Old Masters of the Universe Ads

Friday Five is a quick list of five things with a common theme, and instead of doing a big write-up, I’m doing it in pictures (or videos) with just a couple of sentences to give context to the picks. You can play along by adding some of your own in the comments.


The early days of the Masters of the Universe brand were fascinating. I’ve covered a couple of the early ads here and here, and in this Friday Five post, we’re going to take a look at five more.


I’m not sure exactly when this ad is from, but it’s either from 1981 or very early 1982, as the quip at the bottom of the scroll says more figures will be coming later in 1982. And the fact that it only features characters from the original wave of figures, solidifies that thought.

The Beast Man interpretation is pretty cool in this one. I’m sure it would have been difficult to convey this look onto a plastic action figure, but that would have been a great-looking figure. It would have also been good if this interpretation was what we had gotten in the animated series as well. It would have been pretty hard to portray him as a goof like they did if the character looked like this.

Here’s another one from the early days, and it’s a sale ad from a newspaper. Again, only some figures from the original wave are featured. It’s interesting that it’s Beast Man and Stratos featured in the ad and no He-Man and Skeletor. But even though they are featured prominently, the ad seems geared more toward promoting Castle Grayskull instead of the figures.

While that $21.47 price tag after rebates sounds appealing, if you adjust it for inflations, it works out to be $65.92 in 2022 dollars. That’s right in the range I would think it should be. The figure’s price of $3.88 translates to $11.91. At that kind of price point, I’m surprised I ended up with as many figures as I did as a kid.

This ad is from 1982 and from a newspaper as well. Besides advertising several cool toys, this ad promotes the ability to meet He-Man and Skeletor in person at the local department store.

Those in-person meeting opportunities still fascinate me. They certainly weren’t going to happen in my neck of the woods. I’ve seen just a few pictures online, and don’t believe I’ve come across any stories from anyone who actually went to one. If you ever got to go to one, by all means, please share your story in the comment section.

This is a beautiful ad right here. It’s an ad from some kind of trade magazine trying to entice store owners to carry the product. Using Star Wars figures in the background is a nice move as they try to show that those toys are the past, and He-Man is the future. It details how popular the line was the year before, selling over five million figures, and promising more new figures to come. Towards the end, it mentions the opportunities for in-store experiences like we saw in the previous ad. I’m sure with the powerful imagery featured, and those statistics on sales numbers from the year before, this ad convinced a few more stores to get on board.

And finally, we come to an ad from late in the brand’s heyday. This is an ad for the Masters of the Universe magazine, which was a quarterly magazine that was only available through subscription. It features three actual issues in this ad, and if you want to see what this magazine was all about, check out the Time Capsule feature here on Retro Ramblings to browse through the entire issue pictured on the far right.

When it came to magazines like these, I always drooled over them. They were available featuring brands like MOTU, G.I. Joe, The Smurfs, Barbie, and more. The closest I ever got to that was a subscription to LEGO’s Brick Kicks magazine in the late ’80s. I was disappointed by it, but I believe I would have found this magazine fully worth the time since I was a bit younger and it would have been geared more towards my age.


If old Masters of Universe stuff is your thing, then don’t leave the sight without checking out the full scan of the 1986 Masters of the Universe Toy Catalog.

TRN Time Machine Podcast: What We Loved About 1993

The TRN Time Machine podcast is hosted by myself and Jason Gross as part of The Retro Network. I’ve not had time be very involved over the last couple of months, but I hate to let those great old episodes just sit there gathering dust. So I’m going to start presenting them here for a new audience to discover and enjoy.

In this episode, the TRN Time Machine travels back to the ’90s as we select random Things We Loved About 1993. Everything from movies we saw, TV shows we watched, albums we listened to, and sports moments we witnessed are included in the discussion. Join us for a fun trip back to our high school years and the pop culture that influenced us.

