Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fourth Coolest Toy Ever: Mego STAR TREK Communicators (Re-post)

This is the second in a series of special re-posts for the holidays, remembering the coolest sci-fi toys of the Space: 1970 era. Hope you enjoy these "reruns" and have a great holiday season. 

When I was in fifth or sixth grade (circa 1975-76), my pal Mark Usher and I formed a short-lived Star Trek "club." There were four of us in all, as I remember, and once a week, we'd all go over to Mark's house after school and basically play Star Trek all afternoon. He lived on an old farm, and his parents cleaned out an old outbuilding for us to use as a clubhouse - or, in our case, "starship." His father even made a sign that said "U.S.S. Enterprise" and placed it over the door. (I vaguely recall that he misspelled it somehow, but I could be misremembering.)

His mother was an artsy-craftsy sort, and she wanted to make sure that we weren't getting into trouble, so she actually created Trek-themed projects for us to do. We made plywood "control panels" for our "ship" - including a "transporter console" with sliding levers (wide beads on strings) - which Mark's father mounted on the walls of the shack. We made uniforms out of appropriately colored tee-shirts, which his mother helped us draw insignias on with fabric paints, and we made papier-mâché planets, which we suspended from the ceiling of our clubhouse/starship with fishing line.

But mostly, we role-played being crew members of the Enterprise, and explored the alien cornfields and woods on the Usher property. We kept in touch with the Mego Star Trek Communicators, which were - as the advertising proudly exclaimed, "real, working walkie-talkies!" But unlike the other walkie-talkies we had as kids, these had flip-up lids, just like the ones on TV. Of course, they were considerably larger than their television counterparts, colored blue, and had telescoping antennae - but they worked.

If you didn't wander too far apart, anyway.

Mark also had the "Command Communications Console," which was a nicely Trek-styled base set tuned to the same CB frequency, and the only actually working piece of equipment in our ramshackle starship. It didn't get used much, as I recall, because no one wanted to be the Communications Officer and stay behind "on the ship" while the rest went exploring.


  1. gene r. really did invent the cell phone

  2. I loved those things! I have long wondered why we haven't been able to get working cell phones that look just like the show's communicators.

    I do have an app for my iPhone that makes the screen look like a communicator.

  3. My sister and I each had one of these. As I recall, they didn't work for very long.

  4. I love your memories of these Christopher! Your friend Mark had ideal parents. I visualized what you described and it brought back memories I too have of playing star trek in old cars and old barns. I had these communicators too. I bought them at KB toys in the mall after Christmas one year. Probably with my Christmas money and allowance. I loved them but was immediately disappointed with how short distance they were. They worked best when the two people using them were almost close enough to carry on a normal conversation! And the batteries died quickly. And in my case I didn't have the cool group of friends I could trust to play with them. I had one friend who tended to break my stuff whenever he came over and mostly I had my reluctant sister who usually was in a pissy mood and didn't want to play. But these combined with the real looking phasers from Mecco were prized possessions.

  5. My Brother and I used to play Star Trek ALL THE TIME! We had several friends who also joined us at various times. We also had a set of these, and yeah, they weren't that great, technically, but it was still fun to have them. :) We lived in a 58 unit apartment building, and my Dad was the Superintendent... which meant we pretty much had full access to everything! The building has an elevator, and all kinds of hallways... so yeah, that building was (and we still call it this to this day), "The Enterprise". ;)

    Chris, thank you for the memories. :) Live Long and Prosper!

  6. Picked them off of Ebay, I just wanted to be able to hold them again. Such good memories.