Monday, February 15, 2010

Forgotten Firsts

Often, a first isn't really the first. It's simply the first that people remember. Steamboat Willie isn't the first sound cartoon, but it's the one that made a difference, so it's the one that enters the history books.

If a first isn't very good, it tends to be forgotten. That's the case with Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, the first TV series to include computer animated characters. It ran only 22 episodes in syndication in 1987-88. I wrote the article below as production on the series was ending.

It's ironically fitting that the article appeared in the first and only issue of Cartoon Quarterly, edited by John Cawley and Jim Korkis and published by Gladstone in the fall of 1988. The magazine had a fannish slant, but the roster of writers is one that readers of the blogosphere will recognize. Besides Cawley, Korkis and myself, the authors included Leonard Maltin, Jerry Beck, Floyd Norman, Will Finn, Scott Shaw! and Mark Kausler. The magazine showed a lot of promise and this 22 year old issue is far more interesting than any recent issue of Animation Magazine. Unfortunately, the magazine is as forgotten as Captain Power.




8 comments:

Steve Schnier said...

Hi Mark,
I did the 2D effects animation of the lightning and electrical zaps for Captain Power. The original plan called for custom animation for each FX sequence, but budget concerns reduced it to a one-time-only "re-use" situation.

What was cool, the first time - became unbearably cheesy the third time around - let alone the 22nd time. But it was a fun job.

Steve Schnier said...

They shot some of the post-apocalyptic live action locations in the abandoned Massey-Ferguson plant on King Street West. The huge building was being demolished and the live action crew was constantly 50 feet ahead of the wrecking crew as they tore the place down.

Floyd Norman said...

Those were fun days. Thanks for remembering us.

jriggity said...

Ha!

Flashback....I do remember this....man....its been along time.

jriggity

Alex Donald said...

i used to love watching this show!

Anonymous said...

Is that before Reboot?

Mark Mayerson said...

Yes, it was before ReBoot. Captain Power was the first TV series to feature computer generated characters but ReBoot was the first all-cgi series.

Anonymous said...

I have a mint Issue 1 cpoy of this mag that I just found moving. I think I put it away for safe keeping 20 years ago. Just been hunting for what it would be worth today and cam across this page. I loved this show.