TOYHEM! I lied to my mom and lived to tell the tale…

Welcome to TOYHEM! For the fourth straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan

UPDATED 12/18/22: This story has become a Chanukah tradition here at 13th Dimension. It first appeared in 2014 and I’ve re-presented it every year since — now as part of TOYHEM! This year, the column has an even greater resonance — it’s the 50th anniversary of Mego’s World’s Greatest Super-Heroes line. Have a safe and joyful Chanukah! — Dan

When I was 8, it was all Megos, all the time. So after school, I’m watching TV and this comes on:

And the skies opened and the Lord spake and He said, “Young Daniel, you must have this for Chanukah.”

And it was good.

We were not a family of means. My folks had split and my Mom did the best she could. So asking for a Batcave was no guarantee. But ask I did. Over and over again.

Anyway, late some Saturday afternoon, with the skies dark and Chanukah right around the corner, I found that I just couldn’t take the suspense any longer. I had to know: Did I get the Batcave or not?

So while Mom was downstairs ironing in our Old Bridge, N.J., garden apartment, I crept into her bedroom and went into her closet, where I knew she hid the presents. I burrowed to the back and saw the piles of swag still in shopping bags. I poked and prodded as quietly as I could. And there, in shadow, was a box that looked just like this:


Oh, my Lord, there it was. It may have been the most exciting moment of my young life. It was a moment rivaled only by the first time the skies opened and I saw Mego Batman and Robin for the first time, standing on my friend Phillip Tagliaferri’s dresser.

Also there? Mego Batgirl. And, if memory serves, that clog with a propeller they called the Batcopter.

Euphoria. Excitment.

Then dread. And guilt. I got what I wanted, sure. But I found out in such a sleazy fashion. I cheated!

But I wasn’t stupid enough to confess.

I went back downstairs, and hey, guess what Mom asked me: “So, Daniel, what do you want for Chanukah?”

Think fast! Think fast! Does she know? Think fast!

“Oh, um, I dunno, a Batcopter, I guess…” — and, in order to throw her off the scent, I made up some other things.


But I also knew if I didn’t mention the Batcave, she’d smell a rat. But I also wanted her to know that she did right by me. She’d been through enough shit even an 8-year-old could see it.

So, I added: ” … and, of course, I really want a Batcave.”

She just kept ironing.

So Chanukah came and I opened the presents and life, it was good.

Years later, when I mistakenly thought I was over comics, that Batcave and all the Mego figures and vehicles that went with it, made their way to the curb.

Well, I’ve managed to rebuild that collection, in a fashion. Plus, now with companies like Figures Toy Company and Diamond Select Toys building their Wayback Machines, everything old is new again. (UPDATED: And Mego itself is back!)


As an adult, I finally ‘fessed up and told my mother this story and she said she’d had no idea. She thought it was amusing, though.

But you know what?

I never snooped again.



— The Complete TOYHEM INDEX of Stories and Features. Click here.

— The TOP 13 MEGO World’s Greatest Super-Heroes Head Sculpts. Click here.

Author: 13th Dimension

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  1. I also snooped once, before Christmas, to see if I’d gotten the Transformers toys I wanted. I had, and I felt terrible about peeking. Never snooped again!

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  2. Your story made me think of Ralphie telling his mom and Santa what he wants for Christmas. “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

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  3. When I was 14 I thought i was too old to play with my action figures. so, I gave approximately 20 figures, the Batcave, The JLA headquarters, the Enterprise, The Wayne Foundation and the Pirate Ship to the kids across the street. They also got my Batcopter, my Batmobile, the Jokermobile and the Spiderman Car. I now weep like a child every time I see these toys of my youth because in order to prove how grown up I was I gave them all away.

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    • Toy Story 3. my nephew gave his toys to his younger brother just before the movie was released – my brother and my nephew were in tears watching it. Think of the joy you gave the kids across the street.

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  4. I think I commented last year that mom always accused ME of being a presents snoop. Even well into adulthood I would hear about it. But I never did. I’m vindicated!

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  5. Great story! It resonates; coincidentally, I was recently telling my son about how I searched for birthday presents one year and discovered a Mego Captain Marvel in his blue box. My Mom learned I had done so, and as a result I NEVER got him. I wonder where he ended up? She doesn’t remember…

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    • A cautionary tale for sure. My brother snooped and found GI Joes in 1968 just before Christmas. This was the super deluxe talking Joes with tons of accessories. Loved them. Still have the head of one of them (Blond – Race Bannon). such great memories. Great memories of the time we were young and Christmas was magical. Then next time Christmas was magical was when we had kids, seeing the wonder through their eyes….

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  6. One time I snooped and found a present they forgot about that had been in the closet for over a year!

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  7. I love that the box says “DOLL FIGURES NOT INCLUDED.” Mom, they’re not DOLLS, they’re ACTION FIGURES!

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  8. Yes, you cheated, but this bit — “I also wanted her to know that she did right by me. She’d been through enough shit even an 8-year-old could see it” — warmed my heart. Great story!

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  9. Loved this article. Such great memories! You were lucky… I did have a Batman and Robin Mego, but no Batman villains. So Mego Dracula and Frankenstein were the bad guys in my bedroom floor adventures, and I did have a Spiderman. No Batcave either, so I had to make one out of two shoe boxes I connected standing on their sides and drawing in the details on the backs.

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  10. That vintage Bat-helicopter toy was just awful. I was so disappointed.

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  11. One Christmas, I peeked inside my aunt’s closet to see if I’d be getting Castle Grayskull from Masters of the Universe. It was way in the back along with other stuff. I regretted it later. It felt like cheating somehow.

    For Christmas of 1984, I opened the G.I. Joe Killer WHALE Hovercraft she had sent me as a gift. I wanted to check out the Cutter figure right away. I was left underwhelmed because the paint on his blue cap had rubbed off and he didn’t look like the prototype version from the mini catalog, so I placed him back inside the box until the big day.

    Great story on your part. I love how you thought of your mom’s feelings and took them into account. Very cool.

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