May 8th, 1984 is generally thought of as the “birthday” of the Transformers as we know them in America, as it is the day the first issue of the Marvel comic came out. Below is the commercial – for the comic! – I saw during an episode of G.I. Joe, where I first witnessed the sentient shape-shifting robots from Cybertron. I used my VHS recorder to tape the commercial and I played it back several times (sometimes in slow motion) to watch the animation steps during the transformation scenes. No doubt in my mind. These things were neato.
What we now know as the classic transformation sound was obviously a “techno sound effect” in the song that happened to correspond with transformations, but someone saw what brilliance was there and the “whirring” effects used in this commercial were gone when the show hit the air. If you have some free time today, the entire G1 series is available on Netflix.
The Ark is the “wrong” color, as is Megatron’s puny helmet. But they were almost there… we now return… to The Transformers!