ROC 'N B & FRIENDS | TALL TALES | MOON VALLEY MANOR
These are the three TV shows that started it all for me in the industry! These three series were all retro-style, 1950's-1970's influenced kids TV shows that aired throughout the US on over 95 stations over the 7 years I was producing them. At their creative cores, these shows were really just an ode to the nutty kids shows of the past and all featured puppets, people and animation in a hot-mess of crazy fun with a slight bit of "edu-tainment" thrown in for good measure.
A BIT ABOUT MY KIDS SHOWS
For over 10 years in California I created & produced kids TV shows. These shows were deeply retro-based, hyper-creative, wacky and way ahead of their time. Which is ironic considering their retro-influence, but at the time, there was nothing like it and I'm not sure their really isn't anything like them now. Good or bad. These shows were really not as much for kids as they were for adults to watch WITH their kids. And that was the lure and the inside joke. They were kind of for the kiddos but not really. They were more for US, the 30/40-60 year old set that grew up with this stuff. And after that demographic caught wind of it, then... I hoped they would share it with their kids and grand kids. Not the other way around. Not at all. Out in California, I was just in the right creative headspace at the right time and people simply GOT IT immediately. Within the first few years of the shows Northern California premier, it spread across half the state as one program manager would tell another about this insanely fun new "kids show" they were broadcasting. These shows, were and are, an all-out-ode to the hyper-creative kids TV programs that anyone over 50 grew up on. From Howdy-Doody to Chuck Avery's early Looney Tunes, Rocky & Bullwinkle to all the awesomely crazy Hanna Barbara and Sid & Marty Croft Shows... all the way to Pee Wee Herman and Ren & Stimpy in the 80s and 90's and everything that was in this vein in-between all of that mess! THAT'S the good stuff if you ask me! They say they don't make 'em like they used to... BUT I DID! And it payed off wonderfully in California and was eventually picked up on over 95 stations throughout the country as well as by the largest independently owned and operated TV station in the US out of San Francisco on KOFY! Here, back in WNY... in 2015 through 2018, well... LOL... let's just say the shows got a lot of odd reactions from kids and parents alike and honestly, THAT was exactly what I expected from WNY. I just hoped... beyond hope... that people were different here now and that things had changed and the people of WNY now had the ability to truly adopt things that were different than the lame, status quo, mass-media crap that's been shoveled down their throats 24/7 since the dawn of modern media. If you live or have lived there for any length of time, then you know the exact ideology I'm taking about. Deeper interests and early-adopter-support of all things a little closer to the creative marrow are hard to non-existent to come by in WNY. There's always been a prevailing, deeply set, middle-of-the-road ideology there that poisons this region to it's core. It's this limited sight and mindset that scared, marred and plagued the region so deeply when I was a kid and forced so many of us creativeness to leave for greener pastures only to quickly find ourselves succeeding and thriving doing the EXACT-SAME-THINGS we were doing here. So what changed for us then when we moved away? The general public's mindset did. Hearing "YES YOU CAN! "... and NOT... "I DON'T THINK YOU CAN..." all the time, makes ALL the difference in the world to anyone who's trying to do something different and outside the norm. And maybe next time you run into someone in WNY who's trying something new or different just be a little kinder and more supportive and put the bitter snark and doubt away. OK? A little will go a LONG way. Believe me. I've had this exact conversation with hundreds of creative people on both coasts through my 15 years living and working away from WNY and then there back there for 8 years who all felt that they had NO-CHOICE but to move away from the WNY region to succeed. And the consensus was and IS, that we all feel it's really a shame that we feel like we have to "leave-to-succeed". And yes, even in the age of the interwebs, it hasn't really helped all that much. You still thrive and succeed more in other
cites that you can personally network with a much larger creative class and the corporations that employ and cater to them. It's just a real hard truth to swallow that people in WNY don't want to face. But it's the truth. And God forbid you ever open your mouth try to speak that truth and try to rationally criticize the place to incite some positive change as it's always taken as negative aggression and hence, nothing ever changes. And yes, the huge increase in the cost of living in better regions with far more opportunity is always 100% worth it. I lived in and through it in both types of places FOUR TIMES over decades and it's no contest. The constant harassment of the naysayers to creatives here is still just as prevalent and en-grained as it ever was and I think after 8 years back there and working like no one I have seen, it will probably always be this way. And put your ire away my WNY friend. It's just a truthful observation by someone who has walked the walk through many, many moves all over the country, and through many decades and many businesses and many experiences and walks of life (both economically and culturally) way, way out there and back again through the entire region here. This is something I know first hand and lived through to tell the truth of the tale. People here just hate to hear the the