Friday, August 16, 2019

When Classic TV Saved the Planet

If you think there’s never been more concern about the environment than there is now, you obviously weren’t watching television in the early 1970s. 

Ecology is not a word you hear much anymore but it was everywhere back then, defining a movement with its roots in books like The Population Bomb and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The Environmental Protection Agency was founded in 1970, the same year that the first Earth Day was celebrated. 

1970 was also the year that television picked up on the crusade, beginning in January with an episode of Room 222 called “Once Upon a Time There Was Air You Couldn’t See.” 

The setting is Pete Dixon’s class at Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, a city already infamous for its air quality thanks to all the smog jokes in Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show monologues. Two of Pete’s students raise more than $600 to film a 60-second TV commercial, urging viewers to support upcoming legislation to study the smog problem. 

What I like most about the result is how the ad sounds exactly like what two inner city kids would create, without the help of the episode’s writers to make them sound more polished. It’s arguably more effective because it is simple and sincere. 

Two months later, That Girl aired “Soot Yourself,” in which Ann joins an anti-pollution group that pickets the magazine where her fiancĂ© works. 

There’s not much comedy here, just lots of self-righteous speeches, culminating in a wintertime dinner party during which Ann shuts off the heat to freeze her guests (because the building furnace is killing birds and grass and flowers and trees), and serves rancid food because…whatever. 
This kind of hammer-over-the-head approach, when people are just hoping for a pleasant 30 minutes of entertainment, tends to alienate more than it rallies the troops. Episodes like this are a reminder of how some people can become obnoxious even in support of a good cause. There’s still a lot of that going around. 

That same month another take on the same topic aired that was even more impassioned, but also more embarrassing. 

A Clear and Present Danger was a 90-minute pilot for the Hal Holbrook series The Senator. That show was a remarkable look at Washington politics that still holds up, but it stumbled badly out of the gate with a story that plays like the Reefer Madness of air pollution. 

It opens with prospective senatorial candidate Hayes Stowe arriving in Los Angeles to visit a beloved law professor. He arrives just after the man has died in the hospital. His doctor intones somberly, “I think he would have made it…if it weren’t for the smog.” 

That sets Hayes out on a mission to make pollution the central issue of his Senate campaign, which results in his being dubbed “the Paul Revere of smog.” 

The nadir of the drama comes when Hayes allies himself with a wild-eyed college professor who insists that breathable air on planet earth will not be around much longer. It reminded me of a 1962 Donna Reed Show episode in which an astronomer predicts that man will have visited Mars and Venus by the 1980s. It’s never a good idea to take television’s predictions about our future too seriously. 

A key component of the ecology movement was getting the message out to the next generation, so they would grow up to be responsible stewards of the planet. It was certainly a prominent classroom topic when I was in elementary school, and was incorporated into many of the children’s shows back then, once again beginning in 1970. Remember the Willie Wimple shorts on Sesame Street

That same year, The Archies sang about how “the little fish ain’t growin’, cause the dirty river ain’t flowin’” in a song called “Mr. Factory.” 

The Bugaloos (1970) was Sid and Marty Krofft’s contribution to the movement. The entire series is a paean to the superiority of natural landscapes over man-made urban jungles. The Bugaloos live a carefree life in Tranquility Forest, singing and celebrating the simple joys of nature. They are constantly under threat from Benita Bizarre (Martha Raye), loud, crass, and garish, like the city where she lives. 

The episode “On a Clear Day” has Benita pumping orange smog into the forest after they refuse to let her perform in a rock festival. If you’ve heard her sing you know they made the right choice. 

Would the ecology message get through to the kids? Filmation’s Ark II presented a future in which it didn’t. The opening narration describes its cataclysmic premise:  “For millions of years earth was fertile and rich. Then, pollution and waste began to take their toll. Civilization fell into ruin. This is the world of the 25th century.” 

By 1971 it wasn’t just the shows but the commercials between the shows that delivered a planet-saving message. That was the year Woodsy Owl made his first appearance and exclaimed: “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!” And if that didn’t get your attention, this one surely did:

It remains one of the most famous public service announcements of all time. In fact, let’s be honest – given how often it ran and for how many years, it was certainly more memorable and effective than any of the shows previously described. 

