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Thread: The mysterious Savage He-Man variant formerly known as "Wonder Bread He-Man"

  1. #3001
    Über Fan Adam_Prince of Eternia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVS3 View Post
    Theories always change as we get more info.

    After seeing those letters, and then thinking this might be a Meijer Thrifty Acres promotion, us trying to pin it back to a possible test figure / short run figure seemed logical.

    But the more ads that Tallstar discovers, the more widespread this Buy-3-Get-1-Free offer was in the USA.

    It seems quite possible that not a ton of people redeemed this offer. Tallstar pointed out to me that if it was anything like the CAC contest that had around 50K entries, then maybe only 50K (give or take) people redeemed this offers.

    If that was the case, doing a very barebones figure was probably the only way to get this figure produced at a factory that was used to pumping out much larger quantities.

    But, one has to ask why Mattel would do a new figure in the first place for this offer. Why not just send back a random MOTU figure that was already in production? They didn't promise anything special so we just don't know why they would make something unique for this offer. That's the head-scratching element to this whole thing.

    So, then we come back to the test run theory. Was it a first attempt at Faker? Something else? Who knows.
    There's still lots of unanswered questions to the mystery of Savage He-Man!
    The Create-A-Character Contest was held in 1985, which was the peak sales year for Masters of the Universe. The Buy-3-Get-1-Free promotion was held two years earlier in 1983, so it would likely have received considerably fewer entries. The promotion may have been more widespread later; it appears to have been repeated for the Bubble Yum Instant Winner Game in 1986, which also included Princess of Power. But there is no reason to think that the special edition figure was released in the later promotions, or we would expect it to be more common, and more widely-distributed. I do not think it is a coincidence that the distribution of the figure closely aligns to the region where there were Meijer Thrifty Acres stores in the early 1980s.

  2. #3002
    Council Elder Tallstar's Avatar
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    Yep, that's exactly the point I was trying to make to Val. The CAC contest (which was advertised in Sunday newspapers, at some in-store events etc.) received about 44,000 entries at a time when Masters of the Universe was well established, whereas the "Buy 3 Get 1 Free" promotion started and ended before the cartoon series even aired. So, while MOTU did well in its first year, it doesn't seem like the brand would have been regarded as an iconic powerhouse in the first half of 1983. Moreover, I don't get the sense that there were any in-store promotional materials other than the tiny coupon. I mean, these two promotions are somewhat different -- so it's not a totally fair 1:1 comparison -- but I do think it's reasonable to assume that significantly fewer people cashed in on the "Buy 3 Get 1 Free" offer.

    I've been scouring through archive sites and so far I've come across 8 different stores that advertised the Buy 3 promotion via newspaper, some of which are small mom-and-pop shops. Collectively, these advertisements represent approx. a few dozen stores in total. However, if it's assumed that every branch of a chain participated, then that number goes up considerably. I have no idea if that's the case, though. Moreover, I could not find a single MOTU Buy 3 newspaper ad for states west of the Mississippi River initially. (Between all of the stores almost every state east of the river has "Buy 3 representation.") However, eventually I was able to find one chain in Texas when I expanded my search. Toys "R" Us had the offer in a Houston area newspaper. (5 store locations listed)
    Last edited by Tallstar; November 20, 2020 at 09:32am.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallstar View Post
    Moreover, I could not find a single MOTU Buy 3 newspaper ad for states west of the Mississippi River initially. (Between all of the stores almost every state east of the river has "Buy 3 representation.") However, eventually I was able to find one chain in Texas when I expanded my search. Toys "R" Us had the offer in a Houston area newspaper. (5 store locations listed)
    That almost precisely matches the anecdotal data we've collected over the years: we'd always thought that perhaps the Special Edition figure was an in-store promotion in the midwest region because that's where we knew they were concentrated. But it wasn't an in-store promotion - it was a mail away. So why wouldn't the same advertisement be everywhere??

    (One theory: it's possible that Masters of the Universe popularity picked up faster in the Eastern half of the country first (I grew up in Nebraska, and I can tell you that things that became fashionable or trendy in our state had already been fashionable on the coasts for months), so while the promotion may have been nation-wide, western stores didn't sell enough of the figures to bother promoting it in their advertising.)

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    My Newspaper free trial ran out, but here's what I noticed about 1983 MOTU ads in newspapers:

    Man-E-Faces comes first and then figures like Faker and Ram Man trickle out months later. Most of the 2nd wave doesn't seem to get going until early fall. I think when Mark Taylor left suddenly in 1982, that kind of left the line in the lurch and they had to play catch up. I'm sure testing out cheap repaints was an attractive short term to fill in the gaps until the rest of the line could be developed and manufactured.

