Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to actually meet He-Man? Now, I'm talking about the real He-Man, not Dolph Lundgren's cheap knockoff that featured He-Man sounding like he was trying to make the hard sell for Vicks' latest cough syrup variation. I'm talking about Fuzzy Underwear He-Man...you know, 'Damn He's TAN!' He-Man. The one from that cartoon. That He-Man. What if you had the chance to meet him? What would you say? What would you ask him? Would you try to get his number? Would the gesture be purely platonic? I know a lot of you have thought about this. Why? Because some of you sick freaks send me e-mail about it. Get help. If you're having dreams about meeting He-Man, it's not something you should wear on your sleeve or like some badge of honor - people are gonna start thinking you're a weirdo. I think you're weirdos. And that's coming from a guy who rolls cheese into small, manageable balls with his hands before eating it.
This doesn't mean it wasn't perfectly natural to dream about it when we were kids, though.
Believe it or not, some lucky children had the chance. It happened at Universal Studios in the middle of the 80s, I'm not sure precisely when, but it doesn't really matter since we're way too late anyway. We're screwed - fucked like ducks. The 'event,' which turned out to be merely a poor excuse for a bunch of middle-aged men to paint themselves blue and prance around in their unmentionables, only took place for about a month or so, only happened here, and only the really fortunate kids who had parents that didn't consider weekends at Grandma's as a 'vacation' got to be a part of it. Today, today on this very special occasion, we make that tremendous grasshopperish leap back in time to join the lucky bastard kids as they meet He-Man and all his friends.
But you need to prepare! You can't just jump into a situation like this without considering everything first. What will you wear? What will you say? Will He-Man get all offended if you wipe his disgusting grease off your hand after that initial, obligatory 'hello shake'? Now before you get all nervous, need I remind you that you've been through this whole meeting-the-real-live-cartoon-characters thing before? Well, at least some of you have. You're just not trying hard enough to remember.
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See, it all started when you were a kid, at Toys R' Us. Usually you only went there for toys or a quick fuck - it was a rare instance where we headed there for any other reason. Rare as it was, it certainly did happen. Much like you can only seek the Holy Church should you require the aid of a priest - so the idea remains for meeting living cartoon characters. They only chilled at Toys R Us. I don't know what the significance is there, I guess they're all Jewish.
It's here where we begin retracing our steps on the way to He-Man. Be patient. A lot of really wise people say it's a virtue. A lot of wise people, Mama Celeste, and of course, Yoda.
Geoffrey was a giraffe, but not just any giraffe. He's the first and still ONLY giraffe who was able to start a successful business franchise. The supreme emperor of the world's largest chain of toy stores, Geoffrey never forgot the people who made him what he is -- the children. Yes, the world's tallest mammal with the world's thickest wallet always remembered to give back to the same young community who made sure their parents spent ungodly amounts of dollars on bulky pieces of easily broken plastic. Occasionally rubber too, but mostly plastic.
Now for most kids, the thrill of meeting Geoffrey was good enough. After all, he's a ten foot giraffe wearing a vest and a vanity collar - that's like eighteen thousand times more interesting than anything the family dog's ever done. But Geoffrey was never satisfied just palling around with the kids. And admittedly, he was a little concerned over how the public would view his very open love of children. We've all seen what's happened to Michael Jackson. The last thing Geoffrey wants is to end up like one of those guys who has a nose that can be twisted into the shape of the Liberty Bell. Besides, if any of the stupid kids ever decided to get changed or something in front of him, he wouldn't even be able to avoid looking at it quick enough since he's got no eyelids. Geoffrey needed to find a better way to give back - a safer way, but something the kids would really enjoy. Since he wasn't allowed to give the kids uzis, (kids love uzis) his giraffy Geoffrey gears starting turning, and finally, he figured out a way to make everyone happy.
Geoffrey contracted popular cartoon and toy stars out for private appearances at Toys R Us stores. Finally, kids could meet Rainbow Brite and the dude from Sectaurs, get their autographs, even take pictures! Sure, upon seeing grown men dressed like bugs and such, some of the kids got scared. Maybe a few scattered pants were pissed in, but no glory ever came without a casualty of some type. Most of the kids loved things like this. Hell, it's how my brother and I met Darth Vader himself. (for years I lived under the belief that 'Vader' wanted to, and very well could have, murdered my brother) Kids always hopped at the opportunity to partake in these special events, which were usually held early in the morning on Saturdays. I'm sure if some of you really think back hard enough, all those memories will come flooding right back to you. Maybe you met Barbie, or Inspector Gadget. The point is, you've got experience. You've always had it.
You're ready to meet He-Man. Better put on the good clothes and break out the Brut. This should definitely be one of the biggest 'keeper moments' of your entire life. Even more memorable than the time you parked your car in the handicapped-only spot for three hours without getting a ticket.
Basically, the deal with meeting He-Man was this: Universal Studios dedicated one of their smaller stagerooms to about a dozen guys and girls dressed up in Masters of the Universe costumes, ready to meet and greet the kids in the most polite and friendly ways possible. Say what you will, it's things like this that can turn a terrible little brat into an angel for months. I know I'd be beaming for months if I got to take part in this. Alas, I'm lowlife scum and Universal Studios never answered my fan mail. Let's take a look at who was there, starting with a face you might find familiar...
It's Skeletor! Well, sort of. It's more like a creepier version of Skeletor who just happened to hug children a lot. I can't imagine many of the younger kids being too up for it, though. The guy looks like Death incarnate, he's the type of thing you learn to avoid early on. Most kids would rightfully pick the stranger's candy over a hug with Super Devil Skeletor. Haven't they ever seen the Christmas special? He's got some good in him. Hey, if nothing else, you could've asked him to kill the math teacher. If he said no, you'd still win because you would've gotten Skeletor to dignify the question. And that's pretty darn hilarious.
