Before director Uwe Boll started screwing up video game franchises, DIC (now Cookie Jar Entertainment) produced Pole Position. There was no Formula One racing, but if you couldn’t stay up for Knight Rider, this was the next best thing.
Supposedly based off of the Namco arcade game, Pole Position the cartoon was in fact a crime series on Saturday mornings, airing on CBS. The story follows Dan and Tess, two agents for organization called Pole Position. It’s never really stated if they’re part of the government or a civilian outfit, like the Foundation for Law And Government in Knight Rider, but there’s evidence of both based on the missions they receive. Yes, none of that was in the game, and I didn’t even know until years later that it was supposed to be based on a video game (which I did play at the local arcade which sadly no longer exists) but it didn’t matter to me. It was a Saturday morning version of Knight Rider, with a bit of M.A.S.K. thrown in. (And DIC produced that cartoon as well.) Their cover is as a popular stunt show duo, which I would think would make it difficult to explain how they get caught up with espionage, thieves, and occasionally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dan is my favorite character. He’s a bit hot-headed and impulsive but sometimes it works out for him. Tess is usually more level-headed. They take care of their little sister, Daisy. It’s never really mentioned what happened to their parents, but my theory is something happened to them on a mission. Zachary is their uncle, and a later episode would show he no longer has the use of his legs, meaning Dan and Tess are his legs in a sense. Kuma is also shows in a later episode to be the results of genetic experiments involving merging two animals together (like a Wuzzle, for us 80’s kids) and surprisingly not a villain. Most mad scientists performing weird experiments are evil, after all. It was the cars that brought a number of fans in, I’d wager. Roady and Wheels have their own personalities and unlike KITT enough gadgets to make James Bond’s cars jealous. (Although oddly Dan and Tess don’t benefit with even communication watches like Michael Knight had.) I’m not sure how many people out there will remember this show as fondly as I do. It is rather dated, the voice acting is occasionally stiff as is the animation, but this was cool for the 1980’s and I like it.
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