Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF Toys: Mego's "Dukes" 8-inchers

Last week for our new feature TGIF Toys, we brought you Mego's smaller figure line from "The Dukes of Hazzard." This week, we take a look at the ever-popular 8-inchers. Above, Will "The Voice Man" Rodgers shows us the cast of Season 3 of the show, while the next photo you'll see below features the characters from Season 5.

But hold the phone, you're thinkin'? There weren't that many "Dukes" Mego 8-inchers! Yes, you are correct (and you must have been reading the extensive information our friends at the Mego Museum have so thoroughly researched on their site!). Well, folks, what we have here is some very loving custom work. Read on, in this articulate explanation from Will ...

The packaging for both the 8-inch and 3.75-inch figures had the illustration of the following: Small shots of the General Lee and the Hazzard Sheriff's squad car, full body shots of Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco and big head shots of Bo, Luke, Daisy, and Uncle Jesse. For the 8-inch line, as a little kid, I was led to believe that this is what we would get. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the case.

Bo and Luke were the easiest to find. Bo had a white/yellow shirt with long sleeves and light blue jeans and black boots. Luke had a long-sleeve bluish shirt that reminded me of the plaid shirts he wore in the first three seasons of the show. He had dark blue jeans and black boots. In 1981, Bo sported a short-sleeved white/yellow shirt and Luke sported a light powder-blue shirt reminiscent of his plain shirt from season two. Daisy Duke was the only other Mego that was made initially. My favorite has the blue top and the Daisy Duke shorts. The other one had a green top and blue Daisy Dukes.

Over the years, I've had each of the variations. Later, Mego added one more character, Boss Hogg in his white suit and hat. Sadly, that was all they made. We never got 8-inch dolls of Uncle Jesse and Sheriff Rosco. Nor did we ever get any vehicles for the upscale Dukes. Even to this day, I would pay well for somebody to custom-make a General Lee for the 8-inch Duke Boys. There was one made for the skits on "Robot Chicken." I wish I knew who made it.

In 1982, when Tom Wopat and John Schneider walked off the show, Mego's final figures were Bo and Luke with slightly altered heads. These two figures are hard to find and worth a lot to collectors. While they are "Bo and Luke" technically, these figures are actually and unofficially "Coy and Vance," even though they do not resemble Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer.


My good friend Mike Barrett in Rifle, Colorado, who's a customizer of Megos, and I had talked for a long time about customizing the rest of the cast who were never made into 8-inch Mego figures. I came up with the recipes for most of the figures. First, I will say the only Megos I did nothing to are Daisy and Boss Hogg.

UNCLE JESSE: What 8-inch Mego "Dukes of Hazzard" collection would be right without the Duke patriarch? I would call it a sin. For his head, I bought an unpainted head of Blackbeard the pirate and he was smiling. His head was perfect for Jesse. Most of what I needed for Uncle Jesse came from the "Waltons" toyline by Mego. The Grandpa Walton Mego had most of what I needed. The body, the overalls and the same style boots worn by Bo and Luke. Mike painted the head and also gave it the twinkle in Denver Pyle's eyes. Mike custom-made the gray overalls with the red longjohn linings as well as the red cap.

SHERIFF ROSCO P. COLTRANE: It's a real shame we did not get a Rosco doll with all accessories! "Shame shame! Everybody knows your name, Mego!" But surprisingly, all the ingredients to make Rosco are available. It's just a matter of finding them and getting your materials together. On Dr. Mego's page, I found repro heads of the Robin Hood characters. The head of Will Scarlett looked to me like an exact replica of James Best along with the sideburns. All he needed was a repainting around the eyebrows. Of course, you need a basic male Mego body. Rosco's black sheriff's hat is available in Mego form. With their Western figures, it was the hat for Wild Bill Hickock. Dr. Mego has it listed as a reporter's hat, despite its Western look. While you could probably get the blue shirt, black tie, and black pants from Dr. Mego, my friend Mike custom-made Rosco's uniform and provided the sticker emblems for the shirt. My Rosco's shirt is a darker shade of blue since I wanted him to have the look of Season 1. My Rosco's hair is black, but maybe I should have had his hair painted salt-and-pepper.