truth of this place, but I was born and raised in WNY and I've seen and lived through a lot more than most. It's a simple and it needs to be said, remembered and acted upon or nothing will never change for the better there. None-the-less, LOL... Back to the kids shows... So, dealing with all the aforementioned criticisms and complaints for a few years really began to wear me down and out and even though I tried to push on, I had no choice financially but to give in, lay my rubber chicken down and come to terms that this was just not the place for this type of subversively charged programming. It never was and never will be the type of region that these things emanate from. At it's core, WNY is, was and always will be a VERY pragmatic, work-a-day-drink-at-night-watch-them-sports-on-the-weekend-and-take-it-all-at-face-vale-region. It's what the region was founded upon and is ingrained deep in it's DNA, roots and blood. It is what it is and who was I to try to upset the apple cart? So, with my California and Boston friends constantly nagging... I TOLD YOU SO'S... IT WON'T EVER WORK THERE... still ringing in my ears... I moved on after 3 seasons of the kids shows and while lying flat on my back one spring in Mercy hospital for a barrage of cardiac tests due to complete exhaustion, I began conceiving of a show that I knew was about people's favorite subject here... which is, OF COURSE... WNY! As it is, I am deeply proud of the work I did on these kids shows. Considering what I was personally going through at the time and what I was up against, I am even more proud of them. Maybe, over time, like all things online, they will find their true place and people. But at this point, it was years ago now and far, far behind me and truthfully... I really don't care anymore. The work is what it is and is out there for all to see and the Universe will ultimately decide if it has any merit or not. It's not my place to make that call and decide. Either way, here they are. Finally online in their original, uncut and un-remixed original formats. These are mostly remastered where I had access to my original source material and cleaned up a bit where I didn't and I truly hope you enjoy them! ~AA
The Tall Tales of B, Blue & Roc Too!
(The 720p SD TV episodes posted below, the 1080p HD remasters coming in 2022)
A Bit About The Tall Tales of B, Blue & Roc Too!
The Tall Tales of B, Blue & Roc Too, out of all the kids shows I created and produced over the years, is the kids show series that I am most proud of. It took much more work to pull together than any of my other show series and was honestly, as much as I could "bear". No pun intended... (You'll get it when you see the shows) These shows were 100% me and created within the first few years after I returned home in April of 2014. It was a real journey to see them through and someday, I think I'd like to revisit them with better puppets, gear and a real crew of talented people to make it come even more alive. And believe it or not, each show is really based on a true story. I began writing more and more about my insane childhood in the spring of 2014, shortly after I returned home to WNY. For a while there, nostalgic emotions were running pretty wild and I would wax poetic to anyone who would listen about my rather chaotic and traumatically-charged not-so-good "old days". This was all around the same time I took an interim, between TV shows job writing for the Buffalo news. So I suppose it was just the flow and mindset and emotions of the period . Hey, I hadn't been back here for over a good
decade so it was bound to happen at some point. And as I said, these stories are all based on true stories and real locations here. Yes, yes... if you've seen them, OF COURSE, YES, of course, they have been deeply "embellished". NO... I never road a giant mushroom cap through a lightning storm and ended up in the Genesee river or misguided an entire neighborhood into falling into a construction pit because they were making so much noise on the first day of spring! And NO, LOL... my best friend never stole a back-ho and road it through a public memorial park destroying everything in his path. The truth is close to that... cloooose... but not quite. The truth is, the truth really isn't too far behind any of this, but THAT'S for me to know and eventually write about and for you to read about when I eventually get around to writing down the actual stories. But they also aren't as crazy fun either. I really think if more people were exposed to this show it would have caught on, but that's just probably my optimistically positively biased attitude toward these things and to the deeply dug-in, backwards mentality and ideology of WNY. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed creating them! ~AA
(The 720p SD TV episodes posted below, the 1080p HD remasters coming in 2022)
A Bit About Roc 'n B & Friends
I lived up in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region a few times through last 6 years back in WNY and this show was a direct result of those moves. The first station in WNY to give me a deal was based in Rochester and at the time, had a large regional viewership and was the fourth largest in the entire region. Although the drive back and forth between Buffalo and Rochester to sell sponsorships for the show 5 days a week was child's play compared to what I was used to in California, after a few months of that, I began to feel I really needed to be there to develop the market and promote the show properly in that region. With that thought in mind, I moved up to Rochester as soon as I could after The Adventures of Roc, B & Blue Too premiered on TV in the market on July 4th, 2015. That journey... those initial moves... whew... hahahaha... those were a lot