TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by bat-rss » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:11 am

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We remain in Londinium, where Batman seems oddly bored by a bomb scare, and Lord Ffogg proves able to be in two places at the same time. Also, in spite of having three whole parts to work with, this story still seems to be running short of time and leaving important story points to the imagination of the viewer.

Our own imaginations were stoked by hours of play as kids with the Mego World's Greatest Superheroes action figures of the '70s, and in this episode we also take a look back at some of their adventures and the playsets we built for them — and also, the unexpected return of Mego in 2018!

Plus, a Bat-Recycling Quiz, the Sharp Five's version of the Batman theme, and proof that the Hang Five dancing scene from Surf's Up, Joker's Under was broadcast by some cable TV channels with different backing music!

http://tothebatpoles.libsyn.com/095-meg ... om-the-fog

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by BAT 77 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:42 pm

Really enjoyed listening to you two reminiscing about your Mego adventures from childhood. My memories of playing with my Megos are not as vivid - neither was my imagination. I don't have photos from that time and I didn't have a little brother to make-up adventures with. I do have a couple of memories, both occurring around Christmas.

Christmas 1974 was especially memorable as I was sick with pneumonia and was out of school for two weeks. That year I got the Mego Batcave. I already had Batman & Robin and the Batmobile. My little sister got a McDonald's playset (from Playskool), and I remember having Batman & Robin racing out of the Batcave on their way to Police HQ, but they stopped at McDonald's on their way for some hamburgers.

I think it was Christmas 1976 when I got the Mego Batmobile and Exploding Bridge playset which came with a mini-Batman figure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3k9yREhMgg

I don't remember having either of these toys for too long. I'm sure my mom either sold or gave away my Batman toys (behind my back) in order to make room for all the Star Wars action figures and spaceships she would buy for me a few years later.

I noticed the red "webbing" you used for your Spider-Man figure. I know for a couple of Thankgivings my mom would give me the netting from the Butterball turkey to use as Spider-Man's webbing.
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by NJ_Batfan » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:52 pm

BAT 77 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:42 pm
I know for a couple of Thankgivings my mom would give me the netting from the Butterball turkey to use as Spider-Man's webbing.

You, too? :lol:

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by High C » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:58 pm

I actually had a Lord Ffogg Mego. The box said 'you can make him into any of eight different pompous, non-threatening poses.'

Seriously, I never had action figures--I had Colorforms, but that was about it--but your enthusiasm and reminiscences made for a fun listen.

As for the Londinium portion of the podcast, I know you guys didn't give it a letter grade, but your summation seemed more positive than most of your comments. Grade inflation perhaps? :)

Look, I know some people like it, and I think this arc has its moments, but it ultimately falls flat IMOI because of Hoffman's rewrite and the lack of real menace from any of the villains other than Lyn Peters' Lady Prudence. It's a shame she wasn't a big enough name to be a standalone villainess because she's the most compelling thing about the arc. (I like Glynis Johns, but she was given little to do other than one decent scene. Otherwise, she usually walks around saying, 'Whatevuh shall we do, Mommaduke?')

As you sirs pointed out, the direction is uninspired, as per usual with Rudolph. But the script is the much bigger problem, IMO. Hoffman simply didn't have the knack for plotting that Semple had, and his attempts at mimicking the Sempl-ian camp (having the criminals label their stolen goods) fall flat.

As you alluded to with the large infodump, we're again in the season 3 land of telling and not showing. There still is very little explanation of what the villains' endgame is by the end of part 2, which wouldn't be so bad if we were given just one line of dialogue to explain why people who obviously have a great deal of money are committing these crimes in the first place. And the frustrating thing is they had the time to show us plot stuff but chose not to. I mean, there's a conversation between Barbara and Prudence that isn't shown, but later recounted in dialogue. Dialogue talking about unseen dialogue = boring.

And speaking of labeling, Barbara having a briefcase with the Bat-insignia on it isn't the best way to conceal one's secret identity.

I also cannot stand how Hoffman writes himself into a corner and then has to come up with a gadget or a chemical or whatever to get himself out. Put it this way, if I'm Ffogg and I have, as Tim said, a stethoscope that can erase a person's memory AND a gas that immobilizes people, I'm thinking world domination. Forget about ripping off clothing shipments and having female students shoplift.

Minor quibbles, but I also didn't like Ffogg using the word purloining because I'm waiting for Eartha to drop by, and somebody should have 'realised' that the Brits spell many of our Zs as Ss, so the sign should have read 'paralysing gas.'

Getting back to Lyn Peters, she was a scientist in the 'One Nation Invisible' Get Smart ep you mentioned. I wish she could've made Hoffman's rewrite disappear. She began her career with a bit part in an episode of the World War II drama Twelve O'Clock High. The ep was titled 'Siren Voices,' sad to say, Joan Collins wasn't in it. :cry:
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by epaddon » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:28 pm

"Twelve O'Clock High" was also where Lyn would have met her future husband, Paul Burke, who took over as the star of that show after Robert Lansing was fired by executive producer Quinn Martin. Burke had also previously been the star of "Naked City" earlier in the decade.

