Posts Tagged ‘Retro’

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Welcome Back Heroes!! Fans of this here little blog know that when it comes to vintage action figures we could debrief all day. I have gathered the team here today in the viewing chambers for a very niche pocket of the action figure universe known as Adventure People. Settle in Heroes..OUR Adventure begins NOW!

When you consider the fact that my childhood was defined by action figures of the 1980s you will quickly understand why today’s topic is so vital to our meeting today. Like many I was raised on the classics, Star Wars, G.I.Joe, Masters Of The Universe were among my absolute favorites. Like all great toy-lines of the day these miniatures occupied hours, days and weeks of my youth. All of my friends were onboard as well. We shared the same interest in all the aforementioned franchises all of which boasted their own motion pictures, cartoons , comic books, TV shows you name it!!

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One toy line that predated them all had no such media offspring and literally existed unearthed in several of my friends toy boxes waiting for me to discover them. As was such a story as with the 1975 Fisher Price Toy Collection The Adventure People! These particular toys as we would come to find out were soully responsible for adventures to come in distant barbaric planets, on battlefields across the world and in Galaxies Far Far Away…The very Genesis of our playtime in the 80s with action figures could not have occurred without these 3 ¾ inch trailblazers. Meet Fisher Prices Adventure People.

 

 

 

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Transmission Date: Feb 23 2019

I constantly talk about being raised in a small town with little shopping options. I think I have established that fact in my blog chronology. Whats little know is that for the first 4 years of my life I was born in a VERY small town of Harcourt NL Canada. It wasnt until I was 4 that I moved to Clarenville, NL where I would live out my childhood and have my main growing up experiences. The majority of my action figure purchases spawned from that glorious Christmas season. While I did very well over Xmas in super isolated Harcourt when I moved to Clarenville my fortunes multiplied. I remember several of my first Christmas’s at 75 Memorial Drive, one in particular my parents went shopping and not so secretly picked out many of my Christmas gifts while I was THERE!! By bringing me to a store called Lovelesses. They had a selection of everything there including a mini Toy “Department”. Exactly 4 shelves of them to be perfectly clear. As I pointed and ogled at some of these cool-ass toys in front of me I remember pointing out the Weeble Wobble Haunted House as well as The Weeble Wobble Clubhouse. Both items became childhood favorites that far outlived their expiration as being GI Joe and Star Wars play-sets long after the Weebles went to toy heaven. As a couple of side gifts I also pointed out the Fisher Price Adventure People. They were two seemingly harmless Divers in lime green swimwear. There was a guy and a girl..I thought they were cool and guess what they magically appeared under the Christmas tree on our first Christmas in our new home! Who would have guessed Santa had been blessed with clairvoyance?

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I had no idea or context at the time what these toys were. I just knew they were fun to play with in the bathtub and that’s all that mattered.As time passed and I was in primary school I happened upon a strange kid with quirky hair and a different kind of look. When I think back he resembled Carmine Infantino’s Luke Skywalker in the 70s Marvel Star Wars comic book. His name was Leslie Card. “Lezz” as we called him became fast friends with me and we hung out all the time as he lived just a two-minute walk from my house. Lezz came from a small town from the west coast of our island of Newfoundland and as a result had an assortment of “Different” toys! I had become a good enough friend that I was invited to one of his Birthday parties and it was one of the first times in his home. It was a Blackstar party and we watched a Blackstar VHS tape as the main event! How amazing is THAT!!

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After this I frequented his house especially in the summer. It was common to just hang out in his backyard and read comics in his camper that his parents had parked in the back of the house while sipping “Hires” Root Beer. As we grew tired of reading books like Royal Roy, The Amazing Spider Ham and Wally The Wizard one day we drifted inside his house to his basement. Inside its cavernous interior of his unfinished basement / laundry area I noticed a fine stash of toys in a series of storage bins. While Lezz didn’t have the socially acceptable toys of the Town of Clarenville he had something DIFFERENT!! The first thing that grabbed me was that he had Micronauts…and plenty of them!!

