Liberty's Kids

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Liberty's Kids
Libkidsmenu.JPG
Liberty's Kids title card
Genre Historical fiction
Format Animated
Children's television series
Created by Kevin O'Donnell
Michael Maliani
Developed by Andy Heyward
Michael Maliani
Kevin O'Donnell
Robby London
Written by Doug McIntyre
Directed by Judy Reilly
Marsha Goodman Einstein
Voices of Kathleen Barr
Reo Jones
Chris Lundquist
Kevin Williams
Theme music composer Matthew Gerrard
Opening theme "Through My Own Eyes" by Aaron Carter and Kayla Hinkle
Ending theme "Through My Own Eyes" by Aaron Carter and Kayla Hinkle
Composer(s) Stephen C. Marston
Craig Marks
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 40 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Stacey Gallishaw
Producer(s) Kevin O'Donnell
Kaaren Brown
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment
Melusine Productions
Hong Ying Universe Company, Ltd.
Broadcast
Original channel PBS (2002-2004)
Original run September 2, 2002 (2002-09-02) – April 3, 2003 (2003-04-03)

Liberty's Kids is an animated educational historical fiction television series produced by DIC Entertainment, originally broadcast on PBS Kids from September 2, 2002 to April 4, 2003, although PBS continued to air reruns until August 2004. The show has since been syndicated by DiC to affiliates of smaller television networks such as The CW and MyNetworkTV and some independent stations so that those stations can fulfill FCC educational and informational requirements. Since September 16, 2006, the series aired on CBS's new block called KOL Secret Slumber Party on CBS, then it was aired on KEWLopolis, which taking September 12, 2009. In 2008, it ran on The History Channel. The series is currently on the Cookie Jar Toons block on This TV and aired on CBS's Cookie Jar TV from 2009 to 2013. The series was based on an idea by Kevin O'Donnell and developed for television by Kevin O'Donnell, Robby London, Mike Maliani, and Andy Heyward.

Its purpose is to teach its audience about the origins of the United States of America. Much like the CBS cartoon mini-series based on Peanuts; This is America, Charlie Brown years before, Liberty's Kids tells of young people in dramas surrounding the major events in the Revolutionary War days. Celebrity voices such as Walter Cronkite (as Benjamin Franklin), Sylvester Stallone (as Paul Revere), Ben Stiller (as Thomas Jefferson), Billy Crystal (as John Adams), Dustin Hoffman (as Benedict Arnold), Arnold Schwarzenegger (as Baron von Steuben), Liam Neeson (as John Paul Jones), and Don Francisco (as Bernardo de Galvez) lend credence to characters critical to the forming of a free country, from the Boston Tea Party to the Constitutional Convention.

The shows run a half-hour, including commercials. On the PBS Kids broadcast, these are replaced by segments that include "The Liberty News Network" (a newscast delivered by Cronkite summarizing the events of the episode, with each including his signature sign-off "that's the way it is"), "Mystery Guest" (a guessing game where the kids guess a historical figure, who often is a character in the episode), "Now and Then" (a segment comparing life in the Revolutionary Era and today), and "Continental Cartoons" (a rebus word guessing game).

Fictional characters[edit]

Liberty's Kids features Benjamin Franklin and four fictional associates of his in their experiences during the American Revolution. Although the series spans 16 years from the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, none of the main characters appear to age, except for Dr. Franklin.

