Pole Position (TV series)
|Genre||Animated television series|
|Created by||Jean Chalopin|
|Developed by||Michael Reaves|
|Written by||Marc Scott Zicree|
|Directed by||Bernard Deyriès|
|Voices of||David Coburn|
|Country of origin||France|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jean Chalopin|
|Running time||25 mins|
|Production company(s)||DIC Audiovisuel|
|Original release||September 15 –|
December 8, 1984
The name Pole Position was used under license from Namco, who held the rights to the name due to the video game Pole Position. The show sought to capitalize on the popularity of the video game. However, there is nothing in common between the game and the show other than the car designated "Wheels" being colored red as in Pole Position and the car designated "Roadie" being colored blue as in Pole Position II.
Pole Position ran for 13 episodes on CBS in 1984 as part of its Saturday morning children's programming line-up. The show later returned in reruns for a few months in 1986, followed by a run on The Family Channel (now Freeform) in the late 1980s through the early 1990s. It was shown in the United Kingdom during the 1980s in the CBBC strand and repeated in the early 1990s on Saturday mornings as part of Going Live on BBC1.
The show features the Darretts, a family of stunt-driving crime fighters, who investigated and thwarted wrongdoing while operating under the front of a traveling show known as "Pole Position Stunt Show", which was sponsored by the United States government in order to give cover for their investigative activity and provide maintenance for the high-demand vehicles. The Darretts had two adult children and a third child who was much younger in age. A road accident ended the life of the parents, and the father's younger brother, known as Uncle Zack, took charge of the stunt show. He said that now that the patriarch and his wife were dead, it was incumbent upon the two adult children, Tess and Dan, to continue their parents' dangerous and proud work.
The vehicles feature numerous hidden gadgets like water skis and hover jets. The vehicles' computers themselves are portable and can be removed from the dashboards and carried around using handles—thus they are often referred to as "the modules". The modules are characters appearing as talking computer-drawn faces displayed on video screens.
- Tess Darrett – Tess is the older sister of Dan and Daisy and the de facto leader of the group who drives Wheels. Tess is voiced by Lisa Lindgren.
- Dan Darrett – Tess' hot-headed younger brother who drives Roadie. Dan is voiced by David Coburn.
- Daisy Darrett – The younger pre-teen sister of Dan and Tess. Daisy is voiced by Kaleena Kiff.
- Dr. Zachary Darrett – A wheelchair-using engineer and uncle of the Darrett kids. He runs the Pole Position operation and is responsible for the development of the vehicles. He is voiced by Jack Angel.
- Kuma – Daisy's pet, Kuma is a genetic creation (hybrid) and is a strange cross between a raccoon and a monkey. Kuma is voiced by Marilyn Schreffler.
- Wheels – a red and black 1965 Ford Mustang driven by Tess. Wheels' AI computer is more careful than his counterpart Roadie and frequently says he's "getting too old for this" when part of a mission becomes most pivotal. Wheels is voiced by Melvin Franklin (who was a member of the singing group The Temptations).
- Roadie – a more futuristic-looking light-blue coupe driven by Dan. Roadie's AI computer is very smart and typically tries to keep Dan out of trouble. Roadie is voiced by Darryl Hickman.
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"The Code"||September 15, 1984|
|A rogue Pole Position agent by the name of Greg Dumont, a love interest of Tess, is hired by a criminal mastermind by the name of Vance to steal the control codes to Roadie and Wheels in an attempt to get his hands on the high-tech cars and use the A.I.s to destroy Pole Position.|
|2||"The Canine Vanishes"||September 22, 1984|
|The team goes to the Florida Everglades looking for Pandora, a lost dog that is carrying an important vaccine. They must find the dog before enemy agents gets their hands on her.|
|3||"The Chicken Who Knew Too Much"||September 29, 1984|
|The team protects a chicken, given to them as a gift from an archaeologist. But when a bad guy shows up to abduct the fowl, the team must figure out the bird's link to finding a hidden treasure.|
|4||"Strangers on the Ice"||October 6, 1984|
|The team is assigned to deliver satellite equipment to a mountain research station but the equipment is stolen, and a snowstorm thwarts the kids' attempts at getting it back.|
|5||"The Race"||October 13, 1984|
|The team enters a race suspected to be used to smuggle a computer chip out of the country.|
|6||"The Thirty-Nine Stripes"||October 20, 1984|
|The team is assigned to protect museum paintings that are being mysteriously vandalized; the cut pieces secretly contain a diagram for an advanced computer chip.|
|7||"The Thirty-One Cent Mystery"||October 27, 1984|
|Kuma uncovers a plot to steal an Indian totem hidden somewhere at Mount Rushmore. He tries to warn the others with a quarter, nickel, and a penny (31 cents) all of which have the same presidents as the monument: Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.|
|8||"Dial M for Magic"||November 3, 1984|
|The team gets stuck in a weird town controlled by a strange illusionist.|
|9||"The Bear Affair"||November 10, 1984|
|Daisy receives a talking teddy bear which is pointing out mysterious clues about a factory. Tess and Dan investigate the factory hoping to discover clues.|
|10||"To Clutch a Thief"||November 17, 1984|
|Dan and Tess are invited to their hometown to celebrate a queen's pageant where Tess is made carnival queen, but the queens amulet she wears is a fake made of candy as the real one goes missing. Clues lead to a jealous woman who makes the candy amulets and holds a grudge that she wasn't chosen as queen every year and finds out her son stole the actual amulet for her.|
|11||"The Secret"||November 24, 1984|
|The team is stranded in an unfriendly town and harassed by the local sheriff. The unwelcoming treatment leads the team to suspect criminal activity at the town's gold mine and that the sheriff may be involved, only to be beat to the punch when Tess is arrested with a gold nugget on her..|
|12||"Shadow of a Trout"||December 1, 1984|
|Uncle Zach is missing, and the kids find out they are suspects in his disappearance.|
|13||"The Trouble with Kuma"||December 8, 1984|
|The kids go to an island threatened by a tsunami to rescue Dr. Lungo (Kuma's creator). They find that Lungo's shady assistants are trying to kill him and steal his genetic research.|
- Lisa Lindgren – Tess Darrett
- Kaleena Kiff – Daisy Darrett
- David Coburn – Dan Darrett
- Jack Angel – Dr. Zachary Darrett
- Marilyn Scheffler – Kuma
- Mel Franklin – Wheels
- Darryl Hickman – Roadie
Mill Creek Entertainment released 10 of the 13 episodes of the series in a combo pack with 10 episodes of C.O.P.S. and 10 episodes of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors on January 10, 2012. On October 16, 2012, Mill Creek released TV Toons To Go, a 10-disc compilation of various cartoons owned by Cookie Jar, now by DHX Media, and the 10th disc of that set contains the remaining 3 episodes of Pole Position that weren't included on the combo pack DVD set.
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 469–470. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 346. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 629–630. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Lisa Lindgren on IMDb
- Jack Angel entry at IMDb
- Melvin Franklin entry at IMDb
- Amazon.co.uk: Pole Position – Complete Collection : DVD