Liberty's Kids

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Liberty's Kids
Libkidsmenu.JPG
Liberty's Kids title card
GenreHistorical fiction
Created byKevin O'Donnell
Michael Maliani
Developed byAndy Heyward
Michael Maliani
Kevin O'Donnell
Robby London
Written byDoug McIntyre
Directed byJudy Reilly
Marsha Goodman Einstein
StarringWalter Cronkite as the voice of Benjamin Franklin
Voices ofKathleen Barr
Reo Jones
Chris Lundquist
D. Kevin Williams
Theme music composerMatthew Gerrard
Opening theme"Through My Own Eyes" performed by Aaron Carter and Kayla Hinkle
Ending theme"Through My Own Eyes" performed by Aaron Carter and Kayla Hinkle
Composer(s)Stephen C. Marston
Craig Marks
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Andy Heyward
Michael Maliani
Robby London
Producer(s)Kevin O'Donnell
Kaaren Brown
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)DIC Entertainment
Melusine Productions
Hong Ying Universe Company, Ltd.
DistributorDHX Media
Release
Original networkPBS (2002–2003)

The WB (2004-2006) The CW (2006-2008) Fox Cookie Jar Toons on This TV Cookie Jar TV on CBS (2012-2013)

Cookie Jar Kids Network
Original releaseSeptember 2, 2002 (2002-09-02) – April 4, 2003 (2003-04-04)

Liberty's Kids is an animated historical fiction television series produced by DIC Entertainment, originally broadcast on PBS on their PBS Kids block from September 2, 2002 to April 4, 2003, although some PBS stations continued to air reruns until August 2006. 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. In 2008, it ran History. The series aired on Cookie Jar Toons on This TV and on CBS's Cookie Jar TV block from 2009 to 2013. In 2017, it played on Starz Kids & Family, and currently airs on Starz Encore Family.[1].

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. It received two Daytime Emmy nominations, in 2003 and 2004, both for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (Walter Cronkite, playing Benjamin Franklin).[2] Its purpose is to teach its audience about the origins of the United States of America. Like the CBS cartoon mini-series 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), Annette Bening (as Abigail Adams), Dustin Hoffman (as Benedict Arnold), Arnold Schwarzenegger (as Baron von Steuben), Liam Neeson (as John Paul Jones), Whoopi Goldberg (as Deborah Sampson), and Don Francisco (as Bernardo de Gálvez) 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. During PBS airings, 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).

Plot[edit]

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, no main characters appear to age, except for Dr. Franklin.

Characters[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

  • Sarah Phillips (voiced by Reo Jones) - 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 American colonist orphaned in childhood because of a lightning storm that burned his childhood home down with his parents inside. Beginning the series at age fourteen, James greatly admires Benjamin Franklin, whose invention of the lightning rod saved many from the same tragedy. 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". 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) - An energetic boy from France, Henri's parents died on his 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 he 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 North 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. Moses 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 Lafayette. Cato goes to Canada with Mrs. Radcliffe, a British loyalist and friend of Sarah and her mother.

Historical characters depicted[edit]

Continental Army, Navy, and American militia[edit]

British Army and 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 song[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. Carter and Hinkle performed a full version of the song at the Capitol Fourth Concert in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 4, 2002;[3] 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.