COOTER: "Breaker one! Breaker one! Might be crazy but I am bummed!' That Mego didn't make a figure of Hazzard's number-one mechanic! At first, all I had in mind was Rosco and Uncle Jesse, but then I thought it would be cool to have customs of Cooter and Rosco's two dipstick deputies as well. For Cooter, the head that resembled Ben Jones the most was the head of John Walton (Ralph Waite) from the "Waltons" toyline. Of course, I used a regular male Mego body. For the blue jeans, either Bo or Luke's jeans and the Dukes boots work for Cooter. I'd say he's the easiest to make. Mike custom-made the sleeveless grey shirt and gave it and the jeans a greased look and even put a grease rag in the back of Cooter's pants pocket. Mike also made Cooter's cap. Mike painted the head to resemble Ben Jones and gave him the 5 o'clock shadow since I wanted this Cooter figure to resemble the Season 1 and 2 appearance. Someday, I'll make another Cooter that has him more clean-shaven. Mike also made the denim jacket Cooter wears. (The above photo shows the custom Cooter, along with Bo and Luke, inspired by the pilot episode "One Armed Bandits.")

CLETUS: "Flapjacks on a Ferris wheel! Buzzards on a buzz saw!" Why no Cletus?! Both Hazzard deputies proved to be a challenge for me and Mike. Using a male Mego body and making the clothes was no problem for Mike. For the head, the Mego who resembled Rick Hurst the most was Sgt. Getraer (Robert Pine) from "CHiPs." His hair was painted tan to resemble Cletus. The biggest challenge was the deputy hat. Mike had a real challenge and had to make a big one since the head was big.

ENOS: "Possum on a gum bush!' Mego's "Dukes of Hazzard" 8-inch line really needs an honest cop to keep everything straight. Well, speaking of straight, or should I say Strate, Deputy Enos Strate proved to be the hardest Mego to customize. All I could furnish was the basic male Mego body. Mike made the clothes, but Enos is the only Mego whose head had to be cast. There were no original Megos that resembled Sonny Shroyer. Also, the deputy's hat proved to be a challenge as was Cletus' hat.

HAZZARD LAW: For Rosco, Cletus, and Enos, the "CHiPs" line by Mego proved to be very helpful in that all three figures needed black boots, guns and holsters, and sticker emblems. Luckily, the "CHiPs" figures had all that, so I had to get extra, incomplete "CHiPs" figures to make the Hazzard Law Enforcement team's accessories complete.

COY AND VANCE: Very basic, simple thing. All I did was switch the shirts on the figures. After all, with the exception of the episode, "Dukes Strike it Rich" Coy wore the blue and Vance wore the white/yellow. (The above photo shows Coy and Vance, along with Bo and Luke and the rest of the characters, inspired by the episode "Welcome Back, Bo and Luke.")


To me, it was no wonder that there were toy action figures of "The Dukes of Hazzard," especially Bo and Luke since they always wore the same clothes in every episode as if they were uniforms or costumes. I am probably one of the very few people that's paid attention to Bo and Luke's appearances over the years. And I always wanted my Megos to resemble their early appearances, especially Season 1. So I used some extras.

In Season 1, Bo's yellow shirt was a beige yellow color. He also wore it in Season 2 and then on and off in Seasons 6 and 7. I used the beige shirt from the "CHiPs" line. Bo also sported a blue T-shirt underneath his shirt in Seasons 1 and 2 and part of Season 3. My friend Mike custom-made me three T-shirts:
two shades of blue and the brown T-shirt John wore in the pilot episode, "One Armed Bandits." In Season 1, Luke sported a light denim jacket over his first plaid shirt. I discovered the Huggy Bear figure from the "Starsky and Hutch" toyline had a blue denim jacket that looked similar to Luke's , so I got a Huggy Bear figure and used the denim jacket for Luke, but sadly, I had to take his plaidish colored shirt and cut off the sleeves for a better fit. Luckily, I have a few more of those plaids.

-- Will Rodgers
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Next week: The Mego vehicles!

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