A bright-eyed girl from England, Sarah travels to the Thirteen Colonies in 1773 at age fifteen in search of her father, Major Phillips, who was last heard exploring the region of Ohio; upon her arrival, she is warmly welcomed by and lives as a guest of Benjamin Franklin. Her mother, Lady Phillips, remains in England and is a good friend to Dr. Franklin. However, with the possibility of a war between the American colonists and the English mother country, she decides that she will become a reporter for Franklin's newspaper in order to offer a more balanced perspective to the press. Sarah believes firmly in the power of words and equal rights for all, and is never afraid to speak her mind. At the start of the series, she is a firm loyalist, which sparks many arguments between her and James. Later in the series, Sarah has a change of heart and realizes how much she has come to understand the people of the colonies and ends up supporting the Revolution. Some men know the way to her heart -- good manners; when this happens, James can seem almost jealous, although near the end of the series she appears to feel "more than friendship" for James. Throughout the series, Sarah and James grow closer. At the end of the series, her mother, Lady Phillips, joins Sarah and her father in the United States and Sarah hopes to explore more of her adopted country.
  • James Hiller (voiced by Chris Lundquist)
A young boy orphaned in childhood because of a lightning storm that burned his childhood home down with his parents inside. At age fourteen, James greatly admires Benjamin Franklin, whose invention of the lightning rod saved many from the same tragedy. Jealous, street-smart and impulsive, James pursues the revolution from a slightly one-sided perspective - something that prompts Sarah to counter his views. An apprentice in Franklin's Print Shop, James believes firmly in the American cause and will do almost anything to ensure that the people receive an honest view of what is happening. In the process, he also faces the less positive aspects of the political conflict that eventually forces his patriotic fervor into a new maturity. He highly values his friends, Sarah and Henri. He can be a little protective of Sarah while he attempts to keep Henri out of trouble, acting somewhat like an older brother figure to Henri. He is very laid back and is constantly reminded of his bad etiquette and poor table manners by Sarah, toward whom he shows feelings of what might be "more than friendship" and Sarah often returns. At the end of the series, James intends to start his own newspaper, following in the steps of his mentor.
  • Henri Richard Maurice Dutoit LeFevbre (voiced by Kathleen Barr)
A small, but comedic and energetic eight year old boy from France, Henri's parents died on the voyage to America when a plague struck the ship and killed half of the people on board three weeks into the trip. The ship's captain exploited Henri afterwards because he had to pay off his family's debt to the captain. James and Moses smuggled Henri off the ship and the boy found a home in Benjamin Franklin's workshop. While he speaks French fluently, Dr. Franklin has insisted that Henri learn to speak, read, and write in both English and French. Henri's small size has proved more than useful to Sarah and James, though he has a tendency to land himself in all sorts of trouble while not fully understanding the dangers of the war. His lookout on life is that of a "huge party for his benefit" and has been labeled a "magnet for trouble." In later episodes, he serves on the drum and bugle corps of the Continental Army. Curious and fearless, the only thing Henri values more than his freedom is finding a family of his own. At the end of the series he returns to France with the Marquis de Lafayette, whom he had become close to during the series almost as a son. It is implied that Lafayette adopts Henri as his foster-son.
  • Moses (voiced by D. Kevin Williams)
Born in Africa, Moses was brought in chains to America as a slave and sold on the block in Charleston, South Carolina. Because of his ingenuity, Moses learned to read, forge metal, and buy his freedom from his master, thus freeing himself from the slavery of the American south. To keep from being confused for a runaway slave, Moses is required to carry papers proving that he is a free man. He eventually moved to Philadelphia and found work at Dr. Franklin's Print Shop. His brother, Cato, had not been so fortunate but later escaped, joining the British troops as a soldier to earn his freedom. Cato appears again at the end of the series when he does not tell on an African American Patriot spy, James Armistead, whose spying was crucial to the American victory at Yorktown, which ends the war for American independence. He looks out for Dr. Franklin's young wards, especially Henri. Like Henri, he values his freedom more than anything. Iron-willed Moses will never allow anyone to strip him of his dignity, despite his or her feelings on race. By working at the Print Shop, Moses hopes to educate children of all colors in the ideals of America so that everyone may one day be free. At the end of the series, Moses reveals a plan to set up a school for free black children, boys and girls both, but only to Dr. Franklin and the Marquis de Lafayett. Cato goes to Canada with Mrs. Radcliffe, a British loyalist and friend of Sarah and her mother.

