Masters of the Universe: Teela’s Secret”

There was a change in cartoons in the 1970’s, following a misplaced furor about violence in children’s cartoons. Violence, even cartoon violence, was suddenly forbidden. That was the reason you never saw Thundarr the Barbarian decapitate anyone with his Sun Sword. It was why Cobra pilots always bailed out before their jets exploded. It was why GI Joe and Cobra used laser weapons that only seemed to affect tanks and jeeps instead of ordinary rifles and machine guns. (The latter was also cheaper to animate.)

It forced writers to develop new and different (or old and different) stories and plot devices on a weekly basis.

Enter Mind Control.

Mind Control was a standard fictional plot device since the days of Mesmer, and it had a reoccurence in cartoons during the 1970’s. It was especially convenient for popular fantasy or super-science based shows like He-Man and GI Joe, because there were many more ways to invoke Mind Control. With Mind Control, cartoons didn’t need physical violence to add conflict. Which leads us back to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: “Teela’s Secret”.

Teela’s Secret” is a Golden Book, a 48 page perfect bound hardcover book with illustrations on each page, accompanied by short paragraphs of one to three sentences each. It was from aimed at the 7–9 age range.

Back cover text: Teela was He-Man’s sidekick. She was secretly the daughter of the Sorceress, but never knew her parents. Skeletor used the Jewel of the Ages to entrance Teela into believing Skeletor was her father. The Jewel gave Teela the power to defeat He-Man for Skeletor.

Meanwhile, Skeletor’s lackey Evil-Lyn betrayed him to his putative superior Hordak, leader of the Horde, because Evil-Lyn is jealous of Teela’s new connection with Skeletor. Hordak returns the betrayal by betraying her, hoping to defeat Skeletor and He-Man at the same time and rule both Eternia and Etheria. He-Man is able to reach the goodness within Teela and get her to reject Skeletor’s lies, and together they defeat Skeletor and Hordak. The Sorceress heals Teela, telling her that she is sure her mother is very proud of her, and everything is back to normal.

Quite a blatant episode of MC, and in a kid’s book, too. I was quite surprised to discover it at the local used book store, idly glancing inside it. When I saw the image of Teela and the Jewel, I knew I had to have it for the Collection.

Further information:

This is an expanded version of a series of tweets.

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