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Instead of He-Man toys he had Blackstar figures. There were no Go-Bots to be found but there were Shogun Warriors! This was like bizarro world for me! That being said there were a few common Star Wars toys for good measure but a few things always stood out were a fleet of vehicles…toys that I had not seen before but looked mighty cool and became playtime favorites.

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In this one box I uncovered a Sports Van, a Plane, an outdoors recreational vehicle and more. I had these to be Tonka Toys before but these were different!! These toys could fit our Star Wars figures inside them!! I had no idea what these toys were but I did note that they were very well made and colorful. We played with them all the time that summer mixing them seamlessly with our other favorite toy franchises…I would later find out that these belonged to the same family of toys as my two Divers. Remember kids these two Diver toys in particular would become VERY important to the layout of the entire Adventure People line! More on that later!

 

Fisher price had not been known for their action figures. Prior to this Fisher Price handled mainly young kids with their licensed lines for Sesame Street and other properties. Typically these toys were targeting pre-school children and you could spot a Fisher Price toy from a mile away. No matter where you went, schools, day cares, Doctors offices, you name it, they had some sort of Fisher Price toy looming in its fibres. The classic pop maker, and The Fisher Price Cash register were commonly found everywhere.

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For myself I was blessed to have had two of the coolest playsets, The Fisher Price Garage and the Sesame Street Playhouse!! Both of these sets were long time stalwarts of the Hero action figure play time sets. These always doubled for other things during play of course. The Clubhouse was always a Cobra Strong hold as it was incorporated into my main line playtime. I always imagined these item as something else and that was half the fun.

Fisher Price Sesame Street Club House

 

The Parking Garage was an addictive toy that involved a multi level parking garage with a working elevator to the top floor. It boasted a ramp for cars to roll down to ground level and something so simple occupied my young mind for hours. Countless minutes spent mindlessly churning the elevator bringing my mini cars or ‘Dinkies” to the top floor and then rolling them down the ramp at a high-speed! These little cars which seated exactly one Fisher Price peg figure in its seat careened from the rampway of the garage across the kitchen floor to my delight. Mindless fun…but that was the trap of Fisher Price products. They were infinitely playable, incredibly sturdy and compact and stood the test of time while other toy lines often did not survive the rigors of the toy box.

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The Fisher Price figurines were iconic and unmistakable. They did not have 10,000 points of articulation…in fact the ONLY thing they could do was turn their heads! They had a peg like body with a shortened molded base to allow them to fit into their environments. The signature piece of them were the classic round head with painted face. Sometimes the heads had an accessories like a hat or a helmet which made them decipherable from others in the line. When I see these today I cant help but smile. They were incredibly basic, but that’s all 4-year-old me needed.

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Fisher Price however would not be content with simply letting their customer base walk away when they turned 6..they had to expand…they had to capture that lucrative 6-10 demographic that other companies like Hasbro and Mattel monopolized. Hence in 1975 Fisher Price unveiled a new brand of figures..a set that would change the way we play to this very day. It was here we were about see the beginning of the fall of the 12-inch giant toy..and things were about to get smaller..3 3/4 inch to be exact!!

Adventure People Store Display

 

Adventure People encapsulated a new shift towards action figures. Action figures and dolls mostly up to that point had been of the larger variety. G.I.Joe was a primary kids toy in the 60s and 70s with each figure looming in a 12 inch variety! The vehicles were equally as massive to fit this line. The Six Million Dollar Man line of figures debuting in 1975 as well continued on the 12 inch trend. For girls at the time Barbie was equally as sizable along with all her friends , vehicles and accessories. Big was the norm during this time so with Adventure People launching in its 3 3/4 format was considered radical at the time. The FOOLS!! No one would play with 3 3/4 inch figures…right??  Fisher Price was not known to dip its toes in the big boy toy market but maybe …just maybe kids of the 70s would want their adventures on a smaller more compact scale….and they would be RIGHT!!

