I find it interesting that all of the Mego dolls with mechanical "actions" operated by levers were developed during the same period in 1975 and 1976. It shows that Mego was specifically interested in mechanical dolls during this time. Designing these dolls involved some ingenuity and effort that shows in each of these cases. Clearly Mego was willing to develop their products further and improve on the play-ability of their dolls, despite that their standard non-mechanical dolls were already a huge success.
I'll start with the cavemen from...
One Million B.C.
I like these caveman dolls because they are very different from the average Mego. They have a "spear throwing action" which is operated by a lever on the doll's back (only Mada didn't have this feature). The lever moves the doll's right arm up and down in a chopping action. A very cheap grey sponge "spear" comes with each doll, and attaches to a piece of metal set into the doll's spear throwing hand.
Adult caveman hand shown at top, child hand (Zon) shown at bottom.
I'm not sure how well the spear throwing actually worked, but the arm action is neat. Due to the spear throwing feature, these doll's have unique doll bodies with a torso that does not have a joint at the waist the way all other Mego's do (with the exception of Mego's "fat bodies" used for characters such as the Penguin, shown below near the end of this page).
I also like the shoulder joints for these caveman dolls, as standard Mego dolls had elastic joints held in place with a metal hook that is not as pose-able. Each caveman is marked 1974 on the body and "1975 Mego Corp" on the back of the neck. This caveman series was officially introduced in the 1975 Mego product catalogues, the same year that Mego also added Conan the Barbarian to their Official World's Greatest Super Heroes collection. Conan however was issued on a standard Mego doll body which seems odd as the caveman doll body would have been better suited the character. The spear throwing arm could have worked well as an axe or sword chopping action. In any event, the Conan Mego is far more sought after by collectors today than any of the caveman Mego dolls, and is much more valuable.
The following year, in 1976, Mego made a Fonzie doll based on the character from the TV sitcom Happy Days.
Fonzie Mego in Mint condition. Ayyyy!
A variation of Mego's "One Million B.C." caveman's spear throwing arm was used for the Fonzie doll to allow for a "thumbs up" action, once again controlled with a lever on the doll's back. This time however, both of the doll's arms were made to move up and down simultaneously, instead of just one arm. The Fonzie doll's torso is also very different from the caveman Mego, but uses the same shoulder joints. The Fonzie doll is also jointed at the waist, unlike the caveman dolls.
Fonzie's hands are shaped in a thumbs up position, and have pose-able thumbs.
Fist Fighting Superheroes
The Joker and Riddler dolls shown here are the "Fist Fighter" versions, next to the standard "fat body" Penguin. I still don't have the Batman and Robin Fist Fighter dolls in my collection.
Back view of the Riddler and Joker Fist Fighting Mego dolls.
Here is a comparison of the standard Type 2 Mego doll body (Robin) with the Fist Fighter doll body (Riddler).
Back view showing the lever on the Fist Fighter doll
Here is a side view of the Fist Fighter doll. For the Joker Fist Fighter doll the knob piece at the end of the lever was made in black plastic.
According to the Mego Museum website there were four additional Fist Fighter dolls available in the UK only. These are Superman, Spider-Man, Lizard, and Captain America. Exclusively in Mexico, Fist Fighting heroes included Tarzan, Green Arrow, Iron Man, and Falcon. See pictures here: http://megomuseum.com/wgsh/fistfighters/index.html
More recently, in 2014, Figures Toy Company re-issued several Fist Fighting Mego DC heroes including Batman, Robin, Joker, Riddler, Superman, and Green Arrow, while adding Aquaman and Shazam to the collection. See pictures here:
Text and photos copyright Mike Artelle, 2010, 2014