Haim Saban turned on the television in his hotel room and couldn’t believe what he saw. It was 1985, and the Israeli-American entrepreneur was in Tokyo on a business trip: he was a self-described “cartoon schlepper”, who bought the rights to Japanese children’s animated shows and released them in the west with new English voice tracks. It was a decent living – enough to sustain his production company. But what he was watching now would make him a billionaire.
It was another children’s programme, called Super-Electron Bioman, about five brightly coloured warriors who fought giant monsters with a giant robot. But it wasn’t a cartoon. The monsters and robot might have looked like they were made out of rubber and plastic, but they were real.
Saban knew that by re-dubbing a cartoon, its foreign origins could be easily concealed. His billion-dollar brainwave was realising that a live-action show...
Register for free and access one Premium article per week
Enjoy unlimited access to Premium articles with a subscription
- Subscriber-only events and experiences
- Access Premium articles on our mobile app
30-day free trial
then only £2 per week