WORK IN PROGRESS
Past and Present. Vol I. Updated June 2005
Created by Scott Adams
Updates by Brain
Neal Kublan, Vice-president
of Research and Development, VP of Marketing, Mego Corp. 1960-1980
assistance from Anthony
thanks to Rob Chatlin for
lending his catalog collection to the Museum for archiving. Rob is currently
seeking to buy the 72, 74, 76, 77 and 83 Mego Catalogs, as well
as catalogs from other companies of the era. Please contact him if you
have them and are looking to sell.
2004, R. Scott Carroll Illustration,
San Francisco, California. No part of this article may be reproduced in
any form without written consent from the author.
Note: For some time now I have had Mr. Chatlin's collection of original
Mego Toy Fair Catalogs, and will forever thank him for his patience and
generosity. It took a lot of time simply to scan them in, and even longer
to decide how best to present the material. In the end, I went with the
convenient artificial deadline of Toy Fair 99. Please take note
as you navigate through the catalog showroom that this is really only
the beginning of a larger and more comprehensive archive and historical
document, and the numerous holes will eventually be filled, some of the
countless questions answered. The goal here at the Museum is to present
a richly textured, multimedia history of a now obscure toy company that
was at one time on the leading edge of toy-pop-culture.
on IMAGES: I scanned in 185 pages of material for this project and
want to show as much as I can. At some point in the future, the material
will be available in a larger size and at better resolution, but it is
not feasible to show them as large as we would all like to see without
bringing Toymania to it's knees. It still looks good, and I think we all
agree the Museum could use some bandwidth discipline. : )
Brief History of the Mego Corporation. 1954-1973
by D. David Abrams and his wife, Madeline. Mego had been
successful by selling 88 cent promotional ( sometimes called "hush-ups"
in the trade...) toys in basement department stores. The key to their
venture was that they sold the toys along with a 10 percent advertising
budget. This is to say, when stores bought the toys the cost of advertising
was included, and the Mego art department did the newspaper copy-ready
layouts for them.
By the late
Sixties, the cost of newspaper advertising had increased to the point
where the company's business was no longer profitable, and it needed to
go in a new direction. It all changed when, in 1971, David's son Marty
graduated from business school and came on board with the ambition and
determination to take the company to new heights and play with the big
has ever spoken of him describes Marty as a born salesman and marketing
whiz, and he gets well-deserved credit for building a terrific company
and giving freedom and support to the creative personnel who did the work.
As time has passed, however, he is the only name ever associated with
Mego Toys. Recent statements in the press could lead one to the conclusion
that he was the sole visionary behind this remarkable story, which he
himself might admit is not possibly true. For the record, I have never
spoken with Mr. Abrams myself.
Mego still remains a mystery in the public record, but that is changing
rapidly as the generation that loved them grows up and turns to collecting
as a serious hobby. With a new book on the way by Marty and Tomart's
AFD, NEO-Megos popping up from Toy-Biz to Flattworld,
PLUS the ridiculous growth of Megos on eBay
and the regrettable designation of Mego as the "hot" collectible....1999
stands to be the year of full-blown Mego revivalism. (Unless Star Wars
kills us all again, which could happen...)
has had something to do with all of this, of course. It's been providing
inspiration, information and a center for the online Mego world for three
years now and we are set to expand our own efforts in this year of Megoism
and see where we can go with it. We have a unique style and approach to
the material, and enjoy a very supportive base of collectors who like
the way we do things here.
We are pleased
to announce our hard work has paid off in a very big way by attracting
the attention of the former Senior Vice-president for R&D and Marketing
at Mego, Mr. Neal Kublan. We have been fortunate to develop a relationship
with Neal and conduct preliminary interviews about his days at Mego Corp.
from 1960 to 1980 and have been wildly excited by what's he's had to say.
This catalog showcase is an excellent opportunity to begin sharing
and forming this material, though we are holding some back until we have
a chance to conduct interviews in person and check facts with other Mego
employees from Neal's creative teams.
course of the year we plan to tell a story that satisfies the most
obscure curiosities of Mego fans, while at the same time telling a larger
story about American pop-culture. In this age of media saturation and
the multimedia cult of celebrity, Mego's story seems especially relevant.
They invented or perfected many of the toy genres and marketing tools
that today we take for granted. Further, it was a time when the Vietnam
war had diminished the glory of GI Joe, and the women's movement had confused
Barbie's role entirely. In this vacuum, Mego stepped in with action figures
and dolls that offered a different vehicle for children's imaginations.
I personally find Neal's own story immensely inspiring.
In 1960 Neal Kublan was a 20 year-old illustrator fresh
from art school who took a job as an advertising layout man for Mego.
He stayed on the job and learned the toy business from D. David Abrams
and rose to head the art and marketing department by the end of the decade.
When Marty turned the company into a manufacturer of original mass-marketed
toys, Neal became his right-hand man and was instrumental in bringing
what we know as the Mego style into being.
VP, Neal supervised and directed the teams of artists and designers who
created the products Marty was so good at selling. His name is on the
patent for the 8 inch female doll. He designed the case for Magna-Doodle,
one of the all-time great toys. When Cher balked at her likeness
he personally made changes to the head sculpt according to the diva's
demands. He drove Shatner and Nimoy around in a limo for appearances
at Toys R Us, and got to work with Muhammed Ali in his prime....
As VP of
Marketing he designed and pitched ad campaigns for print and television,
helped close deals with studios and worked directly with the celebrities
Mego licensed. After leaving Mego in 1980 he freelanced on jobs with companies
such as LJN, where he put together the Brooke Shields doll. He
is still very active in the industry, currently working on electronic/interactive
sound components for toys, an arena Mego pioneered in the late 70s. He
was shocked and pleased to see the following the old Mego toys have today
and looks forward to setting the record straight on behalf of the many
creative talents that helped make Mego the World's Greatest Toy Company.
of Mego continues through these catalogs. Stay tuned for more material
as it becomes availiable.