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The Battle Over Who Created “He-Man”

Toy Masters is a feature-length documentary (currently in production) on the story behind the toy line and animated series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. In addition to interviews with all the principals behind the toys and Filmation cartoon, the preview below contains the central conflict of the film – the stories of toy designers Roger Sweet and Mark Taylor, both of whom claim to have created He-Man:

  • Adam Bestler

    Lou Scheimer is sitting there going “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!”

  • JP

    I thought He-Man was invented by Ruby-Spears and called Thundarr the Barbarian. ;-)

  • Grant Beaudette

    Further proof that Tom Sito’s involved in absolutely everything in animation.

  • If ANYONE deserves some credit in the inspiration of He-Man it should be Frank Frazetta.

  • GW

    If I were involved in creating something as abominous as He-Man, I wouldn’t want any credit.

  • James Fox

    Please let this be available on Netflix for streaming!

  • jordan reichek

    Looks like a therapy session.

    They should make a series out of this and back to back “Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neils.

    I have a feeling the climax ends with lots of explosions…

  • looniINmiami

    Gotta see it NOW!

  • Mister Twister

    Two manly men created He-Man.

  • “He-man!… That’s a great name!”

    On which planet is that a great name, specifically?

    • JP

      Eternia, naturally ;-)

    • huston

      On the planet of WEST HOLLYWOOD

  • Tom Minton

    I’ll bet the climax consists of the same explosion, re-used 967 times.

    • jordan reichek

      ahhh….the golden age of Filmation!

  • Toonio

    I learned If you are going to meet with a bunch of grown men that play with hedonistic toys, you better pack some heat.

    And with Tom Sito working at filmation on He Man and John K working at Hanna Barbera in the 80s I understood that in the animation business you pay your dues big time.

  • D

    I don’t see anyone fighting for the credit of creating Orko

  • Dcollard

    Megaton Man sounds a lot cooler.

    • what_in_the_cel

      Megaton Man was actually a comic book character around the early to mid 80s. I think it he was published by Kitchen Sink Press. Still have them somewhere.

  • dbenson

    I remember reading something to the effect that Mattel was all geared up to do a toy line on “Conan the Barbarian,” but backed out when they realized it wasn’t going to be a G-rated kid’s adventure. “He-Man” was explicitly created to fill that hole, a watered-down “Conan” disguised with sci-fi elements.

    That doesn’t necessarily conflict with the debate shown here. They naturally wouldn’t want to emphasize the original “inspiration” was a big recent movie they passed on, but the stuff about out-Schwarzeneggering Arnold is suggestive.

    • Funkybat

      I always assumed that He-Man was a direct result of the Conan hype in the very early 80s. Even though I didn’t see Conan back then, I was well aware of the “look” and general kind of “world” of the film, and took He-Man as just another case of one part of Hollywood aping off of another. Yes, even at a single-digit age, it was that obvious to me that that’s how the entertainment industry worked.

      While there is plenty of “cheese factor” to He-Man, I have to say I still enjoy it for what it is, and would love to see this documentary and learn more on the “secret origins” of the franchise.

  • Jeff

    That clip from that religious program is from a show called “The Eagle’s Nest”. I saw the He-Man episode on YouTube and was (unintentionally) hilarious. Unfortunately it has since been taken down.

    They tell this “horrible” story about a child hearing someone say that God is the “master of the universe”, and then the kid says, “God isn’t master of the universe, mommy. He-man is!”

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It was later sold as a video under the title “Deception of a Generation” where it’s pretty much that whole episode between those guys as they go and play with the Snake Mountain playset, show clips from “The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo”, going on about how these kids were worshiping He-Man like Jesus, symbols of the occult and all that. It’s a laugh to at least see what they say/do here.

      • Funkybat

        Wow. Talk about “forgotten memories.” I *very* vaguely remember hearing some of this “toys/cartoons are Satanic” hub-bub, including the line about “He-Man is the Master of the Universe, not Jesus!” Must be the same nuts who thought Dungeons and Dragons was akin to evil sorcery. Glad my folks never bought into any of that…

        Spreading “the news” about conspiracy theories like this much have been so much harder in the pre-World Wide Web age. Today, you can find online all kinds of bizarre, sometimes very entertaining deconstructions of how various popular shows, toys, etc. are part of some master plan to control/destory our minds.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        The whole thing’s up on YouTube if you like to check it out, it’s pretty much what people did in those pre-WWW days to get their opinions out to the masses.

  • tom

    Those were powerfully ugly toys.

  • The movie looks all kinds of awesome! Even better than “King of Kong”, can’t wait to see it!

  • Nightmare Is Near

    The real winner in this is always going to be Mattel with all money they make from the He-man toys. Same goes with “He-Mater and the Masters of the Cariverse” and She-Ra.

  • I would challenge anyone to nasty profanities at 20 paces who would claim I had created anything so dumb.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      No you haven’t Gene, you did far better than this!

  • steve w.

    I wish Joe Mazzuca (1935-2002)was still living. Joe was Filmation’s vice president in charge of production at the time, and he always had great He-Man stories to tell.