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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!


Some people mistakenly believe because English isn’t Jean Chalopin’s native tongue that he’s missed something during an interchange, that something has gotten past him, that he doesn’t understand something. Trust me when I say Jean misses nothing. Nothing gets past him. He understands everything. He’s razor sharp.

He just takes his time to process things.

After he surrenders on getting his computer working this evening, we move back to the living room and he abruptly says, “You’re not learning as fast as you would like?”

“About being an assistant story editor? No, I’m not.”

Jean asks, “What is the problem?”

I tell him, “I don’t think the position is real.”

He smiles, then asks, “You have the Care Bears series bible, scripts to read?”

“The series bible only because I asked for it.”

He’s silent for a moment, then says, “Something else. You want to be writing?”

I nod.

Jean says, “Write some story springboards and have Lori get them to me. We’ll assign you an episode.”

I catch my breath, not knowing I was allowed to write episodes if I was on staff.

Seeing my reaction, Jean asks “Sandy didn’t tell you that you could write episodes?”

I shook my head.

Jean was looking to the sliding doors to his balcony. All he said was “Mmmm…”

It struck me that he wanted me to deliver the story springboards to Lori rather than Sandy. I may not have heard the whisper of the ax, but I was pretty sure I heard the guillotine’s blade ratcheting as it was hoisted skyward.

I watch Jean trying to start with his new computer. He stares at the beast as if his sheer force of will can compel it to allow him to start writing a script on it. It won’t.

After a half hour he has only succeeded in plugging it into an outlet in his dining room and toggling on the power button. He pokes at keyboard buttons, occasionally the words ‘bad boot’ appearing on the screen. This irritates Jean, who asks, “What is ‘bad boot’? Where is boot?!”

I smile to myself. Jean speaks English fluently, although with a thick French accent. (He’d say I have a thick American accent.) But there are times I think he uses his thick accent to goof on people. There was a story going around the studio about when Jean and Andy met with Judy Price and a couple of ABC execs to discuss a script for The Littles.

Jean described a scene featuring young Lucy Little, Jean’s French accent thick and English broken, as he said, “Lucy is on menstret.” Thinking he had said “menstruate”, Judy’s eyes widened. When she regained her composure, she stammered, “Je…Jean… we can’t do that.” To which Jean replied, “What is wrong? Lucy is on menstret.”

Judy leaned forward. “This is a children’s show. We can’t even say that.”

Deciphering Jean’s accent better than Judy did, Andy grinned and explained, “He’s saying ‘Lucy is on Main Street’.”

I always wondered whether or not Jean was pranking Judy. Six-to-five and pick ‘em.

Jean opens his door and greets me, pooh-poohing when I apologize for dropping in. A gracious host, he welcomes me into his beautifully decorated condo. I sit on a sofa and he sets out cheese. I congratulate him on getting Care Bears and he nods, then asks how I’m doing as assistant story editor. I tell him I’m figuring things out. He nods again, deciding to wait to address this.

Suddenly he declares, “I’ve got something to show you!” I follow him to the dining room and see a large box. He pulls the flaps apart and with clumsy effort starts to draw the contents out, revealing, “It’s my computer! Just arrived today!”

Jean’s an amazing human being -- one of the smartest, most talented and generous people I’d ever know. But I think he’d be the first to admit manual dexterity isn’t his strong suit. As he struggles trying to free the computer from the box, I resist the temptation to help, not wanting to go anywhere near the mysterious device.

Finally, he extracts the long, heavy beige metal oblong device I’d learn is called a tower. We’re silent for a moment, as if gazing in awe at some alien descended from a mothership. When he asks if I got my computer yet, I let out an involuntary laugh. Unamused, he says I need to get one so we can learn together. I admire his adventurous nature.

Then, digging in the box again, Jean says, “Come on! Let’s put it together!”

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