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Meanwhile Kenner, the toy company known at the time for creating The Easy Bake Oven and The Spirograph was commissioned with the task of producing a line of figures for a new Science fiction movie that was by all accounts going to be popular…little did they know HOW popular. Mego another popular toy company of the day had recently declined the contract believing that this property would be a miss financially. They had already seen decline in general toy sales so taking a gamble at an unknown property was not a gamble worth taking. Besides this Star Wars thing was like all the other movie failures at the time right? That’s where up and comer Kenner came in, yet woefully unprepared to know the challenge that was ahead. The Christmas of 1977 would be a big challenge. There was pressure on to release a Star Wars toy line for the peak shopping season and demand for Star Wars was at a fever pitch. Kenner scrambled. Now you may ask..what does this have to do with Fisher Price Adventure People??

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Well when toy company designers rushed production of their figures there was no time to develop physical prototype molds as was typically done in the creation of a new line. Kenner associates instead took several Adventure People toys remodeled and repainted them into prototype Star Wars figure concepts to sell to the marketers for production. The Toys were green lit and the most successful line of action figures ever made was born…with a little nudge from the amazing Fisher Price Adventure people.

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The 3 3/4 inch action figure market exploded! Large scale toys such as Hasbro’s G.I.Joe, Mego toys and even The Six Million Dollar Man figures would all experience a sharp and sudden decline in the scale of their format. Some toys adapted with the times while others perished. On the surface level Adventure People were basic. None of the figures even had names. Which kind of worked out because pulling one of these very similar looking figures from the toy box and trying to differentiate them with a name could be a challenge for any 7-year-old. It was best off that we named them ourselves anyways! They were differentiated by their sex this group was strictly Male and female and also very super caucasian!?? The line not known for its diversity  DID include only one African American figure named “Male Pilot”(That had two variants) as well as a black female news reporter! They also had one very cool Native American male (Not pictured) as well but that was it! None o the three figures appeared as repaints later which was a little odd! I assume we will give them a pass for the times being what they were socially but this was certainly NOT the era of diversity in which we live in now.

 

They reused only a small number of individual molds to make their figures. By simply repainting them and adding accessories to make them “New” figures! Before everyone gets boo boo faced and accuses Fisher Price of  high crime, at the same time the beloved GI Joe 3 3/4 inch line did the same first when they launched . If you look closely at the GI Joe line you will notice that there was a great deal of head sharing going on. (Mind out of the gutters please we are talking plastic action figure heads people!!) Hawk, and Steeler share the same head mold. Clutch and Rock and Roll are the same guy with new hair and accessories!!! I noticed this with the Fisher Price gang as well! My Male Diver figure is also the most popular retread in the whole line as he moonlights as Male Swimmer, Male astronaut, Male TV Crew, Male Construction Worker, Space Commander, X-Ray Man…well you get the point!! No one even bothered to name them! There were other variants though few and far betwen like two female molds that played and a  host of different moldslike a race car driver, a cowboy, a Kayaker and a hang glider to name the most common assortment of Adventure People varities! All of these figures were built so they could easily be repainted and repurposed in another set! It was genius when you think of it!

 

Another peculiarity of this line were the hands. Each figure had a hand that fit onto some sort of vehicle or corresponding accessory. This was a neat feature as unlike other toy lines at the time when you placed a figure inside a vehicle they just sat there and could not grip the wheel merely sit. Not Adventure People..these figures were meant to drive,  work and heck even paddle a canoe down river and look the part! The coolest part of Adventure People however were the playsets and vehicles!! This is where play really began. Once you moved past the idea that your Mountain Climber, Male Swimmer and The Space Commander were the SAME toy then came the mega cool rides and you were over it!

 

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The awesome Daredevil Sport Van was one that was a common find in toy boxes around my town! The classic green color with motor cycle and kayak accessories made this toy a win! The wheels and general construction looked reminiscent of the Barbie campers of the day! These toys featured very basic but iconic paper sticker decals that made these vehicles stand out!

 

 

 

Fisher Price Deluxe sets often came with plenty of figures and extra accessories to play with. The complete Wilderness Patrol team was one of my favorites! One incredible accessory was the Pontoon Boat that paired with the Bush plane! But separate all the vehicles and you had a boat a plane and an all terrain vehicle! Hell they even stuck a Collie in this set for good measure!!

