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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 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 took my shot yesterday. It was a bluff. I was days into being the Care Bears story editor and we were two weeks behind schedule. I’d sounded like I was coming from a position of strength, but if none of the writers showed up I was sunk.

Fortunately, no one knew it was a bluff and no one wanted to be off a series by not showing up. Worse, they believed, if they didn’t show up for my meeting they wouldn’t be writing for any DIC series in the future.

That I didn’t have the authority to back-up my brash threat was beside the point. Perception was reality as far as my writers were concerned. I comforted myself with the knowledge that my deception would benefit us all – the writers would get script assignments and I’d get back Care Bears’ delivery schedule back on time.

I walked into the small, glassed in conference room fifteen minutes early so I could grab the head seat. I’d charmed our receptionist into directing the writers to the conference room upon their arrival. A few minutes later, I looked around the room, filled with writers. It was a good turnout.

As my writers sat, I saw Kevin stop outside to look in. A moment later Andy joined him. Andy looked at the writers, all of whom he knew. With their eyes locked on Andy, Andy looked at me, paused and raised his thumb. I raised my thumb back. Then he and Kevin walked away.

The writers looked to me, seeing this ‘Olesker-guy’ in a different light now.

I said, “Let’s begin...”

The next day Lori squeezed me in for a meeting a little after eleven. I was to meet with my writers at noon. As she looked over my list of writers, she said, “How did you get this many to come?”

I answered, “I said anyone who didn’t attend wasn’t going to work on Care Bears anymore.” It was a half-truth, my having omitted I also threatened that if they didn’t attend they wouldn’t work on any future DIC projects.

Lori waited. Acknowledging my omission and knowing a writer must have called to tell her about the rest of my empty threat, I asked, “What did he say when he called?”

“He asked ‘Who is this Olesker-guy and I said you’re the Care Bears’ story editor and you’ve got my, Jean’s and Andy’s complete confidence.” I feigned relief, putting on a show of ‘nervously’ wiping my forehead.

Lori let out a laugh. She spent forty-five minutes going over my list of writers. She told me two writers were a team. “Not the most cre

ative and you’ll have a lot of editing to do on their scripts. But they’re fast and they’re reliable.”

The other writers, who Lori named one by one, ran the gamut from dazzlingly creative to full of themselves, from easy-to-work with and difficult-to-work with. Sighing, she ended with, “And then there’s Howard Cohen…”, her words trailing off.

I looked at her questioningly. Her eyes went to her watch and she said, “You’ve got a meeting to get to.”

“I do.” I stood and left for the conference room.

It was raining hard. I couldn’t sleep. I got up, went to the kitchen, made a glass of warm milk and sat in my dark living room listening to the rain.

It took me half an hour to figure out why Jean and Andy allowed story editors to be paid for writing episodes of a series they were story editing. I didn’t delude myself into thinking Jean and Andy were encouraging story editors to write scripts for shows they were story editing just because they were nice guys.

No. It came to me that having the story editors write episodes removed a whole layer of the creative process. Who knew a series better than its story editor? If the story editor was writing his own episodes then there was no need for him to work on editing an outside writer’s script to bring it into the ‘house style’ of the series. The story editor had already done that by writing the script himself.

I took it to its logical conclusion. If I was the story editor who initially chose storyboards to be presented to Lori, Jean and Andy, and if Jean and Andy had no problem with me writing scripts myself, I’d write my own story spring boards, present them to Lori, Jean and Andy, get scripts assigned to myself, write the scripts and make the script writing fee...which was exactly what Lori, Jean and Andy had already done when they sent me home to write Care Bears story spring boards!

It occurred to me that it was time for me to start shopping for a nicer car.

I went back to bed.

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