    I don't offer that as an answer to "why this He-Man repaint specifically", just some background information.

    Regarding Faker, I know the conventional wisdom is that he was the first of the second wave figures because he has that 8 back card. But as far as advertising goes, he seems to come a couple of months at least after Man-E-Faces. He's described in a June 1983 article as one of the "newest" motu figures, although I think I saw an ad for him as early as April 1983. Man-E-Faces was described in a February ad as the "All-new Man-E-Faces".

    Maybe they didn't have Faker's cardback ready but they were desperate to put some new product on the shelves, so they tossed him out on an 8 back card until the new card design was ready.

  5. #3005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    Regarding Faker, I know the conventional wisdom is that he was the first of the second wave figures because he has that 8 back card. But as far as advertising goes, he seems to come a couple of months at least after Man-E-Faces. He's described in a June 1983 article as one of the "newest" motu figures, although I think I saw an ad for him as early as April 1983. Man-E-Faces was described in a February ad as the "All-new Man-E-Faces".

    Maybe they didn't have Faker's cardback ready but they were desperate to put some new product on the shelves, so they tossed him out on an 8 back card until the new card design was ready.
    I think that if such was the case, they'd have packaged him exclusively with later mini-comics, the same way they did other second wave figures. However, I've seen Faker packaged at least twice with one of the original four minis (one with no burst, one with a burst w/o "Free"). I've always assumed Mattel decided to stop using the original four mini-comics prior to the release of Man-E-Faces - that's the point that we start to see all figures - including the original eight - packaged with the newest comics to advertise the newest figures: "He-Man Meets Ram Man!", "The Power of Point Dread!", "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces," "The Tale of Teela". I think it's notable that Faker is the only second wave figure to ever be packaged with one of the early minis. (somewhat unrelated: I'm also pretty sure Mattel stopped packaging any figure with "He-Man and the Power Sword" fairly early because they decided they didn't want to use the canon introduced in that particular comic).

    EDIT: Here are a few early Fakers (The one on the far left is Canadian 8 back). Regardless of the comic included, I believe all 8-back Fakers were 8-back with warranty, and I *think* the earliest U.S. Fakers had production numbers "4482-0910," while "He-Man Meets Ram Man!" Fakers had any of "4482-0910", "4482-0910-G1", or "4482-0910-G2".

    motu-faker1-moc-man-moc-motu_1_5d262175e929ae39ea32a0b26b0d21e8.jpg Not-AFA-8-Back-Faker-RARE-Skeletor-Arms-_57.jpg faker8back.jpg 8backfaker2.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    (somewhat unrelated: I'm also pretty sure Mattel stopped packaging any figure with "He-Man and the Power Sword" fairly early because they decided they didn't want to use the canon introduced in that particular comic).
    Now that I think about it, it probably had to do with the release of Teela and not wanting to confuse people about the Goddess character. I am pretty sure that at least one sample exists of Teela packaged with "He-Man and the Power Sword," however. I've got a picture of it somewhere. I'm also fairly certain that no sample of Faker packaged with "He-Man and the Power Sword" exists - that comic was phased out by the time Faker came into production.

    EDIT: Teela with "He-Man and the Power Sword."

    8backteela1.jpg
    Last edited by Universe; November 20, 2020 at 10:52pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    I think that if such was the case, they'd have packaged him exclusively with later mini-comics, the same way they did other second wave figures. However, I've seen Faker packaged at least twice with one of the original four minis (one with no burst, one with a burst w/o "Free"). I've always assumed Mattel decided to stop using the original four mini-comics prior to the release of Man-E-Faces - that's the point that we start to see all figures - including the original eight - packaged with the newest comics to advertise the newest figures: "He-Man Meets Ram Man!", "The Power of Point Dread!", "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces," "The Tale of Teela". I think it's notable that Faker is the only second wave figure to ever be packaged with one of the early minis. (somewhat unrelated: I'm also pretty sure Mattel stopped packaging any figure with "He-Man and the Power Sword" fairly early because they decided they didn't want to use the canon introduced in that particular comic).
    In Europe Faker is officially the 9th figure of the line, Man-E-faces is coming later.
    We got the canadian cards at the beginning, which followed the same production order as the USA ones.
    By logic in USA Faker is the 9th figure.

