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Stinkor. The He-Man Canonical villan who still stinks
January 14, 2014 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Almost 30 years after original sale, some 80's toys are sought after for their less than pleasant odour. If you can get hold of one today, you'll discover that the He-Man villains Stinkor and Moss Man still cling to their particular [pungent] aroma.

Many toys from the 1980's were imbued with scents as an extra gimmick, most notably the 'Strawberry Shortcake' Doll line and associated accessories. As a selling tactic this was mostly applied to toys firmly marketed at girls - with two notable exceptions.


Despite being barely canon, Mattel thought the character was unique enough to merit it's own action figure. The show's writers were less than enthusiastic about the character and he was never featured in the cartoon.

In fact, Stinkor’s only canonical appearance in the original Masters of the Universe is a mini-comic packed in with the figure called "Stench of Evil."
posted by Faintdreams (68 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Stinkor’s odiferousness was accomplished by Mattel actually mixing patchoulli oil into the mold.

And with that, suddenly, my strong feelings about patchoulli are explained by this association.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:43 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


It stinks!
posted by Rangeboy at 7:43 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


from the 1908's?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:43 AM on January 14


MetaFilter: Cast-off parts that smell like hippies
posted by Wolfdog at 7:45 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I think I might still have my Moss Man in the giant bin of He-Man figures stored in my parents' basement. When I was a kid I always wanted to hang him from the rear-view mirror as a living air freshener. Maybe I'll dig him out and see if the Proustian aroma triggers any long-buried childhood memories (and/or trauma).
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:46 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


opps! My bad typo!/ I meant to say 1980's. Dyscalculia strikes again.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:47 AM on January 14


[Fixed that, carry on.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:52 AM on January 14


Man, I loved huffing on those as a kid, apparently it's patchouli in the plastic?

The other awesome smelling toy I had was a M.U.S.C.L.E. that came in a Nestle Quik can. Smelled like chocolate for the rest of time.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:55 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


It's a tremendous shame that Cartoon Network/Toonami's revival of He-Man petered out, because it seemed to be so considerate of the show's lore. It would have been great to see what they would have done with Stinkor.

Stinkor. Who could have thought that was a good idea?
posted by JHarris at 7:55 AM on January 14


I had Stinkor. I liked how he smelled.

(Say what you will about patchoulli, but it's not the worst odour associated with hippies.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:58 AM on January 14


From the article:

The writers on the Masters of the Universe cartoon show wanted nothing to do with him, refusing to write an episode about a character who was "a walking fart joke." Considering the show’s writers had to produce 65 episodes a year and were perpetually on the lookout for new ideas, this was quite a diss.

These are the same people who wrote an episode in which Skeletor attacks a circus so no one can enjoy it but himself.
posted by JHarris at 7:59 AM on January 14 [19 favorites]


Despite being barely canon, Mattel thought the character was unique enough to merit it's own action figure.

If I read TFA correctly, he wasn't even remotely canon. Mattel came up with the figure, and there was a comic featuring him that was produced to go with the figure. The show's writers never used him. He seems to have been summoned up out of nowhere by Mattel, and nobody else seems to have ever acknowledged his existence. And who can blame them?
posted by Naberius at 8:00 AM on January 14


Naberious - you are probably right. Everyone directly involved in the show seems to consider the character a poor taste joke, but as Mattel owned the rights and did produce an official comic featuring the character I interpreted it as being official canon.

This is a highly subjective choice, but I stick by it. I think it's fair to say that rights holders as well as content creators have some effect on the canonicity (I apologise if that is not a real word) of a thing.

yeah? nay?
posted by Faintdreams at 8:07 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


They should have made a version of Battle Cat with realistic expressable anal glands.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:09 AM on January 14 [18 favorites]


Stinkor was presented to Lou Scheimer and other staff at Filmation for inclusion in the original She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon series as a member of the Evil Horde, but his questionable superpower kept him from ever making an appearance on television. According to Filmation staff, when the description of Stinkor was read out at a meeting of the story editors, all of them burst out laughing at the idea of a character who was "a walking fart joke" and vowed never to use Stinkor in any episode script.

Aw.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:11 AM on January 14


I don't really understand any thoughts about Stinkor somehow not being canon. The He-Man toys came first and the cartoon was developed as a way to sell the toys. If Mattel made Stinkor (which they did) then he's canon. Period. He doesn't have to appear anywhere else he oh my god what am I doing arguing the canonosity of a toy on the internet I have to go.
posted by komara at 8:17 AM on January 14 [26 favorites]


If I read TFA correctly, he wasn't even remotely canon. Mattel came up with the figure, and there was a comic featuring him that was produced to go with the figure. The show's writers never used him.

