Cartoons in the 80s were owned by toy companies. Mattel started the tradition by going to Filmation to design advertisements for “Masters of the Universe.” Soon, the ads turned into ” He-Man ,” making it the first of many animated cartoons based on an action figure:
- Only two seasons but 130 episodes.
- Three television specials.
- Two films: “Secret of the Sword” and “Masters of the Universe.”
- One spin-off, ” She-Ra ,” and two more series years later.
- 30 years later – toys, comics and perhaps a new film to come.
A review of the ‘He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’ series
I recently did a review of ” She-Ra ,” so I will not waste too much time on Filmation facts.
” He-Man ” was groundbreaking as it’s the first toy line to get its own series. These animated cartoons were packed with action and moral-rich stories. The art was limited, but some great writers like Paul Dini and J. Michael Straczynski made up for it with sword and sorcery/sci-fi storytelling.
Animated Cartoons mimic ‘He-Man’
Prior to ” He-Man ,” most syndicated animated cartoons were re-runs of Saturday Morning shows. Then in the 80s , FCC eliminated guidelines for Children’s programming advertisements. This allowed Mattel to create a twenty-two minute “He-Man ” commercial. The success created more shows based on toys such as ” G.I. Joe ,” ” Jem ,” ” Transformers ” – read a review I did on them for more info.
In the 80s NCTV takes on ‘He-Man’
In 1987, the National Coalition for Television Violence did a review of the toy/animation industry. “These shows,” Susan Pearson wrote, according to The Media Monopoly. “…Are increasing the competition in the already competitive $12.5 billion toy industry.” Soon, animated cartoons with toys lost their impact. Not to mention, the “Masters of the Universe” film flopped in 1987 and Filmation closed in 1989 – it was the end of an era.
‘He-Man’ lives on – ‘Masters of the Universe’ 30th Anniversary
In 2002, a revamped cartoon series relaunched a toy line. In 2009, Matty Collector released a “Masters of the Universe Classics” toy line based on the series. In 2012, to celebrate the 30th anniversary, original toys were made by Mattel, along with a limited DC Comics series . Things are looking up for He-Man ; rumors about a new film, re-releasing of the series on DVD or you can even watch “He-Man” on Hulu .
He-Man.Org – He-Man
The Best Animated Cartoons In The 80s – A Review
Matty Collector.Com – Mattel / Matty Collector
80s Cartoons.Net – Animated Cartoons
“Babes In The Marketplace” by Susan Pearson in “The Media Monopoly” – In The 80s