1971 - 1982: Mego Dolls

For the better part of the 1970s, Mego 8 inch dolls dominated the toy industry. This page shows only some of the different dolls that were produced. I've included the Mego DC and Marvel superhero dolls on their own pages on this blog. Same thing for the Mego Star Trek dolls, dolls based on TV show characters, and the "mechanical" Mego dolls. Anything else is shown below... if I am fortunate enough to have it in my collection! However, in an attempt to make this Mego list as complete as possible, I've also noted all the 8 inch dolls that Mego made in order by year.

Action Jackson, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1971

Action Jackson is where it all started for Mego's 8 inch doll series. In an attempt to compete with other toy companies, such as Hasbro and Mattel, Mego spent millions producing and marketing Action Jackson dolls only to discover that he was a huge flop. In order to recover from this, Mego removed the heads and outfits from their inventory of Action Jackson dolls and then reused the doll bodies to market their 8 inch superhero dolls of Batman, Robin, Superman and Aquaman. The rest is toy industry history! All thanks to Action Jackson for being such a dud!

The Action Jackson doll had three different head sculpts, two are Caucasian heads (one with a beard, one without), and a completely different African American head sculpt without a beard. The African American Action Jackson is the most difficult doll in this series to find. The two Caucasian heads were painted with various hair colours to create at least six different dolls. The picture above shows the "Blond hair with beard" version and the "Black hair no beard" version. As the paint used for the blond haired version can sometimes look orange, some collectors count these as two different dolls (yellow hair or orange hair) but I consider these as the same doll.

1) Brown hair with beard
2) Brown hair no beard
3) Black hair with beard
4) Black hair no beard
5) Blond (orange) hair with beard
6) Blond (orange) hair no beard
7) African American Action Jackson

 Shown above are two of the "Brown hair with beard" Action Jackson dolls, each wearing one of the two different standard issued outfits.

Here is a closer look at the different faces of Action Jackson.

The back of the Action Jackson box shows the variety of outfits and toy vehicles that were sold separately.

In addition to Action Jackson the Mego company produced their popular 12 inch fashion doll Broadway Joe Namath in 1971. The doll was based on the popular football player for the New York Jets. In addition to the doll, which came dressed in a white and green football outfit, Mego produced 12 additional fashion outfits for Joe that were sold separately.

To my knowledge this is one of the first instances (if not the first) that a doll was based on a famous sports figure or football player (Regal issued a Bobby Orr doll, based on the famous hockey player, a few years later in 1975). Numerous 12 inch dolls of sports celebrities have been produced over the years since. In 1993 Hasbro produced a completely different 12 inch doll based on Joe Namath that came dressed in a similar white and green football outfit.

1972
Mego introduces the first four 8 inch superheroes: Batman and Robin (the earlier versions had removable masks), Superman, and Aquaman.

1973
Additional 8 inch heroes were made: Tarzan, Spider-Man, Captain America and the Mego company's own creation Dinah-Mite, their first 8 inch female doll.

Planet of the Apes, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1973 - 1975

Mego's Planet of the Apes collection was very popular in it's day. Two series of five dolls were made. Above is Zira (the female ape) next to Cornelius from series one. Series two included the Cornelius doll but the name Galen was used on the packaging instead. As there were some colour variations during the production of this series, I've found a Cornelius/Galen with a darker green outfit with reddish-brown details (rather than dark brown) so I consider this one to be Galen.

I also have Dr. Zaius from series one, and General Ursus from series two. I'm missing the Astronaut and Soldier Ape to complete series one. General Urko, Astronaut Burke, and Astronaut Verdon are the others in series two. I used to have the Soldier Ape, General Urko, and Astronaut Burke but in a brief moment of foolishness and insanity back in 2011, I sold them on e-bay for some much needed cash. Now I miss them. How woeful it is to know the heartache of the lost Mego. Sniffle. :(

1974
By this time the Dinah-Mite series included Don (Dinah's date, which simply re-used the head from Superman) and the African American version of Dinah-Mite. In addition Mego produced a 12 inch army doll called Fighting Yank that was very poorly designed.

Additional 8 inch heroes were also available:
Shazam, and Green Arrow along with
"Super Foes" Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Mxyzlptlk
"Super Gals" Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Catwoman
Mad Monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Wolfman
American West: Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull (which, incidentally, was dressed nothing like the real life Sitting Bull), Wyatt Earp, Cochise, Davy Crockett
Tex Willer (Sold in UK only): Tex Willer, Tiger Jack, Kit Willer, Kit Carson.
Jet Jungle (Sold in UK only)
Star Trek: Series 1 (without Uhura) Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scottie, Klingon
Ultraman Leo (Sold in Japan only)
 
World's Greatest Pirates, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1974

Mego made a series of four pirate dolls. I have three of them: Black Beard, Long John Silver, and Captain Patch. I'm missing Jean Lafitte.

