Imagine a program similar to He-Man, but with a princess, her mind-controlling brother, and—most importantly—a protagonist who wields a lance! This is the main theme of Galtar and the Golden Lance. This neglected but precious sword and sorcery animated classic from the 1980s is incredibly fascinating to watch, despite the somewhat odd setting of the program.
This twenty-one-episode series, which was distributed by Syndicated and created by Hanna Barbera productions, was a part of “The Futuristic World of Hanna Barbera” from 1985 to 1986. The plot of the program revolves around the three main characters’ struggle to stop the world’s most oppressive villain, Tormack.
What was the show all about?
The television series follows the magical exploits of three companions: Galtar, Princess Goleeta, and her younger mind-controlling brother Zorn. Galtar is engaged in combat with the evil Tormack, a cunning usurper of the Bandisar kingdom who is engulfing their entire planet with the aid of his Golden Lance. He was behind the assassination of the remainder of Goleeta and Zorn’s family as well as the murder of both of Galtar’s parents.
Like many others, Tormack longs to unite the strength of Goleeta and Zorn’s Sacred Shield with the ancient, impenetrable Golden Lance, Galtar’s magical weapon. Whoever has power over both is unbeatable in every aspect. Typically, the Golden Lance has a small staff. It has two supernatural blades that can be divided into two swords for use in combat when Galtar holds it above his head with both hands.
The enchantment that gives the Golden Lance its power also guards it by releasing energy from its hilt when it is carried by an unworthy bearer. The phrase “Fury of the Golden Lance” is another name for this. Galtar and his companions are also receiving assistance from the fearsome red dragon Raven’s Claw.
Two stupid mercenaries named Rak and Tuk, a father and son team, add more obstacles and comic relief for this party. This father-son team has a history of misleading people by claiming that their work is the only work they are familiar with. The conflict between Tormack and Galtar was left unresolved and the show was therefore canceled.
Taking you through the introductory episodes
Tormack, a wicked ruler of what may or may not be an alien world or even our world in the distant past, will go to any length to get the mystical weapon known as the Golden Lance. When coupled with the unbreakable Sacred Shield that he took from the royal family of Bandisar, the king and queen of whom he killed when he seized the city of Bandisar, he will be rendered almost completely unstoppable.
Princess Goleeta, who is the rightful heir to the Shield, and her younger brother Prince Zom join forces with the warrior Galtar, who is entrusted with the Golden Lance by the hermit Ither, to overthrow Tormack and fight off other threats along the way, including Tormack’s scheming niece Rava and the father-son con artist team of dwarves. This serves as the main setting for the series.
As the first episode of the series, titled ‘Galtar and the Princess,’ begins, Galtar stands by while Tormack and his minions burn down town after town. After the wicked gang disperses, Galter goes around the ruins and is abruptly ambushed by a masked stranger, who reveals herself to be Princess Goleeta.
Galtar and the Princess band together to defeat Tormack. When he discovers that the two of them are in search of the Golden Lance, Tormack sends his wizard to deter and quite possibly kill them with his black magic. Galtar and Goleeta manage to survive this ambush arranged by Tormack on their quest to the Skull Forest. They encounter several other deadly monsters on their journey there, such as a fire breathing dragon, flesh eating crocodile lizards, and a gruesome vulture.
They manage to penetrate Skull Forest nevertheless and discover the hermit who knows where the Golden Lance is located. The hermit tests Galtar, and upon proving that he is its rightful owner, Galtar takes possession of the Golden Lance. Ultimately, this episode marks the beginning of Galtar and Princess Goleeta’s quest to locate the Golden Lance and the Sacred Shield, both of which are required to defeat the villainous Tormack.
In the second episode titled ‘Skull Forest,’ Rak, a wicked, double crossing dwarf, captures Galtar and Goleeta. Pandat, the prince of Nerms whose life Galtar has previously saved, comes to their aid. Galtar and Princess Goleeta are saved from Rak’s prison by Prince Pandat, who manages to steal the key and lock the dwarf in their place instead.
