Wizard of Oz
Synopsis of Toy
In the 1970’s, the Mego Toy Co. was the coolest company on the action figure block—if they could talk and emote, plastic dolls would surely tell you that this was the company to belong to. New product lines were typically introduced with lavish parties, the dolls were very well made, and no one, and we mean no one, had better accessories.
Mego was deeply invested in the character licensing game, and for the most part, its action figures were based on characters from TV shows, movies and comics that were popular with younger boys. But in 1975, Mego issued their Wizard of Oz dolls and accompanying playsets, and this time, their demographic target wasn’t just boys—the marketing decision-makers also took aim at girls and older, happy-to-collect fans of the 1939 MGM film classic. The movie’s surviving cast members, by the way, attended the doll line’s premiere party.
Eight inches tall and all niftily outfitted, Mego’s line included the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch, Glinda the Good Witch, assorted Munchkins (these were only three inches high) and of course, the little braided, gingham-dressed, ruby slipper-wearing Dorothy. The three playsets the dolls could call home were named Emerald City, Munchkinland, and the Wicked Witch’s castle. Just unfold the stand-up facades and let both the literal movie re-enactments and the off-the-top-of-your-head imaginary Oz scenarios begin (skipping those scary flying monkeys, of course). And just to drive home that Mego was the accessory king, check out what came with, say, the Emerald City playset: a spinning crystal ball, a throne, an apple tree, the Wizard’s curtain, a yellow brick road and the Wizard doll himself.
The Wizard of Oz dolls’ popularity brought on a slew of other Oz license-seekers, and Oz-related toys and novelties sold steadily for years—especially popular around the holiday season. Well, emeralds are green and rubies are red…so maybe the Oz gang does have a subliminal Christmas draw.