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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!


Updated: Feb 28

The Chicago visitors are in their thirties, out for a fun night. As they gather, I hand out business cards. Handshakes all around and then another round of Fireballs in the raucous bar. Soon I’m arm-wrestling the young guys, insisting we use our left hands, giving this older writer a small advantage since I’m lefthanded.

Finally, it’s time for Kim and me to leave. I thank everyone. As we move through the crowd toward the exit, a young women, a part of the couples we’ve spent the night with, approaches and asks, “Can I speak with you for a second, Mr. Olesker.”

I answer, “Sure, but you have to call me ‘Jack’.”

She draws closer, her voice lowering. She talks about a difficult childhood, her father verbally abusive to her mother. Then she says “I waited all week for Care Bears. It was my oasis.” She pauses for a moment. Then, her voice choking with emotion, she says, “I want to thank you for saving my childhood...”

I’m a tough guy, raised on Chicago’s mean streets, all my fingers broken from fights in my youth. I spent my Air Force hitch in helicopters as a search-and-rescue medic. And then I went to L.A., which made everything else seem like a cakewalk.

But this young woman had touched my heart in a powerful way. I never knew, until that moment, the impact some of my writing for children’s television had on others. I never knew this was the real reason children’s television writers write. Voice trembling, she asks if she can hug me. Unable to find words, I open my arms. We embrace. Then we separate, her eyes and mine welling with tears.

It was a night to remember.

I stayed on radio silence for almost a month. I’d steered clear of Jean’s condo, stayed off Lori’s radar. It was easy to do because I didn’t have any new script assignments, having completed my scripts for The Littles and The Get Along Gang. But I felt like I’m in limbo. Again, something’s in the air.

A part of me is thinking I might have a career in children’s entertainment. For a writer who’s written grisly murder mysteries, terrifying horror novels and a sprawling historical saga, it’s strange to think I could end up writing for children.

It’s a different deal writing for children. I think differently, knowing my work will be seen by kids, knowing I might make them smile and maybe, just maybe, have an impact on their lives.

It would be forty years before I’d would realize how right I was.

Kim and I will be on stools at The Stray Dog’s horseshoe-shaped bar in the resort community of New Buffalo, Michigan, where we live. Joey, the bartender, sometimes likes to out me to visitors from Chicago, telling them I created Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and The New Adventures of He-Man.

He does this with three young couples on the other side of the bar and soon I hear chanting of “POW-ER RAN-GERS! POW-ER RAN-GERS! POW-ER RAN-GERS!” Fireball shots arrive. I lift my shot glass and drink with the fans across the bar.

But then I see them getting off their stools and heading for me. I know it’s going to be a long night.

“Care Bears.”

Lori looked up from a script she was editing, surprised to see me in her office doorway at eight-thirty in the morning. “I thought you’re a night owl.”

“Some things can’t wait.” I paused, then decided it was my turn to have a little fun with her. “If you didn’t hear me I can shout it at the top of my lungs.”

She grumbled, “Didn’t I say to stick to writing and stay away from business?”

I teased, “You’re the one who sent me on the hunt.”

She waved me in, telling me to close the door. I did, sitting in a chair across from her desk. Then she turned uncharacteristically serious and warned me not to talk to anyone about this because the deal wasn’t closed yet.

Giving me kudos for having figured it out, Lori allowed, “It does look like we’re getting Care Bears.” I’m delighted for her and Andy and Jean. When I told her I know it’s a major kids’ property she nodded and said, “It’ll put DIC on the map.”

I knew it would be disingenuous if I didn’t ask, so I did. “Does that mean I’ll be writing Care Bears scripts?”

She hit me with an answer I wasn’t expecting. “Maybe…maybe not.”

We’d moved three spaces on the board and now she’d reminded me she held all the aces. But I still had a few cards of my own, so I played one by not asking her what she meant. Lori leaned back in her chair, smiled and said, “You are a smart boy, aren’t you?”

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