Indie syndie repackages World Events

In 1983, a small St. Louis-based company called World Events Prods. gave the world an animated series “Voltron,” which became one of the first big kids hits tied to merchandising.

Later in the decade, the company introduced into syndication “Saber Rider and the Star Sheriff” and “Denver the Last Dinosaur.” But World Events eventually went the way of dinosaurs, and the programs laid dormant.

Cut to 1994. World Events comes out of hibernation when owner Ted Koplar, president and CEO of Koplar Communications, which operates KPLR in St. Louis, hires TV station sales exec Kevin Harlan to repackage and sell the programs.

‘Denver’ to USA

To date, Harlan has licensed the various series in about 40 countries. “Denver” has been resurrected on cable’s USA Network and Harlan is working to revive “Voltron” for fall ’96.

Now World Events is testing the waters with new animated and live action fare, including projects about a killer whale and a star fire champion that will likely involve more product tie-ins. It’s also looking at providing feature vignettes for local news-casts.

And because Koplar also owns Interactive Systems in Portland, Ore., World Events wants to launch a TV or homevid children’s show in association with a toy manufacturer that would utilize new technology. The idea: have the program emit a signal that would trigger the toy to move or glow.

“Just imagine a kid’s eyes when that happens,” Harlan says.

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