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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 don’t know how Lori intuitively knows what writers want and need. I suppose it comes from working with so many writers for so long. Still, I think it helps to enjoy having an empathetic nature and Lori certainly does. Which is why she’s smiling this fall afternoon as she tells me tells a number of studios have formed an Entertainment Softball League and she wants to know if I’m up for it.

I blink and we’re on a baseball diamond a few blocks from the studio. It’s a crisp night, a ragtag group from DIC’s different departments practicing, chucking the ball around and hitting line drives. Standing on the pitcher’s mound, I’m the only DIC writer here. But Lori’s behind home plate, guarding it like a mother grizzly protecting her cubs.

Mike Stokey, the guy from Word Processing that has grated on me -- the feeling mutual I’m sure -- does a masterful job fielding at shortstop. Lean, laser-focused and agile, fielding and hitting like a pro, he’s a born athlete. Linda Levin from Merchandise, rumored to have once served on an Olympic rowing team, covers second base.

As a couple hours pass and we start to jell. Players crack jokes, needling or encouraging each other. Mike finally cracks a smile as I increase my pitching speed, fanning several players, Mike calling, “Take it easy, Jacky. No scouts from the Dodgers around here!” I call back, “I gotta be me, ‘Stoke’.”

There are some laughs at the comments. No one’s ever called me ‘Jacky’ before. For some reason it sounds good coming from Mike. I’m glad we at least broke the ice on this chilly night.

Do you remember how in 1940s movies they would sometimes show the passage of time by having pages fall off a calendar? It might be pages with the days of the week or months or years – 1942, 1943, 1944, etc. For those not in the entertainment industry, that process is called a montage.

It was like that when I got back from Cleveland. Care Bears was running like clockwork. Jean was happy, Andy was happy and Lori was happy. One of the numerous values that I offered them all was time – as in: If I was doing my job, they didn’t have to take time out of their schedules to oversee me.

Andy was making deals, Jean was analyzing the creative aspects of new opportunities and Lori was supervising story editors and an army of artists who labored on a number of DIC series. With everything going smoothly, me and Howard writing Care Bears scripts, and scripts coming in from Jack Hanrahan, Eleanor Buhrian Mohr and other writers, calendar pages fell off one after another as weeks and then months passed with ease. 1984 turned into 1985.

But in the back of my mind I knew we were approaching the end of the season. I was out of the business loop so I didn’t know if we’d get picked up for another season of Care Bears and, if we didn’t what would I be doing then?

I kept bearing down on the scripts, but I felt like I needed a distraction. It came late on an October afternoon when Lori walked into my office with an impish look on her face that I’d come to know well.

“What?” I asked. “


Here in the present, I think about how during great times and not-so-great times,

throughout my ascendency in the world of television, the devastation of being fired from

my job, my rise back up from that devastation and the ups and downs and all arounds in

this crazy business called ‘show’, I’ve not only survived…I’ve thrived. (I don’t usually

write fifty-nine word sentences but there was a lot to convey.)

My skillset goes beyond writing. The creative genius Jean Chalopin regarded me

as being in a single dimension – just a writer. Yes, I’m a writer. But I’m also a

businessman – always have, always will be. I know the consummate businessman

Andy Heyward recognized that after he had put me through a few tests. It’s why he

would later acknowledge it at a dark moment in time when I badly needed to hear it.

You see, I come from a mercantile family.

Early on, I learned how to navigate the world of business. And, back in 1984, on that flight from Cleveland, I realized being a writer but also someone who was business-savvy was pretty rare.

That came to me as the pilot announced through the speakers that he was

turning off the fasten seatbelts sign so we could move around the cabin. After this trip

to Cleveland, I was free to move around the entertainment industry’s cabin.

Andy saw it in Judy Price’s office and in Those Character’s From Cleveland’s conference room.

He knew I was a creative type who also happened to know business and, because I did, it was safe for me to go to meetings with toy companies and broadcasters. I had worth

and I had value.

At last, I had really arrived.

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