Retro Listen: “The Sword of She-Ra”

How about something a little different than just watching something fun and nostalgic. How about…listening to something fun and nostalgic?

Why not toy with the format just a little, right?

This morning, I watched part (I have about 35 minutes left) of the 2017 documentary The Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, which looks at the franchise from its concept art as a Conan the Barbarian toyline all the way to the end of the franchise’s original life, which also included the adventures of He-Man’s long-lost twin sister, Princess Adora, who becomes She-Ra by wielding her magic sword. I pretty much know where the documentary is going at this point, as I’m up to the point where the 1987 live action film is discussed. As we know, this was pretty much the end of the series as we knew it. But of course, I still have to finish it. That will be a “tomorrow morning on the treadmill” watch.

Ohhh-Oh-Whoah, Listen to She-Ra!

Don’t judge on that Doobie Brothers reference!

As for today, watching part of the documentary got me interested in combing through the ancillary items in the She-Ra: Princess of Power side of the franchise. Surprisingly, there is much to be discovered…including books. When I was three years old, She-Ra was discovering the Secret of the Sword. I had a She-Ra action figure (my own twin brother had He-Man), and I loved everything that had to do with the blonde hero and her Great Rebellion. But, being three years old, I wasn’t reading yet, so while books looked pretty, they had to be read to me. For kids my age, book and tape/book and record stories were the perfect way to enjoy the stories of our favorite licensed characters. With a simple sound prompt, readers and non-readers alike could turn the pages in the book. Non-readers could enjoy the story and look at the pictures, while readers could gain valuable reading skills by listening to the words. They like pictures too, I take it.

Image: he-man.org

And – bonus! – side two of the cassette was blank, so readers and non-readers alike could record themselves. Hey, come for She-Ra, stay for you yelling “HIIIIIIII!” at your cassette player.

I wonder how many nostalgic adults had these, and were lucky enough to dig them up at some later date to hear their voices?

My brother had some of these book and cassette stories featuring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I don’t recall having story/cassette items. I had talking dolls that served that purpose nicely, but I just don’t remember having storybook-based cassettes that didn’t need a doll to operate them.

But now that I’m well aware these existed, I would have loved to hear She-Ra’s audio adventures!

Heck, let’s see how I feel about one of them now now.

The Sword of She-Ra

Before I really jump into this and pick through it with a fine tooth comb, let’s examine the cover…

Image: he-man.org

This looks nothing like Filmation. It reminds me of Harlequin romance covers, without Fabio riding on the hose with She-Ra. This is less merchandise tie-in, and more “commissioned it from an artist” or “bought fan art at a convention.” Either way, this screams “I framed it and put it on my wall for all of its majestic beauty to be seen,” and not “children’s book cover.”

Prince Adam is sent by the Sorceress through a portal to Etheria to find the one who rightfully possesses the Sword of Protection, which is much like He-Man’s sword.

Upon his arrival in Etheria, he comes into a fight between a man who introduces himself as Bow, and several warriors.

Adam joins Bow in the battle, and the two successfully defeat the warriors.

Bow takes Adam to his people to explain what exactly happened. Meanwhile in the Fright Zone, Etheria’s answer to Skeletor, Hordak, seeks knowledge of the stranger who has arrived there, and sends his charge, Adora to handle him.

Meanwhile, in the Whispering Woods, Bow introduces Adam to Glimmer, whose mother, Queen Angella, is being held at Hordak’s Beast Island (details of which come to her through Madame Razz). The group, with Adam joining them, is sent to Beast Island on flying goats, rather than in boats.

The group comes under attack, and it is at that moment that Adam needs to pull a Clark Kent.

By the honor of Grayskull…

Gotta love the non use of Castle Grayskull as the backdrop for Adam’s transformation. I always thought the “suddenly transported there”/reused footage of Adam changing into He-Man was cheesy, but certainly better than this neon green background.

After this Obligatory He-Man moment, He-Man assists Bow and Glimmer with fighting off Hordak’s Horde, but the Sword of Protection finds its owner…

This evil chick Adora!

