April 29, 2017


(ABC, Global TV, September 24, 1994-August 31, 1996)

Nelvana, Regency Enterprises, Le Studio Canal, Warner Bros. Television

Zachary Bennett – Jesse Greenwood
Paul Haddad – Willy
Gary Krawford – Rockland Stone/The Machine
Michael Fletcher – Randolph Johnson
Rachael Crawford – Marlene
Alyson Court – Lucille
James Kidnie – Amphonids
Neil Crone – Mr. Naugle
Kevin Zegers – Einstein
Geordie Johnson – Ben Shore (season 2)

            Free Willy was a film about a rebellious abandoned boy named Jesse (Jason James Richter) who was caught vandalizing a water park and was put on probation cleaning it up. There, he befriended an Orca named Willy (Keiko) and realized that his family was beyond the park’s walls, calling to him. Jesse, along with Willy’s keeper Randolph Johnson (August Schellenberg) worked on a plan to free Willy and return him home before the park’s unscrupulous owner, Dial (Michael Ironside), has Willy killed in order to claim the insurance on him.

            The film, written by Keith A. Walker and Corey Blechman, directed by Simon Wincer, and released by Warner Bros., ended up becoming a box office success. It made $153.6 million after its July 16, 1993 opening. It also generated an additional $20 million for the Save the Whales Foundation via a phone number posted at the end of the movie that audience members could call and donate. A campaign also began to get the film’s aquatic star freed from captivity and back into the wild (which he eventually was in 2002, shortly before dying of pneumonia in 2003 at the age of 27).

Jesse with Naugle, Randolph and Marlene in the institute.

            In the wake of that much success and media attention, Warner Bros. moved to turn Willy into a franchise; that included three film sequels and an animated series. Developed by Patrick Loubert, Free Willy picked up from where the film left off. Jesse (Zachary Bennett), his foster parents Glen (Ron Len) and Annie (Sheila McCarthy), Randolph (Michael Fletcher) and Willy (Paul Haddad) moved from Seattle to the Pacific coast; specifically, Misty Island. There, Jesse and Randolph worked for the Misty Island Oceanic Reserve, a wildlife rescue and research institute run by head biologist Mr. Naugle (Neil Crone) and his assistant, Marlene (Rachel Crawford). Unlike the movie, Jesse discovered he had the ability to talk to animals making him a Truth Talker in the language of Randolph’s people, the Haida. This allowed him to communicate with Willy and the institute’s two residents: a sealion named Lucille (Alyson Court) and a dolphin named Einstein (Kevin Zegers), who were being taught behavioral communication with humans.

The Machine and his Amphonids.

            The primary foe of the series was the eco-villain primarily known as The Machine (Gary Krawford). The Machine had encountered Willy once before, and Willy had sent his submarine into the screws of a ship causing him to lose an arm and part of his face. Those were replaced with robotic parts. The Machine was also a master of disguise; able to wear the face of anyone and disguise his voice so as to achieve his goals of revenge and profit through trickery. One of his favorites was that of industrialist Rockland Stone. The Machine’s minions were beings he created from toxic waste called Amphonids (James Kidnie), who were the comic relief for the show as they barely followed orders and would rather laze about.

Jesse and Willy underwater.

            Free Willy began on ABC in the United States and Global TV in Canada on September 24, 1994. The series was produced by Nelvana, Regency Enterprises and Le Studio Canal for Warner Bros. Television, with animation provided by the Hahn Shin Corporation. The only person involved with the film to participate in the series’ production was executive producer Lauren Shuler Donner. Episodes primarily revolved around Misty Island as Jesse and Willy foiled The Machine’s schemes, and were full of educational information about marine life and the oceans.

Ben Shore in disguise to try and trap The Machine.

For the reduced second season, the show went through a soft reboot and introduced eco-activist Ben Shore (Geordie Johnson). Shore was given the institute’s boat, renamed The Eco-Ranger II, and Jesse, Willy, Lucille, Randolph and Marlene joined him on his travels around the world to fight against polluters and poachers. The Machine continued to be the primary villain throughout, both in command of and addition to the criminals the heroes encountered. Halfway through the season, Shore sealed himself in a perfectly preserved world in an attempt to save it, Jesse and Willy from The Machine. The crew continued on their travels until finally returning home to Misty Island by the end of the series.

Willy and Einstein on the first VHS cover.