My Black Beard Mego is missing his hat, belt, sword and gun. The Long John Silver Mego is missing his shoe, wearing the wrong shirt, and the wrong sock. The brown shirt belongs to the Astronaut Peter Burke Mego from the Planet of the Apes series, and the sock belongs to the Jean Lafitte pirate. Long John is also missing his hat, weapons, jacket and his pet parrot. My Captain Patch Mego is wearing the pants from Jean Lafitte, and is also missing the original sash and shoes. However, I bought these three as a set back in the early 1990s for $10 each, which is an awesome deal so I can't complain. They are all Type 1 Mego doll bodies, and the elastic inside the doll (which holds the arms and legs onto the body) has become very loose.

According to the Mego Museum website, all "Type 1" Long John Silver Mego dolls were issued with the peg leg on the right instead of the left, however this one is opposite!!! Apparently, only "Type 2" dolls are suposed to have the peg leg on the left, yet mine is in original condition with the original elastics. These pirates were later reissued around 2005 by Classic TV Toys, so I'm glad to know for certain that I have the original Mego version!

Robin Hood, 8 inch doll by Mego, 1974

Here is Friar Tuck from the Robin Hood series made in 1974. Other characters in the series include Robin Hood, Little John, and Will Scarlet.

Wizard of Oz, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1974

Mego produced an excellent series of seven 8 inch dolls based on the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie. To my knowledge this is the very first doll line ever to be based on this classic film rather than the original storybook. Shown above is the Scarecrow (missing his shoes and diploma), the Cowardly Lion (missing his bravery medal), the Tin Man (missing his axe), and Dorothy (missing her white socks and red shoes). Dorothy originally came with a yellow plastic basket and a one-piece plastic grey figure of her dog Toto. The other dolls in the series include the Wicked Witch, Glenda the Good Witch, and the Wizard. To complete the collection Mego made an Emerald City Playset and four Munchkin figures (Mayor, Flower Girl, Dancing Girl, and General). Unfortunately the Munchkin figures were rather poorly made as three of the figures are action figures rather than dolls, for which the body of the figure has the clothing sculpted and painted. In addition the legs are not articulated or poseable. A castle playset for the Wicked Witch was also sold exclusively at Sears stores. Mego also produced a set of larger sized plush dolls with plastic heads based on the four characters shown above.

The Mego Cowardly Lion 8 inch doll was produced with different colour variations for both the head paint and the fabric used for the costumes. The heads can be found painted with an orange face or a yellow face. The two dolls shown above have the orange face but different coloured fabric was used for their costumes. The Lion suit on the left was made with light brown fabric and fake fur, while the suit on the right used an orange-tan fabric and fur with shorter light brown fur accents. Dolls with yellow faces can be found with yellow fabric outfits and fur. I've also seen the orange faced Lion with a brighter orange fabric costume. For this version the chest fur section is more like a thick felt type of fabric. The lion doll on the right is missing the shoes which are shaped like lion feet, as seen on the left doll. There is no variation in the colour of the lion shoes, all were made in light brown plastic. The Scarecrow doll also has a variation with regards to the tuft of hair on his forehead, as earlier produced dolls do not have this tuft of hair.


1975
8 inch Mego dolls available in 1975 include:
More superheroes: Lizard, Green Goblin, Hulk, Falcon, and Iron Man
Fist Fighters (superheroes with boxing action): Batman, Robin, Joker, Riddler
One Million Years BC: Trag, Orm, Grok, Zon, Mada
Planet of the Apes: Series 2 (mentioned above)
The Waltons: John Boy and Mary Ellen, Ma and Pa, Grandma and Grandpa
Star Trek: Series 1 (new cards with Uhura added to series)
The unique and poorly made 12 inch doll Dr.Kromedome was also produced in 1975 as a villain for Kenner's Bionic Man 12 inch doll.

Super Knights, 8 inch doll by Mego, 1975

Here is King Arthur from the "World's Greatest Super Kights" series. The rest of the dolls in this collection are all knights in armour: Sir Galahad, Ivanhoe, Launcelot, and the Black Knight.

