ProStars

ProStars

ProStars was a Saturday morning cartoon show produced by DiC for NBC in 1991.

Overview

Synopsis

Originally intended to air on ESPN, the show centers on Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson and Wayne Gretzky fighting crime and helping children, often protecting the environment as well. These three were chosen to represent the pinnacle of all four major American professional sports in the early 1990s. While Jordan and Gretzky are broadly associated with their respective sports, Jackson was included since he could represent both football and baseball and was a high-profile celebrity off the field as well. A reference to his "Bo Knows" Nike ad-campaign was worked into almost every episode.

Live-action sequences

The stars appear in live-action sequences before the show, in which they would tell kids about the upcoming episode, and often answer questions from kids at the conclusion. Normally this is done solely by Gretzky and Jackson—often in separate sound stages and edited to appear as if talking to each other. Jordan's filmed bits were almost always one line or two, and not part of the skits before the episode. Most of the live-action parts by the athletes dealt with things such as morality, such as in an episode explaining about ghosts they tell that even they get scared sometimes, and fear is a normal human emotion, or in explanation of an episode with robot athletes, how such an idea will never come to reality, as it goes against the dedication men put into their sport. However, during the animated segments of ProStars, their animated counterparts were voiced by voice actors instead of their actual selves.

Breakfast cereal

The ProStars franchise also included a licensed breakfast cereal.

Theme music

When the show first came out, the original theme song, "We are ProStars", was an homage to the song "We Will Rock You", by the rock group, Queen (see links below). In later episodes, the song was slowed down, and the chorus was reduced to 'ProStars! Show staaaars!

Characters

Each character on ProStars has one stand-out character trait, especially the ProStars themselves:

  • Wayne Gretzky (voiced by Townsend Coleman) typically plays the role of comic relief. Inexplicably, his mind is always on food.
  • Bo Jackson (voiced by Dave Fennoy) provides the proverbial "muscle" for the heroes. He is immensely strong, and has a bit of a mean streak. His strength often approaches superhuman levels, such as in the series opening, when he uses a gigantic tree trunk like a club against a logging robot.
  • Michael Jordan (voiced by Dorian Harewood) is the leader of the troupe. He is exceptionally smart and talented with complicated contraptions, and he encourages children to study mathematics and the sciences.
  • Mom (voiced by Susan Silo), a quasi-Yiddish and Jewish mother stereotype, is the Q to the ProStars' James Bond. She constantly invents wacky gadgets loosely based on sports equipment for the heroes to use. The ProStars spend all their free time in Mom's Gym, and possibly live there as well. It also serves as the ProStars' "headquarters".
  • Denise (voiced by Diana Barrows) is an attractive young apprentice to Mom. She wants to help the ProStars, yet she rarely makes an impact.
  • The Neighbor is a hapless man who wears glasses and happens to live in the same neighborhood as the ProStars' headquarters. By sheer misfortune, he happens to fall victim to the malfunctions of the ProStars' machines, such as when he is buried in snow after their climate machine goes awry. In another episode, he takes a vacation to the Himalayas, and he enjoys the isolation and confidence that he is far away from any mishaps the ProStars could unleash, only to find the ProStars are also in the area stopping a villain there.

Villains

In nearly every episode the ProStars would get a message by teleconference from a child explaining the situation, such as a little boy from an island in the South Seas who said his village's treasures were being stolen. Most of the villains were standard cartoon fare, and had often done villainous acts akin to cartoons of the early 90's (such as Captain Planet and Free Willy), namely environmental irresponsibility such as strip mining, coastal pollution, or deforestation of the rainforest. Other times a villain might hold a child for ransom, such as a mad scientist who demanded the ProStars play his line of robot athletes in order to release a little girl he kidnapped. Episodes also touched upon kids in gangs, where an Australian village is being held captive by a motorcycle gang, and a little girl's brother joins the gang thinking they are macho, to which Michael Jordan tells the little girl she cannot stop having faith or love in her brother. One episode dealt with the larceny of the Stanley Cup, which is a personal issue for Wayne Gretzky as his name is carved on it four times, and he tells kids of the history and prestige of the award.

Episodes

  • 1. The Slugger Returns
  • 2. Short John's Revenge
  • 3. The Perbots of Dr Lobe
  • 4. Knightmare Riders
  • 5. Valley of the Snow Falcons
  • 6. Brazil Nuts
  • 7. Block Busters
  • 8. Gargantus and the Highway of Doom
  • 9. Rustler's Rodeo
  • 10. Roll to Victory
  • 11. A Bite of the Big Apple
  • 12. Clockwork Catastrophe
  • 13. The Final Cut

External links

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