I’m really excited to be back this week with episode 22 of the Saturday Supercast! In this episode Jerzy, Kevin and I finish off our exploration of the first season of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Again, for those not familiar, in the series He-Man and his friends, the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Ram Man, Orko, and Stratos wage an endless battle defending Castle Greyskull and the planet Eternia against Skeletor and his evil warriors, Beastman, Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, Merman, and Triklops, who want to conquer and rule the world. The series, produced by Filmation Studios in 1983, was a landmark cartoon mixing fantasy and science-fiction, reinvigorating children’s television with a sense of action and adventure, as well as helping to instill a solid sense of morality for an entire generation of kids. Masters of the Universe was also one of the first series to break through the governmental ban on interweaving existing toy lines and cartoons, not to mention paving the way for first-run syndicated animation, defining the distribution format for shows through the 80s and 90s.
Join us as we deconstruct the series, diving into another four of our favorite episodes:
In this Saturday Supercast episode we touch on a lot of the talent that made He-Man possible including series producers Lou Scheimer (who also voiced half of the cast of characters including Orko and Stratos), voice actors John Erwin (He-Man and Beastman) and Alan Openheimer (Skeletor and Man-At-Arms), as well as some of the writers and artists such as Larry DiTillio, Tom Sito and Michael Reaves.
We also dig into the immediately identifiable synthesizer music of He-Man (as well as its Wagnerian themes, lush quality, and a debate on whether or not it helps to bind the sci-fi and fantasy genres of the series or just dates it), the series’ budgetary constraints as both boon and bane, 65 episode syndicated seasons vs. the more traditional (at the time) 13 episode Saturday morning seasons, jump-scares, Evilseed’s secret under his robes, Billie Holiday’s haunting rendition of the tragic song "Strange Fruit", Star Trek the Animated Series, solving problems with book smarts and the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program, Ray Harryhausen, the Rankin/Bass Hobbit cartoon, horrible Irish stereotypes, the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock, Ents, the Visionaries, He-Man inspiring public office, Andy Mangels and his awesome work on the BCI Ink & Paint editions of He-Man on DVD, Bustatoon’s He-Man & She-Ra Blog, Matty Collector’s amazing new line of Masters of the Universe action figures, and the insanity of the Bollywood He-Man stage show!
If you’re curious about watching this great series you can purchase a copy of season 1-part 1, or season 1-part 2 at Amazon, or head on over to Hulu where you can watch 13 of the 1st season episodes for free.
And you’re probably already familiar with my work here at Branded.
If you have any questions, comments, or heck, even complaints, you can drop us a line at Saturday Supercast!