What do you get when you combine music, music videos, cartoons, Saturday mornings, and put them all together? You get Kidd Video.
Kidd Video was a live-action/cartoon series that aired on Saturday mornings. The show was about Kidd Video and his band who get transported to the “Flipside” by the Master Blaster.
It aired on NBC from 1984 to 1985 before it quickly faded away. Music videos on Saturday mornings? This is a look back on a show that should have been more popular than it was: Kidd Video.
What Was Kidd Video?
Kidd Video is an actual guy, and he has a band depicted by live-action characters. We see them in the intro of the cartoon where they get together for band practice.
Then the animated “Master Blaster” character shows up and transports them to his home dimension called “The Flipside."
Master Blaster uses them as his musical servants until they get rescued by a fairy/Tinkerbell creature named Glitter.
They spend most episodes trying to either get themselves home or to help free other people that Master Blaster had captured.
The Main Characters
The real-life actors featured in the intro also provided the voices and sang the actual songs for the show.
Kidd Video: He was played by Bryan Scott who was the lead guitarist and singer. Scott appeared in the movie “Dead Presidents."
Carla: Played by Gabrielle Bennet. She was the drummer and the only female on the show. She used to perform in USO shows with the legendary Bob Hope
Whiz: Played by Robbie Rist. Not only was he cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch, but he was the voice of Michaelangelo in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. He also directed and wrote music for the Sharknando movie.
Ash: He was the keyboardist and played by Steve Alterman. He appeared on Eight is Enough and Knight Rider. He even started a band with Robbie Rist called “The Beat Society."
Glitter: Was voiced by Cathy Cavadini. She was the voice of Tanya in “Fievel Goes West” and is a prominent voice-over artist.
Master Blaster: He was meant to represent a corrupt music manager and was played by Peter Renaday. You may know him best as the voice of Splinter in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
How MTV led to the Development of Kidd Video
The idea with Kidd Video was to capitalize on the success of MTV--and music videos--and package this into a Saturday Morning cartoon.
MTV was changing the way we consumed music, but it wasn’t necessarily for kids. Kidd Video would make kid-friendly content and the show would incorporate live-action music videos.
The entire premise of the show was music-based. The live-action sequences used current songs that would serve as distractions to their enemies within the show.
To further capitalize on the MTV movement, they included popular fads and events to tie everything together.
Several shows used a new form of dancing called “break dancing” that had become more mainstream.
The Importance of the Music
Since a lot of the focus of the show was on music, a composer named Shuki Levy took on a lot of this responsibility.
He wrote the theme song (“Video to Radio”). Levy also brought us some other iconic cartoon themes such as Inspector Gadget and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
The whole point of the show was to create situations where they could showcase the band singing popular songs.
The end of the show would feature an original song and performance in a music video. The hope was that Kidd Video would be a huge crossover success and their music would hit the charts leading to album sales and tours.
Capitalizing on all things music, the actors of Kidd Video would be part of a “We Are The World” campaign called “Kids for Kids.”
This was a song and performance used to raise money for starving kids in Africa. The song featured other big child stars of the day including Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster), Joey Lawrence, Jason Bateman, and Todd Bridges.
The Legacy of Kidd Video
They weren't a hit in North America, but the band had some hit singles in Europe. They were able to release a full album and tour through several countries.
Ultimately, they didn't become the household names the studio was hoping for. The interesting thing is how the show served as a buffer between cartoons and real-life programming.
On Saturday mornings, Kidd Video bridged the gap between the two: they were the sign that the cartoons were over, and the real-life shows were begging.
Kidd Video is an interesting show to look back on as something like this would never happen today because of the music licensing issues.
Getting licenses for popular songs was much easier in the 1980s. However, the show lives on, and full episodes can still be found on YouTube.
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