Eternia, circa 1986

Wow. The stereotype of the 1980s yuppie obsessed with technology, particularly the then-new technology of mass market video cameras, has paid off for us in spades, folks.

Some wise soul–specifically, the father of YouTube user sammyb7883–sacrificed a videocassette that could have been used to tape that night’s rerun of Cheers to give us He-Fans a glance into a world we thought was gone–namely, Eternia itself, replicated in miniature at a mall in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Watch the whole thing. The bored Hordak at the beginning is misleading. You’re soon taken into some sort of mystical cave featuring a gigantic Snake Mountain set. An announcer lists each new He-Man figure for the season, who gets a moment in the spotlight. And then–AND THEN–the battle begins!

Seriously, what is going on here? Is that a TV screen showing something filmed on a set designed to look exactly like the mountain? Holograms? Actual magic? I…I can’t tell.

Thanks to David O’Brien for the tip.

Comments now closed (26)

  • I am absolutely thrilled this video exists. I know it's difficult to convey to the next generation of children to play with toys how magical it was to be a kid growing up in the 1980s. Between this and that life size Land Shark vehicle, now we have some very substantial proof!

    As far as the technology for the battle – which was AWESOME – I'm guessing that it's some sort of hologram thing. Anyone who has ever been to any Ripley's Believe It or Not (at least in the 1990s) will probably remember some little leprechaun sitting on a barrel that used similar technology.

    There was also an arcade game called "Time Traveler" where you played a time traveling cowboy that used similar technology.

  • I'm with Ben, the first thing I thought of when I saw the battle was Time Traveler. I remember playing that game back in the day, and it had a very similar effect.

  • My work computer doesn't have the apps (or speakers) to watch video, but I cannot wait to see this when I get home!

  • I can't imagine how amazing that would've have been to kids back in the day…wait, yes I can because its' still amazing today! Maybe if they'd done some promotion like that around the country the line might have lasted a few more years!

  • To be fair to the "yuppie" with an expensive camera… This is exactly the kind of thing he should have been recording.

    nerdbot wrote:

    Wow… Why the hell don’t they do stuff like that anymore!?!

    Because Mattel spent like $200 billion dollars on developing ideas like this to advertise Snout Spout?

    He-Man damn near put them in the poor house, haha.

    Fun fact: Vintage MOTU figures from 1986 have more articulation than 2011 Green Lantern 3 3/4 movie figures.

    I believe it was Mego who really innovated these sort of in-store concepts, though. The Mego guys were known for blowing huge amounts of money to advertise their toys in strange campaigns, that were, admittingly like this, cool to kids.

  • Pfft! Even the He-logram there at the end didn't have proper wrist articulation to hold the sword aloft!

    Seriously though, this reminds me of those bygone days when toy stores actually had opened figures on display. I have very fond memories of Super Powers toys in a case at True Value, of all places. Good times.

  • @ masterelrond:

    I've been seeing a lot of open figure displays at Target and Walmart recently, mostly Lego…but there is a POTC display at my Walmart. I agree, there should be more of this.

  • By the way, I wonder how long after this footage was taken it took for the railings to warp on the Eternia playset. Am I right, folks?

  • Slack-jawed amazement is all I can muster right now. That was such a beautiful piece of history – thank you for bringing it to our attention, and thanks to the family who created it in the first place!

    I think Ultra He-Man collectors now have a new grail piece: the 1986 room-sized magical marketing playset!

  • That 20 second battle was way better than the live-action He-Man movie…

    I would love to walk into a Toys R Us and see a giant toy-themed display like that. In today’s market, if they want kids to want toys, they need to “wow” them with some unique in-store displays and, in general, more creative marketing. Like Ben said, bring some of that magic back.

  • That was great. Advertisers take note: maybe the good ole fashioned carney-style hawking doesn't have to give way entirely to the web, viral campaigns and flashmobs.

  • Ben wrote:

    Anyone who has ever been to any Ripley’s Believe It or Not (at least in the 1990s) will probably remember some little leprechaun sitting on a barrel that used similar technology.

    I went to Ripleys in Tennessee in the early 90's and they had this same sort of gimmick… Except it was a genie in a bottle. Also it was live. They had it rigged up so that the girl (who was hot) could see the people out on the street and thus you could interact with her.

    It was really cool, but there was this guy making a lot of crude comments to her. When we went back later, she had left. I assume the guy had said enough nasty stuff to make he second guess her career choices or something.

    Still, it was neat and I think, a cooler premise than the Leprechaun.

  • that was friggin' awesome, why can't they do that for sdcc, fans would go head over heels for it

  • There was an exquisite He-Man display at The Toy Vault located in the No. Attleboro Mall. They went all out using just about every character, vehicles, Grayskull, Snake Mountain. They made it look like a real battlefield. Looking back now I wish I took pictures of it, but it was at least 4-5 years ago.

    I’ve noticed there are a lot more displays at TRU now. It’s a great way to show off the toy.

  • I remember that display coming to the Cleveland area. I didn't really remember the holograms but having seen it now, it's all coming back.

  • I think a large diorama display in a toy store would help move some G.I. Joe products; give kids a good look at how well the figures and vehicles interact and they might be more interested. Probably true with other stuff as well, obviously.

  • LBAM wrote:

    I think a large diorama display in a toy store would help move some G.I. Joe products; give kids a good look at how well the figures and vehicles interact and they might be more interested. Probably true with other stuff as well, obviously.

    Heck yeah.

  • That was so awesome. I think I have a tear in my eye. So cool. I remember when it used to be so great going into a toystore and seeing things like that. That Filmation music still gives me goosebumps.

    I'm not the only one who geeked out when they mentioned Snout Spout, am I?

    I also find it sad that the vintage King Hsss they showed in the video still has more snakes on it than the motuc classics one the 4H gave us, simply because they decided not to count past five. Still angry about that.

  • God bless the freakin' 80's!!!

    Best damn decade ever. That was un-by god-beliveable. Stuff like that is why MOTU has and will always be my fav toy line. Thanks for the nostalgia trip Poe!

  • That is an amazing display! It reminds me of a the Storybook Boat Ride from Disneyland, with all the miniature kingdoms and castles, only, you know, of course, with HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE!!! Awesome even today, and that would have blown my mind as a kid to see!

  • What a great video! Makes me wonder how many other hidden treasure recordings are still out there of events like this. I was 12 in 1986 and although Transformers rules my life at the time, I also had many He-Man figures.

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