to take as I had NO money left from what I had to spend to just get everything going here. But I took the chance anyway. As I am usually like to do. Entrepreneurship is deep within my blood and bones and in life you have to take changes when they are presented to you. Right? Right. So the move... Well, it wasn't exactly a true move... as my car just changed locations where it was parked. Remember... I just said I was broke having spent all my money ON the car and the gear to produce the show in the first place? Yes? So... I moved alright. Right into my car. It was Summer and I worked all night and day anyway. I would only be in the car to get me to sales calls and sponsorship shoots and to sleep. The plan for all my computer work was to work out of the stations offices during the day on my computer editing. I thought it would only be for a week or two, but in actuality, I ended up living out of that cramped car through that entire first Summer up there. This pattern was to repeat itself the following Summer but that story is for another day. Lol... So, as the summer months passed and fall began to slowly encroach upon the region and the nights became too cold to deal with and I had actually managed to save a little money from selling show sponsorships in the region, I moved into the only place I found that I could afford at the time. It was a cinder block 10x10 office, if you could call it that. A teeny room with no windows in the bowls of an old, stanky, choked with an odd heavy smell, chemical factory. But it was all I could afford at the time, so I took it. You do what you have to. It didn't take too long for that heavy-chlorine bleach smell that pervaded every nut, bolt and beam in the entire building become too much to take on a daily basis I had to leave. And as the long-strange-trip continued I ended up finding myself in another even weirder (ie...affordable) office on a clients tip in an essential oils shop in the outskirts of town in the middle of nowhere. The hard-life-lesson in rental real-estate here was (just like everything else in life)... You GET... what you pay for and I sure GOT-IT-GOOD during that time period. In that office, I slept on a cold, hard, smelly, oil-infused, damp floor until I could afford a futon.
And in the dead of yet another deathly cold, ridiculously depressing and morose WNY winter, that office was like sleeping in a cardboard box for as much insulation as it must have contained. So, after two botched, miserable and super-sketch moves trying to fight the good fight up in Rochester, I had to throw in the towel, admit defeat (for now) and move back to Buffalo to the small, but pretty cool attic room of my cousin's house. And we haven't even discussed the cold water jug/washcloth/rusty-water-sink-showers I had to take AFTER these places closed up for the day. LOl... Aye... That's all better left unsaid, but you get the idea. Rough times for sure. Good memories now? Ummmmm... No. Eventually, with the move back to Buffalo attic space in my cousin's house in South Buffalo, I began to solicit the show for the second time around to every local station in town and was passed on AGAIN by all but one. Hey, I only needed ONE and now I had it! Buuuuuuut.... due to the shows growing popularity in Rochester, I actually had to move BACK to Rochester that next spring. But, this time, the move was much more stable than the first attempt. This move was based upon producing another kids show with a few arts integration teachers I met that year who lived up in the Rochester region. The show was to be called Roc & B & Friends and the teachers would help build the puppets and perform... sorry... puppet-wrangle a few of them too. At least, I finally had some help! If The Adventures of Roc, B & Blue Too taught me ANYTHING, it was that doing everything yourself was unbelievably difficult and I welcomed the help with open arms. But get ready... because here comes ANOTHER... BIG-BUT. Overall, creating Roc 'n B & Friends was fun, but the teachers helping were so inexperienced that it was just as much work for me as "Adventures" was and certainly more work than was worth it. In the end, it was a valiant attempt, but it had to go and was a briefly lived show with only a few episodes in it's catalog. Overall, I do think it was good show though. This time, the idea was that I would create an ode to early Sesame Street and the Morgan Freeman era Electric Company albeit a lot more crazy then either of those as that's just my personal preference with kids show as we've already discussed ad-nauseam up on top of this page. Either way, it's a fun watch with some of the most advanced editing scenes I had ever attempted up to that point. The scene "Lizard Brain's Audition" was an insane composite edit of over 100 tracks and effects with my computer literally melting down during the render. All told that single scene took a long, long, looong time to complete with all the inevitable corrections that a scene of that complexity will inevitably have. I hope you enjoy the show and can appreciate all the intensely hard and difficult work that went into creating it! ~AA
(The 720p SD TV episodes posted below, the 1080p HD remasters coming in 2022)
A Bit About Moon Valley Manor
