Toy Fair 1979: Mego celebrates it's 25th Anniversary with a cover illustrating it's growth from humble roots to the cutting edge of the toy industry.
79 Also introduced the Elastic-Heroes to compete with Stretch Armstrong and Die-Cast Metal Heroes designed as collector's items. The Buck Roger's line was not met with much enthusiasm. The 12 inch Buck figures are now mostly famous for always being zombie grey.
There are rumors that Mego knew they had a problem with migration (the process where the vinyl of the head degrades the pigment it was mixed with resulting in a grey corpse-like face with a slimy feel to it) and chose to do nothing about it for financial reasons.
This was emphatically denied by former executive Neal Kublan, who points out that a company in financial trouble (as Mego was by the end of 1979) would be suicidal to diminish quality when other measures could be taken first. He explains, "The factory that we owned was run by locals and the graft and corruption was unstoppable. The factory was a major problem for just that reason.Nobody at Mego or any other toy company is stupid ehough to knowingly ship defectives. TRU sends the merchandise right back as do all the retailers."
Kublan explained that the migration effect was most likely due to inferior plastic possibly purchased by an unscrupulous buyer. "Oil shortages increased the cost of plastic pellets 3 fold during that period. All kinds of deals were being made just to get material."
Mego's new state-of-the-art factory also placed a crushing debt burden on the company when interest rates went through the roof in 79. So the zombie effect may be related to Mego's financial troubles, though not directly.
Responding to the myth that Mego was excessively cheap, Kublan went on to say "I want to make a point not only for myself but everyone at Mego. We loved toys and we loved the business of toys. We did our damndest to make good toys and we had balls. These negative rumours are generally bullshit."
Sales were not down, however. Mego did $100 million in 1979 (a third of that was Micronauts).