Five of My Favorite Old Hot Wheels Cars

Friday Five is a quick list of five things with a common theme, and instead of doing a big write-up, I’m doing it in pictures (or videos) with just a couple of sentences to give context to the picks. You can play along by adding some of your own in the comments.


I spent a lot of time when I was younger playing with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. Just like with any other toy line, you always have a favorite few that you gravitate to. I was no different when it came to Hot Wheels. I had a ton of them, but there were a few that I would call my favorites. So for this Friday FIve, I’m sharing five of my favorites with you.

Fire Eater Fire Truck

My Dad was a fireman and the Fire Eater looked identical to one of the trucks at the local station where he served. Even though I had most of the Code Red fire trucks produced by Matchbox (which I covered here), the Fire Eater was still my go-to for imaginary fire fighting. That’s a big statement for me since I was such a big fan of the TV show. I had almost every fire truck that was available on store shelves back then, but this one was always the lead truck in the garage. It’s a beautiful representation of a fire truck, except for the blue light. But to be honest, the blue light and the blue accents in the back of the truck are part of what makes it such a great-looking Hot Wheel.

Dixie Challenger

You know by now that The Dukes of Hazzard was my favorite TV show when I was young. I had a lot of merchandise based on the show, but for a while, I lacked a 1:64 scale General Lee to play with. That’s where the Dixie Challenger came in. Up until the point I got my first true General Lee to play with, this filled the role pretty well. It kinda looked like the General Lee, and had a fast enough look that there were never any problems imagining it could outrun whatever police cars were in my collection. Once I got my General Lee, the Dixie Challenger was relegated to being the car driven by Bo & Luke’s cousins, Coy & Vance. I still can’t believe I subjected such a beautiful car to that kind of fate.

Cat Bulldozer

When I wasn’t fighting imaginary fires or running from Roscoe and Enos, I was playing in the dirt with construction vehicles. Well, not dirt. Coal dust actually. Which is a really fine black powder that gets into every possible crevice and can create a huge mess. But it was also the best substance on earth for playing with toys like these. I had a whole fleet of construction-type cars. I had regular dozers, cement mixers, scrapers, front-end loaders, and more. But this Cat Bulldozer seemed special because it had actual treads, and those two extra wheels to extend the tread just seemed so cool. It moved a lot of coal dust in its day for sure.

Rambling Wrecker

One of the earlier Hot Wheels cars I can remember being fascinated by was this Rambling Wrecker..or as I used to call it…Larry’s tow truck. I mean it’s emblazoned right there on the side of the thing. As a kid, what else would you call it? This was a must-have for someone like me who “wrecked” a lot of cars. I took the whole “wrecked car” thing farther than a lot of kids did though, as I would take some of the older cars I had gotten as hand-me-downs from my brother that I didn’t like very much and beat the snot out of them with hammers. That gave them that realistic feel. Of course, this was before Hot Wheels came out with their “Crack-Ups” line (which I covered here) and did the job for me in a much better manner than I ever could. And I would be failing you all if I did not include the fact that this Rambling Wrecker made a great stand-in for Cooter’s tow truck when playing with the Dixie Challenger as the General Lee.

Fun Fact: The original version of this tow truck had a phone number printed on the side of it. One of the folks at Mattel used their own phone number and ended up getting so many calls at their home they had to change their number.

Masters of the Universe Snake Mountain Challenge Car

So this beautiful work of art came included in the Masters of the Universe Snake Mountain Challenge playset that came out in ’85 or ’86. It was the car with which you attempted to run the course and escape Snake Mountain. I got the playset for Christmas in 1986, and as I’ve detailed before, my brother, my dad, and I spent a significant portion of the afternoon attempting the challenge. Beyond those fond memories though, they couldn’t have done a better job making this car seem like it came from Eternia…if Eternia actually had cars. But the look of it with its color scheme and all, makes it seem like it would have a home among the many various vehicles that inhabited Eternia. Maybe if it had treads instead of tires.


More toy nostalgia…