 

 

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The beauty of all these sets were they were super compatible with other figure sets of the day. Who would not have loved to have this super cool Rescue Truck for your GI Joe Medic Doc!! Come on you KNOW you would have!! How about Stalker and Gung Ho figures using all the cool Wilderness Patrol toys. These sets opened up new possibilities for your other toys that may have been collecting toy box dust!

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My favorite set of all the Adventure People line however was the amazing Space Collection. With Kenner cleaning up in toy stores with their Star Wars line and other lines like BattleStar Galactica trying to take a slice to the toy profit pie.  Fisher Price entered the fray with a solid entry into the game, Adventure People: Space

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Fisher Price as usual did not invest millions into making new molds for this new line of toys as with all other sets this crew was made up of repaints of the original Adventure People. Space Commander was Fisher Prices answer to Commander Adama of BattleStar fame but upon closer inspection he was merely our old friend Male Diver with a painted beard and flashy new red space duds with decals! Hang Glider Male transformed into Astro Knight! Race Car Driver became Clawtron Male! Heck Male and Female Diver became my favorite figures of the entire line with their new space garb complete with the see through green X-Ray Man and X-Ray Woman! They didnt even try to cover up the diving suits! They were literally clear green androids with robotic detailing and yellow dots literally painted over their eyes…and I loved them!!

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This set didn’t just rely on its figures!! Nooooo! It also bested anything on toyshelves at that time with simply incredible vehicles!! Enter: Alpha Probe!! An incredibly designed space ship with mini adventure ship and built-in and realistic space sounds and options!

 

 

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Alpha Probe was the center piece to the space collection and in scale one of the largest toys in the entire collection! As with everything else in the sets its was wildly compatible with the Popular Star Wars/ Gi Joe sets of the day and just looked damn cool in anyone’s collection!

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So your Adventure People could blast off to the stars for adventures beyond the imagination…but what happens when you get there?? They had that on lock too with more incredible set pieces, the first being the Alpha Star Space Exploration set. It came complete with the Alpha Star all terrain vehicle and full deep space exploration unit in tow! Throw in the figures, a mini explorer droid and a beast alien and this thing had it all! Oh and I didn’t mention it was motorized and could drive back and forth! These things were tough on batteries through so you would need a steady supply of D-Cell batteries to keep the action going!

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Then the Alpha Interceptor! This one was a bunch of modular toys in one. It was a “Build Your Own” sort of toy that you could build basically three types of toys out of! I have not seen one of these in real life but this thing looks incredible!!

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Now for kids on a budget Fisher Price also had you covered!! Fire Star 1 was a single vehicle black space ship that played well with your X-Wing and Tie Fighter battles in a Galaxy Far far Away!! It came with a connecting cable that attached to the vehicle and figure to give the illusion of weightlessness in space!! Yes that is good old reliable Male Diver as X-Ray Man inside the Astro-Suit!!

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Bottom line…Adventure People were much more than a juveniles toy. The cross compatibility alone made these toys favorites during playtime back in the day! While there was plenty of cop outs design wise these toys were incredibly well build and durable. If you look around out there in that corner closet or that down stairs storage area you just may rediscover these classics! That kids…is one to grow on!

 

Thanks for checking out the Super-Hero Satellite! Do us a favor and drop me a comment in the box below! If you would like to chat about this article or anything retro you can find me on Twitter @charlton_hero! Give me a follow!! You wont be sorry…at least not right away! Till Next Time Heroes!

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Welcome Back Heroes..a huge thanks to everyone who joined us for the last round of Super-Blog Team Up.  Hopefully if you were new to The Super-Hero Satellite you like what you saw and will once again join our mighty crew to race back into the glorious 1980s for more Retro adventures. Satellite File: In 1981 Mattel Toy Company developed the first glimpse of the Masters Of the Universe Toy-line. Their plan however would blaze trails. It would be the first show based on a toy-line and TV series that would air in unison with each other.

