The Mego Corporation was a toy company that dominated the action figure toy market during most of the 1970s. The Mego Corporation was founded in the early 1950s by David Abrams and was mostly known prior to 1971 as a producer of dime store toys.
Starting in 1971, Under the direction of David Abram’s son Martin, Mego began purchasing license rights to a variety of successful motion pictures, television programs, and comic books, and started producing lines for Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and the Wizard of Oz.
Mego used obtained licenses from Edgar Rice Borroughs, Marvel and DC Comics for superhero characters to create their World’s Greatest Superhero line, which became their most successful toy line.
One of the secrets of Mego’s success was that their action figures were constructed with interchangeable bodies. Generic bodies could be mass produced and different figures created by interposing different heads and costumes on them. Mego also constructed their figures primarily in an 8-inch (200 mm) scale – setting an industry standard in the 1970s.
In 1973, Mego produced the Mad Monsters series, featuring unlicensed versions of Dracula (‘the Dreadful Dracula’), the Frankenstein Monster (‘The Monster Frankenstein’), The Wolfman (‘The Human Wolfman’) and The Mummy (‘The Horrible Mummy’). The figures were sold in varying packaging – solid boxes featuring artwork by Gray Morrow (who also did poster art for companies like Independent International), ‘Kresge’ carded figures (so named because the design was originated for Kresge stores to help displays) and window boxes.
There were also slight design variations, with Dracula being available with both black and red hair. A rare edition of Frankenstein has blue hair, apparently to help cover up a design flaw in the original model, which was considered to be too close to the copyrighted Universal version of the character. All the figures came with glow-in-the-dark hands and eyes. Also available was the Mad Monster Castle play set.
Mego went out of business in 1982, but the Mad Monsters series was reissued in 2005 by Classic TV Toys.