Lyn also had a close personal connection to someone famous in Batman history in Jill St. John. This vintage newspaper article reveals that Jill helped her get her acting career started. Another article I've come across notes she was also the maid of honor for Jill's wedding to Jack Jones (a marriage that did not last long).

When Lyn did her first "Get Smart" episode, it was in a send-up of "The Avengers" where she played KAOS agent "Mrs. Neel" and while she hardly resembled Diana Rigg she perfectly captured the inflection and cadence of Rigg's delivery.

One other point about Part 2 and the reason for why the Nelson Riddle S1-2 fight music is used. It's use was tied in to the fact that Batgirl was absent from the fight. The Riddle fight music was also used again in "I'll Be A Mummy's Uncle" since Batgirl was not present in the Batcave fight.
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by Dan E Kool » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:56 am

Catwoman and the Penguin?! Wedded as bride and groom?! Holy matrimony!

Your Mego doll storylines sound more interesting to me than the one this three-parter served up. And your stories brought back some childhood memories, too. I'm enjoying these double feature podcasts. Thanks, guys!
- Boy Genius

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by Therin of Andor » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:22 pm

I was well out of the boxed Mego demographic in the 70s, but they fascinated me because I would have loved Batman, Robin, Batgirl and the villains in 1967. So when my little brother received 8" Spider-Man from one grandmother, as a birthday present, I worked on the other grandmother to get him Batman and Robin for Christmas. (I actually volunteered to buy them for her, as her confidence for gift-shopping had declined.) She was hesitant, though. There was a lot of fuss in the media of the day about boys "playing with dolls".

"They're not dolls, they're action figures..."

8" Batman was out of stock everywhere, so I bought her Superman instead (and Santa delivered him, with Robin, on Christmas Day), which then encouraged my brother to keep asking "Where's Batman?" right up till the next Easter. By then, any time I saw Megos on special, my brother would agree to buy them with pocket money, or I even buy him some just for fun. My Mum even got him one for cleaning up his room. (I recall us sneaking female action figures into the house in case Dad got concerned about the presence of Batgirl, Catwoman, Wonder Woman and Supergirl.) As the various logo stickers came away with constant play, I would re-create the stickers using woven, self-adhesive name tags, felt pens and laundry markers, making them closer to the TV renditions where necessary.

My very first customs dated to this time. A silver "Action Jackson" radiation suit inspired our own Mr Freeze custom. A pirate coat on a red-haired cowboy or knight figure became Mad Hatter, complete with a cardboard cylinder over a brimmed hat to create his top hat with hypnotic eyes in the lid. A white jumpsuit, with laundry marker lines, became Egghead's costume. Two attempts were needed to achieve a high-domed, papier-mâché bald head. And then King Tut, from a generic soccer player action figure, with Egyptian robes made from various scraps of satin and leather, and a tuft of fur fabric for his beard.

That Figures Toy Company eventually came up with commercial, licensed versions of these great villains - all these decades later - is still almost beyond belief!
"Holy nostalgia, Batman!"
Therin of Andor

(aka Ian McLean, from Sydney, Australia)

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by bat-rss » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:08 pm

NJ_Batfan wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:52 pm
BAT 77 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:42 pm
I know for a couple of Thankgivings my mom would give me the netting from the Butterball turkey to use as Spider-Man's webbing.

You, too? :lol:
I think ours came from a ham!

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by bat-rss » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:16 pm

Dan E Kool wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:56 am
Your Mego doll storylines sound more interesting to me than the one this three-parter served up.
Indeed! Too bad the show was cancelled by the time we were "writing for 'Batman'"!

Seriously, it's fun to hear everyone else's childhood toy memories, too! Keep 'em coming!

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by BATWINGED HORNET » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:40 am

My brother and I were pretty big Mego fans in the 70s; if memory serves, the only World's Greatest Super-Hero figures we did not have were Wonder Woman, The Thing, Supergirl, any of the 4 Teen Titans, the Green Goblin, the Lizard, Riddler and Conan. We had the Batcave, and all of the Bat-vehicles. Yeah, we were Batty back in the day.

Very fun times with the variety of DC and Marvel figures, and it was always minutes of pure joy looking at the fold out catalog that was packed with playsets and vehicles (I believe). We dreamed of Mego making more of the Avengers, the Flash, Green Lantern or villains such as the Rhino, but it was not to be.

I remember going to various stores and staring at the Hall of Justice and Wayne Foundation playsets, knowing that they were out of reach (financially), but that never stopped us from cannibalizing other toys and model kits to be fill in as hero or villain headquarters. I would not trade those experiences and memories for the world.
Beneath Wayne Manor

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by majormac2 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:52 am

I still have most of my Megos from the 70s including a removable cowl Batman. All are a little worse for wear as a neighbor and I played with them. Unfortunately, Mr. Mxyzptlk was sacrificed during an unfortunate factory explosion and fire during one session. He was left horribly disfigured, poor fellow.

