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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Pokemon TV cartoons ran for 15 seasons, and are now available on a free app. The Pikachu ballon hits the streets in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

Pokemon cartoons are only a free app away


If you were a child, or had a child in the late 1990s, then you knew that you had to collect them all.

Nintendo's franchise started as a Game Boy game in 1996. Japanese for "pocket monster," the Pokemon world expanded to trading cards, bedroom sheet sets, lunchboxes, stickers, pencils and 15 seasons and multiple animated movies worth of TV entertainment.

I was one of the fortunate few to miss out on the craze, but its life in popular culture couldn't be ignored. As the video game maker's award-winning games and second in profits only to The Mario Bros. universe, the merchandizing of this childhood obsession blew up, fell out for a while, but stayed around enough to earn a dedicated cult following. A giant balloon of one of the characters, Pikachu, is still featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The weekday afternoon cartoon ran in syndication, and was featured on a number of different cable outlets including the Cartoon Network. The animated episodes have been a part of the franchise for close to 15 years, with hundreds of half-hour shows featuring the main character Ash Ketchum and his group of friends.

This week, the Pokemon Company released a new app for iPhones, iPods and Android devices that runs ad-free episodes for fans to relive their childhoods, or share the memories with the next generation. The app includes 50 fan-favorite shows and will also make some of the feature films available its weekly updates.

This isn't the first Pokemon app available – the company launched a $2 app index late last year that gives the profiles of more than 600 characters in the universe.

BACK ON THE AIR: On Monday, broadcasting veteran Danny Clayton returns to the airwaves, this time taking the reins on "Mornings with Danny Clayton" on WLWK-FM 94.5 The Lake from 5 to 10 a.m. He'll join current host Gretchen Bartlett, who's been behind the mic weekday mornings since April.

This is a return to the Journal Communications station for Clayton, who worked at the then WKTI for the better part of two decades. Since this summer, he's filled in on air for vacations and on weekend shifts.

"This building has always been home to me. I have lots of stories about this place; I can't wait to create more," Clayton said in a statement. "Being on-air on The Lake is like being on seven different stations because of all the variety. It's fun. It reminds me what my radio calling is all about – the music!"

Clayton and Bartlett will be on the air with WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 morning anchor Vince Vitrano with news updates, and Andi Miller will cut in with traffic reports like she currently does on WTMJ-AM 620.

"The Lake is a unique radio station because of the variety of music and our commitment to always make sure that music is 'center stage.' Now that we're evolving to a more full-fledged morning show, we need a larger, well-rounded morning show team," 94.5 The Lake's Program Director John Roberts said in the press release.

"Danny definitely has the talent and experience to engage our audience every morning while also embracing The Lake's music-based concept. I can't wait to hear him leading the new morning team's entertainment and information presentation."

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