            Free Willy was amongst the last non-Disney programs to be shown on ABC’s Saturday morning schedule. When Disney purchased the network in 1995, they purged the schedule of any program they didn’t have some kind of stake in. Several episodes were adapted into easy-reader picture books by Scholastic, and Milton Bradley produced a board game based on the show. In 1996, Warner Home Video released the episodes “Truth Talker”, “Cry of the Dolphin”, “Defenders of the Deep” and “The Eel Beast” across two VHS collections in the United Kingdom. Those sets were later combined into a single release, The Bumper Collection, in 1998. The entire first season was made available for rental through Amazon Video and iTunes in 2011, and can also be purchased for viewing on YouTube.

            While the cartoon was not a part of the official Willy canon once the sequels were made, the first sequel, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, did share some similarities to the show. Randolph had gone to work for an environmental institute on an island where Jesse went to visit, and an unscrupulous businessman used his company’s oil spill as a means to capture Willy and his siblings and sell them off to parks to perform in shows. Further driving home this comparison was the fact that the trading cards for the movie by Skybox dedicated 12 cards of the 90-card set to the animated series; each card depicting a scene from the show with a game on the back.

EPISODE GUIDE (dates are estimates):
“Truth Talker” (9/24/94) – An injured seal leads Jesse to discover he can communicate with animals.

“Cry of the Dolphin” (10/1/94) – Willy and Jesse rescue a smart baby dolphin from one of The Machine’s illegal toxic waste dumps.

 “Stone” (10/8/94) – The Machine uses a whale-stunning sonar in order to harvest whales for their whales.

“Defenders of the Deep” (10/15/94) – Annie invites Jesse on a cruise on Stone Corporation’s whale watching ship, but they soon discover the captain works for The Machine.

“The Eel Beast” (10/22/94) – Marlene learns to trust Willy in order to help him rescue Jesse from an underwater cavern.

“Cephalopod” (10/29/94) – The Machine creates a giant squid to destroy Willy.

“Sealed Fate” (11/5/94) – Lucille volunteers for a water circus in order to make more human friends.

“Shark Masters” (11/12/94) – The Machine seeks to ruin Misty Islands’ tourism by bringing sharks to the waters.

“Hope” (11/19/94) – Lucille brings a pelican to the institute whose eggs are breaking too soon due to pesticides being used.

“Milestones” (12/3/94) – Willy and Jesse save a salmon stream from loggers.

“The Catch” (12/3/94) – The Institute turns to the law in order to battle illegal fishing in international waters.

“The Treasure of Misty Cove” (12/10/94) – Jesse gets gold fever when he finds a gold doubloon and drags Willy on a treasure hunt.

“Ghost Ship” (11/26/94) – Jesse and Willy find a ghost ship while searching for the secret of The Machine’s identity.

Season 2:
“Voyage of the Eco Ranger II” (9/9/95) – The Machine sets a ship to collide with the Institute, which will then cause it to release its radioactive waste payload into the bay.

“Tip of the Iceberg” (9/16/95) – Enjoying some recreation time in the arctic ends up getting Lucille captured by some seal hunters.

“The Hunted” (9/23/95) – Ben poses as a whale hunter that promises The Machine to find Willy and Jesse in order to lure him into a trap.

“Paradise Found” (9/30/95) – While investigating strip miners, Jesse and Willy swim through an underwater passage that takes them to a world protected from ecological disasters.

“Pier Pressure” (10/7/95) – When Lucille meets a group of sealions she finds she has to decide between her old friends and her new ones, and that choice could cost her her life.

“Live and Let Dive” (10/14/95) – The Machine takes advantage of some researchers to mine the mineral deposits that form around volcanic hot springs.

“Turmoil” (10/21/95) – The Machine causes an oil spill in order to ransom a town for a scientist’s oil solidification formula.

“Yule Tide and Red Tide” (10/28/95) – The Machine sends Jesse a jet-ski for Christmas full of red tide that infested the waters when Jesse used it.


(CBS, September 9, 1967-January 6, 1968)

Hanna-Barbera Productions

Paul Stewart – Mightor
Bobby Diamond – Tor
Patsy Garrett – Sheera
John Stephenson – Pondo, Tog, Ork, Bolo
Norma MacMillan – Little Rok
Don Messick – Moby Dick, Scooby the Seal
Bobby Resnick – Tom
Barry Balkin – Tubb

            Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor was a dual-feature science fiction adventure show produced by Hanna-Barber Productions. The characters would first appear in cameo roles in the final episodes of Space Ghost shortly before and after their own series began.

Combined character models for both segments of the show.

            Mightor (Paul Stewart) was a prehistoric superhero. His alter-ego was the teenaged Tor (Bobby Diamond) who was given a magical club as a reward for rescuing an old man. Whenever danger would attack his village or loved ones, he could raise the club to the sky and transform into the masked, muscular Mightor. As Mightor, he had super strength and could use the club to fly and fire energy beams.