Additional voices[edit]

Historical characters depicted[edit]

Continental Army, Navy, and American militia[edit]

British Army & Navy[edit]

French officers[edit]

Spanish Army[edit]

Native Americans[edit]

Turncoats[edit]

American family members[edit]

American politicians[edit]

British politicians[edit]

Other historical figures[edit]

Theme[edit]

The opening theme to Liberty's Kids, "Through My Own Eyes," is performed by Aaron Carter, who also voices Joseph Plumb Martin, appearing in episodes 24 and 36, and Kayla Hinkle, a country singer who also voices Sybil Ludington, appearing in episode 21. However, only the chorus, the second verse, and the third verse of the song serve as the series' opening theme.

Episodes[edit]

The following are the Liberty's Kids episodes, with links to relevant historical articles.

# Title Subjects covered Plot Mystery guest Release Date
1 The Boston Tea Party Boston Tea Party Sarah arrives in America aboard the Dartmouth,[1] but Moses, James and Henri aren't the only ones who meet the ship. Sam Adams leads a gang of patriots aboard to destroy the tea, and the kids are caught in the middle. (Note: Due to the episode title with the inspired subject, Henri throws the parsley in the water and loudly yells, "No taxation without representation!" at the British Redcoats.) Samuel Adams September 2, 2002
2 Intolerable Acts Intolerable Acts James, Sarah, Henri and Moses are stuck in Boston at the home of Phillis Wheatley when Boston is under curfew due to the Acts Phillis Wheatley September 3, 2002
3 United We Stand First Continental Congress James covers the First Continental Congress, while Sarah travels to Boston to supply the resistance movement Abigail Adams September 4, 2002
4 Liberty or Death Give me Liberty, or give me Death! Having travelled to Virginia to buy a new press, Moses sees his brother Cato about to be sold into slavery, and attempts to stop it, while the kids hear that Patrick Henry is about to rally the southern patriots. Patrick Henry September 5, 2002
5 Midnight Ride Midnight Ride of Paul Revere James and Sarah travel to Boston with a message from the Mechanics, reconnoitre with Dr. Warren, and join Paul Revere and William Dawes on their midnight ride Paul Revere September 6, 2002
6 The Shot Heard Round the World Battles of Lexington and Concord James and Sarah witness the Battles of Lexington and Concord, where Sarah's cousin Tom is killed John Parker September 9, 2002
7 Green Mountain Boys Capture of Fort Ticonderoga James and Sarah meet up with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys in Vermont, watch them drive away a portly landowner, then stow away with Allen and Benedict Arnold when they capture Fort Ticonderoga Ethan Allen September 10, 2002
8 The Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress A British spy urges James and Henri to find out what's going on in the closed sessions of the Second Continental Congress. Meanwhile, Sarah and Moses schmooze George Washington, a delegate to the Congress and the newly chosen general of the Continental Army John Hancock September 11, 2002
9 Bunker Hill Battle of Bunker Hill James witnesses the Battle of Bunker Hill from the American camp, while Sarah is in the British camp looking for a British soldier who knew her father, who is killed in action. Dr. Joseph Warren is also killed in the fighting, much to James's grief. Joseph Warren September 12, 2002
10 Postmaster General Franklin Benjamin Franklin James and Sarah attempt to deliver mail between Philadelphia and New York, meeting with a committee of correspondence on the way. Meanwhile, Franklin is appointed Postmaster General by the Second Continental Congress John Adams September 13, 2002
11 Washington Takes Command Siege of Boston
George Washington
The gang winters in Boston, where General Washington takes command and lifts the British occupation of Boston. James joins Henry Knox on his sojourn to Fort Ticonderoga George Washington September 16, 2002
12 Common Sense Common Sense Ben's old friend Thomas Paine comes by to ask them to print his book Common Sense, which makes the case for breaking away from Britain. James and Henri are inspired, but Sarah is repulsed by the notion of rebellion and won't even read it. Thomas Paine September 17, 2002
13 The First Fourth of July Declaration of Independence James attempts to find out more about the debate over the Declaration; he rounds up delegates from New Jersey and Delaware. Meanwhile, Sarah goes through Thomas Jefferson's trash Thomas Jefferson September 18, 2002
