Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch five – He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Do you remember waaaaaay back when having a day off meant Saturday, and Saturday meant waking up at the crack of dawn to plop yourself in front of the television set with a bowl of sugar based cereal substitute to watch Saturday morning cartoons? Yeah, me neither. But that’s okay. Let’s get NOSTALGIC

We’ve turned the temporal olielle generator to green. The metaplasmic thingnominator is set to 100%. Aberidus shields are at maximum drirathiel. It’s time to travel back to September 26, 1983 where we… oh wow. It looks like the world almost ended in flaming nuclear death? And it was a Monday? While I try to determine what happened with the timeline, I leave you with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” which aired for the first time on this date. 


History

“Beyond the farthest galaxies viewed by the greatest telescopes on Earth. Beyond the limits of our universe lies another place — a place of magic, myth, sorcery, and science.” Shocking exactly no one, the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon series was created to sell a line of children’s toys. Specifically, the show was intended to show kids how to play with the toys because (supposedly) it was difficult to tell the “bad” guys from the “good” guys. “Mattel began developing their Masters of the Universe line of toys in the late 1970s. The first action figures went on sale in 1981, but a year prior to that, Mattel approached Filmation to help them market the new toys.” The plot of the series gave the characters a backstory, and a place from which to carry out their adventures, that was based, at least in part, on classical literature and mythology, like Beowulf.  (Yeah, that’s right, Beowulf. You weren’t rotting your brain out watching cartoons. You were being exposed to the classics!)  


What I remember

By the power of Greyskull, I am…a consumer who will buy all the toys! What I remember the most about this show was the action figures, which makes sense given that the entire point of the show’s existence was product placement for Mattel. I know that I owned some sort of transparent robot character (cleverly named Roboto) and He-Man’s chest armor. (What happened to the rest of him? Who knows? I think I used it on a plastic brontosaurus instead. Because that’s the kid I was.) I also remember desperately wanting to be He-Man for Halloween back in kindergarten and, instead, being given a costume by my parents that consisted of a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off and an X drawn on the front. (It might make for a decent “file-not-found” costume now, but I was less than amused then. Ah kids… we’re all jerks who appreciate nothing.)


Rewatch

Season 1 Episode 1, “Diamond Ray of Disappearance” begins with Skeletor ordering Beastman to summon his Injustice League of Villains (Merman, Evil Lynn, Triclops, and Trap Jaw) so that he has an audience for the monologue of his latest evil plan: to expose the heroes of Eternia to a gem emitting some sort of energy that transports them to an alternate dimension. Meanwhile, the heroes of Eternia are having to sit through a magic show presided over by Orko, a creature that appears to be a cross between a Jawa from Star Wars and a hovering lampshade, and longing for a magic rock to make them disappear. Skeletor, being the warm, kind-hearted neighbor that he is, is only happy to assist. “He’s like Mr. Rogers without a face!” say the smiling local village children. (No one says this. It is made of lies.) 


Final verdict

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, like a lot of the cartoons from this time period, features a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy that’s never really explained and doesn’t need to be. If I had a handful of the toys based on this show… if I were watching a show based on a handful of toys…either way. If I had these toys, I wouldn’t worry about whether or not the robots could exist in the same place as people wielding swords, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe doesn’t either. (In fact, I likely didn’t.) As a bonus, several of the female characters, such as Teela and the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull, are stated to be the most powerful representatives of their fields, making a show called “He-man” slightly progressive. 


If you liked He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe : a character guide and world compendium

Beowulf : a translation and commentary, together with Sellic Spell by Tolkein, J.R.R.

Grendel by John Gardner

Nico Bravo And The Hound Of Hades by Michael Cavallaro

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Gideon The Ninth by Muir, Tamsyn

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold


Also check out

Heyyeyaaeyaaaeyaeyaa (Fabulous Secret Powers) by SLACKCiRCUSCheck that out… there’s actually an extensive history behind the making of this video on its YouTube page. I just thought it was funny.

But not as funny as THIS: He-Man and Skeletor Dancing | Money Supermarket CommercialI have no idea what this commercial is intended to sell. I’m not even sure why it exists except that it obviously does. 


For more on Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch by Kevin

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch one – Voltron: Defender of the Universe

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch two – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch three – The Herculoids

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch four – Hong Kong Phooey

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch six – Valley of the Dinosaurs

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch seven – Thundarr the Barbarian


More to come (live from what I remember about the 80’s!) as this story continues. 

Kevin Wadlow is 100% a real human being and definitely not a murder of crows wearing a person suit. He is an avid reader of horror, tabletop gamer, and drinker of coffee who enjoys drawing things of strangeness along the way. When the zombie apocalypse comes, he will probably be eaten first after saying something about how he fully expected to go out like this.

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