The team is caught off guard at this moment of revelation, and stunned into unconsciousness.

Adora seeks answers to why this sword favors her, and is visited by The Sorceress, who explains her circumstances – kidnapped by Hordak as an infant, raised by him to be part of his Evil Horde, and that the stranger, He-Man, is actually…HER BROTHER!

Dun-dun-DUN!

With this newfound knowledge, and her Sword of Protection, Adora becomes Etheria’s version of He-Man…

By the honor of Grayskull…

She-Ra! She-Ra!

Adora’s new persona is She-Ra, Princess of Power, and the years of brainwashing and Stockholm Syndrome are suddenly erased, as she is tasked with protagonism. Her first noble act, she releases He-Man and his new friends, which become her new friends!

Everything is explained, and He-Man explains who he is in relation to Prince Adam…without giving away his little secret.

With He-Man and She-Ra side by side, the group swiftly defeats Hordak’s Evil Horde…

…and save the day! Glimmer’s mom, Queen Angella is released, the Evil Horde is neutralized (for now), and the secret of the sword revealed an identity for Adora…and a life she knew nothing about!

Oh, and new friends in the Great Rebellion!

He-Man tells She-Ra that he must return to Eternia, and wants She-Ra to return with him. She knows her place is Etheria. But of course, they’ll meet again.

She has the power!

So…Does This Sound Familiar?

It better, since it’s the eight-minute version of Secret of the Sword!

That’s right, the first He-Man/She-Ra crossover that also served as the starting point for She-Ra: Princess of Power, with all the little plot points removed, and all the major plot points kept, and boiled down into a very short, almost Reader’s Digest-style telling. Complete with voiceovers and music, this tie-in, dare I say it, is quite good. I liked Secret of the Sword – it is delightfully cheesy, and entertaining for what it is – but this doesn’t mess around. It tells the story, it tells it speedily, and with cute little prompts to turn the page.

Plus, the aforementioned recordable side two of the cassette!

Image: he-man.org

These Golden Book stories are truly a cut above, mostly because of particular series, which goes beyond the pages of a typical Golden Book storybook!

Golden Book “Super Adventure” Series…And Other Adaptations

The Golden Book “Super Adventure” Series, which The Sword of She-Ra is part of, was a series of enhanced Golden Books released for this franchise between 1983 and 1986, which included the Golden Book and an audio cassette. There are four She-Ra stories, and twelve He-Man stories.

GoBots (you know, Not the Transformers) and Wheeled Warriors (of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors) also got the “Super Adventures” treatment, as did Conan the Barbarian, Defenders of the Earth, MASK, Inhumanoids, and I’m sure, other licensed characters/franchises. There isn’t much about this series, but it seems pretty self-explanatory.

In addition to this adaptation of Secret of the Sword, there is also a Read-Along Adaptation by Kid Stuff in two parts – The Sword of She-Ra and The Princess of Power – and a Golden Book video adaptation of the story.

So much condensed Secret of the Sword out there, my friends!

Reaction

Image: he-man.org

As the whole He-Man/She-Ra thing goes, the dialogue isn’t always the greatest, but putting on the hat of nostalgia, it was all so amazing. The animation always looked good for its time. As I said, I liked Secret of the Sword as an adult (I watched it in my twenties). This story tells She-Ra’s origin story to the point, nothing more, nothing less. At less than ten minutes, it is a quick listen. Even as standalone reading material, it is a short read.

A little bit of nostalgia for not a lot of time. Win-win!

Listen To The Sword of She-Ra!

If you’re feeling so empowered to hear the origin story of She-Ra, from her days in command of Hordak, to the revelation brought to her by a mysterious blonde stranger with giant muscles, this is the story you know, done super fast!

I can’t emphasize that enough!

Upload via SheRaver1986

By the way, I looked up “She-Ra Harlequin parody,” and I really wish I could have closed out with something unbelievable.

But alas, no one has tried that weird slice of fan art. Perhaps I better stop before someone actually does make that happen.

Have a great day!

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