He-Man had a special friend, and his name was Roboto.
The Masters of the Universe 'Power Tour', from 1987, was an undeniably success. More or less 'He-Man On Ice,' the live show was staged in arenas all across the country, and even managed to break a box office record at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The pictures you're going to see in this article will paint a picture of unbridled idiocy and mass stupidity, but every review I've read about the Power Tour claimed that it was actually rather well crafted. A lot of work went into the songs and the script, and even though they're enormously out there, I have to begrudgingly admit that the costumes were top notch.
A while back, we took a look at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' forage onto the stage, but unlike that clusterfuck of tripe and half-effort, Masters of the Universe got the royal treatment. Don't get me wrong, it's 100% comedy in retrospect. I've got the photos to prove that. But on the other side, young He-Fans were afforded the chance to live out their wildest fantasy -- seeing Skeletor sing limericks about the finer points of being a villain while gliding across a fog-drenched stage on god damned rollerskates.
X-E reader Dane Coffey was nice enough to scan the original Power Tour program for us, and honestly, nothing could prepare me for what was inside that infamous zip file. I've heard a lot and read a lot about the show over the years, but until you've actually seen photographic proof that there once existed a live-action 'Snout Spout' complete with the oversized robotic elephant trunk, it's pretty tough to believe. Plus, as popular as the series is becoming again these days, I very much doubt we'll ever get a show like this again. Society's tastes have changed, and even today's youngest kids are much too jaded to be interested in guys with goofy rubber suits smacking each other with fairy wands and plastic swords. I'm not entirely sure what you'd classify the Power Tour as, but it's certainly a lost art. Maybe for good reason.
We've taken a look at a lot of things that might've made you view He-Man in a different light. We've seen him meet Mario Lopez, we've seen him at Universal Studios. We've even seen him misleading kids about the charges of his very own 900 line. Still, I think this one's gonna take the cake. This is the He-Man that broke the mold. Today's article presents a closer look at the elusive and infamous Power Tour, complete with scans from the souvenir program which'll either give you terrible nightmares or make you want to dress up like a retard. Or both. This show was capable of anything.
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The storyline involved He-Man and She-Ra teaming up with all their buddies to protect the people of Earth against such dastardly villains as Skeletor and Hordak. According to the Power Tour, the best way to save mankind is by singing lots of songs about love and honor. Of course, the plot takes a backseat to the real reason people bought tickets: great costumes and cool special effects. Truly, this was quite a spectacle. Laser lights, lots of smoke, fireworks, characters arriving on intimidating flying platforms, the works. Given the series' popularity at the time, they could've easily gotten away with giving a half-assed effort and still raking in lots of dough. Instead, the Power Tour was intricately put together, lots of fun for kids, and all the while staying above that fine line of mind-numbing stupidity so all the tagalong parents wouldn't fall asleep or kill themselves.
The show's success was largely due to its timing. He-Man was one of the highest rated toons, had a line of toys that was setting sales records, and to top it all off, the guy was about to get his very own motion picture starring Dolph Lundgren. Had the Power Tour entered the fray even just a year later, it probably would've done very poorly. That would've been a serious waste of good Beast Man costumes; thank Grayskull we dodged the bullet. I'm willing to overlook the show's unforgiving cheesiness, because I'm positive I would've absolutely adored being there as a child. Hell, I'd probably still be into it today - I'm a sucker for big black guys with giant robot lobster claws growing off of their arms.
You're probably wondering which characters from the series were represented on the tour. They gave us a big handful - even some of the more obscure heroes and villains showed up with songs in their hearts and swords in their hands. After treating the audience to an extended Eternian history lesson, covering everything from He-Man's birth to his rise to power, the real adventures begun and all the characters came out of the woodwork. Here's a special look at the stars of the Masters of the Universe Power Tour, or at least the ones I've got pictures of. There were probably a few others, but they didn't get a spread in the program so they're obviously not worth talking about.
He-Man looked pretty on the mark. I'm not too sure about that silver vinyl chestplate, but at least the roided physique was appropriate. Looks like the poor guy had a bit of a hair bleach mishap, but it happens to the best of us. I feel I must reserve further comment until I'm willing to stand around in a costume like that and allow people to review me. If you're able to skate around a stage dressed like the gay porn version of Spartacus and not look completely revolting, you've gotta have something going for you.
Skeletor's costume was also on target - I'm surprised they never tried to sell outfits like this for Halloween. While the guy playing He-Man showed off real muscles, Skeletor opted to wear puffy clothes with inbuilt mounds that looked like biceps. He wasn't going to be outdone sheerly because of genetics or because he didn't have time to work out everyday. Personally, I think skeletons who wield large pointy swords don't really need the added umpf provided by great abs, but Skel was always a completist son of a bitch.