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Begin Transmission: Feb. 20 2015

I may have been one of the biggest Masters Of the Universe in my home town. I had a great collection of figures, vehicles , Play-Sets and animals. I was a big He-Man fan and the He-Man and The Masters of the Universe animated series was a staple in my home. I digested all the MOTU as I could. I devoured the television animated series from Filmation. To this day when I see the scrolling Filmation logo and chime… it means He-Man! I loved the Masters of The Universe comic books from DC and Marvels STAR Imprint. The Marvel Masters Of The Universe title maybe the single best Masters title out there and was 100% faithful to the source material of the cartoon! Plus my figure collection could stand up to anyone else’s in my home town. I thought I knew it all about the original Masters Of The Universe collection. I knew about every character..episode or comic book. If there was a trivia competition I would have bet the farm on myself…To Clarify my knowledge stopped at the original series. After its cancellation in the late 80s I did not keep up my level of fanaticism for the newer updated series in the 90s-2000s.

 

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That said..I knew my stuff…that is until I heard of He-Ro: Son Of He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe?? You may as well wonder what I am talking about. After the cancellation of He-Man and The Masters Of the Universe Series a prequel(She-Ra: The Princess Of Power not forgotten either!!) was in production without He-man in the lead role! Confused? I think its time we fill our data banks with knowledge. He-Ro originated as the proposed lead character of a new series “The Powers Of Grayskull”. At the very end of the Masters Of The Universe toy-line a prototype action figure of a brand new character called He-Ro…who at this point was NOT meant to be He-Mans son..but rather a relative who was not the most powerful man in the universe like He-Man..but rather the most powerful WIZARD in the universe…weird huh?

 

 

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“Powers Of Grayskull” would be a direct prequel to the He-Man and The Masters Of the Universe series that in the mid eighties, had reached its life expectancy. He-Ro was a figure prototype created to showcase the new lead star of the show..the Wizard, He-Ro. Interestingly enough poor He-Ro had two specific origins both totally unrelated. The first of which was as a direct ancestor of He-Man. The Powers of Grayskull show itself would be based in “Preternia” the precursor to what would become Eternia….essentially it was its prehistoric predecessor. It promised to deliver the complete back story to He-Man and the entire Masters Of The Universe lineage. All He-Mans secrets would be revealed. Like He-man himself, He-Ro was the secret identity of the man known as “Gray” would hold his hand to his chest and utter the words “Magic & strength tempered by heart..I stand For Peace “ and would transform into the “Mightest Wizard In The Universe”..He-Ro!

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The line was cancelled before many of these properties went into the development stage. The 1987 Mattel Toy Catalog published pictures of the proposed toys from the “Powers of Grayskull” line, including an action figure of He-Ro. Three of the dinosaur toys from the line actually made it to stores, and the two “giant” action figures saw release as exclusives in Italy, but He-Ro was never released as a toy.

 

Powers Of Grayskull figures

Though much has been speculated concerning the character in the intervening years by fans of the He-Man franchise, He-Ro remains as much a mystery today as he was in 1987, when a perplexed He-Man was forced to ask, “But who is he?” The show died before it was green lit and the concept was seemingly aborted..that is until Lou Shiemer, the original shows producer ,took ownership in creating a brand new sequel a few years later that would be known as HE-RO: Son Of He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe.

 

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This time the rules changed. In fact everything about He-Ros origin was washed away and now He-Ro was now actually He-Mans adopted son rather than a descendant  and did NOT live in the Pre-Eternian age but rather after the events featured in the original Masters Of The Universe television cartoon series. As the story goes He-Ro was raised in the plush jungles of Eternia by an indigenous creature known as a She-Bearcat who found the child shivering in the jungle and took him in as her own and raised him until his teenage years. He-Ro who took on the skills and senses of his jungle family could not only speak english but could communicate to the animals as well. He had heightened senses of speed, and smell and took on the acrobatic skills of his jungle friends and could swing through the jungle like an Eternian Tarzan. His animal mother passed on, as a result orphaning He-Ro to the Jungle once again. Meanwhile Adam , who as we all know as He-Man, is  for-told of the boy who would one day take his place as the holder of the Power Sword of Grayskull. He-Man climbs aboard his friend Battle Cat Kringer and summons his trusty friends Man At Arms and Orko and heads off on a blind quest to find this folklore legend “The Lost Child Of The Jungle”.

 

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The Wild Child is No Myth..

