January 12, 2012, 11:19am
Growing up in Greece...
While I was born quite late for the franchise (1985), I was lucky enough to be half Greek and living all my childhood in the capital, Athens. Why lucky? Because the toyline and the animation were released with a delay back there... actually all the eighties franchises were squeezed in the late eighties and early nineties, while there were no delays later on. (Same applied for video games!)
It all started in late 1988... I had basic reading skills and my mom kept buying the weekly "Mickey Mouse" comic magazine for me to keep learning how to read before I started going to school. At the back of each issue there were usually advertisements featuring toys and other products intended for kids, including Greek Blackstar comics continuing the story of the animation! Probably around November of 1988 (as my Orthodox name-day is in December) I clearly remember seeing a toy advertisement of He-Man riding Battle Cat... I don't know exactly why, but this image hooked me instantly into the world of Masters of the Universe!
I remember running to the living room asking my mom to get me "this super hero", knowing nothing else about MOTU! I asked her to get me this because I was previously told that it was soon going to be my name-day (6th of December) and I would get a present for it. I can't recall if I insisted or if she accepted without any begging, but what I clearly remember is the visit to a legendary (and defunct since 1994) toy store, "Pangosmio" in the area of Ambelokipi.
It's all so clear in my mind. We entered and the store was full of quality eighties toys, including ThunderCats, Transformers, G.I. Joe and of course, MOTU. I was so excited to find a great variety of MOTU action figures and of course I chose He-Man. I remember being a bit scared of Scareglow (advertised as another Skeletor in the magazines) and Megator. Actually the store was full of Megators and Tytuses (which I unfortunately never got)! However, I couldn't find He-Man with Battle Cat so I asked my mother to buy me He-Man alone, as well as another interesting figure that a year later I realized it was Tygra from the ThunderCats.
I was soooo happy to play with my new toys, actually the first real action figures I've ever had, apart from an LJN Hulk Hogan someone bought me earlier which I chew his fingers off . However, the biggest surprise came a few weeks later on the new year's eve. Instead of Christmas, in Greece "Santa leaves presents" under the tree for children to find and open on the morning of the 1st of January. The year 1989 found me opening the best present I received in my life, the legendary Castle Grayskull! Several other MOTU and ThunderCats figures were given to me until almost completing my collections in 1991.
Back again to the day my mother took me to the toy store, the owner asked me if I wanted to join He-Man's club and of course I said yes. My mother filled a form and about a month later, I started receiving a (thin) magazine, brochures, invitations to events (never been to one, I was too young I was told :/), as well as some presents every now and then! I clearly remember some extruded erasers with the cardback characters printed on them, a white plastic brim cap with the MOTU club logo printed in black and a very nice pencil case. Probably there were other gifts too... this is all I remember from the club. Unfortunately, everything about the fan club (in addition to my original Castle Grayskull) was mysteriously lost around the late 90s when I stopped (paused) caring much about old stuff. Puberty...
As for Filmation's animated version, it was initially released on 11 VHS tapes with probably the best possible dubbing (31 episodes were dubbed in total, all from the first season). They were released from 1989 to 1991. Also, the two animated movies were released in VHS but they feature a much inferior cast. The sole release on VHS tapes was due to the lack of private television stations before the end of 1989 and the expense for the government to buy modern animated shows (with the exception of ThunderCats which was shown late at night for some stupid reason). In late 1991 the series was broadcast by the private TV station called Mega Channel. Instead of the Greek dub version, the whole series (both seasons) was shown with subtitles. During that time however, only the 1990 He-Man toys were available in stores while the New Adventures of He-Man show was never released in Greece, in any form. The same station along with rival Ant1, took good care of broadcasting amazing animated shows in weekend mornings throughout the whole nineties.
In this thread I will eventually post high resolution Greek advertisement scans of MOTU toys from magazines I managed to collect throughout the years, all digitally restored for archival purposes. Unfortunately I can't do this very soon because all my magazines are back in Greece while my permanent residence is in London. However, I have sent an email to Mattel Hellas regarding any information about the Greek Masters of the Universe club, catalogs and anything else related. I still have not received a reply but it has been only two working days. Not that I have the highest of hopes though...
So... do we have any Greek MOTU fans around? How was your experience like back in the day? Please share any information that you have in order to keep the memories alive
Edit 1: I found the attached sticker on the window of a long abandoned (since 1996!) toy store in Athens. Also, here is a scan of the last VHS tape that was released in 1991 as well as a public TV commercial from 1989 (credits to my friend "Cort086"). I hope they ring a bell to any fellow Greeks...
Edit 2: A friend of mine sent me this scan from a Greek magazine that featured the UK comics. I've had previously no idea that MOTU comics were ever released in Greece (apart from the mini comics of course)!
Last edited by Dr_SLUMP; January 16, 2012 at 08:16pm.
January 12, 2012, 12:48pm
Huh... just like in Yugoslavia. MOTU also debuted over here in late 80's (while Transformers and TMNT debuted in early 90's).
Originally Posted by Dr_SLUMP
January 12, 2012, 06:52pm
It seems that the same thing happened in several countries, probably due to political and economical reasons. Transformers were released during the same time as MOTU (1987-88), while TMNT were not out until 1991.
I'm trying to upload my pictures to the Merchandising section, however there's no option to select (or add) Greece. Could a mod/admin please fix that? I'm pretty sure there will be more material coming because my friend has all the VHS covers scanned and I'll have about 10 full-page advertisements digitally restored within February. None of these can be found elsewhere.
January 20, 2012, 04:02am
I was too born and raised in Greece (Thessaloniki) and was caught up in the MOTU frenzy
I had the basic figures, though I remember playing with them and breaking them hahahah
Many years later, we moved to another country (Cyprus) and those toys were left behind. I never lost interest though and kept "in touch" with the cartoon. Now in my adult years I managed to find one of only two greek DVD releases for the MOTU series. Unfortunately we only got The Secret of the Sword and the Christmas Special.
I will try and post a scan of the dvd cover - or better yet a picture of the disc and case.
If anyone knows a way to get the dvds online or local let me know!