2 (Spider-Man, Captain America, Lizard and Green Goblin) boxes are reportedly orange, while 1975/76 Marvel Assortment #3 (Hulk, Tarzan, Falcon and Iron Man) boxes are sky blue. 1976 Marvel Assortment #4 (the entire 4th Wave), boxes are tan.

*If one differentiates boxes with “old” versus “new” Mego logos, there are likely eleven variations. It is unknown whether Mego created Counter Display boxes for the 1975/76 Fist-Fighters (#51601); if so, there is likely only one such version, with the “old” Mego logo.

Want to read more? Buy Mego 8″ Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys! Just $49.95

Perhaps it’s the cool graphics on each Counter Display Box. Perhaps it’s the scarcity of surviving specimens. Or maybe it’s just the fact that these utilitarian packages were intended for retailers to merchandise the products… not for kids (or adults) to covet and collect.

Regardless of the reasoning behind their desirability, Counter Display Boxes are very special. And I just love ‘em all.

Now if I could just Collect ‘Em All.

Benjamin

Blog Credits and legal stuff: 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 Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Book Production, Captain America, Catwoman, Counter Display Boxes, Daily Mego Adoration, Joker, Mego Corporation, Mego Packaging, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Penguin, Riddler, Robin, Shazam!, Spider-Man, Super-Foes, Super-Gals, Supergirl, Superman, Tarzan, Wonder Woman, World's Greatest Toys | 6 Comments

3rd March 2008

Mego Mailer Boxes: 1975 JC Penney Super-Gals

Among the different packaging styles Mego produced, I have a strange, particular fondness for the plain brown Mailer Boxes utilized by annual Christmas catalogs that retailers distributed throughout the 1970s.

Lacking graphics (beyond boring legal text and item numbers), these utilitarian boxes — designed for direct-to-consumer shipping — were typically discarded, rendering many of them rare and fascinating today. Mego’s factories wrapped each figure in a ‘wrinkly-crinkly’ plastic bag, and the bag is often more scarce than the shipping box itself.

I discuss these ephemeral, vintage collectibles in World’s Greatest Toys! Here’s a snippet from the book (page 52, for those reading along), followed by a scan of the cited page-spread:

In the years before online stores and shopping malls — before many stores maintained year-round toy aisles, even — mail order was a vital tool for manufacturers and retailers to reach consumers. Each year, stores like Sears and Montgomery Ward offered giant, product-filled Christmas catalogs, a source of tremendous joy for children of the 1970s; Kids spent countless hours poring through each catalog’s toy section, circling items on dog-eared pages and compiling a Wish List for Santa.

Mego did a lot of business with catalog-producing retailers, called “catalog houses” by Mego staff. The business was cutthroat, each seeking an exclusive Mego item, such as the Secret Identities and Isis, to differentiate them from the competition.

Linda McNett, administrative assistant to Mego vice president Neal Kublan, recalled the push-and-pull of negotiating catalog placement. “The catalog houses liked their special items, because they were more profitable than a non-special item,” she explained. “Mego could offer them a ‘different’ product with a different stock number, [allowing the retailer to] avoid the legal problems of offering special deals on the same item to select customers.”

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

World's Greatest Toys!

While staple characters like Superman, Batman, Robin and Spider-Man benefited from consistent Christmas catalog inclusion (1973-1981), the four Super-Gals (Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and Catwoman) were less fortunate in garnering the massive exposure these Christmas catalogs provided.

For example, Supergirl was never once offered in any major U.S. retailer’s Christmas catalog! It’s unlikely Supergirl was offered in catalogs other than Heroes World and the “Captain Company” mail-order ads that appear within the pages of Warren Publishing’s Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella and related magazines.

The other three Super-Gals fared nominally better. Wonder Woman was available through JC Penney (in 1974 and 1975), Aldens (in 1974) and Montgomery Ward (in 1975). Catwoman was available through JC Penney (in 1974 and 1975), Sears Canada (in 1974) and Montgomery Ward (in 1974). Batgirl was granted slightly more exposure than the others, as JC Penney offered the figure in 1974, 1975 and 1976, while Aldens also offered the figure in 1974 (incidentally, a prototype Batgirl figure is depicted in that particular catalog).

1975 was a banner year for Mego and the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes. The line was at its peak in popularity, and retailers fell over themselves promoting the line.

JC Penney

(Above: 1975 JC Penney Mego Super-Heroes Christmas catalog page)

In this magic moment (1975), some retailers willingly promoted new, unproven Mego offerings such as the “Fist-Fighters” and two of the six “3rd Wave” Heroes (Hulk and Falcon). Even the Super-Gals got the attention they deserve. Well, most of ‘em, anyway:

JC Penney

(Above: detail of 1975 JC Penney Mego Super-Heroes Christmas catalog page)

The figures look so immaculate in catalogs! Every once in a while, these gems appear on the market, and a handful of collectors, like myself, beat each other up trying to acquire them… gems like the Super-Gals figures pictured below — all from the aforementioned 1975 JC Penney catalog — that were auctioned on eBay (Catwoman in 2005, Wonder Woman and Batgirl in 2006).

Super-Gals

Oh, I miss childhood!

I love this packaging style because it is tied to such vivid, happy memories of my youth. If you have any Mego Mailer Boxes you wish to sell, please Email me. I’m always looking to buy, and I pay top dollar.

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: 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 Aldens, Batgirl, Captain Company/Warren Publications, Catwoman, Heroes World, JC Penney, Mailer Boxes, Mego Corporation, Mego Memories, Mego Packaging, Mego Retailers, Mego World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Montgomery Ward, Sears, Super-Gals, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, World's Greatest Toys | Comments Off

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