12.21.2012

The Music of M.A.S.K.

The Music of M.A.S.K.

Wyatt and I have often mentioned on MASKast that the music really contributed to the popularity of the M.A.S.K. cartoon. The main theme in particular is one of the best from 80s animation. I continue to see it posted in top 80s cartoon theme lists on blogs across the internet. Composers Shuki Levy and Haim Saban wrote the theme along with many other themes from 80s and 90s cartoons including He-man & The Masters of the Universe, Inspector Gadget, The Real Ghostbusters, Captain N: The Game Master, and Might Morphin Power Rangers just to name a few. If you've never listened to the full version of the M.A.S.K. theme, check it out below.


I was recently approached by Eric of Cartoonopolis.Com about the vast music library on his website. I was THRILLED to find 24 music tracks from M.A.S.K. and numerous others from G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ducktales, TMNT, and more. Since most of these shows never released an actual soundtrack, Eric has taken on the production task himself by piecing together the songs from actual episodes! I asked Eric to give us a little insight into his world at Cartoonopolis.Com through a recent interview.

Jason: When did you create the Cartoonopolis.Com website?
Eric: About a year ago. It's still a very unfinished work in progress, and I definitely want to add more in the future, most likely in the form of images from various 80s cartoons.

Jason: What can we find on the site?
Eric: Right now the main focus is on the background music heard in various cartoons from the 1980s. A lot of the music is from soundtracks done by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban, who did the music for M.A.S.K. and numerous other cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, and Inspector Gadget. All files are individual sound files of my favorites heard in those and other shows. Editing the files together was a very laborious task; I simply recorded moments in the cartoons where there was no dialogue using sound recorder and then cut and pasted the clips together to form complete tracks. Since music was often recycled throughout each show, there was a fair amount of material I was able to work with. It's a relatively simple procedure, but takes a keen ear, and lots of patience and time. The only other things I have on the site right now is a general information page on the M.A.S.K. cartoon show and V.E.N.O.M. and an episode guide page for G.I. Joe that's still very much a work in progress.

Jason: Before we go further into the music, the website greeting says that your main focus is the music and villains. What is your favorite cartoon villain(s) and why?
Eric: I've always liked the over-the-top megalomaniac cartoon villains, ever since I was a child. I would have to say my favorites are Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe, Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and of course Miles Mayhem from M.A.S.K. I've always envied the kind of power these characters have, even though they always lose in the end. Plus, I've always found the villains to be much more interesting than the heroes. You always know what a hero is going to do, that he/she will always do what's right and good and so on. The villains will typically follow the same pattern except their motives are always evil, but it's the villains that always come up with the interesting schemes to attain their goals. The heroes, at least in cartoons, always seem to be on defense. Plus, there is the odd episode where the villain actually surprises the audience and works with the hero, in order to attain a goal that is mutually beneficial to both parties. Rarely, do you ever see in a children's cartoon, a hero who bypasses morality even if the outcome would be a good one.

Jason: I really appreciate the time you put in to create the music library on your site. Which cartoon’s music do you think contributed the most to the popularity of its show?
Eric: That's a tough one, since there is so much great music heard in so many cartoons from the 1980s. I would definitely say the music heard in M.A.S.K. was a huge influence in the popularity of the show, especially with the music that was composed for V.E.N.O.M.'s theme. A lot of cartoons from the 1980s had their own unique sound though, and to compare them would be a rather difficult task since there was such variety in each show from that era. If you compare music from 1980s cartoon shows to music heard in cartoons today however, there really is no comparison since most of the music heard in today's cartoons is largely forgettable.

Jason: Wyatt and I have talked on MASKast about how much the music plays an integral part of the show. Which do you think had the better themes, M.A.S.K. or V.E.N.O.M.?
Eric: V.E.N.O.M., definitely. Every time that electric guitar started up you just knew these were the bad guys, and were up to another evil scheme. A perfect example of this, and one that really sticks in my mind is in "The Mystery of the Lipizzaner" where we first see Mayhem and Rax at the horse stables.

Jason: What are you looking to add to your site in the near future?
Eric: Well, definitely more images, and maybe some more music, though most of the music I have in my library is already up on the site. I also definitely want to add a links section, and link to your M.A.S.K. movie page as well as a link to PitViperStudios.Net, where I got that wonderful Viper mask replica I mentioned in the comments section on "Cold Fever".

Jason: How can fans connect with Cartoonopolis.Com?
Eric: Right now they can post comments on each of the pages on my site. Other than that, I really want to avoid things like blogs and forums, simply because I wouldn't have the time to monitor them and I'd like to avoid the drama that usually comes with such things. If there's a particular piece of music that a fan wants to hear that isn't on any of the music pages, they can simply leave a comment on the respective page and I'll try my best to accommodate them. I would like to thank you (Jason and Wyatt) for making it possible for me to plug my site and I will definitely be listening to your MASKasts! Thanks again!

Thank you, Eric! Now let's explore a little bit of Eric's library.
Everyone who remembers watching M.A.S.K. as a kid will probably remember the main theme. Those of us who were and remain die-hard fans remember some of the other themes played during the episodes. One that Wyatt and I have talked about on MASKast is the military-like theme used when M.A.S.K. is tracking V.E.N.O.M.:

LISTEN HERE

V.E.N.O.M. seemed to have many themes. There is one that always seemed to play when they first entered onto the scene and I've used that in MASKasts before. This next theme is another that was always played when V.E.N.O.M. was putting their plan in motion:

LISTEN HERE

Finally, one of the best features about the soundtrack of the M.A.S.K. cartoon is that it always set a tone for the scene. There were great songs for action scenes or just when Scott and T-Bob were fooling around. The music used for the mysterious or eerie scenes was also great. Here's another great track that was always used when something bad was about to happen:

LISTEN HERE
For more great tracks from M.A.S.K. and other 80s and 90s cartoons, please visit Cartoonopolis.Com and the site's unique music library. Many thanks to Eric for sharing his thoughts and taking the time to connect with us and our M.A.S.K. Movie followers!

2 comments:

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  2. There should a a definitive release or even better a deluxe CD box set featuring all of Shuki Levy's best and most beloved and long sought after 1980's cartoon themes at last!

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