The details of He-Man canon are a lot more complicated than this. There are at least two separate He-Man continuities. The show is the one that everyone knows, but there's also the comics that came with the figures, and I think the newsstand comic books had a different continuity themselves. Maybe someone with better information can fill in the blanks.
posted by JHarris at 8:25 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I had an Ewok medicine man that you had to collect UPCs for and mail off $4.95 S&H. He smelled stinky and I can still remember it. I wonder if I can still find him at my mom's storage shed.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 8:27 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much cancer we all must have from huffing so much PVC.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 AM on January 14


I don't know if I've ever smelled patchoulli. Considering how many people hate it must bet bad.

G.I. Joe was more my bag
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:33 AM on January 14


I am pleased to know that the writers of She-Ra: Princess of Power were highly concerned with maintaining their artistic and authorial credibility.
posted by delfin at 8:37 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


my memories of He-Man are tinged with shame and that weird head space you get from reading too much Stephen King at one blow, because I had a babysitting gig where I would send the kids to watch He-Man while I read the Shining and the rest of King's stuff the parents had. Anyway.
posted by angrycat at 8:40 AM on January 14


I find it hard to believe that anyone working for Filmation would reject something because it was in bad taste.

That's a bit like Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus turning down a project because of a sketchy script.
posted by sonascope at 8:49 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


Most long term fans consider the comics to be canon and the show as secondary. When they relaunched the series they followed the comic continuity more and even featured at least one episode about Stinkor.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 8:53 AM on January 14


Huh, I do not recall my Moss Man smelling.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:53 AM on January 14


For me, He-Man summons up reminders of my burgeoning sexuality. I was ten or so when I first encountered He-Man through the animated series and thought, "That guy sure has lots of muscles!" followed almost immediately with strange feelings and endless wondering about why I cared whether or not he had lots of muscles.

My mother, in an overly zealous attempt at ridding my young world of any violent programming, made sure that He-Man and his friends were banished from my toy box and our television. My cousins, though, had every single action figure Mattel produced and during my frequent weekend visits to their house, I managed to soak up as much of it as I could. I had a particular fondness for the He-Man with battle armor. I don't remember the proper figure name, but he had this metallic chest plate on a roller. When you thumped it, it would rotate, displaying a dented chest plate. Tap it again and it would display more damage. Once more and it was back to unblemished. That was beyond awesome.

Stinkor, though? I never would have guessed patchouli oil..it smelled so much worse than that. I sniffed him, on a dare, and vowed never to touch the blasted thing again.
posted by BrianJ at 8:54 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


I had Moss Man! And one of the chest plate damage figures! And one year for Christmas I got both Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain (when you shook the cord on the microphone, it sounded like thunder)! Sadly, all these were given away to charity when I left for college.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:09 AM on January 14


These are the same people who wrote an episode in which Skeletor attacks a circus so no one can enjoy it but himself.

Exactly this, I mean what made these people think they were somehow "above" writing for a walking fart-joke?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:16 AM on January 14


For me, He-Man summons up reminders of my burgeoning sexuality.

No doubt. Even after years of consuming real gay pornography and having real gay sex, there is still part of me that responds to He-Man that in a weird awkward way. God, our brains are weird.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:17 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: "
Exactly this, I mean what made these people think they were somehow "above" writing for a walking fart-joke?
"

Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:23 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I'm sure lots of straight male kids watched She-Ra for the ubiquitous short skirts.

The thing that bugs me about porn is that it's too explicit. Tantalizing is good, but once you just present the fact of it. There's a nice borderline in the He-Man/She-Ra series between sexy art and going too far, the kind of thing that classic fantasy illustrators knew and played on, so even their partial or full nudes have something to them, I find, that outright pornography lacks.

I am pleased to know that the writers of She-Ra: Princess of Power were highly concerned with maintaining their artistic and authorial credibility.

J. Michael Straczynski (of Babylon 5) wrote for the original He-Man show, script-edited for She-Ra, and went on to story edit for The Real Ghostbusters (and wrote the Cthulhu mythos crossover episode, The Collect Call of Cthulhu).
posted by JHarris at 9:26 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Stinkor was, by whatever accident of childhood, one of the few action figures I had. Put me in the "he smelled kinda good" camp. None of my peers seemed to agree.
posted by neckro23 at 9:26 AM on January 14


I think (J. Michael Straczynski) also wrote what would be one of the very best episodes of He-Man, where it's revealed that Teela is secretly The Sorceress' daughter.
posted by JHarris at 9:27 AM on January 14


It's surreal that as I read this thread and see the names Moss Man and Stinkor I can almost smell them again. I never owned them but they were two of my favorite toys to play with when I visited my friends, and I loved the way both of them smelled. Same with Strawberry Shortcake dolls, come to think of it, and ... yeah, weren't the 80s full of scratch-and-sniff stickers? Man, as a kid I was really into smelling things apparently, and the toy biz was happy to oblige.

