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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow! Nice to see I'm first for a review of what I think is not just a
great childhood memory but a much under-appreciated & forgotten
Saturday (sometimes Sunday) morning cartoon. Not to mention cartoonist
Morrie Turner's (83 this year) excellent & then hip comic strip "Wee
Pals". In fact,I still have my little paperback book of "Wee Pals/Kid
Power". That's Connie,Diz,Sybil,Oliver and Rocky (voiced by Jay "Tonto"
Silverheels of "The Lone Ranger" ). Plus others.
It's simply this,given what times were then in relation to people demanding & marching for equality, I.E.; race,gender,creed,religion etc. The folks at ABC took a chance on making the first multi-cultural TV cartoon show. Feaurting kids from Tuner's comic strip that seemed as knowledgeable as the kids in Charles Schulz's "Peanuts/Charlie Brown" cartoons.
As stated in the shows opening theme song the kids are "Red (Indian) Yellow(Outdated term for Asian) Black (African-American or then,Negro) & White (Caucasion). The episode's revolved around not only race,but other questions of equality. As well as showing that kids aren't as unobservant as most adults may think.
I think it's really a shame that this show has not yet been on even VHS. I'm hopeful someone will read this that can do something about that. We just don't see shows like this anymore and I think it's high time this was on DVD.
It's obvious I'll give ********** stars to "Kid Power" and to Morrie Turner. Your comics and TV show deserve to be re-discovered.
09.24.2015 - RIP Morrie Turner : December 11, 1923 January 25, 2014)
Seven years after Morrie Turner became the first African-American
cartoonist to launch a comic strip with Wee Pals, ABC debuted an
animated version titled Kid Power.
The show was the first to featured a multi-racial group of children as they learned lessons and solved problems in daily life. Some of the characters included Jerry, Nipper Sybil and Ralph the bully. They were members of the Rainbow Club.
I also remember there was a song in each episode sung by The Curbstones. They also sang the theme song, accompanied by outstanding and colorful animation from Rankin-Bass, best known for the holiday classic Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer. But unfortunately, the show didn't have any ratings power and after one season, the network moved the show to Sunday morning and showed only reruns. I should also point out that one of the voices was the son of the actor who played Tonto on The Lone Ranger, Jay Silverheels Jr. Turner recently passed away but his memory will live on with a show that tried to break racial barriers in Kid Power.
You don't have a enough stars to give for this show. It was one of the best shows, not just cartoons, but best shows on TV in 1972. Like any kid (I was 11 at the time), I looked forward to getting up on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. I loved "Kid Power" as well as hearing the theme. "Kid Power..Red, yellow, black and white..White, yellow, black and red..It's Kid Power." A show is needed like that today but it is unfortunate that in today's society it would not last. I wish it were available on videotape or DVD. I would buy it with a quickness and gladly show it to my kids. The show was not corny. It basically dealt with kids from different ethnic backgrounds playing together. Think about it, politicians are always pushing equality and when a show comes out that shows kids literally playing on equal ground, it goes away. Only people who are from that are know about Kid Power. Disney/ABC if you have the show in your archives, bring it out for DVD or revive it for Disney Channel, Toon Disney, ABC Family, or ABC Saturday Morning.
I miss this cartoon. I remember it when I was 8 or 9. It was described as a "multiracial Peanuts" or something like that. the cartoon was based on the cartoon strip "Wee Pals". There were numerous episodes in the 70's. I don't exacty remember any specifically. The kids all had problems and tried to solve them with in a half hour. I remember the theme song. There were hardly if any adults in the strip. There was a talking bird. The show evolved around the half dozen or so kids who could have been around 9 or 10. They tried to solve their problems. it delt with issues of the day and problems that they had. There was oliver the nerd and Ralph the bully. I hope that it is available on DVD!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll give Kid Power a ten, as it was truly a one-of-a-kind, but I do
remember it tanked and was 'banished' to Sunday mornings, which was
where cartoons ended up that didn't do well (or didn't do well enough
for Saturday morning, and maybe got ratings too good to be cancelled,
so they ended up on Sundays).
What this meant was I wasn't able to watch the show anymore as I had to go to Sunday school.
Truthfully, in doing a quick re-examine of shows that aired that year, 1972, we had Kid Power, Scooby Movies, ABC Saturday Superstar Movies, Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan and the first season of Superfriends, to name a few.
I recall Amazing Chan wasn't that well received, the Saturday Superstar Movies barely had a second airing (and many of them were sensational) and Kid Power ended up on Sundays.
So what happened? Truthfully, I think it was too many good shows to try to watch. We had to choose in this era before VCR and tivo.
Having since seen the entire Chan Clan cartoon, I see it was less than stellar, but still it was highly daring to do a cartoon of a family of Asian American kids like this.
Whatever hurt Kid Power, I'm certain it was the Rankin Bass look. Watch any other Rankin Bass show from this decade, mainly Frost the Snowman, and you have what Kid Power offered.
What I do recall was Oliver was the lead, Nipper was his sidekick and there was the two kids, one black and one white, who were supposed to be best of friends, yet there was an episode with Nipper and the black kid here sabotaging races.
I don't recall a lot with an Asian kid and very little with the Native American.
I remember Ralph, Connie, Sybil and Randy very well tho.
The cartoon also had songs.
One episode had the kids cleaning up a lot so they could have a playground and we heard "This Old Man" They got up to four, and somewhere the lyrics were changed (and now the singing voice was a group of kids, as before, it had been solo) to "we have four, we need more, with a knick-knack patty whack, give the dog a bone" Oh, yes, someone had a dog and every time they sang give the dog a bone, the dog was thrown an old bone, until finally he was sitting atop a mountain of bones.
Then the end of the song goes solo again and we see Ralph, arms crossed and frowning and hear the vocalist, "All alone, all alone" I still sing this song to myself like this.
Another episode had a song about fish.
"When the big fish, oh yea, sees the little fish, oh yea" Then; "When the bigger fish, oh yea, sees the big fish, oh yea!" Finally, "When the whale, LOOK OUT! sees the biggest fish, LOOK OUT!" I saw the Jackson 5ive cartoon a few years ago (and wish I had recorded them now) and all I could see was overwhelming Rankin Bass. I suspect Kid POwer would watch much the same way.
Still, the tune was snazzy and the little man dancing, the I in Kid.
I remember this show from my own childhood. While some remember it with great affection, I recall it as being low on my childhood favorites. They did a good job presenting a multi-ethnic cast of characters...but to my recall, the show was never particularly funny or exciting, so there was little appeal to a kid like me. Even the animation was nothing special; in fact, I remember it being rather crude. I recall watching a few episodes of it, but it got to the point that when I saw the opening credits, I would look for another show, or turn off the TV entirely. It just never grabbed me. I give it 5/10 for good intentions but lackluster execution.
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