Sunday, January 29, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: Galtar and the Golden Lance

During the mid-'80s, animation powerhouse Hanna-Barbera, which had always thrived by peddling original properties, found its influence waning in the wake of toy-based cartoons like Transformers, G.I. Joe, and He-Man. Those shows, which were essentially half-hour toy commercials subsidized by their respective owners, guaranteed a much greater return-on-investment, and also signaled a marked shift in TV-viewing tastes for the kidvid set that left old hands like HB outgunned.

To that end, Hanna-Barbera tried to come up with an answer to the He-Man phenomenon with their own fantasy series, Galtar and the Golden Lance, which aired for 21 episodes in the 1985-'86 season as part of the syndicated Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera weekday morning package, which included reruns of hoary HB classics like The Jetsons alongside original programming like this. Here's the intro for Galtar, part of the very first batch of Funtastic  shows:

The premise was simple enough: Galtar is a blond adventurer (like He-Man) who wanders an otherworldly fantasy landscape with several companions (like He-Man) and wields a mystic weapon that the villain is also after (like He-Man). So, yeah, when I said it was their answer to He-Man, I wasn't kidding. In many ways, Galtar also drew from Filmation's Blackstar and Ruby-Spears' Thundarr, but everyone knew what they were really going for.

Galtar wasn't particularly bad. The central storyline of his battle against the evil Tormack, ruler of the kingdom of Bandisar, was engaging enough for the kiddie crowd, but neither was it particularly memorable either. Even today I rarely see it referenced fondly the way folks talk about some of the other shows I've mentioned in this piece. And without action figures or any other merchandising push, it feels like a cartoon strangely out of its time.  Nonetheless, it is available on home vid if you're interested in giving it a look.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Jake and the Fatman

Two Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Ghostbusters Cereal -- Whatcha Gonna Eat? 

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Thinkin' 'bout Thundarr

Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Oh Brother, Simon & Simon

Five Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The G.I. Joe Comic Commercials

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