Model sheet showing the size differences between Tor, Tog and their heroic alter-egos.

            Amongst the denizens of the village was its chief, Pondo (John Stpehenson), his beautiful daughter, Sheera (Patsy Garrett), and young son, Little Rok (Norma MacMillan). Little Rok was Mightor’s biggest fan and often pretended to be him; particularly in dangerous situations. Each of the main characters also had their own pet in similar fashion to The Flintstones: Tor had a winged dragon-like creature named Tog, Sheera a small wooly mammoth named Bolo, and Little Rok a large bird named Ork (all Stephenson). Typical plots of the episodes would generally revolve around someone from the village (be it Sheera, Little Rok and his friends, or entire genders) being abducted by a strange creature or rival village, or the village itself being attacked either for simple conquest or as revenge against Mightor.

Tubb ends up a snack.

            Moby Dick (Don Messick) bore little resemblance to the character that appeared in the novel by Herman Melville. In the novel, Moby had bitten off Captain Ahab’s leg, which led to the obsessive quest to find and kill him. While still a white whale, Hanna-Barbera’s Moby was a more heroic figure; having rescued teenaged boys Tom (Bobby Resnick) and Tubb (Barry Balkin) from a shipwreck. From that point, they explored the seas together with the boys’ pet seal, Scooby (also Messick), encountering a variety of mutated sea and alien life. Moby’s segment, particularly the movements of the whale, boasted more movement than the typical Hanna-Barbera effort at that time.

Ad for CBS' 1967 line-up.

            Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor debuted on September 9, 1967 on CBS. Despite his name being first, Moby’s segment was actually sandwiched between two Mightor segments every episode. Like Hanna-Barbera’s other action-oriented properties, the character designs were handled by Alex Toth. The show’s music was composed by Hoyt Curtin and Ted Nichols. Despite only lasting for 18 episodes, it remained on CBS’ schedule until the fall of 1969.

Mightor and Moby featured prominently on the 1977 Annual cover.

            Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor was one of the featured properties in the anthology comic series Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes published by Gold Key Comics from 1968-69. Brown and Watson would republish selected strips from the run overseas in two hardbacked annuals in 1976 and 1977. Mightor returned to comics in 2016 without Moby as one of the characters appearing in DC ComicsFuture Quest series; which combined several of Hanna-Barbera’s action franchises into a shared universe. The original Mightor made a cameo appearance, but the Mightor featured regularly in the series was a modern boy who had found the club amongst various artifacts while looking for a weapon against a threat. Birdman served as his mentor.

Mightor on Harvey Birdman.

            Moby would make a cameo appearance in the TV film Yogi’s Ark Lark and a guest-appearance in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law voiced by Wally Wingert. Tubb and Scooby appeared in Sealab 2021, renamed Chubby Cox and Stinky Pete, respectively. They were joined by Tom for an appearance in an episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated where Moby was reimagined as a submarine the kids piloted. Mightor had a recurring role in Harvey Birdman as Judge Hirman Mightor, voiced by Gary Cole. He and Moby later shared a cameo in the direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon.

The DVD set.

            Whitman released a coloring book and puzzle based on Moby Dick. When Hanna-Barbera superhero cartoons gained prominence in France in the 1970s, French Mego Distributor Pin Pin Toys commissioned Mego to make a Mighty Mightor figure. In 2011, Warner Archive released the complete series to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection.

“The Monster Keeper / The Sinister Sea Saucer / The Tiger Men” (9/9/67) – After he’s banished, Korg uses an army of animals to attack the village and make himself the new chief. / The boys and Moby investigate a space capsule containing information Manta Menace wants. / Tor is captured by the Tiger Men and made to fight in their arena.

“The Serpent Queen / The Electrifying Shoctopus / The Bird People” (9/16/67) – Sheera is kidnapped by the Serpent Queen and turned into her slave. / Captain Squid captures the boys in order to get the treasure map they found. / Sheera is captured by the Bird People and taken to a volcano to serve as a sacrifice.

“The Giant Hunters / The Crab Creatures / Mightor Meets Tyrannor” (9/23/67) – The Giant Hunters come to Chief Pondo’s village and capture Tor and Tog. / Tubbby is captured by crab creatures while exploring a sunken ship. / Grok threatens the village with a giant t-rex unless Mightor fights him.

“Brutor, the Barbarian / The Sea Monster / Return of Korg” (9/30/67) – Brutor leads an army of monsters in an attack against the village and take down Tog. / As Moby saves Tom and Tubbb from sharks, Tubbb accidentally swims into the mouth of a giant fish. / Sheera is captured bya giant ape and is taken to Korg.

