Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mego Review: Wizard of Oz 8 inch dolls

In 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.

All of the male Mego 8 inch dolls that were produced from 1971 to 1974 were made with Type 1 doll bodies. At some point in 1974 Mego introduced their revised and very much improved 8 inch male doll body. As such, male characters that Mego continued to produce in 1974 and onward were made with Type 2 bodies. Due to the switch over to the Type 2 body certain male Mego dolls can be found with both Type 1 and Type 2 bodies, as is the case with the male characters from the Wizard of Oz series. Above is an example of the "Fat Body" used for the Cowardly Lion and the Wizard dolls. On the left is the Type 1 Fat Body which has metal doll joints, and on the right is the updated Type 2 Fat Body which has plastic joints. Type 1 doll bodies are quite crude in their design and the legs tend to spread out to the sides rather than keep the doll standing naturally, as seen with the Type 2 body. A side view is shown below to show the metal joints in the elbows, wrists, ankles and knees.

Above is the standard male Type 1 and Type 2 doll bodies as shown on Batman's sidekick Robin from the DC Comics superhero line, part of Mego's "Official World's Greatest Superheroes" series. These are the same doll bodies that the Scarecrow and Tin Man dolls have, however their hands were made with yellow (Scarecrow) or grey (Tin Man) plastic instead of skin tone plastic. Below is the side view. The shape of the hands for the Type 1 doll are quite different from the Type 2 doll. This is one of the ways collectors can quickly identify if a doll has a Type 1 or Type 2 body... aside from the spread open legs of the Type 1 dolls. Looking at the doll hands in the photo at the top of this page you can see that Tin Man is a Type 1 doll while Scarecrow is a Type 2.

Text and photos copyright Mikey Artelle, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Nostalgia and Doll shows 2017!!!

Every so often I sell collectable toys and dolls or my original hand-made puppets at various events throughout Ottawa,. Here are the events I'll be at in 2017, hope to see you there!!!

Upcoming Events for 2017

Ottawa Comic Con 2017 - Holiday Edition
EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr.
Ottawa, ON Canada
Sat - Sun, November 18 & 19, 2017
11:00AM to 6:00PM Saturday
11:00AM to 5:00PM Sunday
FREE admission to attendees!
Look for the Artelle Puppets booth!

Past Events for 2017

Ottawa Nostalgia & Collectables
Show & Sale
Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
Ottawa, ON Canada
Sunday, March 19th, 2017
9:00AM to 3:00PM
Admission: $6.00, children under 12 are free
Free Parking!
(In order to park near the closest entrance to the show, go around to the back of the building.)
Free admission for everyone after 2:00PM

Ottawa Doll Festival
Show and Sale
(see poster above)
Jim Durrell Centre (Ellwood Hall), 1265 Walkley Road
Ottawa, ON Canada
Sunday, April 23, 2017
10:00 AM to 3:00PM
Admission: $5.00 Free Parking!
This event will feature a doll display "15 Decades of Dolls" honouring
Canada's 150th celebration, as well as activities for children.
The Ottawa Doll and Collector's Guild is organizing this event to raise funds for
the Youville Centre which helps young mothers and their babies.

Ottawa Comiccon
EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr.
Ottawa, ON Canada
Friday to Sunday, May 12, 13 and 14, 2017
Friday 1:00PM to 8:00PM
Saturday 10:00AM to 7:00PM
Sunday 10:30AM to 5:00PM
Artelle Puppets booth number 2810
For ticket pricing see the Comiccon site at the link below:
The Comic Book Shoppe also sells advance Comiccon tickets
at both of their store locations:

The Ottawa Dolls, Toys, Teddies & Miniatures
Show and Sale
Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
Ottawa, ON Canada
Sunday, Sept 24, 2017
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Admission: (amount to be confirmed soon)
Free Parking!
(In order to park near the closest entrance to the show, go around to the back of the building.)

Ottawa Nostalgia & Collectables
Show & Sale
Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
Ottawa, ON Canada
Sunday, Oct 1st, 2017
9:00AM to 3:00PM
Admission: $6.00, children under 12 are free
Free Parking!
(In order to park near the closest entrance to the show, go around to the back of the building.)
Free admission for everyone after 2:00PM

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Batman and Robin Dolls!!!

