In 1985 the power struggle we were used to in the Masters of the Universe toyline was about to change. This was of course because of the much hyped arrival of a third faction upon Eternia. No longer would it solely be He-Man and his heroic allies locked in an epic struggle with Skeletor and his minions. No, now the two forces would learn of The Power of the Evil Horde as Hordak arrived to conqueror all!
Around the time that Mattel decided to introduce both Hordak and his Evil Horde. My Father, a single parent, was finally earning a living wage. Which meant I was fortunate to finally be getting an allowance. As soon as I started seeing the TV ads for Hordak I began to save up. One evening just before our local Walmart closed for the night, I asked my Father to drive me up and let me buy Hordak. I literally paid for the evil tyrant and walked out the building as they were locking the doors for the evening.
I can certainly say that to my thirteen year old mind it was totally worth it. While I will indeed admit that when playing, He-Man and his allies would always prevail, they had to work harder than ever before to protect Eternia. Hordak quickly overthrew Skeletor in my toy universe, the skeletal conqueror was now merely a foot soldier. Bowing down to The Power of the Evil Horde!
Having said all of that however, I did not know this 1985 book and cassette tape had been made. It’s an interesting bit of media for a few different reasons. For one thing it is a little longer than the book and records we are used to. Furthermore it just so happens to have been illustrated by Bruce Timm. Yes, THAT Bruce Timm who seven years later would help produce the definitive version of Batman.
Most importantly of all, after reading and listening to the story. It uses not only the sound cues from the classic Filmation series but most of the same actors as well. John Erwin as Prince Adam and He-Man. With Lou Scheimer as Orko and naturally Alan Oppenheimer as both Skeletor as well as Man-At-Arms. Hordak is voiced by George Dicenzo and this tale focuses on his assault again Eternia. It also features the now well established lore that Skeletor was once a pupil to the evil tyrant.
Did I happen to mention that the awesome Fright Zone playset plays a large part in the story?
Okay, enough background information. It’s time for you to sit back and enjoy The Power of the Evil Horde!
Since 1945 Mattel Toys has been bringing an amazing amount of happiness to children. For those of who grew up in the 80s however it was a very recognizable name. It is no surprise why Gallery 1988 decide to host a Mattel Toys Tribute Art Show!
Image courtesy of Leilani Joy.
Now while in fact Barbie made her debut back in 1959, I think the doll had a heavy presence in the 80s too. If you take into account the many careers she was offered during that time. From fitness instructor to ice cream parlor owner as well as song writer and performer in fact. At least if we are to judge this TV commercial compilation that is!
While I think it is safe to say that the Mattel Toys Tribute Art Show will feature more than a few pieces of art focusing on Barbie. It will in addition be featuring a lion’s share of artwork focusing on Masters of the Universe!
Image courtesy of Cuyler Smith.
Image courtesy of Dan Mumford.
While I have more than a few fond as well as epic memories of my time with He-Man and the other Masters of the Universe toys. I likewise spent many Summers with my cousins playing Barbie. While they may have thought I was Sun Lovin’ Malibu Ken. I was in fact playing as Barney Hiller, the 7 million dollar rogue cyborg from The Six Million Dollar Man!
As has been abundantly noted the Mattel Toys Tribute Art Show will feature both Barbie and He-Man. However some of these artists with the show will also shine a spotlight on toys like the Magic 8 Ball!
Image courtesy of Cuddly Rigor Mortis.
Because of this I am hoping that we get some Cap’n Crunch insired artwork too.
The Mattel Toys Tribute Art Show begins on June 23rd.
For further information of course you should visit the Gallery 1988 official site. A big thanks to Germain Lussier of io9 for the heads up on this new exhibit. As well as providing the illustrations you see above!
Mattel’s 1967’s Strange Change toy was designed for all would-be mad scientists. The sad fact of the matter for myself however is that I was born a little too late to see this on the toy shelves. Furthermore I didn’t even know about the Strange Change time machine until just a few months back.
I was creating a post for the Saturday Frights Facebook Page, looking up some vintage monster toys. Which is of course how I happened upon an article from Boing Boing. I didn’t waste any time attempting to find a TV commercial, so I might see the toy in action.
A couple of things spring to mind after watching that commercial. In the first place, they would never make this toy today. As the Strange Change time machine unit was capable of extreme heat. That is how the Time Capsule is able to reveal the creature hidden within.
Not to mention the need for the included tweezers so that children could safely handle their newly freed beastie. The range of creatures appear to have been everything from robots, monsters, and dinosaurs.
Of course the Lost World was the focus of the Strange Change machine. So naturally dinosaurs were the focus.
When a young mad scientist was finished with their discovery. They would place the creature back into the Expansion Chamber, so it would warm up. Then, using the tweezers of course, they would stuff it into the Compression Chamber. Cranking the heavy metal handle to squeeze it back into a Time Capsule.
Image courtesy of Boing Boing.
I have looked on eBay and the prices for a working toy…are very expensive. While the Strange Change machine was only on the market for a year. It appears that in this case it was a well built toy. And while I am saddened that I probably won’t be playing with one in the near future. At the very least I can take some small amount of comfort that I was around for the Mad Scientist Monster Lab!
My streak of good luck at thrift shops and flea markets continued with this awesome little record playing toy, Mattel Instant Replay. Today if you want to check out some great instant replays from your favorite sports star, it’s as easy as pulling them up on YouTube or an ESPN App. However, back in the early 70s when I was a kid it was a little more difficult. You could wait for the sports report on your local TV station, or read about it the next day in the newspaper.
One day at school a friend of mine had a group of kids gathered around him while he was playing what I thought was a transistor radio. Turns out it was this Mattel Instant Replay toy. It plays tiny records on the battery-powered player. There were many different record sets you could purchase too. All featuring great audio clips of the biggest sports stars of the day.
I never got one of these as a kid, but grabbed this one up at a flea market at a great price. I tossed in one “D” cell battery and fired it up. After all this time, the little record player inside still works. The sound is a little noisy, but that is to be expected from a toy that is over 45 years old!