While many fans know of the similarities between John Blackstar and his cartoon adventures, to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, not everyone knows that Blackstar actually appeared in an episode of the original Filmation cartoon. Blackstar had been a Filmation cartoon just before Masters of the Universe and in many ways set the tone for the upcoming MOTU show. Incredibly, Filmation reused many character models, sound effects and backgrounds for their new He-Man show. Of course, this was often par for the course in those days.
But in the early Masters of the Universe first season episode, “Temple of the Sun”, a statue of John Blackstar appears. It’s only on the screen for a few seconds, but it’s clearly there. Blackstar’s Starsword is visible, as is his medallion. Clearly Filmation was putting this into the show as a nice little nod to their previous program, but it’s become much more than just a little Easter Egg. For fans of MOTU, this links the two programs together with a nod to the mythos of Blackstar.
Did Blackstar land on Eternia at some point? Was Blackstar’s adventures on an ancient Eternia? It would certainly explain many of the similarities. Ultimately this fun little throw away scene, has added a lot of intrigue and mystery to the Masters of the Universe lore. Something Filmation never would have known they were doing all those years ago.
This week, Isaac Heller, Co-Founder of Remco passed away. It’s rare we mention toy company owners or creators deaths here at Infinite Hollywood, but Heller is a special case because he helped create Remco. Because Remco was such a small company and one that never quite got the mainstream attention that it deserved, we thought it only fitting to pay tribute here to a man who helped create one of our favorite companies.
Heller started his company in 1949 along with his cousin. Their early toys were built around remote control concepts and the name Remco, came from that idea. Eventually they would spread out and do plenty of different types of toys. In the mid 1970’s, Remco was bought out by AHI (Azrak-Hamway International) and went on to produce some of the most memorable toys of the 1980s, including AWA Wrestling Figures, Universal Monsters, Crystar, Lost World of the Warlord and even SWAT Kats.
While Isaac Heller didn’t have any input into those toys, it was his creation of Remco that led to such things eventually being produced under that brand name. Heller likely had no idea his toy brand would eventually become synonymous with classic action figures, but eventually it did. If it weren’t for a pioneer like Heller, we’d likely never gotten those awesome Remco toys of the 80s. So today we memorialize this icon of the industry.
It’s hard to characterize Sungold as distinctly bootleg toys, since the company existed for a long time, marked their product and had many of their toylines legitimately bootlegged. So starting off a new feature on the site about bootleg toys, with a toy that’s not a bootleg in the most direct sense of the term isn’t exactly full of journalistic integrity. But the truth is, Wacky Knockoffs didn’t have the same ring to it and people seem to interchange the terms of knockoff and bootleg pretty freely these days, especially where it comes to Sungold toys.
Sungold produced a ton of Masters of the Universe type knockoffs throughout the 1980’s and into the mid 1990’s with a variety of different concepts. Most were pretty straight forward lines, inspired by the sword and sorcery genre. Naturally it was only a matter of time before wrestlers, mutants and monsters all followed. Today though, we’re taking a look at one of the later releases, which doesn’t really fit into the aforementioned categories very organically. It’s the SKATE MACHINE!
After years of producing MOTU knockoffs, Sungold freshened up their line with a rather obscure and pretty hard to find late addition to their offerings. A spinoff of the Galaxy Warrior line, it was titled, Galaxy Warrior: End of Time – The Last Battle. The figures were more colorful, reflecting the early 90’s neon craze and offered up a bit more in terms of weapons and armor. Perhaps strangest of all, the line used largely all new sculpts of bizarre creatures that seemed more like Mego Star Trek aliens than He-Man bad guys. Continue reading