But did any of these efforts have any real lasting impact? The United States did pass many pieces of environmental legislation in the early 1970s, such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. Perhaps television served to educate the public as to why such measures were necessary.

Has the climate change debate produced a similar spate of sitcoms and dramas about that issue? I’m not the best person to ask as I watch very few current scripted programs. What I do know is that once again we are in a moment when some prominent politicians are putting timelines on the end of the world. Even with TV’s spotty track record in prognostication, If I were betting on when civilization was going to fall into ruin I’d put my money on Ark II over Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Purchase or Pass: The New Scooby-Doo Movies

What is it about Scooby-Doo?

No, really, I’m curious – why exactly has this been such a popular, enduring franchise? 

I am as fond of Scooby and the gang as any baby boomer that grew up on Saturday morning cartoons, but I find it hard to identify any outstanding qualities in the show that validate its continued prominence for 50 years. 

This video collects all of the opening credit sequences to all of the Scooby shows. It’s more than 20 minutes long – and it doesn’t even count the dozens of direct-to-DVD movies, beginning with 1998’s Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, or the two live-action films from 2002 and 2004.

Some of these versions tried to add layers of depth to the stories or more mature personality aspects to the characters (such as 2010’s Mystery Incorporated), but fans seem divided on whether that’s necessary. Most prefer the basics: Fred driving the Mystery Machine (and usually getting lost or running out of gas), Daphne tripping over something that triggers a trap door, Velma losing her glasses, Shaggy in desperate search of food, and Scooby mixing occasional moments of bravery with consistent cowardice.

And running. Lots and lots of running.

Familiarity accounts for some of why my generation remains loyal – if you grew up with the Scooby gang it’s somehow reassuring to know they are still having new adventures. But in this current age of edgier kid shows I have no answer to why today’s kids enjoy Scooby-Doo mysteries as much as I did back when the Beatles were still together.

New to the Blu-ray market is The New Scooby-Doo Movies: The (Almost) Complete Collection

It’s a vast improvement over the first DVD released for this 1972-1973 series, which left out about half the episodes. Here, you get all but one – “Wednesday is Missing,” featuring The Addams Family. Rumor has it that its deletion was due to John Astin holding out for more money, but you can’t always believe the internet.

If you bought the first set you’ll certainly want to upgrade here. I did, though even as a kid this was far from my favorite iteration– the shows are longer (about 42 minutes) to accommodate the guest stars, but the plots certainly are not any more intricate. Still, this is from the pre-Scrappy era, which automatically places it within the upper echelon of Scooby shows.

What strikes me most in watching it now is the downright strangeness of the guest star selections. Were kids in the early ‘70s really excited to see Scooby-Doo meet Phyllis Diller or Jerry Reed? 

The team-ups with Batman and Robin were a better fit (and are two of the highlights of the set); in fact most of the shows featuring other animated characters – Josie and the Pussycats, Jeannie and Babu, Speed Buggy – have a more organic feel, as if they all existed in the same universe already. 

With other guest stars, the results are decidedly hit-and-miss: Don Knotts (two episodes, both awful), Davy Jones (dull, though it does feature one song from the former Monkee), Jonathan Winters (better than expected), Sandy Duncan (delightful), Sonny & Cher (dreadful – you can picture Cher rolling her eyes at her corny dialogue as she reads the script) and Dick Van Dyke (breezy fun).

In watching them again after many years, I was surprised that my favorite episode was one that didn’t seem to have a chance of succeeding. The guest stars were cartoon versions of Laurel & Hardy, whose heyday was the 1920s and ‘30s. Both members of the iconic comedy team had passed away, so their voices were not original. And yet, everything seemed to work – story, setting, sight gags – even the monster of the week had a few original tricks up its sleeve before his inevitable unmasking. It made me curious to check out the previous cartoon shorts featuring Laurel & Hardy. 

The show looks great on Blu-ray, but don’t expect the same dramatic upgrade in sharpness and definition that was apparent on live-action series like I Love Lucy and Star Trek: The Next Generation. There are a couple of extras but nothing to write home about.

So purchase or pass? If you’re a Scooby-Doo fan, you’ve probably already bought it. If not, this isn’t the best place to get started. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Top TV Moments: Denny Miller

If Denny Miller had a specialty, it was playing guys who were wound a little too tight. 