 

 

He-Man, after the events of MOTU TV Series had defeated Skeletor and his army, had married Teela and now reigned over Eternia as King and Queen. History of Pre-Eternia and several other concepts post TV series were seemingly dropped from cannon.What is interesting is that Shiemer had written an actual ending to the original animated series in which He-man with the help of The Sorceress not only defeated Skeletor and his goons but vanquished him off of Eternia in a frozen state never to be seen or heard from again..

 

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The Original Ending To Masters Of The Universe.

 

 

 

That is until Skeletor discovered a way to free himself of the spell of the Sorceress and He-Man. He then gathers his original army and begins a march upon Grayskull but not before hearing the tale of the Boy would be the new Most Powerful Man In The Universe..He-Ro..or at this point, the Lost Boy. Was this a mere legend? Could this possibly be true?…Parties in both good and evil camps could not risk the other finding out. So a parallel search begins with Skeletor and his army of thugs hunting for the same mystery child that He-Man and friends are searching for!! This potentially mythical “Wild Child” was now the crux behind the power struggle for Eternia.

 

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The BOSS is Back..

 

 

Skeletor’s hordes included some familiar faces such as his heavy Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn, the aquatic warrior Mer-Man (Who appeared to have taken on one of the most dramatic look changes) and Trap-Jaw (who literally does not resemble the mold of the original character!) Many more would be involved (not pictured) Such as ToungeLashor, Odar (Like Skunk face??), Missle -Toe, Evermean (a plant-based villain) and a metal toothed character named Saw Tooth.

 

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Skeletor’s army

 

Skeletor is first to actually find the Wild Child and begins poisoning his mind right away.  He tells him that He-Man and his friends being responsible for his mothers demise!!! Skeletor sets up shop on the top on the Mountains Of Fire (No Snake Mountain??) and sets a series of traps and obstacles in He-Mans path. Meanwhile Skeletor and the evil Sorceress Evil-Lyn have all but cast a spell over the Lost Child and are slowly weaning him to their dark intentions. He-Ro swears revenge on He-Man and his friends. He-Man and friends battle all of Skeletor’s hordes and manages to succeed in getting past the traps and enemies standing in the way of the child.

 

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“We Have The Power!!!”

 

 

Finally, an age-old rivalry is reborn as Skeletor and He-Man go to war one more time with the fate of the child hanging in the balance. Now aligned with Skeletor and his army, He-Ro finds out in short order that Skeletor is not what he says he is.  The Evil warrior brutally almost kills He-Ro’s bird friend, Craven while attempting to get to He-Man. The Wild Child lays his life on the line to defend He-Man and his friends and with all their forces combined, Skeletor and his army is driven away!! He-Man and the Eternian warriors return to his kingdom with the child. From there the boy is adopted by Adam and Teela and is named officially Dare. In an interesting note, by the age of 13 He-Ro is now resembling a hero he is able to seek the heroic transformation from Dare to He-Ro with the magical power sword bestowed to Adam years earlier. What is surprising is that only in circumstances of extreme situations He-Man and He-Ro cannot appear together..only one or the other can transform at a time. Only in dire times the dual transformations can occur as they share the power sword and repeating their individual transformation tagline and “We have the power!” .

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He-Ro would have lots of help defending his fathers Kingdom!

 

He-Ro, like He-Man in his prime was surrounded by a great supporting cast. Some familiar faces make up He-Ro’s new contingent of Eternian Defenders. He-Ro’s answer to He-Mans love interest Teela of course would be Kay-La. Like her mother she has an affection for strong men not weaklings like Dare. Joining the supporting cast would be Ram-Man, who was a carry over from the original MOTU cartoon. He is seen in a revised state here with improved armor. As an aside Ram-Man, was always one of my favorite original MOTU action figures!!

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Ram-Man, A crude but great figure from the original Masters Of The Universe line.

 

 

The cast included a couple of newer characters as well that would have been easy money for Mattel at the toy stores..Air bag and Forklift!! (Not so sure on the Air Bag name..but I digress.) With them as well would be a very “Metamorpho” (Editors note: Metamorpho is a classic DC comics Super-Hero) looking Man-E-Faces who like Ram-Man, was also a classic MOTU character re-imagined!! Of course old favorites like ORKO (Not pictured) would return as well!! This would be Eternia`s finest! So back to Dare and Kay-La..