  7. #3007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    I think that if such was the case, they'd have packaged him exclusively with later mini-comics, the same way they did other second wave figures. However, I've seen Faker packaged at least twice with one of the original four minis (one with no burst, one with a burst w/o "Free"). I've always assumed Mattel decided to stop using the original four mini-comics prior to the release of Man-E-Faces - that's the point that we start to see all figures - including the original eight - packaged with the newest comics to advertise the newest figures: "He-Man Meets Ram Man!", "The Power of Point Dread!", "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces," "The Tale of Teela". I think it's notable that Faker is the only second wave figure to ever be packaged with one of the early minis. (somewhat unrelated: I'm also pretty sure Mattel stopped packaging any figure with "He-Man and the Power Sword" fairly early because they decided they didn't want to use the canon introduced in that particular comic).
    Those are some good points too. I'm not sure why he'd have the earlier comic if he wasn't an earlier figure.

  8. #3008
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    Ah, I found it. This is documentation for why I thought Man-E-Faces was originally released in October 1983. This promo event with dude in Man-E-Faces costume was from that fall.


    motumanefacestoyrsruscostumepromotionoctober1983.jpg motumanefacestoyrsruscostumepromotionoctober1983-2.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by JVS3 View Post
    Theories always change as we get more info.

    After seeing those letters, and then thinking this might be a Meijer Thrifty Acres promotion, us trying to pin it back to a possible test figure / short run figure seemed logical.

    But the more ads that Tallstar discovers, the more widespread this Buy-3-Get-1-Free offer was in the USA.

    It seems quite possible that not a ton of people redeemed this offer. Tallstar pointed out to me that if it was anything like the CAC contest that had around 50K entries, then maybe only 50K (give or take) people redeemed this offers.

    If that was the case, doing a very barebones figure was probably the only way to get this figure produced at a factory that was used to pumping out much larger quantities.

    But, one has to ask why Mattel would do a new figure in the first place for this offer. Why not just send back a random MOTU figure that was already in production? They didn't promise anything special so we just don't know why they would make something unique for this offer. That's the head-scratching element to this whole thing.

    So, then we come back to the test run theory. Was it a first attempt at Faker? Something else? Who knows.
    There's still lots of unanswered questions to the mystery of Savage He-Man!
    Here are a couple more mail away offers, since we're collecting documentation on just how strange it was that Mattel created a special edition figure and then distributed it without promoting it.

    1. MOTU Jell-O instant winner. Promised a MOTU action figure; winner received MOC He-Man.
    2. Free Slime when you buy any two MOTU figures.

    motujellocontestwinnerheman12backg4cardmexicofigure.jpg

    654600.jpg

  9. #3009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallstar View Post
    Yep, that's exactly the point I was trying to make to Val. The CAC contest (which was advertised in Sunday newspapers, at some in-store events etc.) received about 44,000 entries at a time when Masters of the Universe was well established, whereas the "Buy 3 Get 1 Free" promotion started and ended before the cartoon series even aired. So, while MOTU did well in its first year, it doesn't seem like the brand would have been regarded as an iconic powerhouse in the first half of 1983. Moreover, I don't get the sense that there were any in-store promotional materials other than the tiny coupon. I mean, these two promotions are somewhat different -- so it's not a totally fair 1:1 comparison -- but I do think it's reasonable to assume that significantly fewer people cashed in on the "Buy 3 Get 1 Free" offer.

    I've been scouring through archive sites and so far I've come across 8 different stores that advertised the Buy 3 promotion via newspaper, some of which are small mom-and-pop shops. Collectively, these advertisements represent approx. a few dozen stores in total. However, if it's assumed that every branch of a chain participated, then that number goes up considerably. I have no idea if that's the case, though. Moreover, I could not find a single MOTU Buy 3 newspaper ad for states west of the Mississippi River initially. (Between all of the stores almost every state east of the river has "Buy 3 representation.") However, eventually I was able to find one chain in Texas when I expanded my search. Toys "R" Us had the offer in a Houston area newspaper. (5 store locations listed)
    I am leaning more and more toward the special edition figure being a test run for Faker. Think about it, he is an evil doppelgänger of He-Man, so the darker color choices suddenly make sense: brown hair instead of blond, black boots instead of brown, dark trunks instead of medium trunks; it is He-Man in shadow, the same coloring, but darker. Mattel may have thought that the repaint was not distinct enough, and parents would not be willing to pay for it. Or they may have been concerned that it was too similar to Conan, as they were being sued by Conan Properties, Inc. in 1984 over this exact issue. Or perhaps it was some combination of both, so they changed the colors of Faker to the ones we recognize today. They did not want this test run to go to waste, so they quietly liquidated it through a mailaway promotion that was advertised in small, regional grocery store chains.

