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'SpeedySPC22'
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A Worldwide History
(and some general info.)

=====
Introduction | SPC's Beginnings | SPC Worldwide 
SPC In The USA | Where Does SPC Stand Today?
=====

Introduction:

'Samurai Pizza Cats' is the brainchild and finished work of producer Andy Thomas.  Back when this series was first licensed out to Saban (now wholly-owned by FOX) it came to them as a little Japanese anime series known as Kyattou Ninden Teyandee  or 'Cat Ninja Legend' if you want a loose translation.

SPC in the Western half of the world is 10 years old now, and this page and the ones to follow it, are my tribute to a long lost anime 'cult-classic'.  SPC has been off Canadian and American TV for a good almost 4 years now, and personally, I should have did this a long time ago.  Well, better late than never, right?

On this page, you'll get a (somewhat) complete history of KNT's beginnings, to SPC's demise from the airwaves. After that, you can go find more info. about the cast, the crew, and also a nice sized image gallery full of memories from the series.  Plus, there's other SPC/KNT related things scattered about the Palace, so have a look around.

Now, without further adieu, let's go back in time and start from the beginning.

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SPC's Beginnings:

The Pizza Cats' leash on life began at the same home where "Speed Racer" was born....Tatsunoko Studios in Japan.  The series, called "Kyattou Ninden Teyandee"...or KNT for short, was a once-a-week deal on Japanese TV (like most anime series are), and ran for 53 episodes (2 seasons: Feb. 1990-1992).  It was distributed by Sotsu Agency, the same folks who distributed "Gundam Wing" 
in Japan.

Now, Haim Saban took a look at this series and decided it was worthy of a translation.  Picking up rights in early 1991, he hired out a group from Cinar Studios (located in Montreal Quebec, Canada....they're a big movie studio).  The hired producer, Andy Thomas, took one look at the original scripts and decided that most of the Japanese customs portrayed in the original series just wouldn't fly in the Western world.

With that....out went the scripts (probably put them through a paper shredder...hahaha...:P), and he hired a new set of writers, the 2 more prominent ones namely being Ardwright Chamberlain and Tom Wyner, to write up an ENTIRELY new story for the show's 54 episodes.  Thus the concept of "Samurai Pizza Cats" was born.

-----

The toughest part for the crew of SPC was the actual writing up of scripts.  The words had to match up closely with characters' mouth movements.  A very tedious and time-consuming process, which is why many anime companies today, one being Ocean Group, an anime dubbing company out of Vancouver, B.C. Canada, uses their Word-Fit™ system to make quick work of this process).  Add to this, the fact that some story elements had to be changed around.

Once all that was finished, an all-Canadian cast of talented, top-notch voice actors/actresses lent their talents to SPC's memorable characters.  Rick Jones played Speedy, Sonja Ball did Polly, and Terrance Scammel was the voice of Guido.  Finally, a new soundtrack composed by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy (published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.) was mixed into the final product, which also included a new opening title sequence, and closing credit roll.

-----

With all that said and done, and on tape, Saban was ready to ship the Pizza Cats out for a trip around the world.

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SPC Around the World:

SPC tested waters in several countries in the UK, and in Canada over here first.  Across the big pond, SPC stuck around the longest in The Netherlands, however, it's also shown up there in Ireland, England, France (from 1993-1994), Spain, and Germany.  The series in that case, got several re-dubs....in German, French, and Dutch, respectively.

In the West though, the SPC stuck around the longest in Canada, which explains why a good portion of SPC's fans here in North American are Canadian.  The series lasted from 1992 up through 1997 on YTV.  Now most folks in the UK, got all 52 episodes that were dubbed.  Canada (due to Saban's stupidity in not packaging 4 episodes) got 48 of the 52.

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SPC In The USA:

Like I stated above, Saban didn't feel that SPC would pull it off at first in the USA, so he decided to skip us intentionally.  When his "Power Rangers" sent shockwaves through the ratings, literally driving them up through the roof, his company decided by the mid 1990s that it was time to 'let the cats out of the bag'.

SPC wasn't alone though.  It was packaged with a 2 1/2 hour block of Saban shows that would air in syndication.  This block inlcuded the following shows:

'Samurai Pizza Cats'
'Masked Rider'
'Eagle Riders'
'Why Why Family'
'Adventures of Oliver Twist'

'Eagle Riders', the other anime in this block, was a 'Battle of the Planets' sequel in Japan, and most of the staff of SPC (including one who would work in "Digimon" later on), also worked on this series.  'Masked Rider' was another one of Saban's live-action 'Power Rangers' spoofs.  The final 2 series....'Why Why...' was an educational series for younger kids, since by the time this block aired, the FCC required that TV stations air at least 3 hours of educational/informative programming, and 'Oliver Twist' which the only thing I remember anymore is the advertisement to it.  This block in general, did poorly in the ratings, as it's shows were scattered across different stations and at HORRIBLE timeslots.  They all got the dreaded 6, 6:30 AM, and 2:30, 3 PM timeslots on weekdays, and 6, 6:30 AM on Saturdays.

The above block was also shipped out to Australia / New Zealand during this time and shown there.  SPC in all the above markets, would prove to be the longstanding favorite for many fans....the rest of the shows.....are all but forgotten entirely now.

SPC got 40 of its 52 dubbed episodes aired.  2 Clip shows and 8 episodes were intentionally skipped because of censorship in the USA.  See the Episode List to see which of those were skipped over and why.

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SPC's Demise:

Due to the bad timeslots, and poor advertising efforts in Saban's part, SPC bit the dust in the second week of September, 1997 (in my area anyways).  DBZ, which got it's start in larger markets in 1996 with the above-mentioned block of Saban shows, carried on for a second season and expanded to cover areas that lost SPC.  Of course, that meant bad times again, but DBZ faired better in those timeslots than SPC.

However, Saban.....who bought out the Family Channel in 1995, in a partnership with FOX/News Corp., and renamed the channel "Fox Family Channel", would pull totally out of syndication business in January 1998.  Basically, this meant all Saban series in syndication, except on Fox affiliates, all but disappeared from the air at once.  Saban also gave up rights to DBZ in fall of 1998, and thus it moved to its current home, Cartoon Network, and was their first shows to premiere on its new "Toonami' block.

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Where Does SPC Stand Today:

SPC's current status today is not what most fans would like to hear.  Everywhere except for Israel and in scattershot locations in the UK who show it on occasion, SPC is off the air.  However, this could change very soon.

As of this page's publishing, Saban has given up his portion of Fox Family, his ownership of Fox Kids, and all rights to current and previous Saban series are under Fox's complete control.  What this means in laymans terms is....a possible re-airing of SPC on Fox Family, Fox selling off rights to another company (eg: The Program Exchange) to re-syndicate the series, or Fox issuing the series on DVDs, or selling rights to a company like Pioneer or ADV Films to reissue onto VHS or DVD formats.

----

SPC has had a devoted fan following, especially in the last 5 or 6 years, and even more so since it's fading from the airwaves.  Myself, along with other die-hard fans, wait and hope for the day this series may cross our path again.  

For me, it was the first anime series I truly devoted myself to, and the first to introduce me to an entirely new entertainment medium.....that, of Japanese animation.  That is probably why I'll never get sick of hearing about SPC.

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