While celebrated for contributing an important chapter in Television History, Star Trek took a while to catch in with the kids. Strange, as sci-fi is seen primarily as being for children these days with just about any variation of space ships, ray guns and aliens being packaged toward them. Granted, most collectors snatch these things up before the kids even know they exist, but still…
Maybe when the concepts of outer space exploration seemed within our reach in the 50’s and 60’s, science fiction was less ‘fanciful’ and more of an intellectual pursuit.
In any case, when Trek finally did catch on, it did so with a big bang. Long Island, NY-based toy company Mego produced toys for numerous franchises, included Marvel and DC Super-Heroes, Planet of the Apes, Happy Days, KISS and Star Trek.
For my money, Mego made the most perfect toy rendition of Spider-Man to date.
Mego IS the 1970’s, as far as I’m concerned.
Despite advances in toy design, Mego’s Star Trek toyline is still regarded as being definitive. From the little touches such as character likenesses to playsets, Mego’s Star Trek toys were the stuff that ate away at long long afternoons in doors… or outdoors when I lost their little phaser guns in the dirt.
I remember taking the bridge playset to my dad’s office one day and making characters ‘disappear’ in the transporter tube with the turn of a dial. My needs were more easily met back then.
These ads from Plaid Stallions perfectly capture those memories of the Star Trek toys of the 70’s.
And this is apparently to protect Spock’s Brain from being stolen. While it may seem like overkill, there is a precedence for this kind of theft.
The table top Phaser Battle game, Communications Console and Phaser Gun game (for an apparently pacifistic program, there sure are a lot of guns) were enough to entertain both Dad and lad. I always loved those intercom toys.
In theory they are amazing, but in practice only useful when being used in line-of-site, making the whole exercise pointless. You’d end up just asking your buddy to run over by a tree across the street and then call him on the walkie-talkie to come over. It was a simple time, I suppose.
From the vault of FreeMego on youtube, here are a few ads from those years long past when we were so bicentennial our bell bottoms hurt.
Mego Star Trek commercial omnibus
Weird music, but that’s what you get when you hire Gyuoto Monks to do the music for your ads…
More ads featuring the Phaser Battle (what’s with their voices?? Are they from another dimension), the Pink Floyd Laser Light Show (‘Mettle’ album not included), and the Star Trekulator (how can it never be wrong?!)
(Note: PlaidStallions has a great selection of these ads, check them out!)
But no matter how well designed and imaginative these toys from Mego and Remco were, it was impossible to tell where the franchise would take us in the 80’s, 90’s and beyond.
With so many movies, TV spin-offs and other tie-ins, Star Trek has given Star Wars a run for its money.
From the long line of Playmates action figures to the amazing props and ships released by Art Asylum, including minimates… mustn’t forget the minimates.
But there’s always something you never see coming. I guess that’s the sign of a healthy franchise.
Live Long and Purchase… and Merry Christmas.