Captain Planet and the Planeteers

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Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Captain Planet and the Planeteers title.jpg
Also known as The New Adventures of Captain Planet (1993–1996)
Genre Superhero fiction
Action
Adventure
Edutainment
Created by Ted Turner
Barbara Pyle
Voices of David Coburn
LeVar Burton
Joey Dedio
Kath Soucie
Janice Kawaye
Scott Menville
Whoopi Goldberg (Seasons 1-3 (1990–1993)
Margot Kidder (Seasons 4-6 (1993–1996)
Composer(s) Tom Worrall
Thomas Chase Jones
Steve Rucker
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 113 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Andy Heyward
Robby London
Barbara Pyle
Nicholas Boxer
Belinda Devreemtoes
Ted Turner
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment[1][2] (Seasons 1–3 (1990–1993))
Hanna-Barbera[3] (Seasons 4–6 (1993–1996))
Turner Program Services
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Cookie Jar Group (2008–2012) / DHX Media (2012–present) (as co-distributor on behalf of DIC Entertainment)
Release
Original network TBS
Original release September 15, 1990 – May 11, 1996
Chronology
Followed by The New Adventures of Captain Planet
(1993–1996)
External links
Website

Captain Planet and the Planeteers is an American animated environmentalist television program created by Ted Turner and Barbara Pyle.[4] The series was produced by Turner Program Services and DIC Entertainment and it was broadcast on TBS from September 15, 1990, to December 5, 1992.[2] A sequel series, The New Adventures of Captain Planet, was produced by Hanna-Barbera and Turner Program Services and was broadcast from September 11, 1993, to May 11, 1996.[3] Both series continue today in syndication.[5] The program is a form of edutainment and advocates environmentalism and is famous for having a number of famous actors providing voices for the villains.[6][7] The show spawned a franchise consisting of a charity, a comic book series, video games, and a TV crossover with OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes.

Development[edit]

Conception[edit]

Pyle cites that the inspiration for the five Planeteers came from real people that she met during the show's pre-production in 1989. In a September 2012 interview with Barbara Pyle and Nick Boxer, it was stated that the Hope Island was located near the Bahamas.[8]

DIC history (1990-1992)[edit]

The original series was the second longest running US-cartoon of the 1990s, producing 113 episodes. It lasted for three seasons under the name Captain Planet and the Planeteers (produced by TBS Productions and DiC).

The show's intro theme was composed by Tom Worrall. The ending theme (maintained by both DIC and Hanna-Barbera’s versions) is considered one of the most memorable parts of the series due to its catchy main chorus and rock track ("Captain Planet, he’s our hero, gonna take pollution down to zero"). Its lyrics were written by show producer Nick Boxer[9] and is performed by Murray McFadden and Timothy Mulhollan. During the end credits, James Coburn, in character as Looten Plunder, utters the line "You'll pay for this, Captain Planet.". This is then followed by a rap from the voice actors of the Planeteers. It is akin to New Kids On The Block's "Step By Step".

Hanna-Barbara history (1993-1996)[edit]

In 1993, the show saw a production company switch, changing the title to The New Adventures of Captain Planet (produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, which was acquired by Turner in 1991). During this time, it aired as part of TBS' Sunday Morning In Front Of The TV block, alongside fellow H-B toons SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron and 2 Stupid Dogs. This series revealed more of the past of each of the characters and expanded on it dramatically. The tone of these episodes was more mature than the initial series. The animation style was altered.

The DiC seasons' synth-rock soundtrack was replaced by a large number of orchestral pieces, and while the end credits theme was retained, the ending sequence now showcased footage from the Hanna-Barbera episodes. A small number of cast changes occurred, affecting Gaia and some of the eco-villains. The opening narration was spoken by David Coburn (Captain Planet) rather than LeVar Burton (Kwame) and, in the final season, was replaced by a rap by Fred Schneider of The B-52's.

Legacy[edit]

The Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) was founded in 1991, when series producer Barbara Pyle negotiated a percentage of the show’s merchandising revenue to empower young people. The concept allowed schools and organizations around the world to present their environmental projects to the Foundation and receive seed money to grow their ideas. In 2001, Time Warner decided to shut down the CPF due to a challenging merger with AOL. Laura Seydel and her husband Rutherford Seydel worked with Time Warner to orchestrate the transition of the corporate foundation to a public charity - the Captain Planet Foundation.[10] In 2007, CPF acquired the rights to exhibit previous episodes of Captain Planet and the Planeteers online and on-air, thus "allowing this valuable resource to reach out and educate the children of today!"[11] As of 2017, the organization's board is chaired by Laura Turner Seydel, daughter of Ted Turner; the board includes Barbara Pyle.[12]

Educational goals[edit]

Various episodes were constructed to touch on relevant themes to a modern audience.

