Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mego Planet of the Apes Zira

Just about every line in the 1970s that Mego produced had at least one female character in it. With the World's Greatest Super Heroes we had Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Catwoman, Supergirl, Invisible Woman, and Isis. With the Star Trek line we got Uhura. With the Dukes of Hazzard line we got Daisy Duke. With the Planet of the Apes line, we got Dr. Zira.

When I was a kid, it was practically unthinkable to buy or ask for a female action figure. In fact, it seemed like the term "action figure" didn't even apply when it was a female character. Heck, Zira could have come chewing a cigar and been armed with grenades and a bazooka and I still would have thought of her as a "doll." These days, I'm too old to care...and if there's a hole in my collection that needs a female character, I throw caution to the wind and go ahead and "order it up" online.

Zira was a scientist and fiancee to the chimpanzee, Cornelius. She was fairly certain there was more to humans than meets the eye...that they were more than just animals. When she met Astronaut Taylor, her suspicions were confirmed. You see, Taylor was the first talking human any ape had encountered. After realizing how special Taylor was, both Cornelius and Zira did what they could to help Taylor escape the ape community that was sure to dissect him once they realized his special vocal ability and intelligence.

Zira comes with two brown boots, a skirt, and a tunic with velcro closure (pretty hi-tech for the 70s). She didn't come with any accessories, unfortunately. However, there is some nice embossing work on her tunic's vinyl panel. I have no idea what it says, though. Perhaps, it says, "Zira: Woman Scientist." It always cracked me up that the original Mego TV commercial for the Apes figures called her this. It was almost like code to little boys that said, "Don't buy me."

These days, Zira has a place of honor in my Mego Apes collection as the lone female character. I would even display her, I'm man enough.

....which leads me to a question I have about displaying vintage toys:

Does anyone else have an aversion to displaying vintage toys because you are afraid that old emotions and associations with the toy will be replaced with new ones if you have it around day-to-day?

Maybe, it's just me. Am I crazy?


  1. To answer your question, No I do not think that displaying a vintage toy will eventually lead to the replacement of older memories with new ones. Those emotions, associations or memories were made playing with the toy, so displaying it now, to me strengthens those good times.

  2. I think Zira was the only female action figure I ever owned as a kid. That Christmas (1974), I threw caution to the wind and asked my parents for the whole POTA line including the playset. To my amazement, my parent's got me everything! I had all the first wave figures and the playset. I can still smell the fresh vinyl! And I too used the Evel Knievel Sky Cycle as the crashed space ship.

  3. Zira was the first of the Apes to come home with me. She just looked the most interesting, seemed the most obscure and unique, and the complementary combination of an all green costume against a hot pink background had me sold immediately. All this before I was old enough to fully understand how pivotal her character is to the story.

    These days, my toys only come out to play when times are good. No sense tainting them with the bad vibes of day to day adult life.

  4. I felt the same way as you with female "action figures" they are dolls in my book, and will remain dolls for quite a while still

  5. Zira was the first to come in the female act and was one of the best.