A Mistress of the Universe? Not Likely.

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Children who have sunk most of their allowance money into Mattel's "Masters of the Universe" toys now have a chance to get something back from the company: $300,000 in college scholarships.

The toy manufacturer recently announced a Masters of the Universe "Create-A-Character" contest, open to all children 12 and under. The child who designs the best new character for the line of toys will win a $100,000 college scholarship and see his or her figure become a new Master of the Universe. Four other finalists will win $50,000 scholarships.

The contest is "designed to foster the creativity of children," according to the company, just as the Masters of the Universe toys are designed to "foster imaginative play in children."

The 500,000 contest entries expected by the Oct. 10 closing date will be, said a Mattel spokesman, Martin Kleinman, a "telling commentary'' on "what's going on in the minds of American children."

To be more precise, the entries may reveal what is going on in the minds of American boys.

As Mr. Kleinman acknowledged, Masters of the Universe is one of the company's "boys' toy" products. Among children buying and playing with the toys, the boy-to-girl ratio is nine to one, he said. Thus, "the odds of a girl entering the contest would probably be consistent with that."

The Masters of the Universe lineup includes the "heroic warrior" he-manand his friends, who battle "the evil Skeletor and his henchmen on the mythical planet of Eternia." Only two of the 31 characters in the line are women: Teela, the "heroic warrior goddess," and Evil-Lyn, the "evil warrior goddess."

Introduced in 1982, Masters of the Universe is currently the company's top product line, with 1985 retail sales expected to reach $450 million this year.

Mattel is "one of the few" toy companies that divides its line into boys' and girls' toys, Mr. Kleinman said. The company's largest selling line of girls' toys is the Barbie Doll, which had 1984 worldwide sales of $400 million.

Vol. 05, Issue 04

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