1976
All 8 inch male dolls from this point on have Type 2 bodies.
More superheroes: Isis, Conan, Thor, and the Fantastic Four: Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and Thing.
Casshan Sold in UK only. Produced at some point between 1976 and 1982.
Star Trek Aliens, Series 1: Keeper, Neptunian, Gorn, Cheron
Muhammad Ali and Opponent
Starsky and Hutch: Starsky, Hutch, Captain Doby, Huggy Bear, Chopper
Our Gang (Little Rascals): Spanky, Alphalpha, Darla, Mikey, Buckwheat, Porky
Happy Days: Fonzie, Richie, Potsie (spelled "Posty" on card), Ralph
Space 1999: Captain Zantor, Captain Koenig, Paul Morrow, Alan Carter, Mysterious Alien
Cher and Sonny 12 inch fashion dolls
Maddie Mod 12 inch fashion doll (Produced at some point in the mid 1970s)
Richie 12 inch fashion doll (Produced at some point in the mid 1970s. This doll has nothing to do with the Happy Days character of the same name.)

Flash Gordon, 9.5 inch dolls by Mego, 1976

I'm not sure why Mego made 9.5 inch dolls. They already had success with 8 inch and 12 sized figures, so it seems odd that they would start a new format. In any case, the Flash Gordon series is still an interesting collection. They are among Mego's best doll series. I was glad to get Flash and Ming the Merciless as a set on e-bay. I've shown them next to the 8 inch Spider-Man for size comparison. Dale and Dr. Zarkov were also made as part of this series.

1977
Teen Titans 7 inch dolls: Kid Flash, Speedy, Aqualad, Wondergirl
Star Trek Aliens, Series 2: Romulan, Talos, Mugato, Andorian
Steve Goalgetter and Franz Beckenbauer 10 inch dolls (sold in the UK only)
Captain & Tennille 12 inch fashion dolls
Diana Ross 12 inch fashion doll
Farrah Fawcett 12 inch fashion doll
Flintstones smaller sized dolls and playset
Zorro 8 inch doll (Sold in the UK only)
The New Avengers 12 inch doll: Purdy (Sold in the UK only)

Puppet Love, finger puppets by Mego, 1977

This is a series of six finger puppets. I have two of them, Snow White and Prince Charming. Both have the same heads but they are painted differently. The puppets come with a puppet stand. Being a puppeteer, I thought it was neat that my favourite toy company made puppets, even though they are quite cheesy.
Here is the back of the cards showing the collection. The other four puppets are Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.


Collectors of the 8 inch Megos might be interested to know that Prince Charming's crown is a modified King Arthur crown. The only difference is that two plastic loops were added to the sides of the Prince crown so that a string could be tied to it. Although my King Arthur crown is broken at the front (the cross and the first point broke off - darn it!) I've shown it next to the Prince Charming crown for comparison.
 
1978
Chips: Ponch, Jon, Sarge
Unfortunately, in 1978 Mego changed their focus from the 8 inch scale to 12 inch dolls:
"Superhero 12 inch dolls": Superman (two head sculpt variations), Lex Luthor, Jor-el, General Zod, Batman (two head sculpt variations), Robin, Wonder Woman, Nubia, Queen Hippolyte, Steve Trevor, Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America
A 13 inch Superman was also made around this time along with a 9.5 inch Robin.
Kiss 12 inch dolls: Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter
Laverne & Shirley 12 inch dolls: Laverne, Shirley, Lenny, Squidgy
Suzanne Somers 12 inch fashion doll
Bubble Yum Baby large size doll
 
1979
Moonraker 12 inch dolls: James Bond, Jaws, Drax, Holly
Buck Rogers 12 inch dolls: Buck Rogers, Dr. Huer, Tiger Man, Killer Kane, Draco, Twiki
Dr. Who 9.5 inch dolls (sold in UK only): Dr. Who, Cyberman, K9, Dalek, Giant Robot, Leela
Kristy McNichol 9.5 inch doll
Candi 18 inch fashion doll (I believe this is largest size Mego doll to have been made)
Mighty Mightor 12 inch doll, sold only in France
 
1980
Star Trek the Motion Picture, 12 inch dolls: Kirk, Spock, Decker, Illia, Klingon, Acturian
Black Hole, 12 inch dolls: Captain Holland, Harry Booth, Dr. Kate McRae, Lt. Pizer, Dr. Reinhardt, Dr. Durant
 
1981
Dukes of Hazzard: Bo Duke, Luke Duke, Daisy Duke, Boss Hogg, Coy Duke, Vance Duke
Jordache 12 inch fashion dolls, Caucasian male and female
 
1982
After Mego went out of business in 1982 several other toy companies used the 7 inch Mego (Teen Titans) doll body to make their own series of dolls. I have three different examples which I've shown below next to the 8 inch Spider-Man for size comparison.