This is the show that started it all WAAAAAY back in the year of 2010. The complete tale would take volumes and volumes and months to write to even delve into the smallest bits of the process and the quick, unexpected, exponential growth and sheer history of it all. And someday, I will tell the story in it's entirety, warts and all. But for here, for now, that story would dwarf the other intros on this page and those are way too long as they are. So I will try to keep this as brief as I can. I said... TRY. Needless to say, this show started out as a small, two-person upstart, kids publishing company that then turned into an accompanying DVD for a animated book set that finally... turned into a nutty, retro-style kids show that was broadcast on an equally small, kinda nutty itself, local TV station and then eventually to 95 stations all over the country. And all of that growth and success only occurred because something in my gut told me to stop into the local TV station's office where I lived at the time one morning on my walk home. It was completely impulsive intuition that made me do it and it completely changed the course of my life forever. I will never forget that morning and it will sit burned into my muscle memory so deep that it may be one of those very few moments that flash before your eyes in your life review right as you peak out of this existence. I was wearing nothing but my black, ratted-up Umbro soccer shorts (which were the last remaining memento from when I owned a restaurant with my family back in the 90's before I left for California via a four year stint in Massachusetts), an old, moth-balled, pit-stained, sweaty white Hanes white T shirt and my nasty, tore-up, barely red anymore, Chuck Taylor flats. I don't know really, it was just another normal, uneventful day and I was out for my daily morning walk when I passed by the stations door and my gut stopped me in my tracks and screamed at me to go inside and see if they wanted to broadcast a kids retro-style show that I may... or may NOT... have created yet. Lol... I honestly wasn't thinking at all and my intuition just took completely over and as much as I DO remember that morning, I don't really remember what I said to anyone. Including the secretary. I felt like I owned the place when I walked through the door, but hilariously so. Like a Bowery bum who over confidently stumbles into a swanky, upscale businessmans lounge as they're having en event handing out a lifetime achievement award where the recipient has just walked up to the podium to speak and it's that moment of silence right before they start to make their acceptance speech. Door squeaks uneasily open for far too long and a disheveled, dirty man saunters and stumbles in mumbling to himself in a tipsy gait up the walkway... I HAD TO look like I had slept on the sidewalk outside with a pack of wild dogs and feral cats the night before. But for some reason. I just didn't care. AT ALL... What did I have to loose anyway? I think I was wholly expecting to be kicked out of the reception area before I could finish my plea or especially out of the program managers office if I managed to even get myself into it. But in I went in spite of it all. I walked in the door like they had been
expecting me for months! Although I know... I just KNOW, somewhere inside me, was the little, skinny, mop-headed, bespectacled life-threateningly-shy 8 year old boy, looking through his flop-sweated, Hot-For-Teacher-nerdy-fish-eye lenses at the complete, absolute, balls-like-absurdity of the very moment. You know, the internal lenses that we all watch our most assuredly awkward escapades through. Those out-of-body, surreal, Terry Gilliam Brazil like moments where you're like... I cannot believe... I just did THAT! Yeah, it was ALL of that! And it was over in the blink of my intuitions eye. You DO know that lens and those moments, don't you? If not, YOU haven't taken enough chances on yourself in life. Get moving on that, my friend. Time is short, opportunity is present and high if you seize the day and and all of that! Listen, I was just as surprised to be there as the secretary was to see me! HEY... THIS WAS California after all and ANYTHING GOES. Well mostly... As fate may have it, the secretary amusingly listened to my plea while I'm sure she was assessing my life choices and whether or not to call 911 or just grab her purse and make a desperate run for her life and lock herself in the bathroom or to stay put and actually call her boss as I was requesting. She thankfully, choose the later. Much to my immediate relief and surprise, she attentively listened to me without so much as an single interruption, shot a quick intercom snap to the her boss and within a few seconds he came bounding out of his office, hand extended and before I even knew what was going on , I was in front of his desk in his office with him and he was actually agreeing to start broadcasting the show the following business quarter! But... (BIIIIIG GULP)... I didn't even really have a show! Oh sure, there was a few quick demo scenes I had put together in a studio apartment living room the last year just to see if a kids TV show was even possible at all. But the reality of the moment and situation at the time was that there was NO SHOW! At least noting resembling the type of show that would pass for an actually REAL, broadcast quality kids show. What you can watch above was the direct result of that meeting and the following work that was done to make Moon Valley Manor what it eventually became! You make life work when you have to. Don't you?
SO... GO GO CALIFORNIA DREAMING!!!
The location of Moon Valley Manor is set in an old small town on the shores of an even older, mysterious, deep lake tucked in front of an even older, deeper and darker than both of those put together... mystical, ancient woods. The show took many twists and turns over the last twelve plus years since that fateful day way back in 2009 in that little gorgeous California town, but I think I will present the original show in it's original uncut form here just as it was broadcast across the country for a few years. After so many iterations and edits and mashups, I feel it's still the best, most authentic version and vision of the show presented for posterity here. ~AA