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New blog posts will be uploaded at 5:00 PM CST
Every Tuesday & Thursday!
A writer's life during the golden age of television

I’m Jack Olesker, creator, writer, producer and director of more than twelve hundred episodes of television, eighteen motion pictures and seven published novels. I've written and created many animated series during The Golden Age of Television Animation -- – the 1980s through the 1990s – including Care Bears, M.A.S.K., Heroes on Hot Wheels, The New Adventures of He-man, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater, Popples, my co-creation of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and many more.

It’s been my joy to have entertained countless millions of viewers who were young fans and stayed fans as they grew up and introduced their own children to many of my series continuing to air worldwide.

And now, through my A Writer’s Life…During the Golden Age of Television Animation blog, I’m going to take all of you on an amazing journey back to those shining years of animated television series. It’s a real-life journey that has everything – history, action, adventure, cliffhangers, comedy and drama, suspense, devastating disappointments and tremendous triumphs.

We who labor – and labored -- in the animation industry are forever indebted to you for being fans. So my A Writer’s Life…During the Golden Age of Television Animation blog is a labor of love dedicated to you. It’s my way of saying “Thank-you.” I promise it will be a fascinating journey.

Let’s go on it together!


I came to L.A. believing in fairness and karma. That said, I knew the entertainment business could be a brutal business, so I felt it was prudent to keep my guard up, which I did the moment Sandy asked, in an even voice, “What do you mean?”

I answered, “I want to help as much as I can so I think it’s a good idea for me to understand the editing process.”

He relaxed a little. But still cautious, he said, “I heard you worked a lot with Jean on your scripts. I’m sure he edited them. You saw his notes, right?”

I nodded, but added, “Seeing his notes and understanding why they were there are two different things.” It was true, but I’d conveniently left out that Jean had explained to me, in detail, why he had made every revision suggestion he made, but I wanted to see where Sandy’s head was at when it came to editing.

I continued, “I revised my scripts according to Jean’s notes. But I haven’t done script editing like you and him, so I’d like to understand why you do what you do.”

With my admission that he was in a superior position to me, even though his title already affirmed that, Sandy relaxed for the first time. He went into a half-hour professorial, by rote dissertation on the general principles of story editing, the importance of ‘house style’, continuity and consistency. It all made sense, but to me he sounded cautiously dispassionate. I felt like he was reading from a textbook about scriptwriting rather than from personal experience.

By the time Sandy finished, it was apparent to me that this was the first time he’d ever been a story editor.

With Lori gone, Sandy sizes me up. He starts with, “I heard you wrote some episodes of The Littles.” I smile slightly, giving him the titles. He says “Word is Judy Price liked them.” I agree that that’s accurate, not adding that’s probably the reason I got the job as assistant story editor because it’s obvious that’s probably the reason I got the job as assistant story editor even though I still don’t know what the job entails.

Then, thankfully, Sandy forges head about the job. “It’s not complicated. Writers bring me maybe half dozen story springboards at a time. I submit the ones I like to Lori who, I assume, submits the one’s she likes to Jean, who decides which ones would make good episodes.”

I note Sandy’s omitted Andy from this process, but I’m pretty sure that’s because Andy focuses primarily on business while Jean’s primarily on creative. Fair enough.

Sandy explains, “When I get an approval from Jean I assign the scripts to the writers. They write the scripts and deliver them to me. I edit the scripts and pass them to Lori. That’s all there is to it.”

I get a feeling that’s not all there is to it. “Seems like you skipped over what’s involved with the editing part.”

He arches an eyebrow in question. “What do you mean?”

I answer, “Well, for a story editor isn’t editing the biggest part of the process?”

His eyebrow’s still raised as he tilts back in his chair, quiet again.

Lori and I neared the far corner of the first floor, Sandy Fries at his desk, papers scattered. Seeing us coming, he impressed me as intelligent, but unfocused.

Lori said, “Sandy, you know Jack Olesker.” He nodded. “Jack’s going to be the assistant story editor for Care Bears. Give him an idea of where you’re at and where he can help you.”

Sandy said, “Sure.”

Lori pointed to a desk butted up to Sandy’s desk and told me, “That’s your desk.”

I was caught off guard but didn’t show it. For a few nanoseconds I thought about how Andy hadn’t actually offered me the position. He decreed I would be an assistant story editor, just like Lori was telling me it was time for me to start working. No warning, no working up to it. Just “That’s your desk.”

Of course Jean and Andy had discussed everything with Lori. In a way I thought they were paying me a compliment, it being obvious I’d accept the assistant story editor position and that if I had any reluctance it would dissolve when I heard the starting salary.

So seeing no benefit in wasting valuable time, Andy had just told me I was going to be an associate story editor and Lori had just pointed to my desk. As Lori walked away, I sat at my new desk, opposite Sandy’s, ready to work.

The problem was I still didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. And just as importantly, in my mind, I didn’t know if writing Care Bears scripts was going to be a part of the job…and whether on to I’d get paid for doing it now that I was on staff.

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