Mego Planet of the Apes



The human created for the first line of figures was not based on the Charlton Heston character of "Taylor."Mego did not get the likeness rights to Heston with their deal. Even so, it is worth noting that the Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog of 1974 mistakingly referred to the Astronaut figure as "Taylor." Rather than granting the character a personality, Mego simply named him the "Astronaut." This title was used with very amusing results in one Mego commercial, which began by showing a gorilla sniffing the air. "Hmmm," he grunts. "I smell an Astronaut!"

The original Astronaut was dressed in a blue zippered flight suit, given an Air Force pilot's helmet, and short, "laced" black boots. To be complete, he also needs a white plastic belt. The astronaut was never sold with an elastic belt like the one worn by Action Jackson. The Astronaut's head bears a 1972 copyright date and classic 1972 sideburns. It was originally postulated by Anthony B. McElveen that this head was sculpted to be Don, the male companion to Dinah-mite, but, for reasons unknown, the decision was made to use a Superman head instead.


The two humans created for the second set of Planet of the Apes figures are based very closely on the television series actors. Mego made terrific representations of James Naughton, who played Peter Burke, and Ron Harper, as Alan Virdon. Like all of the figures in Mego's POTA line, these characters are found on both Type 1 (metal joint) and Type 2 (plastic joint) bodies. Burke and Virdon wear identical terrycloth pants and the same brown or burgundy moccasins worn by both Cornelius and Galen.

Peter Burke wears a brown stretchy pullover shirt and a burlap vest.


Alan Virdon wears an open shirt made from the same terrycloth fabric as his pants, and a brown cotton vest.


Cipsa who had the rights to the Mego Planet of the Apes line in Mexico, released a variant of Allan Virdon called Bill. Most gather that he is based on the astronaut from the short lived Planet of the Apes animated series.

  Bill came in a very large box (courtesy of Brain)
   The Astronaut box. (courtesy of ABMAC)

Carded Astronaut courtesy of Paul Moya (whom I'm jealous of)

Carded Palitoy (Bradgate) Astronaut has a different backer than the US release.
Boxed Peter Burke courtesy of Mike J. Notice the generic box for all astronauts.
Carded Peter Burke courtesy of Paul Moya
Boxed Allan Virdon courtesy of Mike J.
First Version Mego carded Allan Virdon courtesy of Mike J,
Second Version Mego carded Allan Virdon courtesy of Mike J,

Mego Allan Virdon and Mego Cheron share the same headscult

Look Familiar? Mego reused the Virdon headsculpt to produce the Cheron figure from their Star Trek Aliens line (info courtesy of Lenn Starr)

Above are some screen caps of the Apes TV Commercials featuring some early astronaut prototypes (very early as it's easy to see that the first two slides are just action jackson) The third is the regular POTA Astronaut wearing an ersatz Alan Virdon outfit.(all photo cred for the commercial photos go to Mike T1K)

Whats the difference? Card variations of the Apes

Like the first series of Planet of the apes figures, the second series ( Galen, Urko, Ursus, Virdon, and Burke) also have three card variations for each figure. Unlike the first series, these variations have to do with copy right information and the Ursus / Urko switch. The first issue cards credits Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp with all the characters. On this card Urko has a helmet (as he did in the TV show) and Ursus is the black faced general.

Since Ursus was not part of the TV show, a correction was made and a second card was issued with an asterix next to Ursus's name, creditting the character to Apjac Productions Inc. and Twentieth Century with all the rest of the characters still creditted to only Twentieth Century. For, as of yet, some unknown reason, Mego decided to switch the names of the Urko and Ursus figures leading to the third and last variation. Figures on any of these three cards can be found with either a type one or type two body.

General Urko  Galen   Virdon and Burke   General Ursus  

Dr Zaius   Cornelius   Zira   Soldier Ape   Astronaut  

Mego Ape Playsets