  10. #3010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    Those are some good points too. I'm not sure why he'd have the earlier comic if he wasn't an earlier figure.
    I wonder if Springor Spanior recalls what mini-comic his Faker came with. If he got his in March '83, then I think it likely would have had one of the first wave minis, even though second wave minis were just starting to be released around this time.

  11. #3011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    I wonder if Springor Spanior recalls what mini-comic his Faker came with. If he got his in March '83, then I think it likely would have had one of the first wave minis, even though second wave minis were just starting to be released around this time.
    He-Man Meets Ram-Man.

    As the defender of conventional wisdom that Faker came before MEF, I am compelled to actually roll up my sleeves and do some research rather than blather on based on my feeble, fading memory. I started by searching promo ads for my little hometown Ace Hardware in Wisconsin. They ran MOTU promos in November, 1982 but then not again until late in 1983. Therefore, I'm guessing they did not participate in the buy-3-get-1-free promo. I then searched all of Wisconsin, and found that on the weekend of April 16-17, 1983, both Kohls and Prange Way ran the 3/1 promos, and guess who is in the adverts - Mr. MEF himself, and maroon brown weapons appear in the ads as well. I then searched Illinois and found that in the Chicago area, the 3/1 promo showed up again on April 16-17, including with real live appearances of characters. So, I'm thinking that April 16-17 marked the rollout of MEF in this part of the country, and it seems to be tied to the 3/1 promo.

    Now, as far as my hometown Ace Hardware is concerned, since they did not seemingly participate in the promo, I wonder if they didn't get the first shipments of MEF, possibly? Who knows. All I know is I bought Faker first and definitely would have bought MEF if he had been there. I will say, however, that I readily acknowledge that it makes all the sense in the world for Mattel to distribute MEF first. If you analogize the release of the 2nd wave to the release of a rock band's sophomore album, which single do you release first, Faker or MEF? I'm thinking MEF, but maybe he wasn't distributed evenly across all stores initially. And perhaps Ram-Man was delayed due to tooling required to make him, and so Mattel just went ahead with Faker. I think of Faker as the last figure they probably added to round out the 2nd wave, and Mattel likely never intended to give him his own comic or even his own artwork. He was just a cash grab, and now he is a cult favorite. If you look at the 4 digit SKUs on the 2nd wave, you can see that the ones starting with 5 end with Ram-Man, which kind of signals the end of the Mark Taylor produced figures. After that, they start with a 4, and the last of that bunch is Faker, so I'm thinking they just threw him in to round it out, and never intended to invest much in the figure.

    Kohls.jpg
    PrangeWay.jpg
    WeiboldtsChiTrib.jpg

    Correction: In Wisconsin, it looks like only Kohls ran the 3/1 promo. Weiboldts ran it in Illinois on the same weekend. The other pic here is from the 3D store, which ran an ad of MEF in early April, 1983 but not the promo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    If you analogize the release of the 2nd wave to the release of a rock band's sophomore album, which single do you release first, Faker or MEF? I'm thinking MEF.
    But the more I think about this, I clearly remember that when wave 4 hit the shelves, Moss Man and Stinkor were the first to come. (Am I wrong about that???) So that is also weighing on my mind that Mattel does like to lead off with the pure cash grabs.
    Last edited by Springor Spanior; November 21, 2020 at 12:09am. Reason: Update
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    If you analogize the release of the 2nd wave to the release of a rock band's sophomore album, which single do you release first, Faker or MEF? I'm thinking MEF, but maybe he wasn't distributed evenly across all stores initially. And perhaps Ram-Man was delayed due to tooling required to make him, and so Mattel just went ahead with Faker. I think of Faker as the last figure they probably added to round out the 2nd wave, and Mattel likely never intended to give him his own comic or even his own artwork. He was just a cash grab, and now he is a cult favorite. If you look at the 4 digit SKUs on the 2nd wave, you can see that the ones starting with 5 end with Ram-Man, which kind of signals the end of the Mark Taylor produced figures. After that, they start with a 4, and the last of that bunch is Faker, so I'm thinking they just threw him in to round it out, and never intended to invest much in the figure.
    I think that's probably all correct, except that I think Faker made it to stores first for exactly those reasons: no new tooling required, no new comic, no new artwork. He was created purely to fill the gap between the first and second wave to capitalize on MOTU's popularity. I don't think of him as a second wave figure.

    Like Man-E-Faces, Evil-Lyn, and Ram Man, early Faker cards are dated 1982. 12-back Fakers, like Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops, are dated "1982, 1983".

