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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!


Andy cuts a swath through the cavernous first floor, pausing to look at a couple or nervous artists’ work. He says hello to Kevin O’Donnell, who he introduces as DIC’s Production Manager. In his late twenties or early thirties, Kevin has a surfer’s bleached blonde hair, a square jaw and a dazzling smile. He could be a model or an actor, better looking than any guy has a right to be.

Kevin’s very friendly, giving me a strong handshake. Something tells me Andy’s mentioned me to him. A busy man, Kevin hurries off.

We near a dim, far corner on the first floor and a curly brown-haired young man looks up from his cubicle and stiffens. As if receiving a telepathic order, he stands from his cluttered desk. Andy’s not smiling anymore. He says, “Jack, I want you to meet Sandy Fries. Sandy’s the story editor for Care Bears. I nod and shake his hand, saying, “Congratulations.”

Sandy manages a smile. He seems like a nice guy, but I can tell something’s not quite right. We make small talk for a few minutes, then Andy and I move on.

As we get to the second floor, I’m trying to figure out what meeting Sandy was all about. Andy takes me into Jeff Wernick’s office. He tells Jeff to give me the payroll forms. I look to Andy, knowing exactly what he’s going to say. Then he turns to me and says it. “You’re going to be the assistant story editor for Care Bears.”

I’m in.

Lori’s first floor office is organized chaos, papers everywhere. When she asks what I think of the studio, I say, “It’s big.”

I ask if she’s going to fill me in and she says Jean and Andy will. Then she sends me to meet with Jean on the second floor.

A walkway and offices extend around the second floor, offering a view of artists’ and writers’ cubicles below. Jean’s office is glassed in, like his old office was. It’s neat and tidy like Jean himself. He’s relaxed, smiling as I walk in. He moves into what would be one of the shortest meetings I’d ever have with him. He says DIC is going to be producing a lot of series. Then he tells me I need to buy a computer so I have the right tools for my writing. I say, “Okay.”

The meeting over, Jean sends me to Andy, two offices down.

Andy’s office is more like Lori’s – appearing disorganized and overwhelming. It’s illusionary. From what I know of him, Andy’s always organized and never overwhelmed.

Today he’s wearing a custom tailored olive green suit, an expensive, starched cream-colored shirt, a lime green tie and matching lime green-framed eyeglasses. He greets me warmly. “Jackie! How are you?”

I think ‘He wants something’ and, biding my time, I say, “Fine.”

I don’t have a chance to sit because Andy stands with, “I want you to meet someone.” And then we’re walking around the second floor walkway, writers and artists below glancing up at us. I wonder what they’re thinking, seeing me walking with Andy Heyward.

I’m bleary-eyed from a mid-week night of L.A. clubbing. Los Angeles can be dangerous, even more so if you’re ‘successful’. I’ve got a ways to go before I’d call myself that, but I’m moving toward it.

Climbing from bed and feeling my way to the kitchen, I start coffee and head to the shower. The phone rings like an icepick through my neck. It’s Lori. This is my first call from her in weeks, which is okay. DIC has been moving to new digs and I can only imagine how busy she’s been. She says, “Jean and Andy want to see you.”

Immediately, my head clears. I’m totally alert. This is different. They both want to see me. Lori tells me to come to the new studio and gives me the address.

Whatever is happening, it’s happening fast. I’m guessing it’s not all just because of Care Bears, though that’s clearly a part of it.

I blast through my shower, pull on jeans and a sweatshirt and head out. The new studio is three blocks from the old studio. It’s half a block long, the windows tinted. I walk in. It’s dark, subdued, all business – a long way from DIC’s homey former studio-over-a-beauty-shop.

It’s huge, packed with artists, producers, directors working. I see artists creating sketches of The Littles, others drawing The Get Along Gang characters. I stop by another workstation as I see sketches of Inspector Gadget. I’d learn the DIC series was already airing. I wasn’t aware of it. I remind myself to start watching more children’s programming on TV – a good idea since I was writing for children’s television.

I see Lori in an office and she beckons.

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