No.TitleDatesSubjects coveredMystery guestOriginal air date
1"The Boston Tea Party"1773 December 16Boston Tea PartySamuel AdamsSeptember 2, 2002 (2002-09-02)
Sarah arrives in America aboard the Dartmouth,[4] but Moses, James and Henri are not the only ones who meet the ship. Sam Adams leads a gang of patriots dressed as Indians 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.[further explanation needed])
2"Intolerable Acts"1774 MarchIntolerable ActsPhillis WheatleySeptember 3, 2002 (2002-09-03)
James, Sarah, Henri and Moses are stuck in Boston at the home of Phillis Wheatley when Boston is under curfew due to the Acts. Weddebrun castigates Franklin.
3"United We Stand"1774 SeptemberFirst Continental CongressAbigail AdamsSeptember 4, 2002 (2002-09-04)
James covers the First Continental Congress, while Sarah travels to Boston to supply the resistance movement.
4"Liberty or Death"1775 MarchGive me Liberty, or give me Death!Patrick HenrySeptember 5, 2002 (2002-09-05)
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.
5"Midnight Ride"1775 AprilMidnight Ride of Paul ReverePaul RevereSeptember 6, 2002 (2002-09-06)
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.
6"The Shot Heard Round the World"1775 AprilBattles of Lexington and ConcordJohn ParkerSeptember 9, 2002 (2002-09-09)
James and Sarah witness the Battles of Lexington and Concord, where Sarah's cousin Tom is killed.
7"Green Mountain Boys"1775 MayCapture of Fort TiconderogaEthan AllenSeptember 10, 2002 (2002-09-10)
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.
8"The Second Continental Congress"1775 MaySecond Continental CongressJohn HancockSeptember 11, 2002 (2002-09-11)
A British spy urges James and Henri to find out what is 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.
9"Bunker Hill"1775 June 17Battle of Bunker HillJoseph WarrenSeptember 12, 2002 (2002-09-12)
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' grief.
10"Postmaster General Franklin"1775 JulyBenjamin FranklinJohn AdamsSeptember 13, 2002 (2002-09-13)
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.
11"Washington Takes Command"1775 AprilSiege of Boston
George Washington
George WashingtonSeptember 16, 2002 (2002-09-16)
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.
12"Common Sense"1776 JanuaryCommon SenseThomas PaineSeptember 17, 2002 (2002-09-17)
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 will not even read it.
13"The First Fourth of July"1776 JulyDeclaration of IndependenceThomas JeffersonSeptember 18, 2002 (2002-09-18)
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.
14"New York, New York"1776 JulyNew York and New Jersey campaign; Battle of Long IslandLord StirlingSeptember 19, 2002 (2002-09-19)
Sarah visits Mrs. Radcliffe, a New York Loyalist. Meanwhile, James witnesses the loss of New York City to the British and Henri pretends to be an American spy.
15"The Turtle"1776 SeptemberThe TurtleDavid BushnellSeptember 20, 2002 (2002-09-20)
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.
16"One Life to Lose"1776 SeptemberNathan HaleNathan HaleSeptember 23, 2002 (2002-09-23)
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.
17"Captain Molly"1776 NovemberBattle of Fort Washington
Margaret Corbin
Thomas JeffersonSeptember 24, 2002 (2002-09-24)
Sarah encamps with Margaret Corbin at Fort Tryon, while James witnesses the loss of Forts Tryon and Washington to the British.
18"American Crisis"1776 DecemberThe American Crisis, New York and New Jersey campaignRobert BellSeptember 25, 2002 (2002-09-25)
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.
19"Across the Delaware"1776 DecemberWashington's crossing of the Delaware
Battle of Trenton
John HoneymanSeptember 26, 2002 (2002-09-26)
James learns of a plan to attack the British before enlistments run out, then crosses the Delaware with Washington before the Battle of Trenton.
20"An American in Paris"1776 DecemberFranklin in France, Forage WarSilas Deane; Alexander HamiltonSeptember 27, 2002 (2002-09-27)
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.
21"Sybil Ludington"1777 AprilSybil Ludington
Battle of Ridgefield
Sybil LudingtonSeptember 30, 2002 (2002-09-30)
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.
22"Lafayette Arrives"1777 SeptemberMarquis de Lafayette
Battle of Brandywine
Baron de KalbOctober 1, 2002 (2002-10-01)
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.
23"The Hessians are Coming"1777 JuneSaratoga CampaignPhilip SchuylerOctober 2, 2002 (2002-10-02)
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.
24"Valley Forge"1777 DecemberValley ForgeBaron von SteubenOctober 3, 2002 (2002-10-03)
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.
25"Allies at Last"1778 FebruaryFranco-American Alliance
Rhode Island Loyalty Oath
Jonathan L. Austin; Moses Michael HaysOctober 4, 2002 (2002-10-04)
In Passy, 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 while Sarah and Henri remain in occupied Philadelphia...and they hate it.
26"Honor and Compromise"1778 JuneArticles of Confederation
Battle of Monmouth
Henry Laurens; Abraham NimhamNovember 4, 2002 (2002-11-04)
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.
27"The New Frontier"1779 OctoberFort Wilson riot
Cornstalk
CornstalkNovember 5, 2002 (2002-11-05)
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.
28"Not Yet Begun to Fight"1779 SeptemberBattle of Flamborough HeadJohn Paul JonesNovember 6, 2002 (2002-11-06)
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.
29"The Great Galvez"1780 MarchSiege of Vincennes
Battle of Fort Charlotte
Bernardo de Galvez
Bernardo de Galvez; Charles FoxNovember 7, 2002 (2002-11-07)
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, but it no longer feels like home.
30"In Praise of Ben"VariousBenjamin FranklinBenjamin FranklinNovember 8, 2002 (2002-11-08)
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 and his father about Ben Franklin's life and inventions.
31"Bostonians"1780 JuneCherry Valley massacre
Adams Family
Joseph BrantNovember 11, 2002 (2002-11-11)
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.
32"Benedict Arnold"1780 JulyBenedict ArnoldBenedict ArnoldJanuary 20, 2003 (2003-01-20)
James is interviewing skinners when they capture British spy Andre, who is 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.
33"Conflict in the South"1781 JanuaryRaid of Richmond
Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War
Nathanael GreeneJanuary 21, 2003 (2003-01-21)
James tags along with General Nathanael Greene on his campaign in the South. Meanwhile, Sarah is horrified when she finds out that Thomas Jefferson owns slaves. Thomas Jefferson admits that he does not like the fact.
34"Deborah Samson: Soldier of the Revolution"1781 JulyDeborah Sampson
Battle of Rhode Island
Deborah Sampson; John LaurensJanuary 22, 2003 (2003-01-22)
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.
35"James Armistead"1781 SeptemberJames ArmisteadJames ArmisteadJanuary 23, 2003 (2003-01-23)
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.
36"Yorktown"1781 OctoberSiege of YorktownCharles CornwallisMarch 31, 2003 (2003-03-31)
James and Sarah witness the epic battle of Yorktown. Meanwhile, Moses' brother may not get the freedom he was promised, since the British lost.
37"Born Free and Equal"1781 AugustMum BettElizabeth FreemanApril 1, 2003 (2003-04-01)
Sarah travels to the Berkshires and learns of Mum Bett, a slave who sues for her freedom and wins with help from attorney Theodore Sedgwick. Meanwhile, King George III is unwilling to admit that England has lost the war.
38"The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King"1783 March, DecemberNewburgh Conspiracy, George Washington's resignation as commander-in-chiefBenjamin WestApril 2, 2003 (2003-04-02)
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 on December 23, 1783.
39"Going Home"1786 AugustShays' RebellionDaniel ShaysApril 3, 2003 (2003-04-03)
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.
40"We the People"1787 MayPhiladelphia ConventionJames MadisonApril 4, 2003 (2003-04-04)
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. Benjamin Franklin predicts that it will take another war to end slavery.