    EDIT: I'd even postulate that Faker was done in such haste that Mattel barely considered a backstory for him. If we look at patterns in foreign variants for vintage MOTU figures, we see that most foreign-produced variants were created because foreign factories based their toy not on the U.S. toy, but on either the cross-sell art, the concept art, or the Errol McCarthy art. Early Faker had no packaging artwork. The reason Faker sometimes had Skeletor arms was because Mattel ordered figure production with only one piece of backstory: "Evil Robot of Skeletor". Without pictures to go on, factory workers sometimes put Skeletor arms on Faker; sometimes they gave him a loincloth. When Faker 2 was released in 1986, Mattel changed his tagline to "Evil Robotic He-Man Imposter" to make it a bit clearer.
    Last edited by Universe; November 21, 2020 at 03:12pm.

  13. #3013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    I'd even postulate that Faker was done in such haste that Mattel barely considered a backstory for him. If we look at patterns in foreign variants for vintage MOTU figures, we see that most foreign-produced variants were created because foreign factories based their toy not on the U.S. toy, but on either the cross-sell art, the concept art, or the Errol McCarthy art. Early Faker had no packaging artwork. The reason Faker sometimes had Skeletor arms was because Mattel ordered figure production with only one piece of backstory: "Evil Robot of Skeletor". Without pictures to go on, factory workers sometimes put Skeletor arms on Faker; sometimes they gave him a loincloth. When Faker 2 was released in 1986, Mattel changed his tagline to "Evil Robotic He-Man Imposter" to make it a bit clearer.
    I've done a pretty comprehensive search of all ads and articles from 1983, and it's very clear that MEF was heavily promoted, while Faker barely gets mentioned at all until later in the year. The evidence does seem to suggest MEF was distributed first. However, it is hard to say definitively given that Faker simply was not promoted. I found a really cool print interview with a woman who may have been an an independent toy dealer in Asbury Park, New Jersey, from July 6, 1983. In the article, she is asked about boys' buying habits, and she responded, ". . .They come in and buy one, then come back with their mothers to buy another, and come back with their grandmothers to buy another. They know them all by name. . .They are rather annoyed when you don't have the one they want. Right now they're looking for Faker." And of all things, there is a cool shot of Faker next to the article.
    Faker 1983.png
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post

    EDIT: Here are a few early Fakers (The one on the far left is Canadian 8 back). Regardless of the comic included, I believe all 8-back Fakers were 8-back with warranty, and I *think* the earliest U.S. Fakers had production numbers "4482-0910," while "He-Man Meets Ram Man!" Fakers had any of "4482-0910", "4482-0910-G1", or "4482-0910-G2".

    motu-faker1-moc-man-moc-motu_1_5d262175e929ae39ea32a0b26b0d21e8.jpg Not-AFA-8-Back-Faker-RARE-Skeletor-Arms-_57.jpg faker8back.jpg 8backfaker2.jpg

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    The one as the left is on a custom card

    Canadian 8_back version is this one:
    FCWS.jpg
    Last edited by TOKYONEVER; November 21, 2020 at 09:16pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    I've done a pretty comprehensive search of all ads and articles from 1983, and it's very clear that MEF was heavily promoted, while Faker barely gets mentioned at all until later in the year. The evidence does seem to suggest MEF was distributed first. However, it is hard to say definitively given that Faker simply was not promoted. I found a really cool print interview with a woman who may have been an an independent toy dealer in Asbury Park, New Jersey, from July 6, 1983. In the article, she is asked about boys' buying habits, and she responded, ". . .They come in and buy one, then come back with their mothers to buy another, and come back with their grandmothers to buy another. They know them all by name. . .They are rather annoyed when you don't have the one they want. Right now they're looking for Faker." And of all things, there is a cool shot of Faker next to the article.
    Faker 1983.png
    That's a great one too! Lots of interesting MOTU articles to be found by digging around. I might have to actually pay for a subscription sometime. I just wish they didn't ask for the whole year upfront.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    I've done a pretty comprehensive search of all ads and articles from 1983, and it's very clear that MEF was heavily promoted, while Faker barely gets mentioned at all until later in the year. The evidence does seem to suggest MEF was distributed first. However, it is hard to say definitively given that Faker simply was not promoted. I found a really cool print interview with a woman who may have been an an independent toy dealer in Asbury Park, New Jersey, from July 6, 1983. In the article, she is asked about boys' buying habits, and she responded, ". . .They come in and buy one, then come back with their mothers to buy another, and come back with their grandmothers to buy another. They know them all by name. . .They are rather annoyed when you don't have the one they want. Right now they're looking for Faker." And of all things, there is a cool shot of Faker next to the article.
    Faker 1983.png
    Do you think, because most of the ads were black and white, that faker wasn’t advertised as much because it would just look like he-man in the ad and therefor not as exciting?
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    This probably doesn't help solve the Faker/Man-E-Faces debate, but April 9, 1983 is the earliest ad date I could find referencing the laser gun cardboard punchout. This was an in-store giveaway item to promote Man-E-Faces.
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Kahn View Post
    Do you think, because most of the ads were black and white, that faker wasn’t advertised as much because it would just look like he-man in the ad and therefor not as exciting?
    Possibly. However, I think the major retailers who printed their adds in separate booklets stuffed inside the newspaper, did in fact use color photo shots of the toys. My assessment is that Ancestry.com, which I believe may own Newspapers.com, has archived scans of photocopies of the newspapers probably from microfiche, thus they all appear in poor qualify black and while photocopy form. If the company were to invest in doing all new digital scans of all of the original source materials, we might see some really cool stuff in color. Like this ad below, for example, which is a personal favorite of mine.