Blonde and blue-eyed, 6’4, with a chiseled, muscular frame, Miller looked like the bruiser that skinny bookworms dreamed of becoming if they answered the Charles Atlas ad on the back of their Spiderman comic. 

That imposing physical presence helped him secure his breakthrough role as Tarzan in a 1959 film, followed by a compendium of television characters with names like Duke, Moose and Tank. 

He was a regular on the nostalgia and collector’s show circuits, enjoyed interacting with fans, and happily signed copies of his autobiography, amusingly titled Didn't You Used to Be...What's His Name? Those who met him said he was a jovial, laid-back, down to earth guy with a healthy streak of self-deprecation – the exact opposite of the brutes and lunkheads he often played.

Sadly, Miller passed away five years ago after a battle with ALS – a cruel fate for anyone but particularly for an actor renowned for his powerful physique. Thankfully, he left behind a rich legacy of roles from more than 40 years in the Comfort TV universe. Here are some of the most memorable.

Northwest Passage (1958)
Years ago I interviewed Dirk Blocker, son of Bonanza star Dan Blocker. He told me his dad was able to move to Hollywood and find work quickly, because there were dozens of westerns on TV in the 1950s, and they all needed “big guys to beat up.” Denny Miller fit that profile as well, so it’s not surprising that almost all of his early credits were westerns, including his first, in this short-lived frontier series set against the backdrop of the French and Indian War. The episode was entitled “Fight at the River.”

Wagon Train (1961)
Following guest spots on Riverboat, The Rifleman, Have Gun, Will Travel, Stagecoach West and Laramie, Miller landed steady work as Duke Shannon on the final three seasons of this long-running and underrated series. In more than 100 episodes Duke served as a faithful scout, helping to protect travelers from robbers and Indians and assorted renegades. 

Mona McCluskey (1965)
After three seasons on Wagon Train, Miller’s stock had risen enough to be cast in another series, albeit one very different from its predecessor. The only footage I could find online for this one-season situation comedy was its opening credits – and those were not encouraging. Interesting cast, though: glamorous dancer Juliet Prowse plays a wealthy Hollywood star who agrees to live within the paltry salary brought home by her military man husband, played by Miller. Sounds like a strained premise, but many shows have risen above such limitations. One day I’d like to find out if this is one of them. 

The Fugitive (1966)
The world is always hostile to Richard Kimble, and in “Approach With Care” it’s also hostile to Willie Turner, a huge man with the mentality of a child. On the run from the law he befriends Kimble while they both work at a traveling carnival, pitting the doctor’s desire to help against his self-preservation. Willie is atypical from the self-assured and headstrong characters Miller plays, and it’s also one of the more effective performances on his resume. 

Gilligan’s Island (1967)
Somehow Denny Miller came and left twice on this show while the castaways remained stranded. He is certainly best remembered as Tongo the Ape Man in “Our Vines Have Tender Apes.” 

It was a chance for Miller to send up his breakthrough role, and play the famous “Me Tarzan, you Jane” scene opposite Tina Louise as Ginger. 

I Dream of Jeannie (1970)
With just four episodes to go before the series finale, “Eternally Yours, Jeannie” revived the oft-used “Jeannie is jealous of one of Tony’s old girlfriends” plot. Here, Jeannie poses as Tony’s high school sweetheart, Bonnie Crenshaw, to test her master. And as they say, hijinks ensue. Miller plays Moose Murphy, Bonnie’s husband, who hopes to get a meeting with NASA out of the reunion so he can secure a sales contract. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but it’s energetically played and elevated by the guest spot of Miller in one of his god’s gift to women roles.

Gunsmoke (1971)
What makes “Lijah” work is Miller’s powerful work as the title character, a mountain man falsely accused of murder, and the tender relationship he develops with Rachel. the young girl who witnessed the murders, played by Erin Moran. This is my favorite of Miller’s dramatic TV roles. Not quite Emmy-level but pretty darn close.

The Brady Bunch (1973)
And this is my favorite performance from Miller’s sitcom appearances. “Quarterback Sneak” finds him barreling into the Brady home as Tank Gates, teenage sweetheart of Carol Brady, aka “Twinkles.” Mike’s reactions are particularly amusing as Carol is swept up by this case of arrested development in a ghastly two-tone leather jacket. Who hasn’t known a ‘Tank’ in their life – one of those guys that peaked in high school and is still boring everyone with stories of his gridiron heroics? 