Besides, you shouldn't waste time being scared of Skeletor - Hordak's tons more frightening. On top of looking like a skull, Hordak also looks mean and porcine. It's two whole different worlds of trouble. Personally, I was always a big fan of the guy. He totally kicked Skeletor's ass in every regard. I didn't see Skeletor wearing any cool bat emblems on his chest, or doing neat things like transforming into rockets out of nowhere. Only Hordak pulled that kinda shit. He was The Fonz of Etheria, definitely.
The kids just look at these two guys and let out a collective 'hooooookay.' They're really not sure what to make of it. They thought this was the Jaws exhibit. Finally the small boy puts two and two together and realizes where they are - Hell, and he starts kicking himself for all the times when he didn't finish his chores. The girl corrects him, and they both make the most of the situation by playing along with Skeletor's feigned and loveless friendly bravado, being all huggy and kissy with the crazy monsters till someone more normal shows up.
And when that doesn't happen, they seek refuge with the guy wandering around in his Speedo.
My word, if that isn't the worst representation of He-Man I've ever seen. And trust me, I've seen plenty. A few years ago there was a convention for these types of idiots at the Jacob Javitz Center. This one, though....this is the worst one ever. He looks like Chazz Palminteri doing his impression of Prince Valium from Spaceballs. In no way does this moron look like He-Man. Well, except for the hair, tan, sword, and chestplate. Other than that, he's a poor excuse for a ringer. The look on his face clearly illustrates that employment like this doesn't come with a prerequisite of a high school diploma. I can't imagine the real He-Man being too pleased when he hears about the kids leaving Universal Studios thinking he has horseteeth.
Maybe his sister can alleviate the situation? Like great aspirin?
Okay, she's not so bad. Looks sort like the real She-Ra, just sleazier. But it's not like She-Ra wasn't a slut anyway, she practically screws her brother every time they do a crossover. I've covered this before on the site, but I wonder how boys, who were in no way socially allowed to watch the She-Ra cartoon, reacted to meeting the 'real' thing. If any of their friends saw 'em sleeping with the enemy, they'd be outcasts for life. Pretty soon they're wearing trenchies and listening to a lot of black metal. Do you think the parents would force their sons to be nice to She-Ra? Would they try apologizing if they didn't listen?
Concerned Mother: She-Ra, I'm so sorry about my son's behavior!
Apogetic Dad: We feel terrible. He really loves your show, honest!
She-Ra: I haven't been this insulted since Hordak called me husky.
Apologetic Dad: If there's anything we can do to make it up to you, please let me know.
She-Ra: No, that's not really necess--
Apologetic Dad: How about a nice backrub?
She-Ra: Really, there's no reason for--
Apologetic Dad: Footrub? Full-body massage? How about dinner?
Concerned Mother: Let's go, George.
She-Ra: .....man, these tights are chaffing my ass...
If you picture the parents from Alf while reading that, it's somehow funnier.
Indeed, you could meet all the big stars of both the He-Man and She-Ra cartoons. They were all here - from Grizzlor to Frosta to Beast Man, even Man-At-Arms. Course, no one wanted to meet Man-At-Arms, but somebody's gotta hold the camera, right?
Man, I hope nobody was stupid enough to wheel a carriage with a really, really young kid in it through this freakshow. That's the type of thing that makes latent psychotic tendencies pour out full force. You can't tell me a three-year-old, even if he was He-Man's biggest fan, could get through this 'exhibit' without being reduced to tears. I mean, I always get giddy when Robert Stack tells me the entire upcoming episode of Unsolved Mysteries is about ghost encounters, but it doesn't mean I'm gonna go stand in front of my bathroom mirror repeating 'Bloody Mary' a few times.
It gets better!
Not only did the kids get to meet their favorite characters live and in person, they got a free toy in the process! I don't mean a shitty toy, like something you'd get out of a Cracker Jack box or at Christmas from your knitting-expert Aunt Jane - I'm talking about real, legit, Mattel Masters of the Universe figures. Pretty much considered pure gold among the right age demographic. This sure beat the Hell out of whatever other lame souvenir you could land at Universal Studios. After all, what in God's name were you really planning to do with a little navy blue pennant on a stick? It's not like you were gonna have a breezy show-and-tell session next week with that piece of crap. Getting a He-Man figure wins the contest in every respect. They always do, insurmountable little cretins that they are.
The real 'holy shit' moment? SKELETOR hands you the toy. That's like Satan donating a kidney. All and all, you just know that any adult out there who attended this thing as a child still glows when they think about it. It strikes me as one of those moments that stays with you forever, like the day you get married, or when you have your first kid, or when you catch a Cosby Show rerun and it just happens to be the episode where everyone mouths a song-and-dance routine in honor of the granddad's anniversary. It was a special day, a special moment - and an even more special memory for the years to come.
Somebody call Hallmark, because I just realized I missed my true calling.
Skeletor: Okay kid, go for it! Look at the camera over there, and tell the nice X-E readers that this article is over!
Kid: Where is the camera, is it over there Mr. Skeletor?
Skeletor: No kid, over there! Here, follow my hand....see?
Kid: My sister is looking at me! Is my sister the camera?
Skeletor: IDIOTS! Your sister is not the camera, the camera is OVER THERE!
Kid: Why do you always try to hurt He-Man?
Skeletor: Why? I'll tell you why. BECAUSE HE CAN'T FOLLOW SIMPLE DIRECTIONS! AND I'LL DO THE SAME TO YOU IF YOU DON'T LOOK AT THE GOD...DAMNED...CAMERA!
Kid: He-Man is our friend.
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