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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!


Lori was waiting for me to say something more than “So what am I supposed to be doing?” I didn’t have anything. It was a straightforward question and I’m a straightforward guy.

There’s an old joke in the entertainment industry – actually, only half-a-joke. As two executives walk toward each other in the corridors of power at Twentieth Century Fox, one says “Good morning” and the other thinks “I wonder what he means by that.” It’s an L.A. thing but it was never my thing.

When I didn’t add anything, Lori stood and said, “Let’s take a walk.”

As we walked past cubicles she made small talk, asking what it was like living in the same building as Jean. I told her it made getting scripts back and forth to each other easier. She laughed. But it wasn’t a ha-ha laugh. Things were changing. Jean had fewer revision notes on my scripts. I was getting better at writing for television.

Lori was in charge of writers, so I knew she’d be telling me to deliver my scripts directly to her from now on...if being an assistant story editor meant I’d be writing scripts.

Finally, Lori said, “Sandy will tell you what you do as assistant story editor.” She reminded, “He’s the story editor for Care Bears.” She was quiet for a long moment as we walked. Then her voice lowered and she said, “While you’re at it, keep your eyes open about what he does.”

I looked sideways at Lori but she didn’t look back at me as we walked. I wondered what she meant by that…

I walked into Lori’s office with, “So what am I supposed to be doing?” She smiled. It occurred to me that when it came to DIC, Lori knew just about everything that was happening or that would happen.

Her phone constantly buzzed whenever I visited. She’d glance at the lighted buttons and unless the call was from Jean, Andy or VP of Production Kevin O’Donnell’s extension, she’d ignore it. I liked how, also unless it was Jean, Andy or Kevin, she’d hold up a hand to stop anyone approaching her office while she was with me.

It made me feel like I was important to Lori. I wasn’t sure why I was important to her. Years ago, when I’d first arrived in L.A., I visited film studio exec Sherry Lansing at her Columbia Pictures offices. Sherry had bought the film rights to my first novel, No Place Like Home. We were in the middle of a meeting when her phone buzzed. She answered it and then said, “Tell Warren I’ll call him back.” When she hung up, I asked who the call was from. When answered, “Warren Beatty” I thought I was gonna die.

Now I’d written a handful of television scripts, but other writers had written more. I decided not to think about it, to just do a ‘Zen thing’ and let it go. I was, after all, in L.A. and Zen was big in L.A. It was said “Zen could lessen the tension in your body, relax tightened muscles and that by ‘letting go’ you could open your awareness beyond yourself.” Well, I’d begun feeling my tension lessening and my muscles were relaxing. I hoped, eventually, I’d “open my awareness beyond myself”. But at the moment that wasn’t important because I was doing what

I wanted to do – writing for television…and I was going to be paid fifteen hundred bucks a week for doing it.

I felt I’d arrived, about to go on staff at DIC as an assistant story editor. Unfortunately, I had no idea what an assistant story editor did. For that matter, I had no idea what a plain old story editor did.

I was both happy and concerned to learn my weekly salary would be $1,500 when I was “working on a series” and $1,250 week when I “wasn’t working on a series”. Since I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing when I was working on a series, I didn’t want to even think about what I was supposed to be doing when I wasn’t working on a series.

This would be the most money I’d make per-week as a salaried employee -- double what I earned in my father’s clothing business. It came out to $78,000 a year. Serious jingle. Jean and Andy were going to be writing me hefty weekly checks so I figured I’d better find out what I was supposed to be doing and find out fast. I decided to risk asking Lori to fill me in.

By now I was getting the feeling Lori had me under her protective wing. I realized she was doing this, at least partly, because it would eventually somehow benefit her, though I didn’t know exactly how it would benefit her. But I also thought she was doing this because she liked me and felt we might end up being friends.

So after I filled out my paperwork I headed back to her office.

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