Mattel's He-Man and The Masters of the Universe
Okay guys, I know. I know ALL of you out there at one time has played with dolls. Barbie dolls mainly…..that’s okay. It was something we were always told NOT to do! Hell, my father used to always yell at me every time that I would start playing with all of my figures. “Put down those dolls! Are you the daughter that I never had!” Any of that sound familiar? (To this day I want to punch my father for that!) Anyway, when I was a boy the only toy that resembled a doll that you could play with without catching any grief from the other fellas were from one of the greatest toy lines ever. HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE! Now that was a toy line that I NEVER got tired of playing with. Let’s take a trip down memory lane shall we?
(Cue sad music) Back in 1982 I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. A type of cancer that 90% of the people it affected didn’t survive much longer. However there were some perks to having it. While laying in a hospital rotting away my mother and father would come in with some toys that they thought would make me feel better. I’ll never forget it. 4 figures. A beautiful package. Larger than life. He-Man, Skeletor, Beast-Man, and Man-At-Arms. Each one looked like God himself chiseled and made it for my sickly little butt to play with. Another bonus to these figures were that they came with removable armor, a sleek weapon, and a mini comic book that showed a world that I could only imagine from my hospital bed….. Eternia. I was HOOKED! After that it seemed like every time my parents showed up in my hospital room they would have a new Masters Of The Universe figure with them. Stratos, Teela, Mer-Man, and Zodac were the newest addition to my collection along with He-Man’s trusted animal companion Battle-Cat and 2 vehicles for my beloved figures…..Battle-Ram and the Wind Raider! It wasn’t until Christmas that I received the first playset of the line. Castle Grayskull. NOW FELLOW GEEKS THAT WAS AN AMAZING PLAYSET for it’s time. Everything was complete. Nothing could make my life any better. I was free of the cancer and was having the time of my life playing with these FANTASTIC toys. What more could anyone ask for? Well…..
A couple of months later while making one of the several trips that I would have to make back to the hospital for further testing my mother decided to stop at a K-Mart and buy me a toy for me being a big boy at the doctor’s office. I definitely felt better when I saw several new figures in the MOTU line: Man-E-Faces, Ram-Man, Evil-Lyn, Faker, Trap-Jaw, and Tri-Klops! (All of which soon became mine!) To make matters better more vehicles were made for the figures (Attack Trak and Point Dread and Talon Fighter that attached itself to Castle Grayskull!) along with Zoar and Screech --- the Bird Warriors! Tying all of this together was an AMAZING cartoon to go along with the figures. The awesome thing about the cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is that it would introduce new characters, vehicles, and playsets that you knew one day would be made. Things were looking up.
In 1983 Mattel released the following figures to compliment the first 2 waves: Battle-Armor He-Man, Buzz-Off, Fisto, Mekaneck, Orko, Prince Adam, Battle-Armor Skeletor, Clawful, Jitsu, Kobra Khan, Webstor, Whiplash…..each one more amazing than the last one! Each one of these figures had it’s own special feature, which at the time made He-Man figures very unique. More vehicles were released as well: Stridor the Armored Warhorse, Panthor, the Dragon Walker, the Road Ripper, and Roton. The best part of this particular wave of toys was the new playset released……Snake Mountain! This thing had it all. It looked creepy and scary and it had that microphone that could change your voice. Lord knows my parents would BEG me to stop using it. Now your He-Man set was complete. You had a base of operations for both the good guys and the bad guys. There’s no way that anything else would be coming out right? Wrong.
By 1985 more and more secondary figures started to hit the market along with a brand new addition to the line: The Evil Horde! OMG now Skeletor and He-Man both need to worry about this new threat. Thunder-Punch He-Man, Moss-Man, Roboto, Sy-Klone, Dragon Blaster Skeletor, Spikor, Stinkor (a personal favorite. I would chase my older sister around with him! Hee-hee!) Two-Bad, Hordak, Grizzlor, Leech, Mantenna, and Modulok were released along with a carrying case (Battle-Bones), and several vehicles, Night Stalker, Bashasaurus, the Land Shark, Spydor, and a new playset for The Evil Horde…..The Fright Zone! MAN IT DIDN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!
Unfortunately by 1986 we started to see the Masters Of The Universe line was starting to dwindle down. Most boys started to get older and weren’t buying the figures. However, several new figures were released including the Dreaded Snake Men! Flying-Fist He-Man, Extendar, Rio Blast (who kinda looked like Chuck Norris if you ask me), Rokkon, Snout Spout, Stonedar, Terror-Claws Skeletor, Hurricane Hordak, Dragstor, a Horde Trooper, Multi-Bot, King Hiss, Rattlor, Tung Lashor, Mantisaur, and Monsteroid were the newest recruits. With these figures new vehicles and another playset were released: the Blaster Hawk, the Laser Bolt, the Fight Frighter, the Jet Sled, the Megalaser, and the Stilt Stalkers to go along with the messiest playset the Slime Pit Vat. I can honestly say that these figures for this wave were pretty cool but the vehicles left a little something to be desired. It was almost like Mattel was really reaching at this point.
By 1987 Mattel released its’ final wave of figures and THE MOST AWESOME PLAYSET EVER TO BE RELEASED TO DATE! This particular wave is the most collectible (next to the initial first wave): Clamp Champ, Gwildor (eww!), King Randor, Rotar, The Sorceress, Blade (double eww!), Blast-Attack, Ninjor, Saurod (and here’s the hat trick --- triple eww!), Scare Glow, Twistoid, Buzz-Saw Hordak, Mosquitor, Snake Face, Sssqueeze, Bionatops, Turbodactyl, Tyrantisaurus Rex, Tytus, Megator, and the Meteorbs! Which brings us to the most sought after piece in the entire line: Eternia! I never had this as a child and from what I understand they were pretty hard to come by. (A side note I actually purchased an Eternia playset around a year ago. It took me about $200.00 to complete it and let me tell you --- IT WAS MASSIVE!) This playset was amazing! It had so many parts to it but for it being 1987 the people that designed this thing really knew what kids liked. It had a moving ship that would follow a track all the way around the playset. It had a tower that kinda looked like Castle Grayskull on one side and a tower that looked like it belonged to Snake Mountain --- tying in the world of Eternia in a single playset. I would tell you if you have the means YOU NEED THIS PLAYSET!
There you have it. One of the greatest toy lines ever. I can tell you that I had sooooooooo much fun playing with these figures. I would play for countless hours with them. What really made these toys fun is that you had to use your imagination. It wasn’t computerized! It was honest! These figures did so well Mattel branched over into the world of girl toys and made the “She-Ra Princess Of Power” line. Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed going down memory lane again with me. Next month we’re going to discuss a toy line that I don’t know if anyone out there remembers it or not……The Secret Wars toy line! See you in 30!