Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Collectible of the Week: Wizard of Oz Emerald City Playset (Mego; 1975)

In the year 1975, Mego acquired the license from MGM to create playsets and action figures from the classic fantasy movie The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Accordingly, Mego released an impressive and varied line of Oz figures including Dorothy (w/Toto), the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda, The Wicked Witch, and the Wizard.

Even a few munchkins, including the Mayor, were included in the roll-out.

In terms of playsets, Mego manufactured a witch's castle (which I've never seen, anywhere...), the mostly-movie-accurate Munchkinland and the piece de resistance, the Emerald City Playset.

This huge, 42-inch playset could open up to reveal various chambers in th city, and came complete with a throne chair, a Wizard's curtain, a removable/fold-able yellow brick road, and an 8-inch poseable Wizard figure.  

There was even a peep-hole in the door, where a sentinel could ask "who goes there?"  

On the interior, you could see the booth where the Wizard worked his magic, and one window in the main chamber overlooked the poppy field.

When I was a kid, The Wizard of Oz was a perennial, in terms of television reruns, and also had an unmatched reputation for scaring the little ones.  I'm still terrified thinking of those talking trees, or the flying monkeys.

I do own this playset and a few of the  Wizard of Oz figures, though neither is in great condition.  Dorothy can't quite stand-up anymore (no Judy Garfield jokes, please...), and the Scarecrow seems to have lost his hat, if not his brain.  Also, my Emerald City is missing all its equipment, my pretties.

This toy reminds me a lot of the Mego Star Trek U.S.S. Entertprise Action Playset from the same era.  It's made of hard laminated cardboard and vinyl, and isn't especially accurate in terms of detail.  But it's fun to play with, and I suppose that the appeal today is mostly one of nostalgia.  If you like this kind of Mego set, you're sure to love the Emerald City Playset.

Below is a commercial from Mego, announcing the Wizard of Oz toy collection.  It's a blast from the past.


  1. I've never seen close-up pictures of this playset. I think it's cool how it has that funky 70s art style that pervaded so much pop culture back then, particularly children's books. Love the lightning bolt with the star!

    Talking trees in Wizard of Oz = nightmare fuel.
    Talking trees in Lord of the Rings = perfect sleep aid.

    1. Neal: The playset is super-cool in a seventies way, but mine is very beat up and old at this point, and missing the neat peripheral stuff (like the Crystal Ball). I love 1970s playsets --- I'm sort of addicted to them, to tell you the truth. They're magnificently...retro.

      In a few weeks, I'll be featuring my Mego Flash Gordon playset from 1977 here. Now that one is AWESOME!

      Thanks for the excellent comment. And I agree with you about the difference between Wizard of Oz and LOTR. Two Towers bores me to tears...or sleep, as you say.