Wonder Woman (1977)
“The Pied Piper” is a 1970s camp classic about idolized rock singer Hamlin Rule (played by…wait for it…Martin Mull!), who hypnotizes his female groupies into robbing the arena safe during his concerts. Eve Plumb plays one of his acolytes and Denny Miller costars as Rule’s bodyguard, Carl Schwartz (funny, he doesn’t look…). It’s a standard hired muscle role, though Miller spends much of his screen time dressed like Aladdin. And in one scene he challenges Wonder Woman to a fight – “Let’s see how strong you really are.” That doesn’t end well. 

The Rockford Files (1978)
Bearded Denny Miller is generally more menacing  than the non-bearded version, as evidenced by the two-part episode “Black Mirror.” Rockford has a meet-cute with a blind psychologist (Kathryn Harrold) who is being stalked and threatened. He figures it’s one of her patients, but medical ethics won’t let her discuss her cases. The premise is straight out of Wait Until Dark, though not as suspenseful. In one therapy session, Miller comes across as a guy with so many twisted anger issues that you’ll eliminate him right away as a too-obvious suspect. But will you be right?

Gorton’s Seafood Commercials
For more than a decade, Miller played the fisherman you can trust to steer your family toward the best fish sticks in your grocer’s freezer. Interesting classic TV trivia note: he was replaced in 2005 by Craig Littler, who played Jason in Jason of Star Command

Magnum P.I. (1982)
Nearly 25 years after his TV debut, Miller still cut an intimidating figure  In “Three Minus Two” he plays Ox, a building security guard who decks Magnum twice. Toss in Jill St. John, Beverly Garland and Hawaii, and who could ask for a better way to spend an hour? 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Looking Around the Frame

In The Electronic Mirror, the fine book written by my fellow classic TV blogger Mitchell Hadley, there’s a section in which Mitchell discusses program clichĂ©s, and uses this TV Guide listing for an episode of Daniel Boone as an example:

“Daniel, the fort’s best runner, sprains an ankle, which spells bad news for the settlers who have bet on him to win the hotly contested annual foot race with the Indians.”

That is certainly a familiar trope – an unexpected calamity that precedes a big event.

Hadley continues: “Did you ever notice that you never see a listing like, ‘Daniel sprains an ankle, and is grateful he doesn’t have anything planned for the week’? No, of course not – that doesn’t make for very interesting television.”

But here’s the thing: I’d watch that episode too.

With my favorite Comfort TV shows, no plot would be no problem – I am content just to spend that time in their worlds.

No such shows exist of course, but I find that mindset comes in handy when I’m watching an episode of a series I’ve seen a zillion times, or when I’m watching one that’s not that compelling, I ignore the plot and spend my time looking around the frame. 

With some shows I remember having the same kind of furnishings in the homes where I grew up. I know when it's a '70s show I'll see more plants everywhere. I try to read the titles of the books on the shelves. I am amused by how shelf paper in kitchen cabinets was once a higher priority than it is now. 

For me no series lends itself better to this pastime than Star Trek: The Next Generation (as well as Voyager and Enterprise). While I’ve never considered myself a hardcore Trekker, I am endlessly fascinated by the ship’s multicolored display panels, the decorative touches in the various crew quarters, and the recessed lighting in the Ten Forward lounge.

It’s not surprising to me that the wealthiest and most ardent Trekkers have recreated the bridge and sickbay and other sets in their homes, just to feel like they can access that space. I would never do something like that, but I certainly understand the impulse. 

But even with shows set in their present day, in recognizable homes and offices, I wish we had at least one episode for each series when we could simply observe the characters going through the course of an uneventful day.

How does Mr. French organize his time as he deals with the responsibilities of shopping and cleaning and cooking and taking the twins to the park? Could I follow Rob Petrie as he drives to the train station to travel into Manhattan, and watch the writer’s room kick around ideas? And how does Ozzie Nelson wile away the hours between breakfast, lunch and dinner?  

I also wonder about the places we never get to see. What does that guest bedroom in Bob and Emily Hartley’s apartment look like? How long is the hallway that leads to the elevator outside the WJM-TV newsroom? 

