Action Jackson, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1971
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
World's Greatest Pirates, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1974
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 supposed 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!
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.
8 inch Mego dolls available in 1975 include:
More Marvel superheroes: Lizard, Green Goblin, Hulk, Falcon, and Iron Man
shown on the Marvel Comics page of this blog. The 8 inch Hulk doll introduced a new doll body made especially for this character. The same doll body was later used for Thing from the Fantastic Four set of Marvel Comics dolls offered in 1976.
According to various sources the Spider-Man villains Lizard and Green Goblin were both issued in 1975, however I suspect they may have been issued in 1974 before the Type 2 bodies were introduced as Type 1 versions of these dolls were made. Both Type 1 dolls are harder to find than their Type 2 counterparts. The Lizard doll is especially unique due to his reptile hands and feet which were used only for this character. The Type 1 version of this doll does not have jointed wrists, making it even more unique, whereas the Type 2 doll does. Another nice detail, Lizard was made with his right hand sculpted as a fist rather than an open hand, and he has a stuffed fabric tail unlike any other Mego doll!
Fist Fighters (superheroes with boxing action): Batman, Robin, Joker, Riddler
One Million Years BC: Trag, Orm, Grok, Zon, Mada, most of these are shown on the Mechanical Mego Dolls page of this blog. The One Million BC and Fist Fighter dolls all used new doll bodies made specifically for those toy lines.
These were Mego's first 8 inch dolls based on TV show's:
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) These are all Type 2 dolls and are more common to find. Once again the male characters have boots sculpted as the doll's feet.
Lastly, the unique and poorly made 12 inch doll Dr.Kromedome was also produced in 1975 as an unofficial villain for Kenner's Bionic Man 12 inch doll.
Super Knights, 8 inch doll by Mego, 1975
These two dolls were produced at some point in the mid 1970s likely before 1976.
Maddie Mod 12 inch fashion doll
Richie 12 inch fashion doll. This doll has nothing to do with the Happy Days character of the same name which Mego produced as an 8 inch doll in 1976. It's my understanding that this 12 inch Richie doll was produced as the male counterpart for Maddie Mod.
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. The latter doll, Thing, reused the Hulk 8 inch doll body issued in 1975, this time in orange plastic instead of green.
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 These are 9 inch dolls with unique doll bodies that feature a boxing action.
Starsky and Hutch: Starsky, Hutch, Captain Doby, Huggy Bear, Chopper
Our Gang (also known as "The Little Rascals"): Spanky, Alphalpha, Darla, Mikey, Buckwheat, Porky
Happy Days: Fonzie, Richie, Potsie (misspelled "Posty" on card), and Ralph
Space 1999: Sold in UK only. Captain Zantor, Captain Koenig, Paul Morrow, Alan Carter, Mysterious Alien (The Mattel toy company also made a series of Space 1999 dolls which were 9 inches tall and available in North America.)
Cher and Sonny 12 inch fashion dolls. The Sonny doll in this set is likely the first time Mego used their 8 inch male doll body in the 12 inch size! All other 12 inch male dolls that Mego made up to this point were completely different in design.
Flash Gordon, 9.5 inch dolls by Mego, 1976
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) It is my understanding that these two dolls reuse the Mohammad Ali doll bodies or a variation of it, as the dolls have a kick action instead of punching. Several outfits for these dolls were available.
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) This doll reuses the Star Trek male doll body which has the boots sculpted as the doll's feet.
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.
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.
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
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 the largest size Mego doll to have been made!)
Mighty Mightor 12 inch doll (sold only in France)
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
Dukes of Hazzard: Bo Duke, Luke Duke, Daisy Duke, Boss Hogg, Coy Duke, Vance Duke
Jordache 12 inch fashion dolls, Caucasian male and female
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.
Unknown, 7 inch doll, (Possibly GI Combat by Chitech Industries), 1980s
Heroes of the Kingdom, 7 inch doll by Wee Win Toys, 1980s
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 7 inch 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. It's also my understanding that the Bible Greats dolls are 8 inches tall instead of 7 inches. 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 smudged marker 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!
And speaking of CTVT, I've had trouble with a re-issued Will Scarlet sword belt and quiver made by CTVT, as they both broke quite easily (the same day they arrived in the mail no less) when I put them on the Mego figure. I also find most of the 8" male bodies that CTVT makes are basically junk because they are so poorly made they don't even stand up! This has been the case since their awful and crappy re-issues of the Happy Days dolls in 2004! In my experience Dr. Mego's re-issued Mego doll bodies are much nicer than those offered by CTVT, and are worth the extra few dollars for the quality. So the two companies have their good and bad points.
Update: Dr. Mego has since offered a factory painted Zorro head, though he admits on his site that he is disappointed with the way it was painted. At least he tried! Still, his Mego doll bodies are far better quality than CTVT and well worth the cost!!!
Text © Mike Artelle, 2010, 2013