Zira

Zira Mego Planet of teh Apes Card Art




Introduction

Loose Zira

Zira (item number 1963) (assortment number 1960) packed 4 per case in 1974; 2 per case in 1975

Zira, the lone female of the Planet of the Apes action figures, is the chimpanzee wife of Cornelius. In the film, she is recognized as a doctor (an Animal Psychologist – of course, the “animals” were Humans!), but Mego did not give her the “Doctor” designation bestowed upon Zaius.  Her top is green fabric with vinyl details (color ranges from maroon to dark brown) and snug inner sleeves of brown fabric.  Her skirt is made in matching green fabric with no vinyl details.  For reasons unknown, Mego put Zira in caramel colored western styled boots.  There is a recognized variation which LACKS the brown inner sleeves. In truly pristine examples, the green fabric possesses a beautiful silky sheen. She can also be found carded with a brown skirt and green top, green skirt and brown top, or in a brown skirt and top. It is unclear whether these are color changes caused by unstable dyes in the fabric or true variations. There is also a variation with a greenish tint to her hair.





Variations

megp planet of the apes zira dolls

This photo shows the differences in fabric used for Zira over the course of her production. The brown variants are less common.  (Photo courtesy of M. Jimenez)




Packaging List



1st issue larger card ( square or round blister)

Kresge Card

2nd issue smaller card ( 1973 copyright between feet, no age recommendation)

2nd issue smaller card ( silver/black stripe over 1973 copyright, age recommendation added)

2nd issue smaller card ( 1973 copyright removed completely, age recommendation)

Bullmark box (Japan)

2nd issue card with Baravelli sticker (Italy)

Bradgate/ Palitoy card (UK)

Palitoy card (UK)

Mailer box

Treehouse Giftset ( came with set in plastic baggie)




1st issue Card



First issue Mego Zira card – Note the brown outfit (Photo courtesy of
M. Jimenez)




Second Issue Card



Second issue Mego Zira card (Photo courtesy of M. Jimenez)

Green Haired Zira – Note the lack of inner sleeves on this variation (Photo courtesy of M. Jimenez)




Palitoy



 

Early Bradgate (A division of Palitoy) card (Photo courtesy of W. Frost)

 

 

Later Palitoy card (Photo courtesy of W. Frost)

Bullmark Japan



 

Zira was released in a window box by Bullmark Japan, who also took the time to pose the figures. (Photo courtesy of M. Jimenez)

Thanks to Mike Jimenez for his help with both the photos and editorial content on this page

 

Prototype Card and Pre-production Figure

 

Zira Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From an astounding Mego Showroom find comes this prototype Zira card and pre-production figure. Designed by the collection’s original owner, its dull mauve color was bluntly panned by Mego chief Martin Abrams and changed to the final vibrant pink. The packaging date reads “1973 Apjac productions” which was changed to the correct 1967 date when the figures went into production.

 

Zira Card BAcks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mauve mock-up card has no backing artwork.

Zira Head

Note that the pre-production Zira lacks the paint detail in the eyes that the production pieces would later have.

Zira Buble



Mock-up Zira



Mego Planet of the Apes Cornelius

 

When Mego first proposed the Planet of the Apes license, the R & D Department created early mock-ups to visualize the concept. While this practice is common in the toy industry and occasionally such mock-ups can be seen in toy promotional materials, they rarely surface themselves. This is mostly because they were simply discarded after production began. Thanks to the foresight of a then junior Mego employee we can see the crude, yet charming first attempts at the line, 35 years after creation.

 

mego prototype cornelius

This early Zira has an outfit made of denim, with patterns on the leather patches that have been hand painted. While hardly screen accurate, it is really interesting.

mego prototype cornelius

 

If the head looks at all familiar, it should because it’s actually the head from the Addar model kit. This makes perfect sense as the Addar kits were the inspiration for the line according to this interview with Neal Kublan:
“Well what got us started was the first things out were [the Addar] model kits and they were doing well. I remember seeing it in a hobby shop, in fact our product development guy named Vinnie Baiera lived up the street from this place. I went in and the owner said, “I can’t keep these in stock.”

mego prototype Zira

 

Gender confusion! Not only is the Zira body merely a type 1 Action Jackson body, but the head is actually the Cornelius model kit and not the Addar Zira. The reason as to why Mego did this is probably lost to time, all apologies to Kim Hunter.  The figure also features hands and feet crudely painted brown, with no footwear.  So far, these figures have only been found in print once, in Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine.

mego prototype cornelius

The only finished figure appears to be the Astronaut which lends credence to the theory that his head sculpt came from another project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are some screen caps of the Apes TV Commercials featuring some early Mego Cornelius and Zira prototypes. Note the early head
sculpts and uniforms and that the astronaut is obviously just an Action Jackson. (Photos courtesy of M. Farrence)

Zira : Original Accessories and known Repros

Loose Zira

 

boots

Zira wears caramel colored cowgirl boots. They are the same boots also found in the Dinah-Mite Wild Western set. They have not been factory reproduced even though EMCE Toys made a reproduction of the Zira figure. EMCE’s Zira wears Uhura style boots made in the same caramel color as Zira’s cowgirl boots.



 

coat

Zira’s coat has been factory reproduced by EMCE Toys. The material used is very close to the original. Is the color accurate? Really, that’s near impossible to say. Original Zira clothes tend to fade differently. Comparing several original loose Zira figures, you’ll find the shades of green in her clothes vary a bit. However, the EMCE version is a bit greener than most. The EMCE reproduction also features the brown inner sleeves, and while it’s more common for an original to have these, some do not. The EMCE coat is made a little wider, so it fits a bit more baggy. The vinyl trim is different as well. While Zira’s vinyl originally came both in brown and burgundy tones, EMCE reproduced only the burgundy version, and their burgundy leans more toward the brown side of burgundy than the original does. It’s also a smoother vinyl, as he original vinyl has a slight texture to it. It’s also shaped a little differently; most notably it’s longer. The original Zira has the vinyl sewn right into the sleeve, whereas the EMCE does not, even though the width is the same, which is a result of the reproduction being slightly wider overall. The collar on the repro is also a little wider. Zira’s coat features something rarely used in Mego clothes construction, velcro. EMCE’s also uses velcro to close the coat. The reproduction coat is overall a little shorter than an original, and is unmarked.



 

skirt

Zira’s skirt has been reproduced by EMCE Toys. The material used is very close to the original. Is the color accurate? Really, that’s near impossible to say. Original Zira clothes tend to fade differently. Comparing several original loose Zira figures shows that the shades of green in her clothes vary a bit. However, the EMCE is a bit greener than most. The EMCE skirt is wider than an original, and is shorter in length. It is unmarked.



 

heads

Zira’s head has been reproduced by EMCE Toys. The vinyl on the reproduction is a little more firm than on an original and the details are a little softer and less defined. It is pretty accurate is size, with very slight paint variations. Underneath the head where the neck hole is, the original is more concave; the EMCE is fairly flat. The EMCE is marked with a 1968, 2008 Fox copyright on the back.