Before Tormack launches his attack, Pandat takes them to his village and keeps them there as his visitors in the underground location. Here, Goleeta and Galtar finally get a moment of relief and celebrate their freedom with the Nerms, who are extremely friendly and hospitable. Unfortunately, Tormack is ultimately successful in locating both Galtar and Goleeta.
He tells Galtar to give him the Lance unless he wants to die, but Galtar challenges him to a one on one duel instead. Their battle is so fearsome that it causes a deadly earthquake, and Goleeta gets seriously injured. Galtar manages to escape, as Tormack is once again dismayed at his defeat. He confidently states that he is done chasing Galtar and that the Princess and her companion will come to him themselves this time. The episode ends with us discovering that Galtar, Goleeta, and Prince Pandat are all safe and sound.
The third episode, titled ‘Mursa the Meciless’, shows us how Mursa, the terrible witch who wishes to steal Goleeta’s youth, traps the Princess. She pretends to be a helpful old woman and offers to host Galtar and the Princess in her home. While they are there, she hypnotizes Goleeta and convinces her to stay while Galtar leaves. Galtar is shocked at Goleeta’s betrayal but decides to continue his quest without her.
Meanwhile, evil Mursa takes Goleeta underground, where she shows the Princess her kingdom, her throne, and her snake child. Goleeta, who is still under her hypnotic spell, doesn’t react. Mursa gleefully steals her youth and sits upon her throne victoriously. In the meantime, Galtar encounters the enigmatic White Knight, who rescues him when he is being ambushed by a group of deadly bats.
Upon hearing that the Princess has chosen to remain with Mursa, the Knight informs Galtar that Mursa has something wicked up her sleeve and that they must find Goleeta before she is lost forever. When they arrive at Mursa’a abode, Galtar discovers that the Princess’s youth has been stolen and that she is now an old hag. The White Knight uses his powers to undo her enchantment, thus saving Goleeta.
In the fourth episode, titled ‘Goleeta’s Reunion,’ Zorn, who is Princess Goleeta’s brother, is tragically abducted and forced to work in Tormack’s mines. Goleeta believes that Zorn is dead, like the rest of her family, and is unaware of his abduction. Tormack sends Rak and Tuk, the father son dwarf duo, to inform her of Zorn’s current condition and trap her. They are victorious in duping the Princess, much to his delight. Goleeta’s reunion with her young brother is, therefore, unfortunately overshadowed by their current predicament.
Ultimately, it is up to Galtar to save Goleeta and Zorn. When he goes into Tormack’s mines to rescue them, he is unsuccessful and is imprisoned too. In this process, he also loses the Lance. It is only due to Zorn’s quick wittedness that the trio is finally able to escape.
But they don’t get too far until they realize that Tormak and his soldiers are hot on their heels. Galtar uses his Lance to topple two trees, hindering Tormak and allowing them to escape safely. Tormack vows to find them again and backtracks with his soldiers in order to find another route to capture the trio and the Golden Lance that he covets so profoundly.
The fifth episode, titled ‘Shadowhaunt,’ depicts scenes showing Galtar, Princess Goleeta, and Zorn journeying to the demonic stronghold Shadowhaunt, where they are eventually imprisoned. They enter the Valley of Shadowhaunt in an attempt to escape Tormak and his soldiers.
When he realizes this, Tormack is gleeful because Shadowhaunt is dangerous and deadly to those who enter it and rarely does anyone make it out alive. He instructs his soldiers to follow him as he tracks the trio down. He plans on collecting the Lance from over their dead bodies. But the three of them are too smart and just too determined to die so quickly. When they discover that they are being chased, they enter the home of the infamous and deadly Shadowhaunt monster.
Tormack’s soldiers refuse to enter the castle because they are simply too afraid, so they decide that waiting for them outside and then entering the building at dawn is their best bet. The trio manages to defeat the deadly Shadowhaunt monster in the meantime and make a replica monster out of straw and ropes to fool and frighten Tormack and his army. Upon seeing this “monster,” Tormak’s army flees, fearing for their lives, and Tormack helplessly watches as Galtar, the Princess, and her brother manage to escape him yet again.