“Kragor and the Cavern Creatures / The Undersea World / The Tusk People” (10/7/67) – Tor sets out to rescue Sheera from Kragor and his cavern creatures. / An undersea earthquake sends Moby and the boys into a strange and dangerous world. / The Tusk People kidnap Bolo and Sheera sets out to find him.

“The People Keepers / The Aqua-Bats / The Snow Trapper” (10/14/67) – Mightor rescues Little Rok from a dinosaur only for him to be abducted by humanoid insect creatures. / Tom and Tubbb are captured by Aqua-Bats. / Little Rok doesn’t believe in the legend of the Snow Trappers until he goes searching for and ends up captured by them.

“The Vulture Men / The Iceburg Monster / The Three Pygmies” (10/21/67) – The Vulture Men plot to capture Mightor in a giant stone vulture in order to take his powers. / An iceberg interrupts Tom and Tubb’s water skiing and they discover a creature frozen inside of it. / Survival training is interrupted by the Tree Pygmies, who manage to capture Tor and lose his club.

“The Stone Men / The Shark Men / Charr and the Fire People” (10/28/67) – Tor attempts to trade himself for Sheera, but the Stone Men take them both without Tor’s club. / The Shark Men capture Tom and Tubbb and trap Moby in a cave. / Seeking to escape a cave in a storm leads Tor and friends into the clutches of the Fire People.

“Cult of Cavebearers / The Saucers Shell / Vampire Island” (11/4/67) – Mightor protects the village from the Cavebear Warriors when all of the men go on a hunting trip. / The boys try to protect dolphins from some Saucer Shells, which gets Scooby captured. / A water rapids race lands Sheera and Little Rok on Vampire Island and in trouble.

“Revenge of the Serpent Queen / Moraya, the Eel Queen / Attack of the Ice Creatures” (11/11/67) – The Serpent Queen has Tor kidnapped to serve as bait for Mightor. / After seeing Moby fight a giant squid, Moraya wants him to test her trained fighters and has Tom and Tubbb captured as bait. / The Ice Creatures move their glacier to the lowlands to conquer the village and enslave Mightor.

“The Scorpion Men / Toadus, Ruler of the Dead Ships / Rok and His Gang” (11/18/67) – While exploring, Little Rok finds the Temple of the Scorpion and is captured by the Scorpion Men. / While exploring a ship graveyard, Moby and the boys are accosted by its ruler: Toadus. / Little Rok and his friends decide to go rafting down a dangerous river.

“A Big Day for Little Rok / The Cereb-Men / The Sea Slavers” (11/25/67) – Little Rok decides to get the egg of the dangerous Terrible Beaked Bird to become famous in the village. / Moby and the boys have to rescue a prince from the Cereb Men and save his kingdom. / Numo and his sea slavers kidnap the women of the village as they were repairing fishing nets.

“Tribe of the Witchmen / The Vortex Trap / The Plant People” (12/2/67) – The Witchmen abduct Sheera to be their new queen. / Vortan and his men mistake Moby for a ship and use their vortex to capture him and the boys. / Chasing butterflies through a cave leads Little Rok, Sheera and Tina to a world of man-eating plants.

“The Return of the Vulture Men / The Sand Creatures / Battle of the Mountain Monsters” (12/9/67) – The Vulture Men lure Mightor away from the village so they can attack it freely. / Crockor sends his sand creatures after Moby and the boys so they don’t spoil his plans to control the entire ocean. / Gorg and Borg try to defeat Mightor in order for one of them to become the chief of the Mountain Monster Tribe.

“Vengeance of the Storm King / The Sea Ark / The Mightiest Warrior” (12/16/67) – The Storm King gains extra power from a lightning storm and challenges Mightor to test his might. / Tubbb’s sea pony is captured by the Gill Men and Moby and the boys try to rescue him. / A village mistakes Little Rok for their god and he decides to defend their village from a coming threat.

“Rok to the Rescue / The Shimmering Screen / Dinosaur Island” (12/23/67) – Little Rok claims to be Mightor when a boy from another village comes looking for help. / Moby and the boys follow a Black Manta Knight into another world to rescue a mermaid he chases. / Little Rok and Ork head to Dinosaur Island to try and become the first to capture a dinosaur.

“The Missing Village / Soodak the Invader / The Greatest Escape” (12/30/67) – A visit to the village of the Valley People reveals that the village has disappeared. / Soodak has come to invade Earth and only Moby and the boys stand in his way. / Little Rok and Ork end up captured by insect men after getting lost in a storm.