    Advert.png

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    Lots of interesting MOTU articles to be found by digging around. I might have to actually pay for a subscription sometime. I just wish they didn't ask for the whole year upfront.
    So, I happen to have at the moment a monthly subscription to Ancestry.com. The deluxe Ancestry subscription already came with a basic subscription to Newspapers.com. To get access to the materials we have been looking at, though, I needed to upgrade to premium for an extra $12, so that is what I did. I don't think I committed to a yearlong subscription, but I guess we shall see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkangel View Post
    Followup video is here!
    I must say I enjoyed the first video much better. It contained actual evidence. I think the "extrapolation" offered in the second video suffers under the weight of the evidence that we have un-earthed just in the past few days. This is why the Org is so great. It provides a venue where we can propose ideas and have them stress tested. This video should be been stress tested before publication.

    If you look at the evidence unearthed by all of you, we clearly see advertisements of MEF as early as April, 1983 WITH the maroon brown weapons. To make the extrapolation work, Barb would have had to have purchased her figures well before that, received her Special Edition He-Man with no weapons before that, complain and cause a change in procedure at Mattel to start to including extra weapons that created leftovers, all happening by April, 1983. But Barb's letter to Mattel wasn't received until August, 1983. So, this suggests to me that Barb purchased her figures in response to the 3/1 promo ads like most everybody else in the spring or early summer of 1983.

    I never worked at Mattel, but I have watched documentary interviews with Paul Cleveland and Mark Ellis. And one thing they talk about is the "play value" of adding accessories, which they learned from the Barbie toy line. It would make sense to throw in some extra "play value" when promoting the first release of your second wave - MEF. Thus, I think Mattel ran two separate promos concurrently - extra weapons for MEF, and a 3/1 for Special Edition He-Man. And when people started to complain that the Special Edition He-Man came with no accessories, it seems to make more sense that Mattel would have then thrown in a couple of extra MEF maroon brown weapons on the cheap.

    SIDE NOTE: I have also found an ad from April 7, 1983 that shows a picture of the full boot Skeletor. (I found another ad from March, 1983 with a picture of a He-Man figure that appears to have dipped boots, but it's questionable.) I've always wondered when the boot dipping process began, and this seems to support conventional wisdom that Mattel started using the boot-dipping process with the release of the 2nd wave. This also lines up nicely with the production of Special Edition He-Man, which I believe also has dipped boots.
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    Heroic Warrior King Kahn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    Possibly. However, I think the major retailers who printed their adds in separate booklets stuffed inside the newspaper, did in fact use color photo shots of the toys. My assessment is that Ancestry.com, which I believe may own Newspapers.com, has archived scans of photocopies of the newspapers probably from microfiche, thus they all appear in poor qualify black and while photocopy form. If the company were to invest in doing all new digital scans of all of the original source materials, we might see some really cool stuff in color. Like this ad below, for example, which is a personal favorite of mine.
    Yeah I only meant actual newspaper ads, which for most non national papers are strictly b&w for budget reasons, not FSIs or what they call Free Standing Inserts, which are full color ads that are included with the actual newspaper and most of the time not cataloged or scanned.

    Side note: where in Mn are you from I was born and grew up there.
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    I mentioned to Scott in the comments of his first video that someone here had talked to Barb on the phone, but he ignored it, seems like he doesn't believe it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOKYONEVER View Post
    The one as the left is on a custom card

    Canadian 8_back version is this one:
    FCWS.jpg
    Thanks. It didn't look right to me but I wasn't going to second guess the original seller without seeing the whole card.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallstar View Post
    This probably doesn't help solve the Faker/Man-E-Faces debate, but April 9, 1983 is the earliest ad date I could find referencing the laser gun cardboard punchout. This was an in-store giveaway item to promote Man-E-Faces.
    I actually never knew that cardboard laser gun was part of the early Man-E-Faces promotions. I always wondered where those came from!


