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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!


When I got to Cleveland Hopkins Airport for the flight back to L.A., I didn’t try to swing an upgrade to first. I was too drained to marshal the effort. As I squeezed into the middle seat, between two fellow passengers, I regretted not having tried for the upgrade.

I didn’t know it while it was happening, but the meeting with Those Characters From Cleveland’s execs was draining. I’d bet Andy, sitting in first class on a different flight, wasn’t nearly as drained as me. First off, after years in the business, he was accustomed to meetings and knew what it took to get through them. Also, he wasn’t an active participant in this one. Rather, he was laying back to see how I’d fare.

His brief kudos after the meeting told me I’d done well. I was filling a purpose for Andy and Jean. Writers come and go. Some are productive for a year or two and, for one reason or another, fall by the wayside. Others last for ten or more years. A handful make it for the long haul.

I would be one of those who would last for decades. Although I’m talented, I’ll be the first to admit there were writers who were as talented as me. Today, in the present, long after my Cleveland meeting, forty years after I wrote my first script for The Littles followed by twelve hundred more episodes of television, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not even in the same galaxy as Quentin Tarentino, Spike Lee, James Cameron, William Goldman, Paul Shrader and others. As Jean Chalopin once told me when I brought up Jeffrey Scott, I shouldn’t even be allowed to say their names. (I’m joking.)

And yet…yet…

Finally, after everyone had their say, it was quiet for a few seconds. I thought how Ali must have felt the moment he realized he had succeeded in letting George Foreman punch himself out. At that moment, Ali saw his opening and went for it.

But it was different for me. I wasn’t going to counterpunch and go for a knockout. Unlike Ali and Foreman, we were all in this together. Instead, I said I’d heard all of their points. But, I said, more importantly I had heard their passion for the Care Bears and it was a passion I also felt. I said I loved what the Care Bears represented and did for children worldwide and I promised to respect and honor that.

I could feel the room temperature warming.

I explained each half-hour episode of the Care Bears television series had two eleven-minute stories, making it impossible to service every single Care Bear in every story. But I said I had a grid on my office wall that had every Care Bear listed on it and that I would, over the series’ arc, strive to make sure each Care Bear was equally represented in episodes.

This seemed to please them. I closed by saying I would always welcome all of their notes, “but please just send one set of notes that you all agree upon.” They laughed and we bonded.

When we left the conference room and headed outside for the black Lincoln Town Car, Andy said, “You did good in there.” It was brief but high praise from a man I would come to admire and respect over the years.

It began with a scene by scene critique of one of my Care Bears scripts. Each exec had their ‘observations’ and pretty pointed queries: “Cheer Bear doesn’t get to go up against Dr. Professor Coldheart” and “Friend Bear doesn’t have enough time to show he’s a true friend” and “How come Bedtime Bear doesn’t have more dialog lines?” and “Why isn’t Birthday Bear part of the main plot” and…

I looked to Andy again. He smiled benignly. I think he was surprised when I smiled back. Another writer might have felt he’d thrown them under the bus. I knew he was letting me find my own path – which was exactly how I wanted it.

I turned to the fourteen Those Characters From Cleveland execs listening to

them first hurling punches at my scripts’ shortcomings. It got heated as they vied to put

forth their positions. Before long it wasn’t about my scripts. It was about their individual Care Bears.

Ten years before, I was enthralled as I listened to the Ali/Foreman Rumble in the Jungle match for the title of World Heavyweight Champion. Muhammad Ali’s brilliant strategy had been to lay back on the ropes for eight rounds while George Foreman mercilessly landed blistering blow after blow after blow. Foreman was one of the most powerful boxers in the world, with a punch like a sledgehammer.

That Ali could take that punishment for eight rounds is almost unimaginable -- almost unimaginable because after half an hour of hearing these executives rip my script apart because they felt their Care Bear wasn’t being featured enough… Well Foreman might not have been hammering me, but I think I got how Ali must have felt.

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