Galtar, voiced by Lou Richards, is our titular hero. He witnessed his parents and his entire community fall victim to the warmongering Evil Overlord Tormack as a boy. When Tormack’s men arrived, the small boy Galtar was the only one who survived the deadly raid on his hometown, called Set. Swearing vengeance, the child would go on to transform himself from a frail survival to the muscle-bound barbarian warrior of today, anxious for the time when justice could be delivered and his swords firmly placed into Tormack’s chest.
Galtar had built a name for himself as a free-roaming lone fighter long before he arrived on the continent of Bandisar, where our narrative takes place, following Tormack down during the villain’s conquering sprees across the realm. Though he is more focused on bringing Tormack to justice, Galtar once admits that growing up with a loathing for the man was his main incentive to fight through life, longing for the day when he may finally avenge his parents.
Galtar can manage himself in battle even without his trademark weapon, employing physical strength and lightning-quick reflexes to plow through adversaries far larger than him. Even against more strong opponents (such as monsters), he prefers to use his brains, the assistance of his companions, and a little bit of luck rather than just slicing and blasting adversaries away with his lance.
His persistent desire to aid everyone in need is one of his most wonderful qualities and also his greatest vulnerability. It makes no difference if his companions’ or a total stranger’s life is in jeopardy. He will hurry in if someone needs assistance. This includes recurrent traitors Rak and Tuk, as well as Rava, whose crimes against him include attempting to murder Goleeta and imprisoning her with the threat of torture if she does not marry him. Tormack is the only person who is entirely exempt from his generosity.
Galtar wears gold plated armor in addition to the customary fur loincloth, giving him a unique appearance for a Barbarian Hero. Aside from his relationship with his lady friend Goleeta, he has also captured the attention of Dark Action Girls Falca and Rava, both of whom indicate interest in crowning him as king of their respective realms. It’s easy to understand why he’s popular with the ladies of his land, mainly because there don’t seem to be many youths like him around. It undoubtedly helps that he is an uncommon sight in a world filled with guys with unattractive appearances and much more unpleasant personalities.
How powerful is the Golden Lance?
The titular weapon in Galtar & The Golden Lance is a double sword/connected Golden Lance capable of different sorts of magic. The Golden Lance, when coupled with the Sacred Shield, is said to make the wielder entirely unstoppable. The Golden Lance, like Mjolnir, has discriminating abilities in that if it is grasped by an “unworthy” hand, the hilt will unleash “The Fury of The Golden Lance.”
Furthermore, the hermit claims that if the owner ever uses the Lance for evil, it will turn on them and destroy them. By directing it at an opponent, each blade will fire an energy beam at them. Crossing the two swords, like Mjolnir, fires a blast of lightning at your opponent. The Lance, like Mjolnir, can be spun to allow you to soar toward your opponent. The range or the ability to fly using this Lance cannot be entirely determined because we’ve never seen Galtar fly through the air for an extended period of time.
The Lance’s energy beam’s power can be increased by striking it with a sword on a metal surface, generating a massive energy beam. Each of the twenty one episodes appears to teach us a new feature of this weapon. However, because the show was canceled before the climactic showdown, it is impossible to compile a thorough list of all of its abilities.
Marvelous Verdict on the greatness of the show?
To quote Hanna Barbera, this series is simply Funtastic! ‘Galtar and the Golden Lance’ was a part of the wave of “kid friendly” sort of shows that attempted to replicate the success of the 1982 Conan film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, encouraging a kind of resurrection of sci-fi fantasy.
However, it is often thought that Galtar was developed in an attempt to cash in on the success of the better known and remembered “He-Man & The Masters of the Universe.” Hanna Barbera chose to throw its hat into the ring by adding this series in its ‘Futuristic World of Hanna Barbera’ block in 1985. And one can clearly see He Man’s impact on this series.