  • "Mind Pollution"

The episode titled "Mind Pollution" (1991) was notable[13] in that it did not deal with the environment, but rather with the issue of drug abuse. This was explained by the fact that the characters thought of drug addiction as "pollution of the mind." The episode revolved around an epidemic of a designer drug known as "Bliss" created by Verminous Skumm. It was also known for being quite a dark episode in the Captain Planet series, as it allowed a scene of Linka's cousin Boris bleeding from his arms after jumping through a window and dying from an overdose of the drug.

  • "A Formula for Hate"

The episode titled "A Formula for Hate" (1992) was also unusual for the series in that it did not deal with environmental pollution or destruction. It was also the first episode in an American children's animated series to directly deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.[14] In the episode, Skumm brainwashes a local community into thinking the virus can be spread through casual contact and thus causing people to hate and fear a young man, infected with HIV, named Todd Andrews (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, with his mother voiced by Elizabeth Taylor).

Plot and characters[edit]

Every episode is followed up with at least one "Planeteer Alert" clip, often connected to the plot, where environmental-political and other social-political issues are discussed and how the viewer can contribute and be part of "the solution" rather than "the pollution".[15]

Gaia[edit]

Gaia (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg in 1990–1993, Margot Kidder in 1993–1996), the spirit of the planet, sends five magic rings, four with the power to control an element of nature and one controlling the element of Heart, to five chosen youths across the globe.

Captain Planet[edit]

In situations that the Planeteers cannot resolve alone, they can combine their powers to summon the title character Captain Planet (voiced by David Coburn), a super hero, who possesses all of their powers magnified. Once his work is done, Captain Planet returns to the planet, and leaves viewers with the message: "The power is yours!" Typically Planet only manifests to deal with the bigger crisis and then departs, but a few storylines have explored him existing beyond these moments, such as when he was summoned while Kwame and Ma-Ti were in space, with the result that the energy from their rings that created Planet could not return to its source, resulting in Planet being forced to operate on a human level, such as requiring a crowbar and handcuff keys to rescue the rest of the team.

Planeteers[edit]

The Planeteers. Clockwise from top left: Gi, Kwame, Linka, Ma-Ti, and Wheeler.

These five are dubbed the Planeteers and are tasked with helping defend the planet from environmental disasters and making efforts to educate humankind to keep others from happening. In the beginning of the episodes, Gaia uses her "Planet Vision" in the Crystal Chamber to discover where the most devastating destruction is occurring (in most episodes one or more of the Eco-Villains is behind it) and sends the Planeteers to help solve the problem. The Planeteers use transportation (usually a flying machine called a Geo-Cruiser) based on solar power to avoid causing pollution themselves.

Episodes[edit]

Franchise extension[edit]

Pyle and Boxer demanded that the series' merchandise be made sustainably; because of this, several of the companies producing Captain Planet-themed merchandise had to completely overhaul their means of production to manufacture recycled and recyclable products.

Toys[edit]

As with many popular cartoons, Captain Planet had a line of action figures and vehicles. Released by Tiger Toys in 1990, the line ran for several years, long enough to tie into the New Adventures series. The toys were repackaged and sold by Grand Toys in Canada and Kenner throughout Europe. The toys were of average poseability, with the common five points – neck, shoulders, and hips.

Finding a comprehensive list of what was released is difficult, since not all toys shown in the initial retailer catalog were even released. The collector's market is small, the toys being somewhat rare on eBay. The Captain Planet Foundation still sells a small number of them online, however. There may have also been further foreign variations of certain toys which may be even more difficult to catalog. Various toys from the New Adventures waves are not as likely to be well known.

The five Planeteers, five Eco-Villains, Commander Clash, and several versions of Captain Planet, each with a different gimmick or paint scheme, were released, along with several vehicles. A toy ring with lights and sound and interchangeable lenses for the five elements was also released. Four small vehicles were also sold through a Burger King promotion.

Comics[edit]

Marvel Comics published a short-lived comic series for 12 issues to tie into the show; however, the comics were a separate continuity. While not effectively part of the Marvel Universe, issue #4's cover was a parody of the cover to Fantastic Four issue #1.

Video games[edit]

A video game based on the series was developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Mindscape called Captain Planet. The game, which involved a good deal of shooting, received negative reviews from game critics and thus a Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) version of the game was canceled. A separate side-scrolling game was developed by Novalogic for the Mega Drive/Genesis, but only saw release in Europe and Australia.[17]

David Perry and Nick Bruty developed a ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC game using the license, a 3-level shoot 'em up. A game was also released in 1990 for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, written by Tony Crowther. This was a platform game and was briefly bundled with the Amiga 500 "Cartoon Classics" pack released in 1991.[18] A Commodore 64 game was in development but never released. Tiger Toys, owners of the action figure license, also created an LCD hand-held game.