    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    If you look at the evidence unearthed by all of you, we clearly see advertisements of MEF as early as April, 1983 WITH the maroon brown weapons. To make the extrapolation work, Barb would have had to have purchased her figures well before that, received her Special Edition He-Man with no weapons before that, complain and cause a change in procedure at Mattel to start to including extra weapons that created leftovers, all happening by April, 1983. But Barb's letter to Mattel wasn't received until August, 1983. So, this suggests to me that Barb purchased her figures in response to the 3/1 promo ads like most everybody else in the spring or early summer of 1983.
    I thought it was an interesting hypothesis that the maroon weapons were created for Special Edition He-Man first, and then later used for Man-E-Faces - that wasn't something I'd considered. However, I think you're correct that the timeline doesn't work. I agree that our evidence suggests they were created for Man-E-Faces first, then included haphazardly with the Special Edition figure.

    (Note: we still have only circumspect evidence that the Special Edition He-Man ever came with weapons at all. Our evidence is: the Fowler's sample with maroon sword and axe, and we know of at least two examples of a mail-away He-Man whose original owner's claimed they came with the maroon shield. It is possible, however, that the original owners simply forgot that they had those items because they'd already purchased Man-E-Faces with the extra weapons prior to the mail-away promotion. I lean towards the theory that it did come with various weapons, but the only sample backed up by documentation is the one mentioned by Barb Hackenberg, which did not have weapons.)

    Scott's video was correct, however, in its guess that the recolored Grayskull weapons all came from the same injection grid. Interestingly, the Grayskull pistol was also on that mold, but it was never included with either Man-E-Faces or the Special Edition figure. Not sure why. Possibly Mattel considered it a choking hazard for young kids and told their factory people not to use it?

    Below: the original Grayskull weapon grids.

    greyskullweapons.jpg

    I never worked at Mattel, but I have watched documentary interviews with Paul Cleveland and Mark Ellis. And one thing they talk about is the "play value" of adding accessories, which they learned from the Barbie toy line. It would make sense to throw in some extra "play value" when promoting the first release of your second wave - MEF. Thus, I think Mattel ran two separate promos concurrently - extra weapons for MEF, and a 3/1 for Special Edition He-Man. And when people started to complain that the Special Edition He-Man came with no accessories, it seems to make more sense that Mattel would have then thrown in a couple of extra MEF maroon brown weapons on the cheap.
    Is the earliest evidence we have for the 3-for-1 promo also from April, 1983? I had been under the impression the 3-for-1 started first, but that was before we started finding archived evidence to narrow down the timeline.

    EDIT: I thought this because Barb lists all of the figures her kids have in her letter but mentions nothing about Man-E-Faces, so I assumed he wasn't available at her location when she responded to the 3-for-1 promotion. If this assumption is correct, then the 3-for-1 promo would have preceded Man-E-Faces, at least in some areas.

    SIDE NOTE: I have also found an ad from April 7, 1983 that shows a picture of the full boot Skeletor. (I found another ad from March, 1983 with a picture of a He-Man figure that appears to have dipped boots, but it's questionable.) I've always wondered when the boot dipping process began, and this seems to support conventional wisdom that Mattel started using the boot-dipping process with the release of the 2nd wave. This also lines up nicely with the production of Special Edition He-Man, which I believe also has dipped boots.
    I don't think that's accurate. We can see many examples of dipped-boot figures on second edition 8-backs, and I presume many of those were produced prior to Man-E-Faces release. They stopped spraying boots fairly early, which we can deduce by how many early variants of He-Man and Man-at-Arms had the spray on boots. Not many.

    (I do think it likely there was some overlap between early Man-E-Faces cards and continued use of the 8-back format for other figures for a period. For instance, you can find 8-back figures with "The Power of Point Dread" comic on both 8-back and 12-back cards. The 8-back cards I've seen with that comic are G2, while the 12-backs are G4. However, I think we're all in agreement that the second wave of minicomics coincided with the release of the second wave figures. 8-backs with second wave minicomics are, with the exception of Faker, harder to find than 8-backs /w warranty and first wave minicomics.)

    Attached: a sample of the earliest Man-E-Faces figure and cardback that I came across recently. Note that the wires aren't purple but they're also not the bright pink we've often seen on early Man-E-Faces. They're sort of an in-between hue.

    manefacesearliestcardback1.jpg manefacesearliestcardback2.jpg
    Last edited by Universe; November 24, 2020 at 05:06pm.

