I’ve had the pleasure of viewing the intros and sometimes full episodes of the cartoons I enjoyed pre-1990, but none of them brought back that feeling of awe that overcame me like when I just watched the intro to MASK. MASK was quite possibly the coolest concept for a 30-minute toy advertisement (aka 80’s cartoon) ever: there are the good guys, MASK, led by Matt Trakker, and the bad guys, VENOM, led by Miles Mayhem, and they all have these huge mechanical masks and drive these normal-looking vehicles that change into assault vehicles. Wow. Even names like “Matt Trakker” whisk me back. I had the tow truck that turned into a moving turret gun, and the Pontiac GTO that turned into a tank.

A lot of them turned into tanks, I think. I know there was a minivan that split in half and launched a jet. A kid that lived across the street from me in the summer had that one.

The visuals from this short intro may have returned me to first grade for a few fleeting seconds, but it’s the lyrics that most deeply moved me:

Masked crusaders
Working overtime, fighting crime
Secret raiders
Who will neutralize as soon as they arrive
Trakker’s gonna lead the mission,
(?) Expect from gods of supervision (?)
(muh-muh-muh-Mask) MASK!
Is the mighty power that can save the day

(muh-muh-muh-Mask) MASK!
No one knows what lies behind their masquerades
muh-muh-muh-Mask) MASK!
Always riding hot on VENOM’s trail
(?) ‘Cause in the laser raids (?)
Fly away!

Pure poetry.

One other thing I remember is that the logo was absolutely impossible for any non-savant 6-year-old to draw. One time in Mrs. Hagerman’s class I was trying to draw it while she was teaching math or something, and she got frustrated and made me stand in front of the class as she sat in my chair and said, “Fine Braden, if you don’t want to pay attention, you teach the class!” and all the kids laughed at me when I said I wanted to go home and started crying. I didn’t much care for Mrs. Hagerman; I really could have used a ’57 Chevy that turned into a 6-wheeled all-terrain vehicle to escape that day. And blow up her car, while I was at it, too – if I had known which one was hers.


2 responses to “M.A.S.K.

  1. I didn’t watch much of the cartoon, but we did have some of the toys. We had this one and this one. Brings back awesome memories. We lost their helmets very quickly.

  2. You know what the best part about getting those old toys was? THE STICKERS! Getting to peel the stickers off the paper and place them ever-so-carefully on the vehicle; CAREFUL! Don’t put it on crooked!

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