My sister had the 3 story Barbie townhouse with the elevator that she wasn't using anymore, so we turned it into Wayne Manor with the bottom floor redecorated into the Batcave. Such fun times as a kid.

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by High C » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:47 am

epaddon wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:28 pm
"Twelve O'Clock High" was also where Lyn would have met her future husband, Paul Burke, who took over as the star of that show after Robert Lansing was fired by executive producer Quinn Martin. Burke had also previously been the star of "Naked City" earlier in the decade.

Lyn also had a close personal connection to someone famous in Batman history in Jill St. John. This vintage newspaper article reveals that Jill helped her get her acting career started. Another article I've come across notes she was also the maid of honor for Jill's wedding to Jack Jones (a marriage that did not last long).
I knew about her marriage to Paul Burke, but not about her friendship with JSJ. Great info!
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by Therin of Andor » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:31 am

Therin of Andor wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:22 pm
A silver "Action Jackson" radiation suit inspired our own Mr Freeze custom. A pirate coat on a red-haired cowboy or knight figure became Mad Hatter, complete with a cardboard cylinder over a brimmed hat to create his top hat with hypnotic eyes in the lid. A white jumpsuit, with laundry marker lines, became Egghead's costume. Two attempts were needed to achieve a high-domed, papier-mâché bald head. And then King Tut, from a generic soccer player action figure, with Egyptian robes made from various scraps of satin and leather, and a tuft of fur fabric for his beard.
What fun to hear my post quoted as part of the "#098 Three Villains of Doom” episode of "To the Batpoles!" Thanks guys! I am way behind on my podcast-listening. I used to have a good routine going, and it seems I have lots to catch up on.

As soon as Tim and Paul mentioned they had been reading Mego memories being left on the board, I found myself wondering if I'd contributed to that particular thread - and then, there it was in glorious audio. So cool!

Did you hear me yelling back at you that yes, I meant "Mr Freeze custom [figure]", not "costume"? ;)

You mentioned you would be watching the Eartha Kitt Catwoman episodes next. Just tonight, I was watching random DVD episodes of the West/Ward-voiced Filmation's "The New Adventures of Batman", probably for the first time since they aired on TV in the 70s. I caught a Catwoman/Clayface episode ("Curses! Oiled Again!") where a caucasian, rather Newmar-like Catwoman uses some very Eartha-like affectations to her dialogue - and then drives off in a vehicle that is so reminiscent of Eartha's Kitty Car from the TV series. Catwoman uses the car's long tail in ways the TV show could have only dreamed of!

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Kitty Car TV by Ian McLean, on Flickr

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Kitty Car by Ian McLean, on Flickr

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Catwoman and Clayface by Ian McLean, on Flickr

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Kitty Car 2 by Ian McLean, on Flickr

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Kitty Car 3 by Ian McLean, on Flickr

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Kitty Car 4 by Ian McLean, on Flickr
"Holy nostalgia, Batman!"
Therin of Andor

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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by BAT 77 » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:34 am

Therin of Andor wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:31 am


You mentioned you would be watching the Eartha Kitt Catwoman episodes next. Just tonight, I was watching random DVD episodes of the West/Ward-voiced Filmation's "The New Adventures of Batman", probably for the first time since they aired on TV in the 70s. I caught a Catwoman/Clayface episode ("Curses! Oiled Again!") where a caucasian, rather Newmar-like Catwoman uses some very Eartha-like affectations to her dialogue - and then drives off in a vehicle that is so reminiscent of Eartha's Kitty Car from the TV series. Catwoman uses the car's long tail in ways the TV show could have only dreamed of!
I love that Catmobile! That was a highlight of that particular episode. I also love this rendition of Catwoman, voiced by Melody Brit who would later be the voice of She-Ra in the '86 Filmation version. She played it very sultry while being very ruthless to the Dynamic Duo.

Julie will always be my favorite Catwoman, but after re-watching the entire series when the DVDs were released, I really grew to appreciate and enjoy Earth Kitt's portrayal. Looking forward to hear what Tim & Paul have to say "on the next thrilling episode!" (cue the Billy May horns)
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Re: TO THE BATPOLES podcast #095: Mego Action Figures Emerge from the Fog

Post by Therin of Andor » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:44 pm

BAT 77 wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:34 am
I love that Catmobile! That was a highlight of that particular episode. I also love this rendition of Catwoman, voiced by Melody Brit ... She played it very sultry while being very ruthless to the Dynamic Duo.
Yes indeed. Melendy Britt, who doubled as Batgirl in this series.
"Holy nostalgia, Batman!"
Therin of Andor

(aka Ian McLean, from Sydney, Australia)

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