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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!


Understand that except for animated films in the early days of animation and the notable exceptions of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Flintstones and, later, The Jetsons, in the early days of television’s animated series, there were few animation ‘writers’ around. Most of the ‘writing’ was done by animation artists who wrote a few lines here and there to keep the ‘story’, such as it was, moving along.

Then, in 1981, a Frenchman named Jean Chalopin changed everything with an animated series entitled Ulysses 31. The storyline pitted a spaceship crew struggling against divine entities. Imagine asking animators to write a few lines here and there to keep that story moving along!

While the series was successful in Europe, it wouldn’t be until 1986 that Ulysses 31 aired in America. No matter. By then Jean Chalopin had completely changed the concept of animated television series.

Jean was a visionary. I was fortunate – actually blessed -- to work with him during The Golden Age of Television Animation. He sensed children wanted to be shown a story and that they had become more sophisticated than children from previous generations. So, he sought writers who could tell stories.

I was one of them. Here are a few of the many series I wrote for Jean: The Littles, Care Bears, Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater, The New Adventures of He-man, M.A.S.K., Super Mario Brothers Super Show, Popples, The Bots Master, King Arthur & The Knights of Justice, Lady Lovely Locks, The Get Along Gang.

And that’s just the tip of my iceberg!

As I said, in this blog I’m writing about the Golden Age of television animation. So I’m going to leave epic animated films like Fantasia and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs out of it, except that I’ll say I‘ve always found the concept of a princess shacked up with seven little people to be a bit disconcerting.

Putting aside animated feature films, many fans contend that The Golden Age of Television Animation began in 1949 with Crusader Rabbit and ran to the 1960s or 1970s Roger Ramjet and Atom Ant.

There’s no question that a slew of iconic cartoon characters who got their start in "shorts" on the big screen successfully made t

he transition to television. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepé le Pew, Foghorn Leghorn and countless others had a big impact on television.

However, the ‘Golden Age of Television Animation’ was driven by stories and art that began in the early 1980s and extended into the 1990s. Prior to the 1980s almost all television animation was ‘limited animation’ – i.e., backgrounds used over and over. To see what I mean, view at any episode of The Road Runner Show, featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, and you’ll see the same boulders, buttes and mountains in the background used over and over and over.

That changed in the 1980s when animated television moved to "full" animation. For writers, there was another change: animation studios began demanding "real scripts" for their series. That happened largely because of one man.

As they used to say on television, “Stay tuned.”

By way of introduction, I’m Jack Olesker, President & CEO for 24/7 Productions. I’m a writer, producer and director who has written, produced and directed over 1,200 episodes of television and eighteen films, most in animation. I also served a stint as president of a motion picture and television studio in Chennai, India.

As legendary University of Alabama Coach Bear Bryant famously said, “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” In my case, it’s true; it’s all true. I’m the real deal. I was there, on the ground, during The Golden Age of Television Animation.

First and foremost, thanks to all of you for being here. I do a lot of conventions and public appearances. When I’m signing mini-posters of shows I’ve been involved with, many fans thank me for the impact I had on their childhoods. I always say “Writers, producers, directors and actors are nothing without fans, so I’m the one who should be thanking you.”

With that said, I want to briefly visit the title of this blog: A Writer's Life…During The Golden Age of Television Animation. I know that begs the question: “Why is he ignoring the fact that The Golden Age of Animation began with the release of the Disney short film Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928?”

Well, I wasn’t around in the 1920s. But I was around during The Golden Age of Television Animation during the 1980s and 1990s. Not only was I “around”, I was a big part of it.

I’d like to take you on a tour of that particular Golden Age. So let’s go…

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