“The Battle of the Mightors / The Iguana Men / Rok and the Golden Rok” (1/6/68) – A phony Mightor shows up at the village and demands tribute for all his deeds. / Iguanis of the Iguana Men has Tom and Tubbb captured in order to lure Moby into a trap. / Grok steals an object that will let him control any animal, but accidentally drops it on Little Rok’s head.

April 22, 2017


(CBS, November 3, 2007-February 28, 2009)

DiC Entertainment (season 1), Cookie Jar Entertainment (season 2), American Greetings, The Hatchery LLC, Tom Ruegger Productions

Andrew Francis – Ikura Maki
Chiara Zanni – Kani Maki
Tara Strong – Maguro Maki
Rick Adams – Tako Maki
Scott McNeil – Wasabi Pow, Fugu

            Sushi Pack was one of the final shows produced by DiC Entertainment before it was folded into Cookie Jar Entertainment. Created by Studio Espinosa, developed by story editors Tom Ruegger and Nicholas Hollander, and produced in association with American Greetings, Sushi Pack starred a veritable bento box of sushi brought to life by strange lightning. Together, they became the defenders of Wharf City.

Tako gets victory fives from Maguro, Wasabi, Ikura and Kani.

            Tako Maki (Rick Adams) was a blue octopus and the leader of the Sushi Pack. He was able to extend his limbs and shoot mutli-colored ink, but preferred to use them in his painting rather than crime fighting. Maguro Maki (Tara Strong) was a purple esper tuna with psychic powers; including telepathy and telekinesis. She was centered and “in tune with her inner tuna,” and served as the team’s second-in-command. Ikura Maki (Andrew Francis) was an orange salmon egg with the ability to shoot sticky fish eggs from his hands. While usually calm, he gets the urge to compete with his teammates that often leads to tension amongst them. He also had a fear of all kinds of bears (even gummy), and a crush on Kani. Kani Maki (Chiara Zanni) was a pink crab whose claw-tipped pigtails were used to give foes powerful pinches. Living up to her type, she was often very “crabby.” Wasabi Pow (Scott McNeil) was a green wasabi and a spicy ball of hot mustard that could shoot fireballs. He was only able to communicate through squeaks that his teammates had no problems understanding. The Sushi Pack lived in an organic donut shop run by their human friend, Ben.

Titanium Chef watches as Toro, Mochi, Fugu, Unagi and Uni enjoying their meal.

            The primary foes of the Pack were the Legion of Low Tide; similarly mutated food items who wanted to conquer the city. Their leader, Titanium Chef (Adam Behr) was a human-sized catfish that also ran the sushi bar his team lived in. He frequently got his plans and magical solutions from an ancient book. Toro (Vincent Tong) was a fat, dimwitted tuna who was incredibly gullible. Unagi was a hyper-observant electric eel who occasionally helped the Pack. Mochi Macchiato was a mochi ice cream with ice powers, and had been known to be friends with both Maguro and Kani. Fugu (McNeil) was a blowfish who could extremely increase his size and had an eye that functioned as a camera. Uni was a sea urchin with the ability to shape shift and a strong, tactical mind.

            Sushi Pack debuted on CBS on November 3, 2007 as part of their KEWLopolis programming block. KEWLopolis was the result of a partnership between CBS, DiC and American Greetings and was meant to be geared towards young female children. The series blended comedy and action, but put an emphasis on pro-social messages and the characters using their wits to defeat their over-the-top villains. Gilles Rudziak, Ana Dinis Tomas and Manu Perez designed the characters. Animation duties were handled by Suzhou Hong Yang Cartoon Co., Ltd. and the show’s music was composed by Phofo. Each episode was comprised of two short story segments.

Bento-style split-screen action!

            When Cookie Jar absorbed DiC, it took over production of the show’s second season. CBS renewed its time-lease agreement with Cookie Jar for an additional three years in 2009. On September 19, the block was rebranded as Cookie Jar TV and all of the block’s previous programming was dropped, with the exception of Strawberry Shortcake (2003). Merchandising for the show included plush dolls of the characters and a coloring book. In 2008, CBS Broadcasting released “Every Body is Some Body!” on DVD; the only DVD release to date. However, the first season was made available for streaming on Amazon.

Season 1:
“But Is It Art? / Wassup Wasabi?” (11/3/07) – The Collector steals various paintings from the museum and brings them to life. / Wasabi runs away after he’s teased and joins the Legion of Low Tide where Titanium Chef copies him.

