Some more animation cels from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe…


By Shawn Robare




In honor of episode 22 of the Saturday Supercast I thought I’d break out some of my Filmation He-Man animation cels.   I have a few from one of the episodes we discussed on the podcast, episode 56 of season 1, Quest for the Sword…


The first one I wanted to share today is of the character Raybar which comes from the last scene with this character in both the episode and the series…





Raybar is an adventurous member of a race of rock people who live in a vast cave on Eternia.  The cave contains a hole that leads to the center of the planet and provides a vast amount of mystic energy that is most likely the source of this race.   In the episode Raybar finds He-Man’s power sword and uses it to become what he believes is a great leader of the rock people, but in the end, as He-Man eloquently states, it just makes him a bully.


Anyway, I mainly picked up these rock men cels for a friend, but before I shipped them off I thought I’d scan them in and discuss them in hopes of digging a little deeper into the He-Man series.   The thing that stood out to me the most about these cels is the color of the paint.  When compared to the screen captures from the episode in question on DVD, the paint on the original cels appears a bit darker and a little more brown than gray.  Part of this is my scanner, but the original is still a bit off from the original episode.   I wonder is this is because the cels have sat around in storage for 26 years or if maybe BCI touched up the episodes on the DVDs, color correcting them digitally?





This cel also came with an accompanying pencil under-drawing which I always love to see.   In this case the pencil drawing is missing the mouth of the creature as Ray bar was talking in this scene and it required a series of different mouth drawings.  The cel I picked up came with a secondary cel that just had the one mouth position, so I guess there are a few other cels floating around with just Raybar mouths on them.  Glad I managed to find the combo with the base drawing/painting of the creature included.





These other cels are all part of a single scene, though because of the movement required it was separated onto various layers.   Included are Raybar with the power sword…





…and his friend Togar with Man-At-Arms laser gun.





These two aren’t nearly as tight when it comes to the line work.  They’re a bit sketchy, which I assume came out of a time crunch to get these episodes finished.  Filmation was one of the 1st studios producing first run syndicated cartoons, which meant that they needed to finish 65 episodes of He-Man over the course of a year and that’s a lot for any studio to handle.   On top of this they were doing all of the work in-house which is monumental when you think about the hundreds of thousands of cels that needed to be produced for a 65 episode run.  This episode was towards the end of the 1st season so I’d be willing to bet corners were being cut wherever they could.   In this scene in particular Raybar and Togar are only onscreen in this position for a second before Orko swoops in front of the camera, so again, corners could be cut.  Actually, if you’ll notice from the screen grab below, the couple of cels that I have a slightly different…





In the screen grab you can see that Raybar’s face wasn’t completely drawn on the right.  The characters were also shifting a little and by the time my two cels show up Orko is obscuring the characters.   It’s kind of weird to think that these cels are hidden since they’re a bit cleaner than the two that end up unobscured on screen.)


On a slightly different note, I have to say that the character design on Togar is pretty weird and baby-like.  It’s kind of disturbing when you see him pitch a fit in the episode.