|The Olsen twins.|
Twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen became media darlings after they were cast in the shared role of Michelle Tanner on Full House. While starring on the show, the twins would appear in direct-to-video and television movies when they got older, making their feature film debut in 1995 with It Takes Two. From 1994-2000 they headed two ongoing video series called The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley and You’re Inivted to Mary-Kate & Ashley’s…, while also appearing on various programs in guest-starring roles. When the girls were six, the company Dualstar Entertainment Group was formed to manage their media career.
|Special Agents Misty and Amber.|
In 2001, the twins gained their third regular television series with the short-lived So Little Time, as well as their first foray into Saturday morning with Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action! Created by ex-Groundlings member Robin Riordan, the series followed Mary-Kate and Ashley as Special Agents Misty and Amber who journeyed around the globe to battle sinister villains and their plots to conquer the world. Joining them on missions was field agent Rodney Choy (Terry Chen), genius technician Ivan Quintero (Michael Monroe) and talking Scottish Terrier Quincy (Brendan Beiser). Despite being full of action, the show shied away from violence by using minor physical contact (tackling, tripping, etc.) or schemes to defeat the opposition. Each adventure was designed to give an educational moment fulfilling FCC requirements. Donald F. Roberts, Ph.D. served as the series’ educational consultant.
|Misty and Amber with Rod, Ivan and Quincy.|
Amongst their typical foes were the cheese-loving millionaire Clive Hedgemorton-Smythe (Michael Richard Dobson) and his butler Bennington (Jason Connery), French fashionista and scientist Renee La Rouge (Lenore Zann) and magician Oliver Dickens (Chris Gray). Their plots were usually outlandish and silly, reducing any chance of imitable behavior the intended audience could duplicate. The characters were designed by Ruben Martinez, Maxine Miller and Sung Hwan (Steven) Choi with animation handled by Hong Ying Universe Company, Ltd.
Mary-Kate and Ashley In Action! debuted as part of Disney’s One Saturday Morning programming block on ABC on October 20, 2001. It was written by Riordan with Michel Trouillet, Paul Francis, Phil Harnage, Tonya Hurley, Kaaren Lee Brown, Neil Steinberg, Robert Thorne, Paul F. Quinn, Diane Dixon, Kerry Glover, Pamela Pettler, Joelle Sellner, Madeline Bassett, Louis Hirshorn, Madellaine Paxson and Kati Rocky. Each episode featured live-action wrap-around segments depicting Mary-Kate and Ashley arriving to the premier of their new film (or, rather, the episode) and being stopped by a reporter to say a few words about the upcoming story. At the end of each episode, the twins would be riding away in their limo offering a few post-adventure observations. Dualstar Productions and Wunderfilm, Inc. handled these segments, while DiC Entertainment supervised the animated portions. The series’ theme was composed by S. Hoffer and Ginny Smith, while L.A. Piccirillo and Jean-Michel Guirao handled the incidental episode music.
|The book series.|
Unfortunately for the Olsen twins, neither of their series in 2001 lasted beyond their first season, but don’t feel too bad for them: they would go on to convert Dualstar into a fragrance company while running their own fashion empire. In Action! was canceled at the conclusion of its season in June of 2002, airing in reruns on Toon Disney until 2003. Dualstar Books and HarperEntertainment would also publish a series of eight books well into 2003. Mattel produced several dual packs of dolls with both girls in different outfits, as well as a playset of their jet. In 2005, Warner Home Video released a DVD collecting 5 episodes, the only release of the series so far, which was later made available for streaming on iTunes. In 2015, Nickelodeon purchased the rights to the twins’ various television shows and movies and announced plans to re-air In Action! on their network sometime in 2016.