Mego Planet of the Apes Cornelius

Prototype Zira

When Mego first proposed the Planet of the Apes license, the R and D department created early mock-ups to visualize the concept. While this is common in the toy industry and occasionally you can see such mock ups in toy promotional materials, they rarely surface themselves. This is mostly because they were simply tossed out after production begins. 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, the patterns on the leather patches have been hand painted. It's nowhere near screen accurate but it is really interesting to look at.

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, infact 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

It's a man baby! Not only is the Zira body is merely a type 1 Action Jackson body but the head is actually the Cornelius model kit, not the Addar Zira. The reason as to why Mego did this may be lost to us. I'm sure Kim Hunter would have been thrilled. It's hands and feet crudely painted brown and barefoot. To our knowledge these figures only appeared in print once, in Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine.

mego prototype cornelius

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