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Thread: Mattel vs Filmation

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior Danavas's Avatar
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    Mattel vs Filmation

    I hope someone can explain this to me. Why were Filmation's versions of the MOTU characters so different from Mattel's versions? If I understand correctly, the toys were first and the cartoon followed. If the toys were first, why weren't the Filmation versions modeled after the figures a little more closely. Every action figure varies (either slightly or to a much larger extent) from their Filmation counterpart.

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    Heroic Warrior He-Man123's Avatar
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    I believe it was for ease of animation.

    The less details, the easier it is to draw cell after cell after cell.
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    Greg at your service AnnnaMot's Avatar
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    i think most of the toys were in prototype form or rough form . you have to remember it takes about 9 months to a year to get the toys make from rough sketch to a ready made toy on the shelves

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    Master of Dreams Sandman's Avatar
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    Well, for the core characters a lot of changes were dictated by the limitations on the animation. For example, Man-At-Arms couldn't have asymmetric armor in the Filmation show because it was important that they be able to swap his model and inverted animation without it creating a problem. This is also the reason Filmation He-Man has those two tiny bracelets instead of one long and one short as on the figure. And also why Orko was renamed from "Gorpo" (you can invert an O without problem but a G would look mirrored. Also the reason the only trollans to have the first letter of their names on their shirts are those with a similarily symmetrical letter).

    Also, as has been mentioned, Filmation just didn't have the budget to do intricate detail, so the characters got a lot of flat-colored surfaces on their costumes.

    For some secondary characters, they were indeed animated before the toys were finalized. Mattel would send in a few concept art sketches and a brief description to Filmation, who were working well in advance of the release date for the toys to finish their episodes. That's why Clawful looks singularily odd in the series, why Kobra Khan's prototype incarnation "Fang Man" shows up in a single episode, and why the Snake Men look really odd.

    In a few cases it was an intentional change. An example would be giving MAA a mustache to make him look older and more distinguished.

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    Widget Wrestler Mr. Shokoti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
    And also why Orko was renamed from "Gorpo" (you can invert an O without problem but a G would look mirrored.

    An example would be giving MAA a mustache to make him look older and more distinguished.
    These 2 were changes for the better in my opinion.
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    Master of Dreams Sandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Shokoti View Post
    These 2 were changes for the better in my opinion.
    I like both too. I painted a mustache on my vintage MAA after all

    (Vintage orko figure was kind of crummy though)

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    Scrolls Reviewer Jukka's Avatar
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    Plus if you search this forum for "early filmation commercial" you will find an animation by Filmation, that has more detailed characters (somewhat closer in appearance to toys)



    It's defnitely worth checking out. A rare piece of history.

  8. #8
    Widget Wrestler Mr. Shokoti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
    (Vintage orko figure was kind of crummy though)
    Definitely when compared to the Classics version.

    As much as some people hate Orko as he is, I think Gorpo is an awful name. It sounds like the noise a cat makes before producing a hairball.
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    Heroic Warrior
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    Here's a BETTER question....

    Why didn't Mattel ever capitalize on the differences and make more TV accurate FIGURES!! When I was a kid I REALLY wanted a MAA with a mustache, or an Orko that LOOKED like the cartoon... or Merman or Clawful....

    If the cartoon was designed to help sell toys... why didn't they ever try to DO that... Why wait till the last series to give us a Sorceress? or Randor??

    With all the talk about if Mattel lost/sold the rights to the filmation designs and if they are buying them back for Classics... from my perspective i wonder if they EVER had them... The toys were ALWAYS... just OFF enough for me to notice the discrepencies

  10. #10
    Master of Dreams Sandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom1592 View Post
    Here's a BETTER question....

    Why didn't Mattel ever capitalize on the differences and make more TV accurate FIGURES!! When I was a kid I REALLY wanted a MAA with a mustache, or an Orko that LOOKED like the cartoon... or Merman or Clawful....

    If the cartoon was designed to help sell toys... why didn't they ever try to DO that... Why wait till the last series to give us a Sorceress? or Randor??

    With all the talk about if Mattel lost/sold the rights to the filmation designs and if they are buying them back for Classics... from my perspective i wonder if they EVER had them... The toys were ALWAYS... just OFF enough for me to notice the discrepencies
    I'm glad they didn't, as most of the Filmation designs looked very lame compared to the actual figures.

  11. #11
    Heroic Warrior
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    I agree - I prefer the figure designs to the Filmation designs for a lot of the characters beyond the main characters.

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    Hunter Old Bolty-Neck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jukka View Post
    Plus if you search this forum for "early filmation commercial" you will find an animation by Filmation, that has more detailed characters (somewhat closer in appearance to toys)



    It's defnitely worth checking out. A rare piece of history.
    I'd love to check that out, Jukka. One thing though: when searching for that phrase, only this thread "Mattel vs Filmation" is returned due to your use of the phrase. Any way you can provide the link to where you were able to find this animation?

    Is it this thread: Did Filmation Produce early ads for Mattel? Because there isn't any animated clip posted there, just people asking for same. And a couple still images including the one you just posted.
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  13. #13
    Scrolls Reviewer Jukka's Avatar
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    Yeah sorry. The search phrases weren't sufficient enough.
    I was referring to this thread, which is only couple pages away in this forum's history:

    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...d.php?t=172950


    Quote Originally Posted by Old Bolty-Neck View Post
    I'd love to check that out, Jukka. One thing though: when searching for that phrase, only this thread "Mattel vs Filmation" is returned due to your use of the phrase. Any way you can provide the link to where you were able to find this animation?

    Is it this thread: Did Filmation Produce early ads for Mattel? Because there isn't any animated clip posted there, just people asking for same. And a couple still images including the one you just posted.

  14. #14
    Hunter Old Bolty-Neck's Avatar
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    Excellent. Thank you!
    Still remembers we paid excessive shipping on Battleground Teela. Is confident Matty will resolve the issue and make it right for us.

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