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    Court Magician Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    Attached: a sample of the earliest Man-E-Faces figure and cardback that I came across recently. Note that the wires aren't purple but they're also not the bright pink we've often seen on early Man-E-Faces. They're sort of an in-between hue.
    Attached is a picture of the MEF I purchased in June, 1983. It came without maroon weapons. I may have mislead you earlier in the thread by suggesting the wires are purple. They are more pink, but not as bright pink as the MEF that belonged to my childhood neighbor, which did come with maroon weapons.

    IMG_1170.jpg

    Here is a picture I pulled from eBay showing a range of MEFs across the color spectrum. Photo is a tad blurry, but provides a good illustration nonetheless. I feel like my MEF is closer in match to the one furthest on the left. The one to the right of that is probably a Man-E-Weapons.

    s-l1600.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    Is the earliest evidence we have for the 3-for-1 promo also from April, 1983? I had been under the impression the 3-for-1 started first, but that was before we started finding archived evidence to narrow down the timeline.
    Did anyone else on the thread find a 3/1 promo ad prior to April, 1983? The earliest one I am finding is from April 14, 1983 (Chicago Tribune). April, 1983 was very heavy with the 3/1 promos in newspaper ads. I am finding ads from 1982 with rebates, like buy 2 get a rebate, but not a 3/1 promo specifically.

    And yet, as I am looking at the Battle Ram Blog profile of Savage He-Man, the description of the promo mentions that purchases as early as January 2, 1982 qualify. That is very interesting. Does that suggest the promo was offered much earlier than I thought? Unclear.
    I'm losing my edge, but I was there. LCD Soundsystem

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    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springor Spanior View Post
    Attached is a picture of the MEF I purchased in June, 1983. It came without maroon weapons. I may have mislead you earlier in the thread by suggesting the wires are purple. They are more pink, but not as bright pink as the MEF that belonged to my childhood neighbor, which did come with maroon weapons.

    IMG_1170.jpg
    Yeah, I'd put that closer to pink end of the spectrum than purple. My working hypothesis is that early Man-E-Faces had both pink wires and "middle hue" wires, while later Man-E-Faces were generally standardized to the common purple shade. However, I'll need to see a bunch more samples to see if that theory holds up. It's possible there's no pattern to it.

    And yet, as I am looking at the Battle Ram Blog profile of Savage He-Man, the description of the promo mentions that purchases as early as January 2, 1982 qualify. That is very interesting. Does that suggest the promo was offered much earlier than I thought? Unclear.
    Interesting. My guess is the January 2, 1982 date simply denotes the introduction of MOTU figures for sale around the world (well, in the U.S., anyway, since the U.S. was probably the earliest market). Unlike today's rebates, rebates in 1982 probably didn't require the receipt to verify purchase - only the proofs of purchase from the packaging since people wouldn't have been able to just print that stuff at home back then.

    That's a neat date to have, though: I've wondered when in 1982 the first figures were first released!

    But yeah, I don't think that date tells us anything about the 3-for-1 promo introduction. It probably started in April. Barb Hackenberg probably made her purchases in April when the ad came out, and as we know, the ad from Thrifty Acres shows Man-E-Faces. I'm surprised her kids didn't pick up a Man-E-Faces, though, if he'd just been introduced to the store they shopped at, with all that fanfare and hype and extra weapons.
    Last edited by Universe; November 24, 2020 at 09:51pm.

  25. #3025
    Court Magician Springor Spanior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    But yeah, I don't think that date tells us anything about the 3-for-1 promo introduction. It probably started in April. Barb Hackenberg probably responded to it in April when the ad came out, and as we know, the ad from Thrifty Acres shows Man-E-Faces. I'm surprised her kids didn't pick up a Man-E-Faces, though, if he'd just been introduced to the store they shopped at, with all that fanfare and the promotions and hype.
    Here are some more interesting 3/1 promo ads that I've collected.
    The first one I previously shared but inadvertently cropped out some important evidence. In this picture (which showed up in a number of newspapers on and around April 17, 1983) we see the maroon weapons in the foreground, but I failed to notice the MEF in the background was holding a maroon shield.
    Buy 3 Get 1 MEF Weapons.png
    In the second picture we see a 3/1 promotion, also from April 17, 1983, with FAKER! I can't believe I missed that one.
    Buy 3 Get 1 Faker.png
    And lastly, we see a 3/1 promotion with a sketch of Skeletor and an inset drawing of the maroon weapons. This is from May 22, 1983.
    Buy 3 Get 1 Weapons.png
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