14 New York, New York New York and New Jersey campaign Sarah visits Mrs. Radcliffe, a New York Loyalist. Meanwhile, James witness the loss of New York City to the British, and Henri pretends to be an American spy Betsy Ross September 19, 2002
15 The Turtle The Turtle Hearing rumors of a sea monster in New York Harbor, the kids investigate and stumble across David Bushnell and his prototype submarine. They also run into Admiral Richard Howe, the commander of the British fleet in New York David Bushnell September 20, 2002
16 One Life to Lose Nathan Hale The kids discover that Nathan Hale is a spy, and witness his execution. Meanwhile, James is almost impressed into the British Navy and Franklin attends the Staten Island Peace Conference Nathan Hale September 23, 2002
17 Captain Molly Battle of Fort Washington
Margaret Corbin
Sarah encamps with Margaret Corbin at Fort Tryon, while James witnesses the loss of Forts Tryon and Washington to the British Thomas Jefferson September 24, 2002
18 American Crisis The American Crisis,
New York and New Jersey campaign
James and Sarah witness the terrible conditions of the Continental Army after defeats in New York and New Jersey, and return to Philadelphia to help Thomas Paine publish The American Crisis Robert Bell September 25, 2002
19 Across the Delaware Washington's crossing of the Delaware
Battle of Trenton
James learns of a plan to attack the British before enlistments run out, then crosses the Delaware with Washington before the Battle of Trenton John Honeyman September 26, 2002
20 American in Paris Franklin in France, Forage War Franklin, now ambassador to France, works tirelessly to get military aid from the French foreign minister Vergennes. Meanwhile, James meets up with Capt. Alexander Hamilton on the way to Washington's winter encampment at Morristown, New Jersey, and Sarah contracts smallpox in Boston, recovering with the assistance of Abigail Adams in what is today Quincy, MA. TRIVIA: This is the first time Sarah is seen with her hair down. Alexander Hamilton September 27, 2002
21 Sybil Ludington Sybil Ludington
Battle of Ridgefield
James goes to Connecticut to learn of Colonel Henry Ludington, and instead learns of the exploits of the "female Paul Revere". Meanwhile, Sarah is again with Benedict Arnold, and both witness the destruction of Danbury by the British. Sybil Ludington September 30, 2002
22 Lafayette Arrives Marquis de Lafayette
Battle of Brandywine
Lafayette arrives in Philadelphia and meets the kids before offering his services to the Continental Congress. He is later wounded at the Battle of Brandywine Sarah Fulton October 1, 2002
23 The Hessians are Coming Saratoga Campaign Both James and Sarah witness the Battle of Saratoga, Sarah from her coverage of Benedict Arnold, and James from the vantage point of being tied to a Hessian deserter Sarah Fulton October 2, 2002
24 Valley Forge Valley Forge James and Sarah see the hardship that Joseph Plumb Martin and other foot soldiers endure during the war; Washington faces a possible mutiny; von Steuben drills Washington's troops Baron von Steuben October 3, 2002
25 Allies at Last Franco-American Alliance
Rhode Island Loyalty Oath
Franklin is able to negotiate a treaty of alliance and an audience with King Louis XVI. Meanwhile, James and Moses travel to Newport, Rhode Island and meet with Jewish merchant Moses Michael Hays, and Sarah and Henri remain in occupied Philadelphia. Moses Michael Hayes October 4, 2002
26 Honor and Compromise Articles of Confederation
Battle of Monmouth
The Continental Congress in York is divided among factions led by Richard Henry Lee and Samuel Chase. Meanwhile, Washington has to deal with opposition from General Charles Lee with regard to his battle strategy. Abraham Nenhem November 4, 2002
27 The New Frontier Cornstalk
Fort Wilson riot
In Philadelphia, James encounters mob violence against James Wilson. Meanwhile, Sarah is on the Ohio frontier, where she encounters her father and Shawnee chief Cornstalk. Cornstalk November 5, 2002
28 Not Yet Begun to Fight Battle of Flamborough Head Shipwrecked on her way back to England, Sarah is rescued by the Bonhomme Richard, and in the midst of battle, John Paul Jones helps her see that her true loyalty lies with America John Paul Jones November 6, 2002
29 The Great Galvez Bernardo de Galvez James is on the frontier, where he meets George Rodgers Clark and Bernando de Galvez, the latter at the Battle of Fort Charlotte. Meanwhile, Sarah is in England. Bernardo de Galvez November 7, 2002