I've been a huge fan of Batman and Robin since I was a kid in the 70's and love collecting dolls based on the dynamic duo! Shown above are just a few of the dolls and action figures in my collection of Batman toys! Information about these and other Batman related dolls can be found on the following pages of this blog:

Friday, November 20, 2015

He's a Rocker Dude with Attitude!!!

Yesterday I was searching Google for random pictures of male character dolls to see what I could find, and WOW!!! Did I ever find an awesome doll!!! Here he is....

This doll was made by doll artist Dalila Meece who specialises in fantasy themed dolls, most of which are male characters with long hair wearing a very detailed outfit of doll armour. 
Clearly Dalila Meece is quite an exceptional doll artist with a great deal of talent!

I completely freaked out when I saw this doll! I love it!! His attitude is captured perfectly and his outfit is so very cool!!! I want one of these dolls soooooo badly!!!! I've never seen a doll as awesome as this guy! What an awesome bad boy rocker dude!

Here's a different shot of him holding a medieval sword. This doll is Perfect!!!!
I absolutely adore this doll!
In fact this doll is even cooler than the 18 inch talking Brandon Lee Crow doll with rooted hair that I have, which is my favourite doll out of my entire collection. But this rocker dude is way, way cooler. Maybe 60% or 70% cooler! He's ice! He's frosty!!! I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!!!

Here's a back view and the side view. Drink it all in!
I'm so greatful that Dalila Meece shared images of her work online. It's such a treat to see amazing dolls like this. Here is a link to her gallery page where I found this doll, and where you can see many other awesome long hair fantasy warrior dudes!!! It's doll utopia!!! :) When you go to this link, scroll down as the bottom of the page has links to other pages of the gallery...yes there's more! Look for the boxes with page numbers in them. http://daliladolls.deviantart.com/gallery/
These types of dolls are made using a mass-produced doll body that is produced especially for the doll artisan market. There are several companies that make such doll products and the body alone without any clothes can be very pricey. It's not a poor artists hobby to be certain! Each doll is a small investment worth at least $200, but I'd say the typical value of a finished, painted and dressed doll with hair would be more in the area of $500 and up!
Sigh! So that means none for me!
...but it's free to look, and bask in the awesomeness!!! :)

Friday, October 2, 2015

More New Mego-like dolls!!!

In 2015 Figures Toy Company has been busy expanding their series of Mego-like superhero and TV character dolls. Recently I picked up a few new additions for my collection....

Justice League of America Superman
This is a reissue of the original Mego Superman doll with a few updates to the costume to make it more comic book accurate. The blue is brighter fabric, belt loops have been added, and the chest logo is larger.

Conan the Barbarian
This is a reissue of the original Mego Conan doll. It's a very close reproduction with a few subtle changes. For example the rooted hair is styled differently and is longer at the back, the fur shorts are darker brown and are made out of a nicer fake fur fabric than what was available in the mid 1970s, while the torso is modeled differently than an original Mego torso. Details on the eyes and mouth are painted differently as well.

Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane
Back in 1980 when Mego released their Dukes of Hazzard series of dolls they didn't include Sheriff Rosco in the collection, which for many fans left the collection feeling incomplete. For 33 years Mego and Dukes fans have wished for a Rosco Mego doll, and finally it has happened in 2013! Toy Figures Company did an awesome job on their Rosco doll including several details on the costume. The Head sculpt in particular is better than FTC's usual offerings, which often have heads that are too big. The likeness of the face sculpt to actor James Best is very well done too. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Censorship is not the answer to solving racism.

One of my favourite TV shows is The Dukes of Hazzard. It was produced between 1979 to 1985 and was a big part of my childhood. The program had been out of the public's radar for several years in the late 80s and early 90s, but made a big comeback through reruns and on DVD in the mid 1990s. So much so that two TV movies were made, in 1997 and 2000, followed by a feature film in 2005. Shown below is a 1/18th scale die cast toy car produced by Ertl in 2001 based on the real star of the program, the Duke Boys' car "General Lee". 

