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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!


After Andy

left to go wherever one goes to recover after learning an engine had fallen off a plane they were going to fly on, I went to see Lori. I saw her wiping tears of laughter as I neared her office. For this to have happened to an aerophobiac really was borderline hilarious…except, of course, if you happened to be the aerophobiac.

When I asked where we went from here, she said this wasn’t the time to ask Andy about air travel. But she suggested I bring it to Jean’s attention since it wouldn’t be good to leave the client hanging.

I brightened. It had been a while since I’d spoken with Jean. I was getting better and better at scriptwriting, so there was less and less for us to talk about. This would be a pleasant change of pace, Andy’s travails notwithstanding.

I passed Kevin on the way up to the second floor walkway. He said he wasn’t going to ask how I was doing because word was getting around that I was doing well. I thanked him and continued on up.

Jean was in his office, the door open. I’ve known few people as even-tempered and always under control as Jean Chalopin, which was why it seemed so odd

to see him red-faced and struggling to keep his laughter contained. At last he surrendered and broke into peals of laughter, chest heaving, head shaking from side to side with amusement.

Apparently he’d already heard the engine-fell-off-the-plane story.

I was pumped about flying to Cleveland and meeting the execs at Those Characters From Cleveland, the company that owned Care Bears and was financing the production.

My flight was at twelve-thirty. I figured first I’d stop by the studio and print some story springboards on DIC’s Diablo printer so I could read them during my flight. Few writers owned a home printer. The state-of-the-art Diablo 630 retailed at $1,995 ($5,700 in 2022 dollars). There were inexpensive dot matrix printers, but they were slow, noisy and prone to ink smudging, sometimes making the printing illegible.

So, what I did this morning in 1984 was what most writers who worked at a studio did. I pulled the floppy disc that contained my documents out of my computer, took it to the studio and asked the Word Processing Department to print the docs for me. Mike Stokey worked in the swelting, windowless room where printers banged out non-stop copy. He grumbled when I asked him to print the pages. I couldn’t blame him. It was like a sweatbox in there.

After I’d gotten Howard’s and Jack’s and Eleanor’s springboards printed, I tucked my plane tickets into my briefcase and had settled down to a

third cup of coffee when Andy nervously staggered into the studio. Two things I wasn’t used to seeing was Andy wearing jeans – which Lori told me was his standard traveling uniform, as opposed to his elegant business suits – and Andy staggering nervously.

He looked at me, lips trembling, barely able to form words and said, “Th…the engine fell off the plane!”

You can’t tell someone they’re going to Cleveland the next day and walk away without giving an explanation. At least that’s how I felt. So after she left I hurried to Lori’s office to find her already behind her desk, ostensibly poring over a script. Of course she knew I’d be coming and was looking forward to having a little fun. So I stood just inside her office and asked, “And…and?!”

She looked up at me and grinned, putting the script aside. She said, “You know who’s in Cleveland, don’t you?’

“Yeah.” The Care Bears were owned by Those Characters From Cleveland who, in turn, was owned by American Greetings. “But why am I going there?”

Lori answered, “They micromanage things and with Sandy departing suddenly they probably want to look you over.” She could see I wasn’t sure how to take that, so she said, “You’ll do fine. You survived a meeting at Judy’s office.”

I nodded. “Yeah, but I don’t think they’re going to greet me with ‘Jackie-poo!!!’”

“You’re from the Midwest. You’ll have shared values. Just be yourself,” Lori reminded.

When I asked what time Andy and I were leaving, Lori said, “You’re flying separately.”

I asked, “Why?”

Matter-of-factly she explained, “Andy figures if you’re on separate flights and one

of the planes crashes then you won’t both be killed.” I was silent, waiting to see if she

was joking. Then she added, “He’s deathly afraid of flying.”

This was getting better by the moment. But I couldn’t, in a million years, guess

what was coming next.

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