He-ro Supporting cast

 

Dares love interest is very similar to He-Mans and Teelas, who, not coincidentally, was the Daughter of Man At Arms. Well looks like that runs in the family as Dare is paired with Kay-La, Man At Arms Niece to be taught the ways of the warrior. At first Kay-La thinks that this assignment is a pure inconvenience but grows to respect Dare. With a new cast of Heroes we are off to the races…this new version of He-Man was ready to hit the mass market…Toy companies would have had a new batch of MOTU to line the shelves of retailers all over the world..the classic Filmation Logo would have tinkled across the screen for another trip back to Eternia ..but it was not meant to be. The concept would go no further than Lou Shiemers “He-Ro and the Masters Of the Universe Bible”..and the project was permanently shelved when the production company DIC didnt express any further interest in developing the series. fans who want to read the complete details on this project by all means check out http://old.he-man.org/cartoon/exclusivefeatures/exclusive-heroseriesbible-intro.shtml for the complete production proposal!!

Our time on Eternia is almost done Heroes…it is time to head back to the iso-quarters of the Satellite and shut down the archives for a short time..until we return with the next installment of Super-Blog Team Up where we tackle…well..take a look for yourselves!!

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Take care Heroes..see you soon when the SBTU Returns for round 6!!

 

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End Transmission.

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Welcome back Satellite subscribers! Time to get your Hero on as today we jump into the center of an Alien invasion! The Alien hordes of the notorious Red Falcon have taken over an island in South America! Fortunately we have the called in the best two damn commandos the word has ever seen..Bill “Mad Dog” Rizer and Lance “Scorpion” Bean. Time to lock em down!! Aboard the Satellite Heli shuttle we have no time to waste..we have to stop the Red Falcon  before they take over the world!

 

Begin Transmission: March 19 2014

This game spoke to me one Christmas as it sat on the shelves of our local Woolco. That X-Mas morning it would be mine!

Of course..if you are not a retro gamer and havent figured it out yet..we are talking about the 1987 NES Video game Contra..It was 1980 something and in a sea of wrapping paper I was nowhere to be found as I was frantically hooking up my brand new NES Entertainment system to my sweet 13 inch color TV in my bedroom! That morning I was bestowed , Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, NES Pro Wrestling, Super Mario Bros (Free with system!) and of course..CONTRA!! Only a couple of months earlier after creating my Xmas wish list I had noticed this game on the locked display cabinets of our local Woolco store. The case itself spoke to me and t was no trouble to see why. First a bit of context.

There was no bigger action hero then “Arnold” in the 1980s! Predator was a huge hit for Schwarzenegger and would be the inspiration for games like Contra!

The 1980s were a time of an action movie explosion. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was on top of the world with huge hits such as Terminator and Running man. Predator would become yet another huge win for Arnold and would directly influence many sci-fi movies afterwards. The over the top Austrian known for his witty one liners such as “Ill be back” was the king of Hollywood and would remain as such well into the 90s as well.Arnold would become the inspiration for the Player one character in Contra..Bill “Mad Dog” Rizer. Hot on his heels would be another character would be making waves on the same fast track as Arnold…a guy named Stallone!

Rambo would be Stallone’s second HUGE character that he would be known for and one of my personal faves of the 80s! Rambo 2 was a frequent guest in my VCR!

Sylvester Stallone, better know in the 1980s as Rocky Balboa of the Rocky movie film franchise struck pay dirt again with the character of John Rambo in the movie series First Blood! Like Arnold, Stallone was the ultimate commando fearless and unstoppable, Rambo was a high school boys idol. Hell every kid I knew had a Rambo “Survival Knife” strapped to their side for play. No parent in their right mind would intentionally hand a 13-year-old a hunting knife and tell them to go play! Bottom Line Rambo was hot and was the inspiration for the second player in the game we are discussing....Lance “Scorpion” Bean.

