Jan 7, 1985 v125 p86(1)
A He-Man for all seasons; zapping the forces of evil on daytime
to get ready for bed, to clean up their rooms or to perform
any other onerous task, small boys around the U.S. nowadays
are likely to whip a plastic sword out of their He-Man brand
pants and shout, "By the power of Grayskull, I have the
power!" The incantation may not overwhelm parents. But
when uttered daily on after-school TV by the hero of He-Man
and the Masters of the Universe, it has proved puisant enough
to capture the attention of more little boys than any other
television show in America. He-Man power has sold $500 million
in toys made by the Mattle Company for its Masters of the
Universe line and anothe $500 million in He-Man toothbrushes,
underwear, sheets and alarm clocks manufactured under license
was Mattel in fact that originated the concept of an omnipotent
He-Man in 1980 and sold the idea to Filmation, a Los Angeles-based
production company. "We were trying to fill a hole in
the marketplace," recalls Mattel President Glenn Hastings.
"We looked at boys ages three to six and found that,
unlike girls, they [liked] Good vs. Evil."
formant devised as an upshot of this bit of pop-psych market
research pits He-Man's Heroic Warriors against the forces
of evil every weekday on 166 television stations. In each
half-hour segment, He-Man starts out as a mere wimp of a kid
named Adam. When he raises his sword and utters the magic
incantation, Adam turns into a hero who looks like Prince
Valiant with Arnold Schwarzenegger's physique. Since the animated
cartoon premiered 15 months ago, it has gained 9 million viewers,
most of them boys ages four to seven.
can zap his enemies with a vast array of weapons systems.
Children can buy a He-Man doll astride a "heroic armored
war horse" with two laser guns, or the skull-faced figure
of Skeletor, the spirit of evil driving a circular "assault
vehicle" equipped with rotating blades to slash the enemy.
Should more conventional arms he needed, a handy Weapons Pak
is available containing two miniature plastic pistols, a sword,
an ax and a whip.
all this armament, He-Man's producers point out that on-screen
mayhem is held to a minimum. When the show was being developed.
Filmation's educational consultant, Stanford University Communications
Professor Donald Roberts, urged that none of the characters
should get killed or "really hurt." In the midst
of warfare, He-Man usually deplores violence. Thus, says Roberts,
battle scenes are "really antibattle scenes."
and Filmation have so far kept He-Man an all-male preserve.
But a new market will open up next fall, when Filmation begins
airing its new series, She-Ra, Princess of Power. It will
be the story of He-Man's twin sister, who leads a host of
female warriors against an evil horde. Will she share in her
brother's omnipotence? Not exactly. Producer Lou Scheimer
explains that She-Ra is more caring than He-Man. "We
tried to endow her with powers of nature rather than strength,"
he explains. "But she can do damn near anything that