As you can see, the General Lee has a huge Confederate flag on the roof. For this reason alone Warner Bros, the studio that owns The Dukes of Hazzard TV show, has officially stated that it will no longer allow any merchadise based on the General Lee to be licenced and produced. Additionally, an American TV station, TV Land, has pulled the TV show from their broadcasting schedule, which is clearly a move toward banning the program from being aired on TV. Fortunately another station, CMT, has continued to air the program.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/warner-bros-to-stop-dukes-of-hazzard-general-lee-toys-with-confederate-flag/ ]

This reaction to the program is based on a tragic event involving racism that happened in the United States, that had nothing what so ever to do with the TV show. The tragic event spawned a demand to remove the Confederate flag from any and all spaces where it is on public display. Apparently, it doesn't matter that there is not a single episode of The Dukes of Hazzard that has anything remotely to do with racism.

Simply put, this excellent, much loved family TV show and the merchandise based on it have now been censored from the public due to an irrational demand to remove the Confederate flag from all traces of our popular culture.

The July 20, 2015 issue of Maclean's Magazine featured this same topic as their cover story, and included the very appropriate headline "Get Serious America". The text beneath the headline reads "Their taking down the Confederate flag and banning The Dukes of Hazzard. That's the best they can do? Why Obama's America still won't take any real action to fix it's biggest problems." I was so relieved when I discovered this magazine, as this article reassured me that our society hasn't gone completely nuts, and that it's widely believed that banning The Dukes of Hazzard as a response to racism is quite pathetic.

The Dukes of Hazzard toys produced by Mego in 1980 and 1981.
Boss Hogg's Cadillac was produced by CBS Toys in 1982.

This rush toward censorship is absolutely wrong, and an illogical way of thinking that contributes to pushing North American society down a very slippery slope. Here in Ottawa a man was publicly ridiculed and vilified for wearing a pair of shorts that had the confederate flag printed on one side. A complete stranger took a picture of him and posted it online with comments, essentially defaming him, and others joined in posting their own comments as though on a witch hunt. "The man with the confederate flag shorts" became a major news story, and his real name was made public. From what I understand, nobody bothered to speak with him until after the news story broke. They took one look at him and assumed the rest.  This is a completely irrational and unjust way of thinking! But what is most alarming is that it was all done without his knowledge and he learned of it after the fact. I find this incident is so foolish it's as though people have lost all common sense!

What I do agree with, wholeheartedly, is that the events that happened in the United States, in which a racist white man murdered several black people, is a horrific tragedy. No human being deserves to be murdered simply because of the colour of their skin, and for this to happen in 2015, when our society is supposed to be so much more enlightened and understanding than our society from decades past, makes this whole thing that much more tragic.

It's because of this event that people are understandably angry, and so they need to do something that will make them feel like something good is being done to justify the loss of life. Therefore many have turned to the Confederate flag and deemed it to be a symbol of hate. Apparently, our society has become so politically correct that time for discussion is no longer permitted. A group of angry people have deemed the flag to be a hateful symbol and so everyone else is now expected to fall in line... immediately and without question!?! I haven't the words to express how wrong that is! What ever happened to being a democratic society?

The General Lee toy car and action figures of Luke Duke and Bo Duke, 
produced in 1980 by Mego. 

This is all made even more absurd when taking into consideration that one of the main story arcs in The Dukes of Hazzard, which continued throughout the entire seven seasons of the program, has to do with Uncle Jessie Duke teaching Luke Duke, Bo Duke and Daisy Duke strong family values. As such, the show also often delt with the moral issue of how to get along with each other. Evidently, those who want to ban this TV show and related merchandise could learn a thing or two if they sat their behinds down and watched a few episodes. The "Duke" family are good, decent people who pray before they eat!

Additionally, the show's popularity thrived on the inclusion of comical situations, physical comedy, and plain silliness that was featured in every episode. The "villains" of the show, Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco, are essentially a modern day Laurel and Hardy. That anyone would take offence to a TV show of this nature is just completely ridiculous!