"I had an Ewok medicine man that you had to collect UPCs for and mail off $4.95 S&H. He smelled stinky and I can still remember it."

I gotta say, I had this same mail-order Ewok guy and I don't remember him (or any other Star Wars toys) smelling at all, so I'm gonna guess you got a rotten one or something.

[side note: I would wager that one of the most frustrating times in my mom's life was probably after I sent off for the mail-order Emperor toy and then asked her every single day when we stopped at the mailbox, "Is it here yet?" Six to eight weeks shipping, six to eight weeks of the same question.]
posted by komara at 9:31 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


. . . .where it's revealed that Teela is secretly The Sorceress' daughter

Wait, so Man At Arms & The Sorceress were a couple?
posted by KingEdRa at 9:39 AM on January 14


With the folks who played with these toys as kids now having children themselves, it seems time for a nostalgic scented toy revival.
posted by exogenous at 9:41 AM on January 14


Stinkor is a character in the second He-Man cartoon which came out around 2001. I didn't watch it at the time, but I watched them all on Netflix with my daughter over the past couple of months. Stinkor even gets an origin in the newer cartoon (which is way, way, way better, or at least more sophisticated than the original).

I didn't have that many He-Man toys. I was mostly into GI Joe and Transformers. I'm sure I encountered Stinkor and Moss Man at some friend of cousin's house. I do remember thinking "That's it? That's not so bad." Of course my parents' house had horses and other animals, as well as sulfur water ponds on the hill.
posted by Slothrop at 9:41 AM on January 14


JHarris: "I think (J. Michael Straczynski) also wrote what would be one of the very best episodes of He-Man, where it's revealed that Teela is secretly The Sorceress' daughter."

Jeez, SPOILER ALERT.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:43 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I'm just glad the Thundarr people never made a scented Ookla the Mok. You don't want to smell Mok.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:46 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


He-Man continuity is described here.
posted by JHarris at 9:50 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Wait, so Man At Arms & The Sorceress were a couple?

Man-At-Arms was led by Zoar the falcon (the Sorceress' alternate form) to a human baby in a bird's nest, and raised her as his own. When it wanted to be, the He-Man show could in fact be awesome. Once in awhile.
posted by JHarris at 9:52 AM on January 14


So can anyone venture as to why the scent has lasted so long? Is it something special about patchouli oil and pine? Is it mixing the scent in with the plastic so it's embedded in the material, not just on the surface? I'd think any volatile smell would diminish after 20+ years.
posted by Nelson at 10:15 AM on January 14


MetaFilter: The details of He-Man canon are a lot more complicated than this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:16 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


I never understood the idea of patchouli "stinking". This in particular smells really nice.

Maybe I would find that Stinkor had a pleasant smell.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:17 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I find it hard to believe that anyone working for Filmation would reject something because it was in bad taste.

Why, whatever do you mean?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:27 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much cancer we all must have from huffing so much PVC.
What I want to know is how badly I damaged my brain by sitting around and sniffing blueberry and watermelon scented markers while watching game shows for kids on TV.

Speaking of scented toys for children: does anybody remember Nickelodeon Gak? Specifically, the scented Gak they came out with shortly after the original? Christ, those were awful. There was pizza, which smelled exactly like pizza-flavored Pringles (the worst flavor).

As much as I would have loved a scented action figure, I don't think my parents would have cared much for a figurine's head to be lodged in my nose every waking moment. It's still a pretty interesting gimmick, and they accomplished it with patchouli, of all things.
posted by Redfield at 10:52 AM on January 14


Ok, srsly, I had no idea there even was He-Man canon.
posted by GuyZero at 10:56 AM on January 14


Well, here is the show bible.

Given the goofy nature of the show, I think it's somewhat fitting that the bible is hopelessly marked up with proofreading symbols.
posted by JHarris at 11:01 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


(I'm probably going to use that bible in a FPP someday. I've started collecting links.)
posted by JHarris at 11:01 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


J. Michael Straczynski (of Babylon 5) wrote for the original He-Man show, script-edited for She-Ra, and went on to story edit for The Real Ghostbusters (and wrote the Cthulhu mythos crossover episode, The Collect Call of Cthulhu).

As well as what may be the greatest Saturday morning episode ever, Chicken, He Clucked, in which a rather disturbed fellow sells his soul to a powerful demon for the power to rid Earth of all chickens. All of them. Forever. NO... MORE... CHICKENS.