Our main protagonist, Galtar, resembles Thundarr the Barbarian, Hank the Ranger from Dungeons and Dragons, and even Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker. Princess Goleeta resembles a mix of Teela from Masters of the Universe, Princess Anel from Thundarr the Barbarian, and Hanna Barbera’s own Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo, among others.
Meanwhile, Galtar’s loyal steed Thork appears to have escaped from Hanna Barbera’s earlier sci-fi fantasy series, The Herculoids. While it may not have been as dynamic as other series of its time, it is a pleasant little series in its own right, moving along smoothly and featuring appealing characters with kid-friendly action and gags.
Part of the joy of viewing the program now is seeing all of the iconic 1980s era voice artists, including GI Joe and Transformers regulars like Michael Bell and Corey Burton, industry stalwarts such as the late Don Messick and Frank Weiker, and even voice performers from the programs it clearly aimed to imitate – Thundarr’s own lead Robert Ridgely and Henry Corden, and Masters of the Universe’s Linda Gary – were all cast in the series. Our series’ heroine, Goleeta, was voiced by Mary McDonald-Lewis, best known to 80s fans for her work as Lady Jaye in GI Joe.
She manages to recycle the best aspects of this performance here, imbuing our female protagonist with warmth and strength while still making Goleeta different enough from Lady Jaye to not feel like a clone of her. Meanwhile, Lou Richards imbues Galtar with just enough youthful charm to make him an appealing protagonist, since while the character’s physique is similar to Thundarr’s, his demeanor is identical to He-Man or possibly even Prince Adam.
David Mendenhall, who played Daniel, Spike’s son in the last stretch of the 1980s Transformers wave, does an excellent job as Zorn, one of the better tag along child characters in a series like this. He is assisted by the fact that the writers, for the most part, avoided having Zorn fall into the pitfalls and clichés that typically derail characters of his archetype. Who can forget the late great Brock Peters’ performance as the series’ Christopher Lee-inspired villain Tormack?
Peters was no stranger to villains and authority figures, having played Darth Vader in the Star Wars radio plays since he was likely the only actor available at the time with a deep enough voice to match Jones’. His signature deep, commanding voice, practically a force of nature in and of itself, fits the sinister Tormack like a glove, elevating him into a genuinely intimidating figure even when he suffers the embarrassments that 1980s cartoon villains were obligated to endure – though Tormack suffers far fewer than more iconic fiends such as Cobra Commander from GI Joe or Skeletor from Masters of the Universe. Also of note is Helen Hunt’s early pre-fame role as the voice of Tormack’s wild card femme fatale niece Rava, who played the wicked Veronica to Goleeta’s heroic Betty while still pursuing her own schemes here and there.
One intriguing aspect of the series was that it was unfortunately cut short at 21 episodes. It first appeared to have a darker tone than other action fantasy programs of the time period. The pilot is relatively open about the fact that Tormack is a mass killer, and Galtar and Goleela are both motivated by a desire to get revenge on him for murdering their family. This gave the usually morally upright stalwart hero and his rugged but nonetheless feminine partner/love interest a few darker overtones.
Later episodes minimize this facet of our hero and heroine. Despite finishing in the typical “and the adventure continues” fashion that many 80s cartoons concluded on, this series is highly recommended for enthusiasts of the 1980s sword and sorcery animated series. This series is an enjoyable watch and probably one of the best action cartoons that Hanna Barbera put out.
While this might be one of Hanna Barbera’s more lesser known cartoons, it is safe to say that the series is severely underrated. It has every aspect that makes a cartoon enjoyable – a lance wielding, pure of heart main lead, a badass, and beautiful female lead, both accompanied by a variety of funny and entertaining side characters. While it was unfortunate that the show couldn’t conclude decisively, it is still worth a watch regardless, at least for those of us who enjoy the animation style of the 80s and a somewhat quirky storyline.
Its colorful animations, morally righteous characters, and somewhat darker undertones make this animated TV series an enjoyable watch for both children and adults. With a growing scarcity of such animated TV shows in recent times, this series serves as a fond throwback to the past, making this a show that you most definitely won’t want to miss.