Sadly, this path of censorship vilifies others for no justifiable reason, giving power to the tragedy rather than dimishing it. The quest to keep the Confederate flag "out of sight and out of mind" is just a band-aid solution to the bigger, genuine problem of racism. Only now the problem has been made even worse because rather than tear down barriers, people have built them up by deeming anyone who displays the Confederate flag to have racism as their motivation for doing so, where in fact there was none... such as in the case of The Dukes of Hazzard.

The General Lee 1-18th scale die cast car made in 2001, 
and the smaller sized toy car from 1981, both made by Ertl .
Another view of the1-18th scale die cast car made in 2001 by Ertl.
I am white, but I am not racist for having the opinion that censoring the Confederate flag from all traces of our culture, including TV shows such as The Dukes of Hazzard, is wrong and irrational. This TV show is a part of my culture. I grew up with it, and as an adult I still enjoy it. Black lives absolutely do matter. All lives matter, equally on the same level, including white lives. My culture matters too, and Dukes of Hazzard is a part of it. I own all seven seasons of Dukes of Hazzard on DVD. This is a family program, there is nothing racist about it... at all! If seeing the flag on the hood of the car upsets people, then those people simply should not watch the show, or purchase the toy cars, or any other related merchandise.

Give your heads a shake people. You cannot systematically prevent others from enjoying their culture banning "this" today and "that" tomorrow. Such logic is akin to burning books. Censoring someone else's culture based on your own needs only breeds more racism... but it's not found within people like me who are fans of this TV show, it's within those who would now vilify me for something as simple and harmless as being a fan of The Dukes of Hazzard.

Censoring our popular culture does nothing but impose an irrational expectation on others to comply with an irrational demand. This is unjust punishment of the innocent for punishment's sake, which serves only to diminish our society further, rather than rebuild it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My childhood Mego pictures!

This photo shows, L to R, my brother Steve, my mom (Peggy) and me on the stairs in front of our house in the late 1970s. My sister Shannon took the photo. My siblings and I decided it would be fun to take a photo specifically with all of our Mego dolls, as my parents had bought one for each of us over a period of time. My brother is holding up his 8 inch Spider-Man Mego doll, and as my sister was taking the photo, he held up her 12 inch Wonder Woman Mego doll for her. The very first Mego I ever owned was Fonzie! As you can see, I forgot to hold Fonzie up for the photo, which my brother gleefully rubbed in moments after the picture was taken. As the Mego company didn't release the 12 inch Wonder Woman doll until 1977 the above photo would have been taken between 1977 to 1979, as we moved from that house in 1979.

This is the only photo of me with my Fonzie Mego from that time. It was a present for my birthday in Nov 1976 when I turned 3 years old. This is the very doll that started my obsession collecting Megos and other dolls. It's evident by the brown blur where the doll's head is that this is the version of the doll with brown hair rather than black, which is what I recall. It's too bad I don't have any better photos of this doll because I remember the face being quite different than the commonly available Fonzie doll, and the jacket was different too. I suspect that the Fonzie doll I had was like the one seen in the Sears catalogue advertisement (shown on the "TV Character Dolls Part One" page of this blog at this link: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/tv-character-dolls.html).

Not long after this picture was taken I lost that Fonzie doll and didn't find another one until I was in my early 20's! When I found the second Fonzie Mego in the early 1990s (long before the internet and e-bay made vintage toys so accessible) I was with some friends at a flea market, and the moment I saw the doll I freaked out. My friends thought I was completely nuts! Maybe they were right, but I didn't care. At last I had found another Fonzie Mego!
Here I am in December 1979 at our house in Milton, Ontario where we lived very briefly before returning to Ottawa. My brother's Spider-Man Mego doll is clearly visible on the floor in the background next to the pile of stuff under the tree. This Spidey doll is likely the same one that he's holding in the above photo. By this time my Fonzie Mego was long gone, but my parents had bought me the 8 inch Batman and Robin dolls along with the Batmobile that went with them. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures showing those Mego toys but I likely would have received them during this Christmas in '79. I have fond memories of my brother and I playing with our superhero Megos at this house, and chewing on Spidey's head - but what kid didn't do that with their Spidey Mego! :) In the photo, I'm making a puzzle of Kermit the Frog that is based on the very first Muppet film "The Muppet Movie", which I still have today! (shown below)