Captain Planet And The Planeteers
“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!
“Stan Lee was nothing short of a creative mentor to me. I have never known a more creative man, no doubt witnessed by the profound and prodigious achievements from his many years at Marvel (Spiderman, X-Men, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, Incredible Hulk, and the Avengers). For 20 years we had a mutual admiration society in which we would correspond with each other several times a week. He often wrote to me in Latin just to see if I could follow him. We developed a number of properties together, some of which are forthcoming.
The Cosmic Crusaders was one of his favorites because it actually starred himself. In it, he plays a humble comic book writer, who stumbles across some aliens who crash land on earth. He decides to teach them how to be superheroes here on earth, and manage them. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, and that leads to fin and hijinks. Stan love to do his own voice recordings for the Cosmic Crusaders. He was well into his 90s when we started this project, but he had boundless energy and creativity. It remains one of the privileges of my life to have worked so closely with Stan and learned so much from him about the art of storytelling. These cels and lithographs remind me of many of my fond times and correspondence with Stan.