Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Arthur Rankin, Jr. (1924-2014) & Morrie Turner (1923-2014)

Arthur Rankin, Jr., together with Jules Bass, founded what was known originally as Videocraft International (later rechristened Rankin-Bass Productions after its founders) in the early 60's, and specialized mostly in holiday-themed specials, including a pretty large chunk of Christmas shows, such as adaptations of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Frosty The Snowman, both of whom became holiday franchises for the studio in later years.

Rankin-Bass' output on Saturday mornings was sparse, compared to their contemporaries, but perhaps their last Saturday entry was an adaptation of Morrie Turner's ground-breaking newspaper strip, Wee Pals, which was renamed Kid Power for an all-too-brief run on ABC in 1972. The series had the unfortunate luck to debut the same year as Bill Cosby's award-winning Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids, and because Wee Pals didn't appear in a lot of newspapers, even at its peak, there were very few takers for the series in terms of viewers.

Today, we celebrate the lives of both Morrie Turner & Arthur Rankin, Jr., who've left us over the last two weeks. Turner passed away at 90, Rankin at 89. Fittingly, we have a commercial promo for Kid Power, uploaded by Muttley16, for your perusal.

Rest in peace, gentlemen. Many thanks, by the way, to regular correspondent Geed for tipping me onto Rankin's passing.

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