Man-At-Arms and Teela knocked things down a few notches. Particularly Teela - she looks so unlike the cartoon version that it wouldn't shock me to learn that she made her debut appearance on stage carrying a big sign reading 'I AM TEELA.' And while her hair is totally wrong, I won't discount the inherent glory found by trailing the gold trim on her outfit and landing squarely on a nipple. Besides, the only trait little boys noticed about Teela was that she was the only one in Eternia with great tits. Why not emphasize your strong points?
It's a little different with Man-At-Arms. He looks like the real deal, but I still can't shake the feeling that the costume was left over from a failed Beefsteak Charlie's commercial. I've always hated his costume, so I'm a little biased. However, seeing the live-action version of Man-At-Arms instills new impressions of the guy. I just realized that he could fill that little bowl attached to his neck with Swedish Fish and be able to eat them so secretly that nobody would ever notice and he'd never have to share 'em. Aside from that, I still wish Cringer would realize that he's a tiger and bite his face off.
You know how some actors profess that performing on the stage is better than sex? One look at Beast Man's crotch verifies it. It looks a little ragtag, but at least there's no mistaking who he's supposed to be. During the show, Beast Man uses his magic powers to control animals. The 'animals' were just people in purple bodysuits wearing pony masks, but Beast Man managed to control them anyway. Of all the characters in the Power Tour, Beastie probably looks the scariest. I hope they didn't run any of those promotions where the costumed freaks stand outside the theater to greet the audience - I can't imagine many six-year-olds lining up to shake this guy's hand, and there's only so many parents who were going to remember to bring their children a change of clothes in case they pissed themselves in fear. Thank God orange is a neutral color.
The Sorceress looks a little like Courtney Love when she was still shopping around for the right nose. I don't think it's really her, though. Courtney's worn some brazen outfits in her day, but I never saw her with a plastic eagle glued to her scalp. For those who aren't wise to the lore, the Sorceress is the keeper of Castle Grayskull, and the one who gave He-Man and She-Ra their powers. She actually seems like one of the more understated characters until she does that weird transformation thing and turns into a bird. The costume has been slightly modified from what we're used to, but it's still close enough to the cartoon to where we won't mistake her for a crazily dressed vagrant who wandered on the stage half-crocked.
CLAMP CHAMP?! That's an odd choice. Clamp Champ wasn't exactly one of the show's most popular characters, and in fact, I'm not even sure he ever even appeared on the cartoon. Apparently, some of the character choices were made based on which toys were currently being offered up. Since Clamp Champ was one of Mattel's hottest new figures, he got the star treatment. It doesn't change the fact that he's just a regular guy with huge salad tongues tied to his arm.
Clamp Champ played the part of King Randor's royal protector in the Power Tour. Randor was represented by a guy wearing neon leggings and that pirate shirt Jerry Seinfeld hated. My theory is that the king wanted to hire a bodyguard who looked more stupid than himself, to deflect attention and to feel less terrible about what he was wearing. Clamp thinks he has an important job, but in reality, he's only there because he looks more moronic than King Randor. He-Man's dad rarely threw around his political weight, but he could be a real dick when he was feeling inadequate.
The Power Tour's version of Evil Lyn is a little more seductive and jungle/voodoo-like than usual, evidenced by the gold foil spikes on her armbands and the peacock tail with taped-on chicken bones stapled to her head. I assume the things around her neck are supposed to be the teeth of past victims, but it's a pretty faraway shot - they could just be novelty banana toys she collected from grocery store vending machines on her off time. Lyn was Skeletor's only minion who seemed to have a brain, but if I'm wrong about that, she's still Skeletor's only minion with voluptuous breasts. I bet Skel read her resume for like two seconds before hiring her. Why bother with a background check? Beast Man's chest wasn't this much fun to look at.
Well, I hope you weren't in the midst of taking a sip of hot coffee when you got up to the picture shown above. Snout Spout is one of the lesser-known heroes - some type of robot elephant fireman. No really, he's supposed to be Eternia's fireman. The nose shoots water, and I assume the pickax serves as a prop in interpretive dances where Snout Spout pantomimes mutilating and swallowing the kidneys of small children. Look, he's a robot elephant. The guy needs to do something shocking. What's the point in looking like that if you don't do freaky funky things? Snout's not going to be invited to any highbrow reindeer parties no matter how polite he acts, so why not make believe he's eating the kidneys of little kids? Go for yours, Snout Spout. We understand.