“No Clowning Around / World’s Tastiest Heroes” (11/10/07) – Sir Darkly conjures up a storm by collecting the tears of the citizens. / An alien invader captures the superheroes from the Pack’s favorite TV show.

“Go With the Glow / Poached Salmon” (11/17/07) – An argument between Maguro and Tako prevents them from stopping the Legion from causing a brown out. / Ikura’s impulsiveness gets the Pack caught in a trap set by Oleander.

“Deep Freeze / Satel Lightning” (11/24/07) – The Pack and Legion are unhappy with the friendship between Maguro and Mochi Mochiato. / An asteroid hits a satellite and they mutate into a robot monster.

“Red Hot Chilli Planet / Sweet Tooth” (12/1/07) – The Pack has to prevent the Hot Squad from speeding up global warming. / Wasabi becomes addicted to candy and ends up overweight, leaving the Pack to get him back into shape.

“Taming the Gaming / Rex Marks the Spot” (12/8/07) – Tako becomes addicted to video games. / Tako becomes jealous when Ben doesn’t give him a comic book ring and causes the Pack to lose a mission.

“When Will Ben Be Zen? / Wharf City on the Half-Shell” (12/15/07) – Ben tries to prove himself to the Pack by keeping the shop open in the face of a poor health inspection. / A giant clam from space attacks the city.

“Dough Ray Me / Sign of the Tuna” (12/22/07) – Ikura leaves on personal business as the Pack has to protect the city from mutant cookies. / Toro gets injured and Maguro decides to sideline him.

“The Yam Yakkers / Dungeon of the Crab” (12/29/07) – Villains unite to form the Yam Yakkers, while Ikura and Wasabi want to see a new movie. / The Pack splits up to find a stolen pearl and end up trapped in a dungeon.

“Deep Sea Diver Dude / Fish Tales” (2/2/08) – Tako wallows in self-pity over not having a family until he gets a mysterious invitation. / Wasabi overhears Kani and Ikura talking and misunderstands the conversation.

“The Thing That Wasn’t There / Staring Ikura” (2/9/08) – The Pack doesn’t believe Maguro sees a monster attacking the city. / Ikura becomes the star of a hit television show and gains a massive ego.

“Give Peas a Chance / Chemicals Made from Dirt” (2/16/08) – A big donut order has a stressed Ben take his frustrations out on Wasabi. / Titanium Chef’s new shoe cleaner makes everyone feel cold.

“Says Who? Darkness and Spice” (2/23/08) – The Pack has to figure out who screwed up a mission: Tako or Maguro. / Wasabi’s fear of the dark interferes with the Pack’s ability to capture Uni.

Season 2:
“Sushi Express / Ring-a-Ding-Ding” (9/13/08) – Ikura freaks out when his action figure ends up missing. / Kani struggles with what she should wear as ring bearer for the wedding of The Crowned Princess of Power and Fantastic Fellow.

“Near Miss / Mirror Schmirror” (9/20/08) – Maguro gets jealous when Tako keeps getting all the credit for the team’s rescues by the populace. / Titanium Chef banishes the Pack into a mirror dimension where they are the villains.

“Collect ‘Em All / Jigsaw Sushi” (9/27/08) – The Pack is excited by the release of new Aquabot toys. / Baron Von Loudly sets his sights on capturing the Pack.

“Sushis of a Certain Stature / A Very Big Deal” (10/4/08) – The Pack gets jealous when Kato Platypus is honored with a statue, and then they have to rescue him from Apex. / Ikura is hit by a ray that turns him into a giant and its novelty wears off quickly for him.

“Sushi vs. the Food-Fighting Force / Everybody is Somebody” (11/8/08) – Oleander creates her own team from deep-fried foods to destroy the Pack. / A magical dust causes Wasabi to switch bodies with the mayor.

“Pants on Fire / The Wrong Sushi” (11/15/08) – Ikuri plays off getting new powers like the rest of the Pack in order to not feel left out. / Titanium Chef frames the Pack for kidnapping basketball player so that he can steal a trophy without their interference.

“Respectable Delectables / Star of Light, Star So Bright” (11/22/08) – The Pack goes undercover to find out why their foes are gathering together in the same place. / After the Legion foils them by cutting out the lights, Tako decides the Pack must learn how to fight in darkness.

“Ben’s Law / Where No Truth Lies” (11/29/08) – The Pack goes on a team-building boat trip while Sir Darkly plans to rob a fund-raising boat party. / The Pack has to deal with trust issues when Tako lies about the whereabouts for Maguro’s lucky charm.

“Donut Whodunnit / Sushi at the Center of the Earth” (1/31/09) – The Pack find Ben gone and the shop a mess, and decide to hold a competition to see who can solve the mystery first. / The Pack investigates the sudden appearance of a volcano off the coast.

