Dr. Michael Freeman, who invented 2-XL, created several educational toys prior to his working with Mego in the 19070s. None of his previous robots looked anything like 2-XL, which I gathered was not his design. The robots he designed appeared more “human-like,” i.e. they had arms and legs and faces — that said, they still looked like tin boxes. According to the Mego Museum, the exterior of 2-XL was designed by John McNett:
A paradigm-shifting product (due to its elevated price-point, which pundits proclaimed would kill the product), 2-XL was monumentally successful for Mego. John named, styled and developed the product, which was invented by Dr. Michael Friedman, the man “who did all the voice recording.” John pointed out that “the complex chin design is a grafted-on Micronaut part, used as an expediency because Marty didn’t like the plain, deadpan look on 2-XL’s face.” Faced with a production deadline, Mego “didn’t have time to redraw the styling. So [they] just glued the chin onto the model (prototype), and shipped it off to the orient.” John later added that “Sid Noble created and developed the flashing red eyes for 2-XL, shortly before its release to the [factory in the] orient.” — source
Freeman’s first robot, Rudy. Dad and son, left and right.
Freeman’s design for an interactive toy in patent application.
Production model created from prototype.
Postscript: The Mego Museum also writes, “Mego’s Harvey Zelman would script the 2-XL tapes and go into the recording studio with Friedman. The late Neal Kublan made mention of a new version of 2-Xl being developed that features sound and images but this never materialised.”
© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.