Virtual reality technology may one day allow us to ‘enter’ these fictional realities. But they probably won’t have that perfected until a time when few people still care about these shows.

But perhaps part of one such world may be unveiled when the Brady Bunch home renovation, now being documented by HGTV, is complete. What will they do with the property when the show is over? Open it to the public as a retro bed & breakfast? The home is in a residential area so I doubt they can legally turn it into a business. But if they do, I’ll be the first in line. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Five Classic TV Series That Should Have Had a Christmas Show

I love the whole idea of “Christmas in July.”

Outside my home the temperature is in the triple digits, and now that Independence Day is over I’ll have no more days off from work until Labor Day. So it’s nice to spend a few moments thinking about a holiday season that’s cooler and friendlier, without all the stresses of gift buying and lugging the tree out of the garage.

Watching Christmas episodes of classic shows is one of my favorite holiday pastimes, but for Christmas in July I’m going to focus instead on five shows that did not acknowledge the season – and what might have been. 

1. The Fugitive
This one bothers me the most. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, Dr. Richard Kimble’s life was already an endless tribulation. how much worse would that ordeal seem around the holidays – alone, separated from family and friends, watching others on the streets experiencing the joys of the season. 

The Fugitive lasted four years, certainly long enough for someone to have come up with a holiday story; would he try to return home for Christmas to visit his sister? Or perhaps, being a pediatrician, he’d find himself delivering a baby on Christmas Eve, in the kind of humble rural conditions in which Jesus was born. This was a missed opportunity for a classic hour of television.

2. I Dream of Jeannie
Bewitched, the magical sitcom often paired with Jeannie in memories and reruns, did several memorable Christmas shows. 

But Jeannie never went there in five seasons, though there was a season two episode called “My Master the Rainmaker” in which Jeannie made it snow over Major Nelson’s house. 

That might have been a starting point for a holiday episode – the incident makes the papers, Dr. Bellows has questions, etc. Or, since she comes from the Middle East, could Jeannie blink them back to Bethlehem for the first Christmas, with Tony as a fourth wise man?

3. Hogan’s Heroes
Wartime Christmas stories often depict opposing forces declaring a temporary truce to celebrate a day of peace and joy. I’m not sure that would work here, as the bumbling Luftwaffe at Stalag 13 were never a match for Hogan’s elite team of saboteurs. And that would be a bit heavy for this series anyway. 

A better idea might have Hogan petitioning Klink to have a Christmas tree in the prisoners’ barracks, buttering him up about how they were honoring a tradition that began in Germany. Klink would allow the indulgence, which offered a way for the prisoners to get outside the camp on the pretext of cutting down a tree – and they’d use that opportunity to have an important meeting with the underground.

Actually, that’s not very inspired either. Just bring Marya back with her latest German officer conquest, for a holiday dinner featuring the usual “is she or isn’t she on our side?” anxiety from Hogan (but not, of course, from the lovestruck LeBeau).

4. Batman
Yes, Santa Claus (played by Andy Devine) did pop out of a window during a Caped Crusaders bat-rope climb, but that’s not enough to qualify for holiday episode status. 

How about this: as the citizens of Gotham City hope for a white Christmas, Mr. Freeze returns to give it to them – followed by a white spring, summer and autumn. It would have been nice to see stately Wayne Manor decked out for the holidays. 

5. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
Such an obvious storyline presents itself here – Tom Corbett and his son Eddie face their first Christmas without Eddie’s mother.

Tom, as one of TV’s most wonderful dads, would try to fill Eddie’s season with joyful distractions – visits to Santa, the biggest tree in the Christmas tree lot, an extravagant number of gifts, a Christmas Eve party with all of their friends in attendance. But after the festivities end and their guests leave, Eddie tells his dad how he appreciates all of his efforts, but what he really wants to do is talk about his mom. And then they’ll have one of those warm, quiet, heartfelt best-friend conversations that no one could perform better than Bill Bixby. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

The 10 Best Classic TV Mego Figures

About ten years ago I started collecting Megos again.

The first step in this pursuit was getting past the sticker shock of discovering that the 8” figures my 10 year-old self bought for less than a fiver were now selling for anywhere from 50 bucks to several hundred dollars, if they were still boxed or carded. That level of demand confirmed I wasn’t the only one going through a second childhood. 

