Captain Planet: Ted Turner's agenda?
Executive Producer Nick Boxer says he and the team were the creative energy behind Captain Planet, despite rumors that Ted Turner dictated the content. (Meredith Darlington/MNN and Mike Lindsay/MNN)
Nick Boxer: One of the things that was sort of funny for me is a lot of times people would say to me, "Oh, you’re kind of a pawn of Ted Turner. You’re carrying out this agenda for him and this environmental agenda."
And it’s as if they thought that Ted was dictating the content, and I’m sure Barbara feels the same way, but I really felt that developing most of the stories myself with the creative team, I basically picked the majority of the subject matter. And so, if anything, I guess personally I always felt like Captain Planet sort of represented Nick Boxer’s agenda, and it was kind of fun to be able to do that.
There were only probably a half dozen or so shows that Ted specifically said, “I want this issue addressed.” Some of those were very controversial. We did a couple of episodes on, you know, population growth, which was something that was very near and dear to his heart. And we dealt within documentaries with stuff that was very difficult with children’s programming. There were a couple of subjects that I think — I was definitely involved in, in doing an episode on drug use. It was very — we actually brought a psychologist, a child psychologist in for that episode.
Then we did an episode on HIV/AIDS, and again had child psychologists, or a couple of child psychologists, reviewing the script. And that’s what made Captain Planet different than other shows. We did a lot of fact checking. We did a lot of, you know, double-checking. It was sort of like doing a news show within a cartoon or doing, you know, a documentary inside a cartoon where you want to be accurate, you want to interpret the subject or the content in a way that you can transform it into a story for kids, so there was liberal creative license taken. But if you go through — I was always very careful to at least construct a model by which we transformed ideas and presented those ideas so that they would be most informative and accessible for kids.