“Red, yellow, black or white…
White, yellow, black or red…
It’s up to Kid Power, Kid Power!
All the color’s in your head”
Kid Power was the first truly multicultural Saturday morning cartoon series. It was also the first positive Saturday morning cartoon series featuring Black characters to be created from a syndicated comic strip, Morrie Turner’s Wee Pals comic strip series, which was introduced in 1965 and was the first nationally syndicated comic strip with a multicultural cast.
Kid Power debuted on ABC in September, 1972. The show’s premise was an extension of the comic strip: a pro-social animated sitcom which chronicled the adventures of a multi-ethnic group of loveable youngsters who called themselves “The Rainbow Club.”
Each week, Oliver, an overweight bespectacled boy, and fellow Rainbow alumni George, Wellington, Nipper, Connie, Diz, Rocky and the rest grappled with weighted social issues like prejudice, environmental awareness, and other moral dilemmas, often instigated by their antagonist bully pal Ralph. (The pilot episode involved Oliver’s directing the Rainbow Club kids in a school production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Ralph is cast as Simon Legree. Mayhem ensues…)
No harmonious multi-ethnic club would be complete without a lovable animal sidekick, and Kid Power had not one, but two: Polly, a Parrot, and a feisty dog named General Lee.
Produced by Rankin/Bass, the creators of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Mad Monster Party, the colorful show employed music as a unifying force; many episodes included songs performed in a stylized, Yellow Submarine fashion. It was, after all, the psychedelic 70’s…
Although Kid Power ran for two seasons, only seventeen episodes were produced. The show, hailed as a “multiracial Peanuts”, was an early victory for proponents of educational kids TV in the seventies, and has since joined the ranks of revered pro-social shows like Sesame Street, Schoolhouse Rock, and that’s a good thing.
The character voices were: Donald Fullilove (Diz, Randy); Michelle Johnson Murray (Sybil).
The 40th anniversary of the series is September 16, 2012.
Wee Pals Original Comic Art and Nipper Character Art was gifted to The Museum Of UnCut Funk Black Animation Collection by Toonseum. The Kid Power Original Production Cels were gifted to the Museum Of UnCut Funk by Bob Balser.
Kid Power © 2013 Classic Media Inc.