Commercials

1982 US He-Man Commercials

For kids who grew up on Saturday morning cartoons, toy commercials were a reason to stay glued to the old Curtis-Mathes.

Curitis mathes
We had this exact model growing up.

The first four years of Masters of the Universe commercials were thematically unified by the underlying cave man chant in the background of almost all of them – “He-Man, He-Man!”

The commercials don’t typically come to us date stamped, so the year of release has to be inferred from the products featured. There are also, no doubt, commercials that were produced which have not yet surfaced.

One of the most fascinating commercials is this “lost” Masters of the Universe  Commercial produced by Filmation, before they produced the weekly cartoon. It contains a mixture of animation and live actors, and features He-Man, Teela, Man-At-Arms, Skeletor, Beast Man, Mer-Man, Castle Grayskull, and Battle Ram. Unlike the Filmation cartoon, the animation here is quite detailed and true to the design of the toys. In the case of Teela, her animated design looks pretty close to the prototype Teela, especially in regards to her spear and shield.

Interestingly, the above sequence where Teela throws her spear to keep He-Man from falling through the trap door is repeated in the 1983 DC Comics story, “Within These Walls… Armageddon!”

24 - Copy25 - Copy

The first conventional, live action He-Man commercial introduces us to He-Man and Skeletor, who are fighting over the power of Castle Grayskull. Castle Grayskull here (and in the other commercials released in 1982) is not exactly a prototype, but it is hand-painted with a much nicer than typical application of greens and blacks. This version also appeared in early catalogs and print ads:

The next live action commercial released in 1982 features He-Man fighting against Beast Man. This time the focus is more on the Castle and its interior than the characters:

I’m not entirely sure that the fourth commercial (below) was released in 1982. I’ve seen it included with in a series of commercial labeled 1982. Based on that I will include it here, with an asterisk. Faker is generally included in the 1983 wave of figures, but there is some indication he may have come out late in 1982.

The He-Man vs Faker commercial is a little unique in that it includes a bit of a backstory for Faker. “Skeletor” tells the audience that he created an evil doppelganger of He-Man to destroy  the real He-Man. The actors reference the “He-Man” chant, although it doesn’t actually appear in this commercial:

If I had to guess an order to these commercials, I would say that He-Man vs Skeletor (live action) came first. He-Man vs Beast Man was probably second. The animated commercial was likely third (based on its inclusion of additional characters that were developed after He-Man, Skeletor and Beast Man) and the Faker commercial was almost certainly done last.

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