The Washington Post
The Washington Post
February 27, 1987, Friday, Final Edition
STYLE; PAGE C1
HEADLINE: He-Mania, The Heroes' Welcome: The Cartoons Come
Alive on the 'Masters Of the Universe' Tour
BYLINE: Victoria Dawson, Washington Post Staff Writer
Richard Wagner had been born in 1913 instead of 1813, he would
have spent his twilight years in Hawthorne, Calif., working
company's licensing department would have rented rights to
his Nibelungen, Valkyries, Giants and Norns and the country's
children would be looking at the Ring Cycle through View-Masters,
wearing Wotan Underoos, and reading about the incestuous love
between Siegmunde and Sieglinde in a Golden Book.
would have been no need for Mattel to invent the Masters of
the Universe, He-Man, She-Ra, Eternia, Etheria, Skeletor,
Hordak, Clamp Champ, Snout Spout, Rokkon and Grizzlor.
would have been a pink plastic carrying case and Wotan, Fricka,
Freia and Loge would have been "fully articulated"
dolls with "look-around" eyes and "glow-in-the-dark"
of course, there would have been no "He-Man, She-Ra and
the Masters of the Universe Power Tour" booked into the
Patriot Center through Sunday.
Wagner is dead; the Ring saga remains in the opera house;
and children are filling the Patriot Center instead of the
Kennedy Center, waving their jaundice-colored Power Swords,
bearing bouquets of blinking styrofoam stars, singing the
Eternia National Anthem and leaping from their seats at intermission
to eat blue cotton candy and duel unsparingly with any other
two-year nationwide Power Tour, ($ 10.50 and $ 11.50 per ticket)
began in January in Memphis, and just completed a sold-out
run at the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall in New York. Sixteen
shows could not quench the He-hunger of New York's youngsters
and three performances had to be added.
Fairfax, my name is Songster," said the glittering crooner
who narrates the Power Tour show. He wears silver high-heel
boots and a purple cape. He plays a blinking guitar that looks
like something broken off a marquee in Times Square.
you ready to hear the legends of Eternia?"
those who need work on their Hordaks, their He-Men and their
Skeletors, the story sort of goes like this:
upon a time there was an earthling named Marlena who went
cruising in a rocket that crashed on a planet called Eternia
so she married Eternia's King Randor and they had a son called
Adam in a castle called Grayskull that was guarded by a Sorceress
who flies around disguised as a falcon and defends goodness
and tells the baby prince Adam his destiny and gives him a
Power Sword that makes him He-Man the most powerful man in
the universe whose arch enemy is a former student of Hordak
and the dead leader of the Masters of Evil and only the Smurfy-looking
Orko and Man-at-Arms know the secret ...
really complicated. Ask a kid.
you need to know is that somewhere in this epic swirl, He-Man/Adam's
baby sister Adora is stolen by Hordak. Brother and sister
meet up in a battle and just before Adam is about to commit
sororicide against Adora the Sorceress appears and tells them
of their relationship and He-man splits his Power Sword and
gives one half to Adora who becomes She-Ra and this way they
each get a syndicated television show.
for the He/She-rans in the audience, they are primed.
childhood has been inundated with Masters of the Universe
products since the first He-Man doll came off the assembly
line in 1982: dishes, watches, pajamas, luggage sets, vitamins,
toothbrushes, bathing suits, belts, backpacks, slippers, cake
decorations, kites, comic books, Halloween costumes, sleeping
bags, cake pans, raincoats and even wind socks.
on their night out, they want the lasers. The lights. The
smoke-filled auditorium. The roller derby showdown between
the forces of Good and Evil. They want a circus of giant puppets
-- Talliwallis, Jooglers and Zebrites. The two large-screen
TVs that flank the stage, providing that in-the-rec-room feeling
for otherwise disoriented children.
are ready for He-Man and She-Ra.
Donald Bruce is a He-Man addict. According to his mother Gina
Bruce, Donald owns at least 45 Masters of the Universe figures.
Thursday night, as he stood chewing on the handle of his Power
Sword, he listed a few of the characters: "Cringer and
Panther and Scare Glow and Snake Man and ..."
Alperstein, 3, was ready. "Hee haa ... Heeee haaaa ..."
he growled as he thrashed his just-purchased Power Sword in
a garbage can in the Patriot Center lobby. Asked to identify
himself, he dug his Power Sword into his father's side and
Skeletor," his father replied obediently.
Tiffany and Cristal Clark (8, 7, and 5, respectively) were
so ready that the whole of Section 7 heard them. As Songster
introduced the famous intergalactic characters (Man-at-Arms,
Teela, Rio Blast, Snout Mouth, Orko ...) the pitch and volume
of their screams would have shamed a Bruce Springsteen fan.
then, there they were. Silvery. Blond. He, rippling with real
Nautilus muscles. She, full of small-waisted, long-legged
Spa Lady beauty.
Clark girls' screeches were blood-chilling. "HE-MAN!
Don't do it! Don't!" they screamed when the hero was
about to lose his Power Sword. "She-Ra, hi! Hi! She-Ra!
life was never this vivid.
calls He-Man a "male action figure." He is 5 1/2
inches tall, "fully articulated" with "spring-loaded
arms" and a twisting waist.
it would stand to reason, is a "female action figure."
But, Mattel says she's a "fashion-action doll,"
born in 1985 to a product "line" called "Princess
of Power." She has her own special "adventure"
clothes. He-Man doesn't. "Basically, what we did was
to combine the action theme of power action toys with the
fashion element to create an entirely new doll category,"
says Mattel's Cathy Thorpe.
people -- just a few -- aren't buying the whole Masters of
the Universe/Princess of Power package. Robert Joy, owner
of the Red Balloon toy store in Georgetown, puts them in the
"merciless marketing" category and doesn't sell
them. What "Chrysler commercials with beautiful blond
girls" are to adults, Joy says, He-Man and She-Ra are
to kids. "The only way that it touches my life,"
he says, "is that my 8-year-old [daughter] seems to want
to watch the show on television."