30 In Praise of Ben Benjamin Franklin When Sarah arrives back from England, she finds Henri fighting with a young boy. Henri explains that he has done this because the boy was saying bad things about Ben Franklin. The boy says he only said this because that is what his father said. So, Sarah, Moses, and James explain to the boy about Ben Franklin's life and inventions. Benjamin Franklin November 8, 2002
31 Bostonians Cherry Valley massacre
Adams Family
Sarah again visits the Adams family, when John is drafting the Massachusetts Constitution and preparing for a diplomatic mission to Europe. Meanwhile, James learns the horrors of the war for native Americans from Iroquois chief Joseph Brant Joseph Brant November 11, 2002
32 Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold James is interviewing skinners when they capture British spy Andre, who's carrying blueprints of West Point. Finding out where he got them, James must later comfort Sarah when her friend, General Arnold, is unmasked as a traitor. Benedict Arnold January 20, 2003
33 Conflict in the South Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War James tags along with General Nathanael Greene on his campaign in the South. Meanwhile, Sarah is horrified that Thomas Jefferson owns slaves Nathanael Greene January 21, 2003
34 Deborah Samson: Soldier of the Revolution Deborah Sampson
Battle of Rhode Island
Sarah meets Deborah Samson, a female soldier who enlisted under the identity Robert Shurtleff. Meanwhile, General Washington attempts to organize an offensive with General Rochambeau from their base in Rhode Island, and Vergennes attempts to organize a peace conference with the British Deborah Sampson January 22, 2003
35 James Armistead James Armistead Encamped with Lafayette's army in Virginia, Henri enlists as a drummer boy and Sarah meets slave and double agent James Armistead. Meanwhile, General Washington prepares for a major offensive against the British James Armistead January 23, 2003
36 Yorktown Siege of Yorktown James and Sarah witness the epic battle of Yorktown. Meanwhile, Moses' brother may not get the freedom he was promised, since the British lost. Charles Cornwallis March 31, 2003
37 Born Free and Equal Mum Bett Sarah travels to the Berkshires and learns of Mum Bett, a slave who sued for her freedom and won. Meanwhile, King George III is unwilling to admit that England has lost the war. Mum Bett April 1, 2003
38 The Man Who Wouldn't Be King Newburgh Conspiracy When interviewing Washington, James learns that officers in the Continental Army want to overthrow the government and install Washington as monarch, something Washington finds abhorrent. The episode ends with Washington going to Annapolis and resigning his commission. Benjamin West April 2, 2003
39 Going Home Shays' Rebellion James visits Daniel Shays, who is upset about the conditions Revolutionary War veterans are facing and leads a rebellion to shut the government down. In New York, Sarah again visits her Loyalist friend Mrs. Radcliffe, who ends up moving to Canada with Moses' brother Cato. Meanwhile, James considers buying a newspaper, Henri decides to go to France with Lafayette, and Franklin returns to America with Lady Phillips. Daniel Shays April 3, 2003
40 We the People Philadelphia Convention James and Sarah attempt to find out what is going on at the Constitutional Convention, and Moses is upset that the constitution does not abolish slavery. James Madison April 4, 2003

Funding[edit]

The show was funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the viewers/stations of PBS.

The show was funded from Episodes 17-40 is funded by a Ready to Learn Television Cooperative Agreement, From the U.S. Department of Education through the PBS. And by the CPB.

DVD release[edit]

On October 14, 2008, Shout! Factory released Liberty's Kids- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[2] The 6-disc box set contains all 40 episodes of the series as well as several bonus features. This release has been discontinued and is out of print.

On July 16, 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released Liberty's Kids- The Complete Series on DVD in a 4-disc set.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boston Tea Party Ships Boston Tea Party Historical Society
  2. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Libertys-Kids-The-Complete-Series/10040
  3. ^ 'The Complete Series' DVDs Are Back In-Print from Mill Creek

External links[edit]