Joe Bob says check it out.
posted by delfin at 11:03 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


I thought this was going to be about super stinkers.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:38 AM on January 14


A fond memory of fatherly love and parental awesomeness is when I lost my Mossman figure at the playground at school and my dad and I went back to search for it with a flashlight at night.

He spent 2 hours looking through grass for a figure that was green and looked a bit like grass. My dad was a hero

Goodtimes. I loved me some He-man.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 12:40 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Yes, Moss-Man! I would actually describe his smell as "umami", as it was pungent, chemically, but sat low in your nose-holes. I've not smelt anything like him since. "I miss the umami smell of Moss-Man" will be listed as one of the reasons for my spectacularly inconvenient suicide.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:41 PM on January 14


I see Moss-Man apparently smells of patchouli oil. My memory says different, and sense-memory is a very powerful thing. I guess it was the combo of extruded plastic, glue, fake moss, and patchouli.

Good article, though. The smell of a freshly-opened Masters, or Joe, or Transformer was indeed intoxicating and a big reason for toy addiction. RPG rulebooks were also heavenly, and the smell of a 80s-90s bookstore (for Fighting Fantasy) or newsagent (for comics). New computer equipment comes close, these days.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:43 PM on January 14


He spent 2 hours looking through grass for a figure that was green and looked a bit like grass. My dad was a hero

Did he find it, though, Azza?
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:47 PM on January 14


I have tried to explain the smell of ditto machine copies to my kids but it's really hard to articulate. Plus the description of a class full of kids trying to huff English assignments just confuses them.
posted by GuyZero at 1:49 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much cancer we all must have from huffing so much PVC.

Enough for two clicks of BATTLE DAMAGE.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:53 PM on January 14


If you want to know anything about He-Man JHarris, go here. Quite possibly the best meeting ground for all He-Man and She-Ra fans. It's about as official as you'll find originally ran by Val Staples, one of the writers on the 2002 He-Man comic series.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 2:11 PM on January 14


There was a 1975 Sesame Street scratch and sniff storybook kicking around my family's house well into the 1980s. It may even be in my attic right now, and those chemical aromas are probably still just as pungent as they were 39 years ago. The pepperoni pizza was so simultaneously wrong and gross yet oddly compelling that I can still conjure up a pretty vivid scent memory of it. The closest thing I can think of is Pepperoni Pizza Combos.

Feeling lame in this discussion because the only He-Man figure I owned was Skeletor (because Skull for a head!) I preferred G.I. Joe figures because they had more joints.
posted by usonian at 2:15 PM on January 14


I'm sure lots of straight male kids watched She-Ra for the ubiquitous short skirts.

Let's not forget the queer girls. Or the cleavage.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:54 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


"I had an Ewok medicine man that you had to collect UPCs for and mail off $4.95 S&H. He smelled stinky and I can still remember it."

I gotta say, I had this same mail-order Ewok guy and I don't remember him (or any other Star Wars toys) smelling at all


No, there was certainly some kind of plastic or paint that Kenner used that had an aroma to it. I don't know about the Ewok guy, but all my friends and I were intrigued by the curiously sweet smell of the TIE figher pilot.
posted by LionIndex at 3:01 PM on January 14


I believe I can now fess up to eating the contents of my neighbor's Stretch Armstrong.

And it was sweeeeet, too.
posted by sonascope at 4:23 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


My parents gave me a potato for a toy. It smelled pretty bad after a while.
posted by orme at 4:40 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


If you want to know anything about He-Man JHarris, go here. Quite possibly the best meeting ground for all He-Man and She-Ra fans.

Already found it! That's what gave me the idea to start work on a FPP. I love the name of their podcast, "Roast Gooble Dinner!"
posted by JHarris at 6:21 PM on January 14


I have an easier to read version of the show bible on my D&D blog. WORD.
posted by chunking express at 7:46 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


GuyZero: "I have tried to explain the smell of ditto machine copies to my kids but it's really hard to articulate. Plus the description of a class full of kids trying to huff English assignments just confuses them."

One of the many jokes in Fast Times at Ridgemont High that the young people don't get.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:41 PM on January 14


Yes, those old mimeograph tests we used to get, still damp from the roller and smelling like whatever carcenagenic stuff they used for ink. The smell of not-quite-but-almost mac and cheese powder that happens when you pop open a fresh can of 35mm film and some other products in similar packaging is another happy one for me.

I did always notice that some (and I don't recall which ones) GI-Joe action figures and toys seemed to be made from a different plastic and always smelled a bit pukey. In retrospect maybe they were part of some frathouse regiment experiment.
posted by mcrandello at 12:04 AM on January 15


The best thing about dittos is that the machine they used to create them was a "spirit duplicator." What could be cooler than the presence of a spirit duplicator in the school's office?
posted by sonascope at 7:16 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


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