Broadcast[edit]

Liberty's Kids is shown on CBS in the United States' Cookie Jar TV, History, Cookie Jar Toons, Cookie Jar Kids Network, This TV, MyNetworkTV and The CW.

Home media releases[edit]

On October 14, 2008, Shout! Factory released Liberty's Kids: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[5] The six-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 as Shout! Factory no longer has the distribution rights to the series.

On July 16, 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released Liberty's Kids: The Complete Series on DVD in a 4-disc set.[6] Each disc contains 10 episodes each.

On February 14, 2017, Mill Creek Entertainment released Liberty's Kids: The Complete Series: Education Edition on DVD in Region 1.[7] The 3-disc set contains all 40 episodes of the series as well as in-depth study guides for all episodes and activity pages.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Liberty's Kids". Starz.com. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  2. ^ Liberty's Kids: Awards Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Mirrored Illusions (2006-12-31), Aaron Carter & Kayla Hinkle - Through My Own Eyes (live), retrieved 2016-09-02
  4. ^ Boston Tea Party Ships Boston Tea Party Historical Society
  5. ^ "Liberty's Kids DVD news: Box Art for Liberty's Kids - The Complete Series | TVShowsOnDVD.com". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  6. ^ "Liberty's Kids DVD news: Announcement for Liberty's Kids - The Complete Series | TVShowsOnDVD.com". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  7. ^ 'The Complete Series: Education Edition' DVDs are Announced Archived 2016-12-22 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]