Here’s our Daily Mego Adoration for Thursday April 3, 2008:
Star Wars and Mego’s New Corporate Office!
Martin B. Abrams, president, Mego International, Inc. and Lewis Rudin, executive vice president, Rudin Mangement Corp. shake hands after the signing of a lease for new corporate headquarters for the toy manufacturer in the New York Merchandise Mart, a Rudin building. Mego has taken approximately 20,000 square feet on 11Â½ floors with an option to acquire an additional 8,000 feet, as well. Standing in the rear are Judson H. Spencer, executive director of NYMM and Harvey Richer of Harvery Richer, Inc., exclusive rental agent for the building.
In 1975, Mego was riding high. With exponential growth and success, Mego was forced to move to larger quarters. I love this April 1975 photoâ€¦ just look at Marty’s pride! Yet, interestingly, I opted to use this photo in the 1977 chapter of World’s Greatest Toys!
The irony is the fact that I took one of Mego’s happiest, most successful moments, and juxtaposed it against one of Mego’s greatest failures:
Not acquiring the George Lucas/20th Century Fox “Star Wars” license.
From World’s Greatest Toys!:
An ad in the February 1977 issue of Toys mentions Megoâ€™s showroom in the New York Merchandise Mart. Originally located at 1133 Broadway, Mego first relocated to 1 Madison Square Plaza. In 1975, Mego signed a 15-year, $2.3 million lease for approximately 20,000 square feet on 11Â½ floors in the New York Merchandise Mart, located at 41 Madison Avenue.
This new office was the setting for Megoâ€™s legendary failure to acquire the Star Wars license. To protect the Micronauts line, all Mego executives enjoyed plenipotentiary authority to approve any science fiction license. Legend has it that both Marty Abrams and Neal Kublan were out of the state when the Lucasfilm representative showed up at Megoâ€™s office.
Differing recollections obfuscate whether it was Mego patriarch D. David Abrams or merely a front desk receptionist who greeted Charles Lippincott, the Lucasfilm representative. In any case, Lippincott was turned away, only to take the elevator up one flight… to the office and showroom of Kenner toys.
During the â€œMegoConâ€ convention in June 2004, Marty Abrams discussed the profound misstep of losing the Star Wars license. â€œI believe that â€˜to thine own self be true,â€™â€ Abrams confessed. â€œ[The owner of] Kenner did a better job with Star Wars than we would have done. Because what he did was, he did not ship the product. He shipped empty boxes. We would have shipped the product. And so that means we would have been behind the movie curve, rather that at the movie curve.â€ Alluding to fact that Kenner did not ship the original toys until 1978, months after the movie was released, Abrams added, â€œHe created demand for product, and so opportunity came out of the problem. He was so late, he couldnâ€™t ship the product.â€ Considering the benefits of this timing, Abrams concluded, â€œThere was nothing to fill the pipeline to hit the cravingâ€¦ so that combination worked. It was almost a magical explosion.â€
Ever the Mego cheerleader, Kublan dissented. â€œSee, I donâ€™t agree. I think we would have done much better.â€ Collectors love to speculate how Mego would have handled the license.
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