Monday, January 09, 2017
Memories of Eternia
It was with a healthy dose of nostalgic glee that my brother gave me a Masters of the Universe calendar for Christmas this year. I was pretty lucky to have a lot of toys when I was a kid, and the holy trinity of the 1980s -- G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Masters of the Universe -- was pretty well represented in my bedroom. As an adult, looking back, I declare Transformers to be my favourite, but Christmas always makes me the most nostalgic for Masters of the Universe.
It probably has a lot to do with the fact that my very first crystal-clear memory of Christmas has to do with Masters of the Universe toys. I was about six years old. The cartoon had just premiered, so naturally, I was nuts for it. We were spending Christmas with my Opa and Oma down in Red Deer. The German tradition is you open your presents on Christmas Eve, so, there we were, tearing open our presents, and I was overjoyed at the first two Masters of the Universe figures I ever had the pleasure of receiving: the evil Skeletor, leader of the forces of evil, and his minion Faker, an evil robot duplicate of our hero, He-Man.
And they were the perfect to take command of the biggest gift I got that year: Point Dread and the Talon Fighter. Point Dread was a playset: a tiny tower just barely big enough to hold a single action figure. But it was just a glorified landing pad for the Talon Fighter: a jet aircraft designed to resemble an eagle. And, wouldn't you know it, just big enough to hold two figures!
While in canon as a base of operations for the heroes, it didn't take much imagination to declare Point Dread had been overrun by the villains, and was now a hideout for Skeletor and Faker. I loved it so much. I played with it for several months after Christmas. In Grade 1, we had to keep a daily journal, and I remember several entries dedicated to the machinations of Skeletor and what he was doing with the power of Point Dread at his command. But my most vivid memory is always of coming home from school one day. My mother had tidied up my room. I went to my room to play and there, perched upon my dresser, was the Talon Fighter, perched atop Point Dread, and in the cockpit, Skeletor and Faker were ready for action. It looked so perfect. The sun was coming through the window and hitting it the right way. God, it was like the idol at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
And from them on, most Christmases in my childhood were highlighted with a new Masters of the Universe toy or two. One year an aunt got me Wind Raider. Wind Raider! The hero's main jet fighter on the show. I'd only ever seen it on the cartoon, but never in the stores, so I was starting to think it was made up for the show. There was the crawling Dragon Walker. I remember opening up the kitchen table and taking out the centre leaf, and setting it to traverse a wide crevasse, as it did on the TV commercials.
But the one that was long talked about afterwards was the Christmas of two Snake Mountains. Snake Mountain -- Skeletor's domain, and the second-most famous playset in the toyline, after Castle Greyskull. Another Christmas Eve at Opa and Oma's. I tore into my biggest Christmas present to find it was Snake Mountain! I thanked my uncle. Then I tore into another one, from another uncle, to find it was...also Snake Mountain! My uncles shot each other a worried glance, as it turned out they forgot to co-ordinate with each other. While I tore into one, my uncle said he'd return the second one and get me something else.
I finally got the much-coveted Castle Greyskull earlier that year, for my birthday. My birthday happened to fall on a Saturday that year, so I was up before anyone else to watch cartoons, as I always did on Saturday. I quietly crept down to the living room, turned the corner, and was face-to-face with that grim green skull that was the face of Castle Greyskull. I was quite startled, so I turned around and went back to bed. A little while later, my Dad got up, and heard me rustling around in my room. So Dad took me down to the living room, and there it was. Castle Greyskull! Battle Armor Skeletor! Battle Armor He-Man! Mekaneck! All for me, and on my birthday! Greatest birthday ever!
Sadly, by the time I got Castle Greyskull, Point Dread had been well-played with and had actually gone missing, so I was never able to try on of Point Dread's features: the top half of Point Dread could attach to one of Castle Greyskull's towers, thus creating a Talon Fighter landing pad at Castle Greyskull.
And that's probably why I get most nostalgic for Masters of the Universe. I don't have anything left. I still have a few G.I. Joes and Transformers that I managed to hang onto over the years, but no Masters of the Universe stuff. In fact, Masters of the Universe is the one toy I had where I made the conscious decision to get rid of it. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I was thinking, "Yeah, I'm done with this," and sold it all at a garage sale.
I've never been the kind to browse eBay and try to re-collect my Masters of the Universe stuff. I'm more content to just sit back and be nostalgic. But part of me wouldn't mind getting Skeletor, Faker, Point Dread and the Talon Fighter once again, to perch majestically on my dresser.