Back in 1987, Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles, declared April 28 to be Masters of the Universe Day, in celebration of the live MOTU Power Tour performance that was running at the time.
It continues to be commemorated by fans to to this day, but I would propose an additional day to celebrate the most powerful toyline in the universe: March 1.
From December 1981 to January 1982, Mattel filed trademarks for their completed Masters of the Universe toyline, in preparation for the big product launch. The line (largely designed by Mark Taylor, vehicles by Ted Mayer) was first shown to the public on February 17, 1982, at New York Toy Fair. I believe it was first made available in retail stores on March 1 of 1982. That’s based on a piece of evidence taken from the first MOTU minicomic, He-Man and the Power Sword.
Included near the back of the minicomic was a cash rebate offer. Parents who purchased two of the eight MOTU figures available that year could get a rebate of $1.25.
There was a purchase date restriction on the offer. Purchases had to be made between March 1, 1982 and January 31, 1983.
I believe the earlier date represents the earliest date that these toys would have been available in stores – shortly after they were unveiled at New York Toy Fair. That would mean that March 1, 1982 was the day that children all over the country (and later, the world) were first introduced to the world of He-Man.
Since Masters of the Universe Day is already taken, I’d suggest we commemorate March 1 as He-Man Day.
Incidentally, in the animated He-Man episode, The Energy Beast, King Randor tries to create a He-Man Day, but He-Man is too modest at the time to accept it. I’d say after 36 years defending Eternia and Grayskull from the evil forces of Skeletor, he’s more than earned it.
Chema Villalba recently sent me another piece of evidence for a spring 1982 release of He-Man. In The Business of Children’s Entertainment (referencing 1982 promotional material) it is said that Mattel had introduced the Masters of the Universe line in the spring of that year:
Thanks to Chema for the reference!
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