Vintage Mego Corporation R&D Version 2XL Talking Robot with production sample box featured at Toy Fair 1981
2-XL was an educational toy in the shape of a robot that was introduced in 1978. 2-XL was the
brainchild of Dr. Michael J. Freeman who felt that toys should be both fun and educational. Dr. Freeman pitched the idea for the toy to Mego Corporation's then Vice President of Research and Development, Neil Kublan, by personally getting inside a made up cardboard box and simulating the interface with his own unique voice. According to Kublan, Dr. Freeman's voice was the key to the experience and he instantly jumped on the idea. The toy was interactive, playing various tracks from a magnetic 8 track audio tape depending on the user's actions.
This example of 2xl was purchased from another R&D executive that worked closely with Kublan and there are several obvious variations to it that differ from a standard production box. First, this box has "white space" around the border of the graphics which are not present on a standard 2XL box. A standard box is completely covered with a blue background with the graphics printed
directly on the box. This box, however, is a simple white box with the graphics panels glued to the sides. If you look closely you can see that they are almost like labels. What's also interesting is that the graphics show the first version 2XL. This isn't too strange because I'm pretty sure they kept the same graphics for the whole life of this product. What's strange though is
that the 2XL inside this box was a later production run....with some modifications. All of this can now be explained by the fact that this was modifed for the Toy Fair Exhibition.
to see a normal 2XL box
The 2XL Robot itself that was used in the Research and Development department is a later production model which is evidenced by the red covers on his eyes and a later # serial number. Nothing strange there. However, if you look closely at his Q&A panel you will notice that its YELLOW and HAND CUT. This is a R&D team mock up with the same type as a standard 2XL which shows that the toy team was working with the 2xl toy to try and figure out some innovations to improve them for new versions. One more thing. The volume knob on this version is also different, perhaps another attempt to save production costs or to improve function.
The final items related to this unique 2XL working R&D model are the accessories that came inside the box. As you can see this included a variety of tapes that they were testing out as well as a generic AC/DC adaptor that looks like they may have picked up at the corner drug store, some manuals, another button overlay, a registration card, and a 9v battery adapter that I'm not quite sure was for what.