Saturday, September 4, 2010

How To Run A Successful Toy Company Into The Ground Like A Plane You Just Go KYAAAAAAA Into A Farm Somewhere

Okay, that title got away from me.

The post I was going to make got eaten somehow. So while I start that one over, let's talk Mego.

In 1975, Mego made a game called Ball Buster. I am far from the first on the Internet to bring this puppy up, so let's get it over with and run the ad.

You'll note that in the clip, YouTube shows a credit to UNKLE's song, 'Getting Ahead In The Field of Artist Management'. UNKLE make that song in 1997; they grabbed dialouge from this ad.

Mego was a big name when they decided to make Ball Buster, having specialized in action figures. This was primarily due to their having snagged a number of big-name licenses: Star Trek, Wizard of Oz, DC and Marvel, as well as a number of celebrities of the time, with Sonny and Cher kicking that line off in 1975, the same year as Ball Buster.

Then came 1976, and a little movie called Star Wars.

Mego turned it down.

They were at the moment busy hammering out a deal with Takara on a line called Micronauts, which took up their time as far as science fiction goes. The Mego Museum theorizes that the turndown happened simply because the pitch never reached senior management, and had it, it would have been accepted if only to protect Micronauts.

In any case, the deed was done, and Kenner became the luckiest bastards in the toy industry. While Mego did a fine job with Micronauts, Star Wars ate at them, and they were determined not to miss the next sci-fi boat, grabbing up every subsequent sci-fi line that they thought even had a chance at success, including Buck Rogers, Moonraker, Doctor Who (then still a show unknown in the US), Logan's Run, The Black Hole, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The next Star Wars wasn't coming. It still hasn't. Mego quickly went into a tailspin, and by 1982, the company was bankrupt. As if to add insult to injury, three top executives, including president Martin Abrams, wound up indicted for shareholder fraud.

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