Captain Planet appears as a playable character in the fighting game Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion for Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Home video[edit]

Several VHS tapes were released, usually with a single episode each. A DVD with four episodes and bonus features exists but was only available as part of a "Planeteer Pack" purchased from the Captain Planet Foundation.[19] This promotional DVD contained the episodes "A River Ran Through It", "A Perfect World", "Gorillas Will Be Missed" and "The Big Clam Up" plus " Planeteers in Action", a short clip about Captain Planet Foundation.[20] The "Planeteer Pack" special is no longer available.

Shout! Factory released a DVD set of the complete first season in the U.S. on April 19, 2011. The DVD packaging is made of 100% recycled paper.[21] But Seasons Two to Six have yet to be released on Complete Season DVD Sets.

Madman Entertainment released the first season on July 6, 2016[22] and the complete collection on October 25, 2017[23] in Australia.

As of March 25, 2017 it is available on iTunes for purchase. The whole series was made available on Amazon Instant Video.

Film[edit]

Multiple attempts have been made to create a film adaptation of the series. The first occurred in 1996 when Boxer and Pyle wrote a film adaptation of Captain Planet originally titled Planet.[24] Five years later, Michael Reaves revised the concept as Dark Planet or Planet. The storyline was darker than the series, and set in a post-apocalyptic time period. However, the script was lost when Turner and Warner Bros. merged in 1996.[25] The film reached the design stage before it was abandoned.

Other attempts at a film version were made in 2007,[26] 2011,[27][28] and 2013.[29] However none of these versions came to pass. In October 2016 it was reported that Paramount Pictures and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way were attempting to develop a new movie and is in negotiations with Jono Matt and Glen Powell to write the script.[30]

OK K.O.! crossover[edit]

On September 13, 2017, it was announced that Captain Planet would appear in a special crossover episode of the Cartoon Network series OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, with David Coburn reprising his role as Captain Planet and LeVar Burton reprising his role as Kwame. The episode, "The Power is Yours", aired on October 9, 2017.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kahn, Eve M. "Television; Cartoons for a Small Planet" The New York Times (March 3, 1991).
  2. ^ a b "Captain Planet And The Planeteers". www.bcdb.com, April 12, 2012
  3. ^ a b "The New Adventures of Captain Planet ". www.bcdb.com, April 12, 2012
  4. ^ Pyle, Barbara. "Barbara Pyle, with Ted Turner and Robert Larkin III created the animated action series Captain Planet and the Planeteers". Barbara Pyle Productions. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  5. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth (April 22, 2006). "An Aging Superhero Wins a Life Beyond Reruns". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  6. ^ Captain Planet Zooms to the Rescue of the Environment, Washington Post – Sep 16, 1990
  7. ^ Szymanski, Michael (1990-02-03). "Captain Planet: Here He Comes to Save the Day". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  8. ^ "We are Barbara Pyle and Nick Boxer, Co-creators and Exec. Producers of "Captain Planet and the Planeteers." AMA!". Interviewly. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Captain Planet: The theme song Mother Nature Network
  10. ^ "Captain Planet Foundation | Supporting Environmental Education". captainplanetfoundation.org. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  11. ^ "Our Story". Captain Planet Foundation. Retrieved October 1, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Board". Captain Planet Foundation. 
  13. ^ "Terrifying moments in children's television". Rambling Beach Cat. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Mendoza, N.F. (1992-11-21). "'Capt. Planet' Tackles the AIDS Crisis". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  15. ^ "Children's Television Programming Report". Federal Communications Commission. 30 December 2006. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Captain Planet: Meet the characters Mother Nature Network
  17. ^ "Captain Planet and the Planeteers on MobyGames". Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  18. ^ "Amiga Longplay Captain Planet and the Planeteers". YouTube. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  19. ^ "Captain Planet Foundation". captainplanetfdn.org. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. 
  20. ^ "Welcome to Captain Planet Foundation's Co-Store". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  21. ^ "Captain Planet And The Planeteers: Season One". Shoutfactorystore.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  22. ^ "Captain Planet Season 1 - DVD". Madman.com.au. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  23. ^ "Captain Planet Complete Collection - DVD". Madman.com.au. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  24. ^ "Michael Reeves interview, in which he recalls the title as simply "Planet"". AnimationArtist.com. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  25. ^ "Michael Reaves's website, listing the script as "Dark Planet"". Archived from the original on 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  26. ^ "Ted is currently in talks to create a possible movie version of the cartoon – wonder who will play Captain Planet?". Hoolywoodtoday.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  27. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (July 19, 2011). "Cartoon Network's 'Captain Planet' will be drawn into film". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  28. ^ Rosenfeld, Everett (22 July 2011). "With Hollywood's Powers Combined, a 'Captain Planet' Movie Will Hit Theaters". Time News Feed. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  29. ^ "'Captain Planet and the Planeteers' Movie in the Works From Sony (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  30. ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio, Glen Powell Teaming for 'Captain Planet' Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  31. ^ http://mashable.com/2017/09/13/captain-planet-ok-ko-cameo-cartoon-network/#KH6H9dYApaql

External links[edit]