Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Idol Pursuits : Master of the Plastic Arts -
part 2 : The Dr. Strange MEGO figure.
Sorcerer-by-Day, Disco-Warrior-by-Night

NOTE: This post could also be titled:

The "Magic" of Video - Part I-B:
DR. STRANGE - the 1978 TV movie;


As I mentioned in the last installment (of BOTH labels; "Idol Pursuits" and "The 'Magic' of Video") I promised to discuss the MEGO action figure based upon the Dr. Strange 01978 TV movie.


The figure's story is simple, yet convoluted. Sad, yet funny.

When the Dr. Strange TV movie was in production, the MEGO corporation, who had the Marvel license to produce action figures, obtained the rights to produce figures based upon the film.

For those who are too young, too inexperienced with the ways of action-figs, or hail from another plane of existence, and may not know of such things, MEGO was a company that, from 1971 to the very early 1980's, manufactured the BEST action figures ever to bear that designation. Sure, the present-day "Marvel Legends" figures - by Toy Biz and, later, Hasbro- are great little pieces of articulated sculpture, but for the sheer thrill of play and innocent fun, the MEGO figures were IT.

mego corp. logo

With fully articulated bodies, and real cloth costumes, these felt like you were playing with miniature, 8inch and/or 12inch versions of your favorite comic book, TV and/or motion picture heroes (or villains).

Sure, they had their down-sides:
One being that if your favorite character wore gloves, his (or her) Mego figure would either have their hands painted that color, OR would be wearing, what could best be described as... oven mitts.
Another was that the limbs were held in place by a tension-bearing rubber band, and when that rubber band dried out from age, or snapped due to rough play, that was the end of your figure (unless you were able to re-band it).

With a host of Marvel & DC characters, besides many other movie and TV properties, a Dr. Strange figure would have made an excellent addition to the line-up, and with the production of the TV movie, a Doctor Strange prototype was produced.

Wearing an amalgam of his comic book and movie costumes (neither one nor the other, really), this was a rough approximation of what the final product would have... may have been.

*click pic to make slightly stranger*
Figure from the collection of famed Mego collector and historian;
John Bonavita,
who authored a book on the Mego company and figures.

When the TV movie pilot didn’t get picked up as a new TV series, the figure was shelved. In 01981, Mego had a fashion line called Jordache, based upon the jeans / clothing line.
The head-sculpt for the Dr. Strange figure was repainted and placed upon the fashion doll body.
His hair was repainted blonde - or light brown - and his eyebrows and mustache were repainted in a less "angular" manner.

Could this be the subject of the WORST fan-fic ever?!?

The Mego Jordache "High Fashion" Male Doll (yeah... this is a "doll". Can't really call it an "action figure") came fully dressed in 1970's fashion! Jordache jeans, horse-head logo-emblazoned t-shirt, spiffy belt AND as the box touts; with "shoes included".

"The High Fashion Male Doll with the Look That's All Together."

*click pic to make more fabulous*
He's not anatomically correct, but I couldn't resist the easy comic-related wang joke.
Yes. I'm obviously 10 years old.
I DID show a LITTLE restraint, though.
I didn't make ANY jokes about him being 12 inches!

Since the official Dr. Strange figure was never produced, I was relegated to hunting down the "Male Fashion Doll". As pictured above, I own two. One; in package. The other; nekkid and waiting for customization.

As soon as I get the correct style 12inch mego body, I'll work on the proper costume and custom packaging.

Don't fret. I'll showcase that on the blog whenever it's ready.

While this was the 1st solo piece of Doctor Strange "action figure" merchandise to be conceived, it was actually released after a more official "Doctor Strange" item; the Ben Cooper produced; Dr. Strange "jiggler" figure - as showcased in this old post HERE as well as the other "non-action" figures - showcased in this old post HERE.

However, there are still continuing entries for both, the "Idol Pursuits" and "The 'Magic' of Video" subject themes.

We'll be continuing with both soon.


* However, since the final "action figure" (*cough* DOLL *cough*) product has little to do with the film (and yet is still tangentially connected to Doctor Strange) it gets filed under the "Idol Pursuits" 'action figure' label.


actionboi said...


Anonymous said...

That head sculpt was originally from the Canadian release of the first 12" Mego Superman action figure (funded by Parkdale Novelty in Canada).

This figure PRE-DATED the Dr Strange TV movie.

It's more accurate to say that the Superman 12" head sculpt was repurposed for the Jordache fashion doll. Although it has graced many custom 12" Doctor Strange Mego figures over the years. Including this Mego Meet Exclusive.

~P~ said...

Thank you for the info, Anon.

The head sculpt is pretty much the same as that Superman - albeit there was a cheesy mustache added for the DOC/ Jordache head.

However, your assertion that it was the Superman head that was re-purposed is not quite accurate, as it was initially re-purposed for the Doctor Strange movie figure (hence, the addition of the mustache).

THEN, that Superman head - which was now an intended Dr. Strange head, was next re-purposed for our jeans model friend.

Still, that's just splitting hairs.
What ISN'T up for debate is how COOL that custom MEGO DR. STRANGE figure package you linked.


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