Who, or what, was Mattel's "Gre-Gory?" A bat! A big, rubber, biting, bloody bat! First arriving in 1978, Gre-Gory obviously lasted a few notable years, as the scan above is from a 1982 Sears Wishbook -- the kind with the twenty-page spread selling nothing but football team sleeping bags and football team bed tents. When making my holiday want lists, those were the pages I most often used to wipe snot off of my hands with. You might say I'm being crass, but admit it, so is Gre-Gory.
The thing I've always been intrigued with about Greggy is the fact that he's just a souped-up version of the same ol' rubber bats you can buy anywhere. Few toys so inherently generic have gotten Mattel's royal treatment, and it's nice to finally find a figurehead for the legions of rubber bat toys I've encountered in party store aisles and leftover 15-point casino arcade throwaway bins. Gre-Gory, in truth, is neither friend or foe: he is merely "bat." Just "bat," and that's all there is to it. Still, unlike most bats, Gre-Gory's chest is clear and you can see the blood pouring right through him. Combine that with his impressive fifteen-inch wingspan, and you've got all the makings for a prop from a really bad old Dracula movie. "Bat."
If you're up to date on your vintage Masters of the Universe toy trivia, and you know you are baby, Gre-Gory's bloody gimmick is not unlike that of Horde action figure "Mosquitor." As you squeeze and manhandle the poor thing, a red liquid sprays up and around his chest cavity, almost alleging that Gre-Gory is such an evolutional champ that the innards of his body only need an ounce of blood vaguely swarming around his bones to survive. Bats are amazing creatures, but Gre-Gory really broke the mold. Plus, his lower legs form novelty sunglasses for your other toys to don during whimsical comedy hours. "Hey, is there a bat on my head or what?!!" Such statements don't read funny, but picture it coming from Kenner's four-inch Ben Kenobi figure. Then it's so close to funny it's not even -- well, you knowww.
The fun doesn't stop there. Gre-Gory's fangs are sculpted perfectly to hang on to just about anything -- fingers, pencils, pens, crayons. Did I say "anything?" Nah, just stuff that's small and roughly cylindrical. Like most of the monster toys from his era, Gre-Gory commands big bucks on the collector's market, with boxed editions easily selling for up to 75 bucks. Even his old retail price of just under twelve bucks wasn't exactly "cheap," so Greg remained a luxury only the world's biggest bat aficionados would track down. Was the price worth it? Of course! He's the greatest bat ever! Greatest -- bat -- EVER. Between Adam West and Babe Ruth's sluggers, that's a big accomplishment.
Contrary to popular belief, Sears catalogs weren't the only way to see Gre-Gory in all of his promotional glory. Mattel placed an innumerable (it's that high) number of ads in plenty of old comic books, daring children to put their finger in Greg's mouth and wait to "see what happens." Instead of going the obvious ad routes, they decided to keep his whole blood trickling thing a secret. Kids who wanted to know why Gre-Gory looked half-eaten would have to buy the thing to find out. Now an unfortunately obscured part of the proverbial toybox's proverbial past, Halloween seemed like the right season to bring the bat back into the spotlight. The irony is -- bats hate light.