80s Cartoons Based on Successful Toy Lines

If you can believe it, some of our favorite 80s cartoons were a ploy to sell more toys in stores. Some of those cartoons were lucrative and have been around for decades. Below are six toys turned cartoons that stood the test of time.

G.I. Joe
In 1963, Hasbro introduced G.I. Joe as a 12-inch action figure. The character remained popular for some time, however, sales drastically declined. That's when Hasbro realized they needed something new. In the early 80s, they launched the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line and a five-part animated miniseries that was shown on televisions across the US. To learn about The Uphill Battle of GI Joe, click here!


2. GoBots, The First Transforming Robot Toys
The iconic Transformers weren't the first transforming robots to be released! Challenge of the GoBots, an animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera was based on the toyline by a joint venture between Tonka and Japanese toy manufacturer Popy. Their toyline lasted from 1983-1987. In 1991 Hasbro purchased Tonka and the GoBots became part of the Transformers' universe.


3. Transformers
Transformers, robots that hide themselves on Earth by disguising themselves as popular vehicles and electronic devices, were introduced to the US market in 1984 by Hasbro. The first Transformers cartoon, co-produced by Sunbow Productions and Marvel Comics, aired not long after the toy line was introduced. While the original Transformers series ended after four seasons and a theatrical movie, the characters have continued to appear in various forms.

4. Masters of the Universe (MOTU)
The MOTU toy line had garnered a huge following before the first season was released. The main characters, He-Man and evil Skeletor came out in 1981. They were shortly joined by the heroic Man-at-Arms & Battle Cat and Skeletor's henchmen Beast Man. More characters would premiere in 1982 along with a mini-series produced by DC Comics. Want or need to add more MOTU figures to your collection, check out our collection directory here!


5. Care Bears
Care Bears weren't originally released as a toy, but as a concept based on greeting cards from the American Greeting Cards company. They were then introduced as a plush toy in 1983 by Parker Brothers and Kenner. That same year, an animated television special "The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings" was released. "The Care Bears Movie '' is the 2nd featured film based on the toy line. Then in 1986, the company teamed up with Sunbow and Marvel once again to create a syndicated animated series of 65 episodes and two seasons. 

6. My Little Pony (MLP)
The original, hard plastic figurines that were produced in 1981, were called My Pretty Pony. They didn't have the form of future releases, including the hallmark symbol ("cutie marks") on their backside. In 1982, Hasbro reintroduced the line as My Little Pony. In 1986, Sunbow and Marvel created a syndicated animated series of 2 seasons of "My Little Pony." After that came "My Little Pony Tales" which aired on Disney for 1 season, then "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" lasted 9 seasons on the Hub Network and Discovery Family. Currently, "My Little Pony: Pony Life" is in its 2 season also airing on Discovery Family.

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