“Disappearing Act / Wicked Waste Wisps” (2/7/09) – Sugar Jimmy brings cartoon characters to life to help him commit crimes. / Sir Darkley uses ghosts to brainwash people to litter.

“From the Planet Citrus / Lights On, Lights Off” (2/14/09) – The Pack are chosen as delegates to greet visitors from the Planet Citrus. / To celebrate getting an award, the Mayor orders everyone in the city to run their hoses and turn on all their lights at the same time.

“In Hot Water / Much Ado About Tako” (2/21/09) – The Pack is getting on each other’s nerves, reducing their effectiveness to save Satel-Lightning. / Tako decides all he needs is his extra arms to stop Titanium Chef’s latest scheme.

“Sushi Roll Model / Fair Share, For Sure” (2/28/09) – After a reporter portrays them as bad role models, the Pack tries to change their image. / The Pack fights over a gift they purchased together.


(NBC, Discovery Kids, November 1, 2003-February 18, 2006)

Phase 4 Productions

Jim Conroy – Kenny
Kelli Rabke – Katarina “Kat” Cassidy
Karen Culp – Grace Cassidy, Karl Cassidy
Russell Horton – Peter Cassidy

            Kenny the Shark was a series about a tiger shark named Kenny (Jim Conroy) who became sick of ocean life and decided to live on the surface in Tiburon, California. Kenny became the pet of Kat Cassidy (Kelli Rabke); a 10-year-old girl who could understand Kenny’s language. They lived with her parents, Grace (Karen Culp), a psychiatrist who worked from home, and Petr (Russell Horton), an eco-sensitive hippie who owned an organic grocery store, and her little brother, Karl (Culp). Despite being domesticated, Kenny was still a shark and had an obsession with seals: whenever he saw or smelled one, he just had to eat it; usually resulting in him needing to be restrained to a gurney until the feeling passed. Kenny often caused trouble for the Cassidys with his constant appetite and frequent destruction of property with his antics.

Kat gives Kenny some chum.

            Kenny was produced by Phase 4 Productions in association with Discovery Kids. Based on a concept by Jack Huber, it was inspired by both the successful “Shark Week” documentary specials on the Discovery Channel, as well as a series of live-action shorts on the network from 1999-2000. Those shorts, shot from Kenny’s point of view, taught viewers about sharks. Kenny kept up that tradition, as well as taught about life problems such as bullies while keeping things comedic with the kinds of situations that arose from keeping a shark as pet. While there wasn’t a central antagonist, the closest thing to it would be Burton Plushtoy III (Oliver Wyman); an obnoxious rich kid who tried various methods to add Kenny to his collection of exotic pets. Other characters included Kat’s best human friend, Oscar (Nicolas King), who was obsessed with his Mayan ancestry, and Elly (Amy Love), a bull shark from the city aquarium and Kenny’s love interest.

Kenny with his human family.

Kenny the Shark debuted on NBC on November 1, 2003. It was shown under the title of “Real Toons” with Tutenstein as part of the Discovery Kids on NBC programming block. Those two shows marked the first time that cartoons had been seen as part of NBC’s children’s programming since 1992 when they abandoned them in favor of teen-oriented live-action shows. Jared Faber composed the series’ music.

Antics will be had.

Kenny ended in 2006 after two seasons and 26 episodes. It continued to air on Discovery Kids, closing out the network with a 4-hour marathon when it transitioned over into The Hub in 2010. Kenny continued airing on The Hub until 2012. From 2013-14, reruns aired on the Spanish network Azteca America before being offered on Discovery Family On Demand. Magna Pacific released three DVD volumes in Australia in 2005, each one containing 8-10 segments. Genius Products and Discovery Home Entertainment released three volumes in North America containing six story segments each between 2007 and 2008. In 2009, the first 10 episodes were available to purchase from the iTunes Store.

Season 1:
“Simply Irresistible / Special Delivery” (11/1/03) – Grace brings home a patient afraid of sharks, but while Kat tries to ease him with facts Kenny decides to eat him. / When Kenny eats her father’s gift, Kat tries to overfeed him so he’ll spit it back up.

“Kid’s Menu / Will Work For Chum” (11/8/03) – Kat hypnotizes herself to remember to renew Kenny’s tags, but forgets to feed him. / Kenny gets a job as a hockey team’s mascot to pay for his food bills, but the team is unaware he’s a real shark.

“I Love the Night Life / Dolphin for a Day” (12/6/03) – When Kenny can’t sleep, he drags Kat out on the town. / Kat disguises Kenny as a dolphin to protect him form a shark hunter that moved into the neighborhood.