WWII, 7  inch doll by Lion Rock, late 1970s to early 1980s
Unknown, 7  inch doll, (Possibly GI Combat by Chitech Industries), 1980s
Heroes of the Kingdom, 7  inch doll by Wee Win Toys, 1980s

The first 7 inch figure (in the green pants) has "Lion Rock" marked on the back of the neck and is from a series of WWII dolls.

The second figure (with the yellow hair) does not have any markings so I have no idea what series it is from. If it is not from the WWII series it might be from the GI Combat series by Chitech Industries, made in early 1983. Many companies also made knock-offs of the WWII dolls, so it may also be one of those.

The last doll is John the Baptist made by Wee Win Toys in the 1980s as part of their Heroes of the Kingdom series. Another company, Rainfall Toys, also used Mego doll bodies in the 1980s to make characters for their Bible Greats series. I've noticed that the Bible Greats dolls have the sandals molded and painted on as part of the doll's foot, while the Wee Win Toys dolls have a separate plastic sandal, as shown above. Here is a link to a very awesome website that helped me to identify the John the Baptist doll: http://www.megolike.com/figures.html

Dr. Mego / EMCE dolls, late 1990s or early 2000s to present

The Dr. Mego reissued Bruce Wayne and Zorro Mego parts (heads, costumes and sword) on original Mego doll bodies.

In the late 1990s or early 2000s, when the internet made it possible for Mego collectors to locate other like minded Mego fans, Dr. Mego (Paul Clarke) began to have Mego parts re-made in China. This allowed Mego collectors to complete individual Mego dolls by ordering the pieces they were missing such as shoes, capes, clothing, or weapons. The Mego doll bodies and an assortment of doll heads were also made available. Later Dr. Mego and the EMCE toy company offered several officially licensed re-issues of Mego dolls such as the Star Trek and Planet of the Apes collections. 

Customizing Mego Dolls
Following Dr. Mego's lead, other companies such as Classic TV Toys (CTVT), which later became Figures Toy Company, and Bif Bang Pow, have also offered reissued Mego parts and dolls. Remaking Mego parts does pose some difficulty for collectors when buying Mego dolls. It used to be that when you found a Mego there was no question about the authenticity of all the pieces. Today, Mego collectors must be very careful and knowledgeable in order to determine if the doll they are buying has 100% genuine Mego parts. The good thing about re-issued parts is that it allows collectors to add Mego items to their collection that are rare finds or otherwise too costly. For example, the original Bruce Wayne and Zorro dolls by Mego are two "Holy Grail" items for Mego collectors, and sell for hundreds of dollars, while the Dr. Mego versions (shown above) can be purchased for $10 to $40, depending on the number of parts you need.  I think Dr. Mego did an awesome job on the re-issue of Bruce Wayne and am very happy to finally have one in my collection. Zorro is also awesome to have but was not as easy to put together, here's why...

A word of warning about Dr. Mego's Zorro head and selected Classic TV Toys items: Although Dr. Mego consistently produces high quality items, I was disappointed with the Zorro head ($6) as the mask and moustache were simply coloured on with a marker rather than painted on. Not only did this look rather cheep as the marker was a different shade of black from the painted on hair, but when handled the marker smudges. The description for the Zorro head on Dr. Mego's website says "Made in China - the mask and moustache are done here." What isn't mentioned is that he uses a marker! I tried painting over the marker with black paint but the smudge marks stained the plastic and couldn't be removed, so I've since painted over the whole head to make a completely different character.

Therefore, if you're planning to order the Zorro head from Dr. Mego I would recommend asking him not to add the mask or moustache so that you could paint them on yourself without having to worry about smudging the marker. Option two is to buy Dr. Mego's unpainted Sir Galahad head ($10) and painting the whole thing to your liking. However, if you want to save yourself the hassle of painting, Classic TV Toys (CTVT) sells a fully painted Zorro head ($4) that, in my view, looks closer to the original Mego Zorro head than the Dr. Mego Zorro head, which is somewhat thinner. Dr. Mego is the only company that sells the re-issued Zorro outfit though, so between the two companies a suitable re-issued Zorro Mego can be had. Dr. Mego makes the Zorro cape by hand, and it's perfect. It's also worth noting that when I received my Zorro outfit from Dr. Mego the sword it came with (shown in the above photo) was marked "CTV", which I'm assuming means that it was actually made by CTVT! 

Alternatively, I've had trouble with a re-issued Will Scarlet sword belt and quiver made by CTVT (they both broke quite easily when I put them on the Mego figure), and I find some of the 8" male bodies that CTVT makes are basically junk because they are so poorly made (they don't even stand up!). So the two companies have their good and bad points.

Text © Mike Artelle, 2010, 2013

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