These days there are dozens of action figures (or dolls or whatever your preferred term is), produced by dozens of companies for every type of category imaginable. But back in the 1970s Mego was the only game in town – or at least the only one that really mattered. Most people remember their superhero line that was certainly the most popular, but the company also created figures of many classic TV stars and characters. It was the first and only time one company controlled so many different licenses.

The sculpting on the figures was hit and miss, but with the colorful packaging and “collect them all” appeal, the nostalgic pull of a Mego set remains irresistible. At least to me.

Here is one collector’s opinion of the 10 best TV-inspired figures in the Mego line.

10. Jaclyn Smith
This entry in the company’s line of 12” figures ranks at the low end of our list because the resemblance to its subject is questionable. I bought it for the box, which is beautiful (though with Jaclyn as inspiration that’s almost a given). Same with the Farrah Fawcett figure, though they got a little closer with the sculpting on Farrah. 

9. Commander John Koenig
While I would be surprised if there were a lot of kids in the 1970s putting Martin Landau figures on their Christmas lists, Mego did a very impressive job with its Space: 1999 series. Unfortunately, the company passed on also creating a figure for Dr. Helena Russell (Barbara Bain). If they had, two outfit changes would have got us halfway toward a Mission: Impossible set. 

8. Captain Dobey
Another figure that wouldn’t be high on a lot of collector’s must lists, but I’m always impressed by the way Mego captured the exasperated expression of Starsky and Hutch’s commanding officer.

7. Boss Hogg
The Dukes of Hazzard Mego line offers adequate versions of Bo and Luke, a very disappointing Daisy, and a spot-on Boss Hogg. Rosco’s little fat buddy looks like he’s ready to throw the Duke boys in jail and devour a rack of ribs. 

6. Ponch
The CHiPs line of Mego figures is among the most frustrating to acquire. Each one came with so many accessories (billy club, belt, pistol, glasses, watch, etc.) that finding one loose and complete is a rare feat. It was also more expensive, because if you were going to buy Ponch and/or Jon, you were going to have to spring for the motorcycle as well to complete the look. 

5.  Doctor Who
Tom Baker has such a unique, expressive face (“teeth and curls” as Jon Pertwee’s Doctor once described him) that I imagine this was one of the company’s tougher challenges. I think they did admirable work here, though I do wish the coat were longer and the scarf better matched the colors of the original. For the companion figure they chose Leela, but I’d have preferred they opted for the more popular (and now iconic) choice of Sarah Jane Smith. 

4. Isis
The Egyptian goddess alter ego of science teacher Andrea Thomas has the same doll-like face as Mego’s Wonder Woman and Supergirl figures. But given that the TV series that introduced the character lasted just 22 episodes, I’m delighted to have Isis elevated into the World’s Greatest Superheroes line alongside Batman, Spiderman and The Fantastic Four. My mint-on-card Isis is one of the crown jewels of my collection. 

3. Cher
The Mego sculptors always did a much better job with male figures than they did with females. The Cher figure is an exception. The company acquired the licenses to Sonny & Cher at the height of the duo’s TV popularity, and was determined to get their money’s worth. They not only delivered a stunning likeness, they hired the real Cher’s fashion designer Bob Mackie to create a line of costumes. Sold separately, of course. 

2. Mr. Spock
Given the enduring Star Trek fanbase, there have probably been dozens of Mr. Spock figures created over the past 50 years, but the original still ranks among the best. The only shortcoming is the powder blue coloring of Spock’s phaser and other accessories, which were definitely not Starfleet issue. 

1. Fonzie
I have no statistics to back this up but I would guess that Mego’s Fonzie would rank at or near the top of the best-selling figures the company produced. So many were made that they are still easy to find today at a reasonable price. 

The leather jacket has a nice glossy texture, the white t-shirt and blue jeans are a good match for the costume worn by Henry Winkler, and there’s a lever on the back that triggers a thumb’s up gesture. What more could a fan want? 

More good news for collectors – after a 35-year absence, the Mego brand is back under the leadership of the company’s original Chairman, Marty Abrams. It’s new classic TV figure lines feature characters from Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Charlie’s Angels, Cheers, I Dream of Jeannie and The Facts of Life

The Mego Museum website is the best place online to keep track of the collector's market and what the company has planned next. Check them out at