Captain Planet was the world’s first environmental superhero. It was an idea created by Ted Turner, which he brought to me to develop and produce. Ted is a passionate environmentalist and was one long before it became fashionable. When we developed the show, he spent a substantial amount of his own money and time to get it made and distributed. The premise of the show was that Captain Planet taught a group of kids, who each represented an essential earth element, how to work together to solve the problems of our planet. When we announced the series, Tom Cruise one day called our talent department personally, and said he wanted to be the voice of Captain Planet. Nobody believed it was really him. Well, it was, and he became the star voice.
Ted felt it was so important that we get the message of the stories out to the public, he insisted that we GIVE the show away free, “to any broadcaster anywhere that couldn’t afford it.” It costs us a lot of money, but that’s exactly what we did! It’s a beloved series, remembered by kids of all ages, and it still plays today continuously on Boomerang.
Ted often came to town to meet with our writers and production staff to provide impassioned ideas about how the show should be and what stories we should make. One day, he asked me to come meet him at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. I did, and he told me he had an idea to buy Hanna Barbera and wanted to discuss it with me. We spent the entire weekend locked in his hotel suite. When the weekend was up, we had sketched out not just a plan to buy Hanna Barbera, but also to create a cartoon network form which all their programs would run. It was called just that CN (Cartoon Network).
Ted, remains today a great environmentalist. He has a huge ranch in Montana and is one of the largest landowners in the United States. We correspond regularly, and Captain Planet remains as one of his proudest achievements and one of mine too.
The Power Is Yours!