There's Orko, and I guess that's the best we could possibly expect from his costume. After watching the new MOTU cartoon a couple of times, I noticed that Orko isn't the big time player he once was. He's still around, but his role is far smaller than it was on the original show. I guess a lot of people hate Orko. I'm not sure why that is, since it's challenging to find fault with a legless guy who floats around with a big 'O' on his chest. Doesn't that just scream 'like me?' Plus, he served many purposes and wore several hats. Aside from his work on the cartoon, Orko was usually the guy responsible for telling the audience that He-Man would be 'right back after these messages.' He even managed to bring out a sort of paternal instinct in He-Man, which would've otherwise never happened unless our hero developed a strange and disturbing relationship with Fisto. On a cartoon where everyone's running around in their underwear and sweating a lot, I'm glad Orko was there to keep it from falling a little further down into the realm of perversion. Thanks, Orko.
Ah, Hordak. Conceptually one of the coolest characters in all of MOTU's extended lore, Hordak really wasn't all that different from Skeletor. The only notable differences were that Hordak liked to snort and had the ability to morph into Hordak-shaped rockets and paddle boats. He was created when Mattel decided to make a show about He-Man's sister, who'd obviously need a villain to play off of. Aside from serving that purpose, Hordak gave little boys an excuse to watch a cartoon meant for little girls. Unfortunately, Hordy suffered from the same affliction as Skeletor - he appeared way more menacing before you actually saw him do anything, which revealed him to be just as goofy as every other bad guy on Eternia and its surrounding planets.
On the plus side: he's got a gothic mane made up of human bones, a great cape, and a long staff that looks like it could probably shoot beams that turn people into mice. He's also the only villain who seems to have equal footing with Skeletor, which explains why he's the only character who was allowed to have a red emblem on his chest shaped like his face. His costume looked well enough for the Power Tour, combing all the right elements and tacking on fuzzy bracelets for added effect.
She-Ra's a whore and I don't feel like writing about her.
Of all the characters who appeared on the Power Tour, 'Blast-Attak' has got to be the most unusual choice. Considering that we've already seen a firefighting elephant, that's really saying something. He could only previously be seen in action figure form, as a villain with a pull-apart chest and half of Jason's space costume from the seventieth Friday the 13th sequel. Clearly, there were more popular and recognizable characters to pull out of the well. Like Snout Spout, I can only assume that Blast-Attak's appearance was a result of Mattel wanting to draw interest towards their current crop of He-Man figures. In truth, the line was already dying by the time they fit everyone into silly costumes and rollerskates, and Blast is one of the least known characters in the entire series.
It's a real shame, too. He looks like he could've made lots of stuff explode. We missed out.
You've got to feel bad for the poor guy that got stuck playing Grizzlor, one of Hordak's main slave monsters. Not only is Grizzlor one of the least important characters on the show, he's also the one conductive to having the hottest and most uncomfortable costume. Let's think about this for a second. Say you're one of the actors working on the Power Tour. You're forced to wear a suit that raises your body temperature to 5,000 degrees. Even though the costume limits your mobility, you've still got to skate around, growl, and do lots of unecessary jumps because that's what kids are into. You're under the hot lights, and even though you can barely see out the mask, the constant camera flashes still manage to blind you into despair. You're sweating to the point where even your testicles are losing weight. And you're going through all of this to play Grizzlor? As anyone who plays 'Grizzlor' in the 'He-Man On Ice' show knows, sometimes life isn't very fair.
I take it back. Grizzlor is nowhere near as bad as this. 'Songster,' who repels all suggested innuendo by wearing purple eyeliner, had the task of explaining Eternia's folklore to the Power Tour audience...in song. The only character dreamt up for exclusive use with He-Man's stage act, Songster appears to be a hybrid mutant version of Tim Curry and Scott Valentine, trying to hide from the law by posing as a musician for a Judy Garland convention on Pluto. The only conceivable way to make the ensemble more stereotypically flaming is if they literally shaped the guitar like a penis. I've got no idea what Songster is up to nowadays, but it wouldn't shock me to learn that he's sitting on an Ikea futon watching reruns of The Nanny.
All in all, the Power Tour was surprisingly well-performed considering the material, and tons of fans still recall the experience of seeing it live with fondness. Lots of fondness. Fondness times three. An unbridled display of shock and weirdness, He-Man's vaudeville act was unrelenting. Just when you thought they couldn't top the insanity of robot elephants and hairband storytellers, they throw a scene with Man-At-Arms singing opera at us.
Scary. There's no existing video footage of the tour that I'm aware of, but that's probably a good thing. CNN is giving us enough creepy shit to watch these days. We don't need to see Man-At-Arms hit a high C.