The game itself was VERY challenging. As you ran through the jungles of South America, through highly secure military compounds, though Waterfalls, ad finally directly into the heart of the Aliens lair doing so in the 3 men you were allotted was no fun. In fact…discouraging. This game sat on the “Last In Line” pile as I spent the early months of my NES gaming experience defeating Koopas in Super Marion Bros, Knocking Out Mike Tyson’s ass in Punch Out and proudly defeating Great Puma to with the VWA world title in NES Pro Wrestling. So with all the other conquered games laying in my wake one of my friends who did not have the luxury of an NES system decided we should tag team Contra. Surely our forces combined would whip this game in no time fast. Sadly the answer was no..the Red Falcons hordes were too much for Bill and Lance..that is until we got an advantage..

Nintendo Power changed the way we played video games..no longer a slave to 3 men..this book helped us destroy games like never before!

Nintendo Power magazine came on the fore front of many gamers libraries. Debuting in 1988 Nintendo Power was the premier and longest running video game magazine ever published lasting an extraordinary 24 years! It contained Reviews, teasers, comics, coupons, extras like stickers, posters, but most importantly..cheat codes!!

Nintendo Power provides the goods for the downfall of Red falcon and his Alien goons!

Yes the Konami Code as it would become know to gamers for then till today became an instant hit with Contra fans. First used in the game Gradius but popularized by Contra the pushing of the directional keys UP, UP, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left Right, B, A, Start at the title screen would unlock what Nintendo Power called the “Extra Life Command” and it was awesome! Soon after I learned how to execute the Konami Code Contra was done for. Many evenings after school myself and my good friend John Mckechnie (Where are you bro?) would begin our termination of the Contra Alien races. It was incredible! Level by level we whipped major 8 bit ass and the NES became a destination daily for us. Bill and Lance finally had the revenge we were looking for.

Contra the game was a simple run and shoot type of game. It was a classic 8 bit side scroller filled with challenging stages and enemies.!

Entering the base. The beginning of you Contra campaign!

Contra featured some of the best looking super bads in the 8 Bit world of the NES. The Giant Leaping Disk Throwing Alien that guards the door to the energy zone is one of the best in gaming history!

The Guard at the door using throwing disks to send you to an early grave!

The Base 1 Boss put you to the test!

Red Falcon had an abundance of mechanical technological contraptions sent to block passage to the lair!

Bosses like the stage 3 Waterfall Boss were awesome in its day and a pleasure to destroy! Check out this cool deviant art version of this boss!

Nothing was cooler than coming face to face with the Red Falcon..but was terrified to know that even after killing this bad boy you still had to kill its heart!!

Scorpions be damned. Nothing will stop me with 30 men behind me from taking out the final boss of Stage 8 the very heart of the Red Falcon!

The fun of the game came in using the extra weapons that you could pick up along the way! You start the game with a rifle but there are many more weapons that made your game much more enjoyable.

  • Machine gun (rapid-fires repeatedly while the fire button is depressed)
  • Laser gun (fires one lazer bolt of energy at a time) Sometimes letharigic but incredibly powerful
  • Spreader (Spray) gun (fires five projectiles at once in an array that spreads apart as it travels away from the player) Best weapon in the game. Incredibly powerful and enjoyable to use!
  • Fireball gun (fires spining fire ball bullets)
  • Rapid fire (increases bullet velocity) This one can be added to a gun in use to make an existing gun faster. Deadly when combined with Spreader gun or Lazer!
  • Barrier (temporary invincibility)

Contra, even in its years of retirement as I grew into adulthood would always be played in my house whether it was on my old long lamented NES, emulators or on my Wii Virtual console. My son’s and I (5, and 13 years of age) have spent a lot of time recently playing this game and its sequels and even to this day it remains a favorite in the house. In a sad story during my university years my vast amount of Nintendo cartridges went missing! I accidentally discovered my collection at a used flea market type shop and had to call the police. Only the games I could prove were mine were returned and several games like Contra were stolen from me like a thief in the night. BASTARDS!! I know who you are!! LOL..but I digress.

Hope you have enjoyed your tour of Red Falcon Island..it has been my pleasure to be your guide. But we just blew up the heart of the Red Falcon..back to the Heli – Shuttle …this baby’s gonna BLOW!!

Later Heroes!!

 

End Transmission…

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