“Two Days of the Parrot / My Old School” (12/13/03) – Kat brings home a lost parrot and Kenny gets jealous of all the attention she gives it. / Kenny’s old classmate comes for a visit and threatens to reveal Kenny’s secret if he’s not allowed to stay.

“Bill Me Later / Catscratch Fever” (1/3/04) – Kenny joins a mail-order-meat-of-the-day club, but there’s a question of who will pay the bill. / Three girls at school make fun of Kat, until they discover she has a scary pet.

“Kenny the Veggie / Watching Karl” (1/10/04) – Kat asks Kenny to become a vegetarian. / Kat leaves Karl with Kenny and he crawls off, leading to a frantic chase to find him.

 “The Checkup / Naughty, Naughty Kenny” (1/17/04) – Kat’s dentist mistakes Kenny for her. / After hijacking a fish truck, Kenny is put into obedience school.

“Pet Tricks / Who Framed Kenny the Shark?” (1/24/04) – Kat tries to find Kenny’s talent so he can appear on American Pet Idol. / Kenny is framed for food thefts all over the neighborhood.

“Three to Tango / Ball of Contention” (1/31/04) – Kenny makes a new friend to make Kat jealous when she becomes too busy with her art lessons. / Kenny loses Oscar’s soccer ball after he steals it.

“He’s Gotta Have It / Kat and the Sax” (2/7/04) – Kenny becomes addicted to sushi after Kat gives him some for his birthday. / Kenny can’t tell Kat her sax playing bothers his sensitive ears.

“Trash Talking / Kenny in Love” (2/14/04) – Kenny tries to stop some raccoons in their trash, but they constantly outsmart him. / Kenny falls for a shark at the aquarium but she doesn’t return his interest.

“Fish Tale / Father’s Day” (2/21/04) – Kat trains her dad to compete in a fishing contest. / Kenny wants to give Peter a gift, but what he picks may end up ruining the day for everyone.

“Family Vacation / Gentle Ken” (2/28/04) – Kenny fakes an illness in order to get taken along on the family’s trip. / Kenny becomes Kat’s bodyguard when a bear escapes from the zoo.

Season 2:
“Kenny the Hero / Whaling on Kenny” (10/2/04) – Kenny seeks recognition after saving someone. / Kat tries to get Kenny to become friends with a whale.

“His Fate is Sealed / Surf’s Up” (10/9/04) – If Kenny can’t stop craving seals, Peter is going to send him away. / The surfers at the local beach don’t appreciate Kenny’s efforts to teach Kat how to surf.

“Regime Change / Boy Trouble” (10/30/04) – Kat tries to get Kenny in shape. / Kenny becomes jealous when Kat gets a crush.

“Kenny-napped! / Kenny the Dad” (11/13/04) – A rich kid wants Kenny in his animal collection. / Kenny and Kat find themselves suddenly parents.

“Kenny the Movie / Goodbye Ol’ Chum” (11/27/04) – Kat and Kenny set out to make a movie to show tiger sharks are kings of the sea. / Kenny decides to join a traveling carnival.

“Shark Shrunk / Kenny the Star” (12/4/04) – Kat tries to figure out what makes Kenny mischievous. / Kenny join’s Kat’s school play.

“Ocean’s Three / Antiques Roadshark” (1/15/05) – Kenny and Kat try to save the fish in the Tiburon Aquarium. / Kat and Kenny attend an antique show that comes to town.

“How to Succeed in Business / Mr. Popularity” (10/1/05) – Kat tries to help Peter with his financial troubles. / Kat and Kenny protect some girls from a shark.

“Over the Ocean / A Dog’s Life” (10/22/05) – Kat and Kenny deal with Captain Ahearn’s sleepwalking problem. / Kat enters Kenny into a dog show.

“Nobody Move / Seasick” (11/19/05) – Kat’s parents decide to get a bigger house. / One of Kenny’s friends begins trying to take over his life.

“Scaredy-Shark / Kenny the Rock Star” (2/4/06) – A ghost from Kenny’s past haunts him. / Kat gets Kenny’s help to win the talent show.

“Revenge of the Shark Nerd / Bed and Breakfast” (2/11/06) – Kat and Kenny meet someone who loves sharks. / Kenny believes he accidentally ate one of Kat’s other friends.

“Lawn Shark / All You Can Eat” (2/18/06) – After Kenny eats all the candy for Kat’s school fundraiser, they have to figure out how to make money. / Kenny takes advantage of Kat’s grandmother to get what he wants.