Captain Action “Sizzle Reel” Revealed, But Direction New Show Taking Remains Unclear

The aforementioned proposed Captain Action (CA) animated series appears to have taken a few more steps towards reality this week with the public recent release of a short demo or “sizzle reel” video (click on the image above to watch it NOW). The video opens with the classic ’60s TV commercial and then mixes ominous “canned” music with various stills lifted from artwork in CA comic books, packaging and promotional materials.

In this screenshot taken from the video, CA’s “New Super Identities” are shown, solving a legal and financial nightmare incurred whenever licensing Marvel and DC comic figures. The problem? Who will care about these new, generic characters?
(Photo: CA Enterprises)

Questions about how producers would deal with all the multiple licensing fees required for a show where the main character becomes multiple famous superheroes appear to have been answered in one key sequence touting CA’s “New Super Identities.” Okay…

Let’s stop right here for a moment. This new show will fall flat on its face if they don’t do it justice. The “it” in this case is showcasing the campy, over-the-top Captain Action we all know and love; something Cap’s current caretakers, Ed Catto and Joe Ahearn, have been doing so well.

To capture the essence of a guy who masquerades as others to “fight crime and capture evildoers” requires a very creative group of individuals who understand what makes him so potentially entertaining. If G7 and R2 go down the predictable road of Japanese anime-style drawings, a bunch of generic no-name characters and the usual modern comics “techo-babble”…WHO WILL CARE?

Here, let me do your homework for you guys…

Austin Powers knew how to have FUN in the ’60s. Captain Action can too! (Photo: New Line Cinema)

1) Captain Action is a product of the 1960s. Leave him there.

That’s his time period—period! Like Austin Powers, this character really doesn’t “work” in our modern world. Tough words to hear, maybe, but stay with me…For this show to be worth doing, for it to have any lasting impact on popular culture, you need to leave CA and Kid Action in that era and surround him and his friends with period architecture and cultural references linked to the 60s; hippies, muscle cars, Andy Warhol, the Astrodome, etc. This would bring your show crackling to life and make it interesting and fun for all ages to watch (boomers and children alike).

The excellent artwork in the original Jonny Quest show superbly captured mood and tension. (Photo: Hanna Barbara)

2) Create a unique look for the show, but borrow from the BEST.

When creating the actual show, you should take your inspiration from three relevant vintage ’60s TV series…the solid, ’60s-era comic book animation style of Jonny Quest (NOT those abysmal ’80s-’90s remakes), the gadgets, camp and humor of the ORIGINAL Batman (with Adam West), and the absurd concepts, fanciful machines, team spirit and cliff-hanger episodic format of shows like Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds. Combining elements from specific sources as these, will keep your project on target and create a cool, fun-to-watch “retro hero” program.

’60s music has a unique sound that would perfectly capture “the mood” for Captain Action adventures. (Photo: BMG)

3) Score the show intelligently with “TV Land” style ’60s music.

Don’t be lazy when it comes to music choices either. It’s much too easy to fall back on canned, modern noise. There’s an infinite array of music from the ’60s that would instantly propel your viewer into any mood desired. Imagine a bored Captain Action sitting around at home in his tights, boots are off, feet up on the table, reading HOT ROD magazine or something as he waits for the hotline to ring; while in the background, something appropriately lulling like “A Summer Place” plays on the TV or radio. Viewers are immediately drawn in to Cap’s own special world. One that’s FUN to visit!

Finally, if you only want to produce 30-minute commercials to hawk toys, ala so many of the busy, boring ’80s cartoons, you can count a lot of potential viewers out right here and now. Audiences today are simply too sophisticated and can spot such blatant “infomercial entertainment” miles away. Let’s hope the newly proposed Captain Action series becomes one where his fans can proudly proclaim, “Justice HAS been done!”

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2 thoughts on “Captain Action “Sizzle Reel” Revealed, But Direction New Show Taking Remains Unclear

  1. kneonknight says:

    I agree with the points you raised Mark, especially about the concerning the overall “feel” of the show. Right now, a VERY good cartoon done in the same vein is being aired on Cartoon Network, namely “The Venture Brothers”. Anyone who wants to capture the essence of 1960s adventure themed cartoons could do far worse than emulating this show. For those who haven’t seen an episode, it is best described as Johhny Quest meets Batman and together they mug the man from U.N.C.L.E. They have gotten around many of the licensing/copyright issues by creating parodies of famous superheroes-I don’t want to post spoilers, but there is an episode dealing with the (not quite) “Fantastic Four” that would be an excellent model for Cap’s writers and artists, and features a cameo by Race Bannon of Johnny Quest fame. Give the series a watch if you haven’t already, it’s well worth it.

  2. Those “generic” heroes shown have all been fleshed out in the Captain Action comic. Whether or not they use them can be debated, but Moonstone did a pretty good job with creating their own superheroes just for Captain Action to assume the identity of.

    Personally, I’m more inclined to get behind a Captain Action that doesn’t just impersonate other people.

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