Our Friend, Martin
|Our Friend, Martin|
|Directed by||Rob Smiley
|Produced by||Andy Boron
|Written by||Dawn Comer (story)
Chris Simmons (story)
|Distributed by||CBS/Fox Video|
|Release dates||January 12, 1999|
|Running time||60 min.|
Our Friend, Martin is a 1999 animated children's educational film about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American civil rights movement. Two friends travel through time, meeting Dr. King at several points during his life. It featured an all-star voice cast and was nominated for an Emmy award in 1999 for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming More Than One Hour). This is the first film in which John Travolta is a voice actor.
While the film was released on VHS, and with co-distribution rights with CBS/Fox Video (which in turn was also distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and CBS), the film was also distributed by DiC Entertainment. Andy Heyward, Michael Maliani, and Robby London assumed the position to producing the series, and making a deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment & CBS/Fox Video to distribute the series.
Miles Woodman- A carefree, wise cracking 12-year-old, African-American baseball fan who is having trouble in school. His teacher Mrs. Clark is threatening to make him repeat 6th grade if he doesn't start raising up his grades for history class. During a class field trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. museum, he and his best friend Randy discover that the museum holds magic. With the help of Martin's old watch and a few of his belongings, he and Randy travel back in time throughout Martin's life (from when he is 12 to about 34). After his adventures with his friends, he learns that Martin was shot.
By taking young Martin out of his time, an alternate universe is created in the present time. As Martin was unable to do his Civil Rights work, Randy and Kyle are racist and are no longer friends with Miles, Maria can no longer speak to Miles in English and is a school maid, his mother no longer has a business and they are poor, and his middle school has become a segregated white school. Miles then must sacrifice his plans to save Martin. Young Martin goes back to his own time and thanks Miles for being his friend, leaving him the watch. Martin gets shot and eventually dies, the world returning to what it is today. Miles learns from this experience and gets an A+ on his report, leading him to progress to the 7th grade.
Randy Smith- A 12-year-old Caucasian skater boy. Miles's best friend and partner in his adventures through time. He has a southern accent. In the alternate universe, he and Kyle are best buds and pick on black kids like Miles.
Maria Ramirez (although on Mrs. Clark's computer her last name is Alverez)- A very intelligent 10-year-old Hispanic girl (she said she skipped two grades) who is a little bit of a snob, but is the first to realize that even though they are different, she, Miles, Randy and Kyle can all be friends. In the alternate universe, she is unable to speak English and works as a maid, scrubbing the floors of the school.
Kyle Langon- A Caucasian 13-year-old bully of the story, but later a friend of Miles, Randy and Maria. He often wears shirts that are small and don't fit. In the alternate universe, he is a racist bully to black kids and is best friends with Randy. He get his "lousy" attitude from his dad.
- Edward Asner - Mr. Harris
- Angela Bassett - Miles' mother
- Lucas Black - Randy
- Theodore Borders - Martin at age 12
- LeVar Burton - Martin at age 26
- Jessica Garcia - Maria
- Danny Glover - Train Conductor
- Whoopi Goldberg - Mrs. Peck
- Samuel L. Jackson - Turner
- James Earl Jones - Daddy King
- Ashley Judd- Mrs. Dale
- Richard Kind - Mr. Willis
- Dexter King - Martin at age 34
- Yolanda King - Christine King
- Zachary Leigh - Kyle
- Robert Ri'chard - Miles
- Susan Sarandon - Mrs. Clark
- John Travolta - Kyle's father
- Jaleel White - Martin at age 15
- Adam Wylie - Sam Dale
- Oprah Winfrey - Coretta Scott King
- Frank Welker - Bull Connor/Chihuahua
- Nicole Palacio - Parker Marie
- Jess Harnell - Reporter #1/Demonstrator
- Joe Lala - Reporter #2/Demonstrator
- John Wesley - Man/Demonstrator
- Elizabeth Primm - Old Woman/Demonstrator
- H.P Shimono - Additional Voices.