In 1985 Coleco unleashed a whole world of imagination upon the children of America. There were toys, there was a cartoon, there were comics. It failed completely.
This was the fate of Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion, a high concept multi-media assault from the people behind Colecovision. The sectaurs were He-Man-esque figures, except they had insect faces and came packaged with insectoid companions. But most striking were the steeds - giant insects upon which good Prince Dargon, evil General Spidrax and their armies rode. These steeds were essentially hand puppets, with your fingers inside a glove that made up the hairy legs of the steeds.
While the toy line and the cartoon and the Marvel comic failed, the Sectaurs commercials are imprinted upon the brains of a generation. They were actually serialized, so that you would be told this was episode 11 and you would find out how Pinsor and his Battle Beetle would survive episode 10's assault by Skulk or Skito, and then at the end of thirty seconds, just as the tide turned for our heroes, Dargon would be in trouble and the ad would end on a cliffhanger.
This was mind-blowing stuff for a 12 year old. These commercials were sometimes more exciting than the shows in which they appeared. A generation primed their enormous, boxy VCRs to try and catch as many of the episodes as possible. And in the great tradition of toy commercials of the past, all of these episodes were acted out with the actual figures, not animation or trick photography. It was just people (maybe even kids!) playing with the toys in front of the camera, creating a world not unlike the one you would create in your backyard.
At least conceptually since, again, nobody bought these.
The Sectaurs commercials have largely vanished into the memory hole. Here are the ones I could find on YouTube. I'm not even sure if Coleco made every episode, or if they created more of a cliffhanger feeling by just skipping over an episode or two here or there. If you have a line on more episodes, please let me know and I'll include them here.
The Origin of the Sectaurs!
The Hyve, the enormous Sectaurs playset!
Here we're jumping ahead to episode 3:
And now on to 5:
We don't have 6, so here's 7!
Predictably we don't have 8. But we do have 9 through 13! Let's just roll em.
Is that all? I don't know. If you have some Sectaurs commercials on YouTube, Vimeo or on VHS at home, let me know!