Friday, January 1, 2010

Mego 8" Planet of the Apes General Ursus

Happy New Year, Everyone!!!

This is Mego's General Ursus from 1974. He was released as part of the second wave of Planet of the Apes figures. This second wave was based on the POTA TV series that was running at the time.

There is a bit of controversy involved with the name of this figure. You see, during the time that Mego produced this figure, his packaging used two different names...General Ursus and General Urko. Another Mego General figure from this same wave also used these two names. However, since the figure I had as a kid was called "Ursus," that's the name I'll be using for this guy. Although, it should be noted that "Urko" is probably the more appropriate name as Urko was the name of the helmeted General from the TV series (played by Mark Lenard) that this second wave of figures was based upon. General Ursus is from the film Beneath the Planet of the Apes and is almost identical to the General in the TV series.


Ursus was probably my favorite Mego Ape. There was just something so cool about him coming with an extra accessory. He had a rifle AND a knife. So, that automatically gave him a "one up" on the regular soldier apes because they only came with a rifle.

Looking back, it was an odd choice for Mego to use the colors that they did on General Ursus. His costume with the riveted collar and helmet were a nice approximation of a character costume from both the movies and the TV show. However, the purple and mustard coloration seems completely out of left field. When I was a kid, though, I think the bright colors were part of what made this guy my favorite. Perhaps, Mego was following the look of this character from the Planet of the Apes cartoon. I don't know.

A complete General Ursus should include his mustard colored tunic (with attached cuffs), a pair of purple pants, two black boots (note that the General's boots have a split toe and are not the same as the soldier's boots), a rifle with string, a bandolier with a knife "scabbard," and a silver/gray knife. Ursus is also sporting a helmet. However, the helmet is not removable.

Left to right: Mike Magnuson, Yours Truly, David Magnuson, and my brother Michael. The Magnusons were good friends that lived next door. We shared a wall in our townhouse. They were in a band with two older siblings and it was always a lot of fun for me to hear them practicing through the wall.

The photo above was taken in Fridley, Minnesota in 1974. So, I've had the picture almost my entire life. I was scanning and archiving a bunch of old family photos last year when I noticed, for the very first time, that my brother is actually holding a Mego General Ursus figure! Also, a friend (thanks, Brian B!) pointed out that he is ALSO holding Mego Batman in the other hand. Wow!!...hidden treasure.

Below is a close-up of the figures in Michael's hands.

The Mego Planet of the Apes figures were such great kids' toys and General Ursus is no exception.

5 comments:

  1. That last photo is great and scary.
    Which is appropriate since this guy terrified me as a kid.

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  2. That is a wonderful picture! I love that type of thing.

    Nice monkey dolly too. If there's anything cooler than a dolly, it's a monkey dolly, I always say!

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  3. Brian B: He was scary to me, too. The purple pants on the toy helped me overcome my fear. ;)

    Bubbashelby: Thanks!! You know, I think I'm beginning to understand your aversion to dollys. Dollys are good. The thing is before 1978 or so, all our figures were pretty much dollys...GiJoe (ours were 12" and had removable uniforms), Mego figures, Big Jim, Captain Action, Six Million Dollar Man, etc. Heck, even Evel Knievel had a removable suit. I think dollys had given way to sculpted clothing and uniforms by the time you were playing with action figures very much. Am I on to something? :)

    At any rate, you are 100% correct. A monkey dolly always beats out a regular dolly.

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  4. I'm close to get the entire collection of The Planet of the Apes, I just need General Ursus, however I have asked for it, but it's unavailable everywhere. I really don't know what to do.

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  5. I think they based the color scheme on the box art for the Aurora General Ursus model (brown helmet aside).
    This would kind of make sense since the head sculpt is taken from that model (with some slight modification on the helmet flaps).

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