Pokémon Live! - professional recording (partially found footage of musical; 2000-2001)

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Pokemonlive.jpg

Photo of the show's original cast.

Status: Partially Found

Pokémon Live! was a live-action musical based on Nintendo's popular Pokémon franchise. Touring the United States from September 2000 to January 2001, the show was approximately 90 minutes long and was produced by Radio City Entertainment, 4Kids, and Nintendo. A professionally-recorded version of the musical, was shot at one of the Chicago shows and was planned for airing TV and a release on home video. However, these plans fell through, and no full recordings of the US show have surfaced, outside of bootlegs.

Plot and Production

The play begins with Ash, Misty, and Brock setting out for a Pokémon Gym, in response to a challenge from a mysterious Gym Leader. The challenge stipulates that anyone who can defeat the Gym Leader's Pokémon in a battle will win a special "diamond badge". Afterwards, it is revealed that the challenge was set up by Team Rocket leader Giovanni, who has created a powerful Pokémon named MechaMew2, and intends to use it for world domination.[1]

The musical used live-action actors for both characters and Pokémon, albeit with some exceptions for string-controlled characters. A DVD release was alluded to in promotional material, such as a page on the Pokémon website from the time, but was presumably abandoned around the same time the show's planned UK tour had to be cancelled due to "unforeseen circumstances".[2][3]

Search for the American Show

After the show ended in 2001, it was largely forgotten by the general public. However, interest in Pokémon Live was revived in April of 2016, when popular YouTuber Chadtronic created a video on the topic entitled "The Mystery Of Pokemon Live".[4] The video contained comments from the musical's production stage manager, Chris Mitchell, who had previously uploaded a bootleg recording of the Chicago show in a series of 7 parts. Mitchell cited lack of interest and monetary concerns as the reason for the show's failure, claiming that "[the] Pokemon craze was not as big in 2000 as it was in 1999."[4]

He also confirmed that a high-definition multi-camera version was shot but never released for unknown reasons and that it was currently lost in the archives of the respective rightsholders. Reportedly, Mitchell himself has repeatedly tried to obtain a copy of the professional recording but has been unsuccessful. Chadtronic ended the video by starting the hashtag #FindPokemonLive and encouraging anyone with information to contact him.

The search did bring forth some new information, such as a promotional video in which Brock's actor mentions the DVD release, as well as the script for the musical.[5][6] However, it was ultimately unsuccessful in its goal of finding the professional recording, and interest died back down after a few months.

Chris Mitchell's recording of the show.
A "making of" video for the musical.
Michael Slade (writer of the musical) interview.
Clip from the unreleased professional recording, from "Pokemon Insider: The Video" VHS.

Sound Equipment

The second newsletter from Electro-Voice, "Speaking of EV Volume 1 No 2".[7] has on the last page a section, where they list all (or a couple) of the sound equipment used for some of the most popular U.S or Europe tours. One of the tours listed was none other than "Pokémon Live!".

  • 16 X-Line XVLS full range speaker cabinets
  • 8 SX300 speaker enclosures 4 EV Xi1082 speaker enclosures
  • 2 EV S40 speaker enclosures
  • 1 EV MTH2 speaker enclosure 2 EV MTH2/64 speaker enclosures
  • 1 EV MTH2/94 speaker enclosure
  • 4 EV MTL4 speaker enclosures
  • 2 EV DMC 2181A speaker processors
  • 14 Telex BP325 intercom beltpacks
  • 1 Telex MCE 325 intercom station
  • 1 Klark Teknik 7204 delay plus EQ
  • 4 Klark Teknik DN360 stereo equalizers
  • 1 Klark Teknik DN60 analyzer EV

Appearance/Removal Dates of Websites/Advertisements

Down below is a vague little timeline, showing the approximate dates when each of the official "Pokémon Live" websites opened and closed. All of this couldn't have been possible without the Wayback Machine.

  • First mentioned on Pokémon World website[8]sometime between: May 27 - June 13, 2000
  • First appearing on Radiocity page[9]sometime between: May 27 - June 13, 2000
  • eKIDSinternet ecenter homepage[10]sometime between: August 18 – October 8, 2000
  • First Wayback Machine record of diamondbadge.com redirecting to Radiocity is on: November 9, 2000

  • Diamondbadge stopped redirecting to Radiocity sometime before: April 5, 2001
  • Radiocity page got taken down sometime between: December 7, 2000 – April 5, 2001
  • Pokémon World article got taken down sometime between: June 2 – August 5, 2002
  • Ekidsinternet ecenter homepage got taken down sometime after: June 2, 2002

eKIDSinternet Pokémon Contest

eKIDSinternet also held a Pokémon contest[11]sometime during January, 2001. The first contest involved listening to 5 songs from Pokémon Live and naming all of them correctly. The prize was a Nintendo 64, and the winners were chosen January 23, 2001. There was another contest, which involved finding Pikachu on the eKIDSinternet website. The main Pokémon ecenter[12]had an Adobe Flash “movie” playing, but is no longer viewable. Fortunately, anyone who scans the website with HTML can see that the developer typed what was said in that Flash “movie”. Here is the text, extracted from the Pokémon ecenter website, before it was removed sometime after February 6, 2001:

CONTEST play Name that Pokemon Tune We bet you've heard all the cool original songs from PokemonLive. Now it's time to test your ear… Name all 5 Pokemon Tunes to enter a special drawing sponsored by eKIDSinternet.com. the presenter of PokemonLive! Grand Prize a brand new Nintendo 64! Plus loads of runner-up prizes! It's easy! Listen to each selection and click on the name of the song. Answer all five correctly to enter the drawing. The drawing takes place on January 23, 2001. So play to enter. You may be the lucky winner of a Nintendo 64. But remember, you gotta enter to win! Hey! Want another chance to win a Nintendo 64! Here's how…Order an eKIDSinternet disk now and enter into a whole new sweepstake. Pikachu's hiding" only on eKIDSinternet and only you can find him when you get your disk for a 6-month free trial. But remember, you gotta order an eKIDSinternet disk now to enter. To play: 1.Click the play button and listen to the song. 2.Click on the correct title of the song. 3.Continue until you have answered all 5 correctly. 4.Enter your first name, e-mail address, and city on the form, and submit an entry. Good Luck! FIRST NAME: E-MAIL: CITY:

International Versions

Dubai Show

While the U.S show remains elusive, in October of 2016, a professional recording of Pokémon Live actually did surface - albeit, from the Dubai performance of the show. The video was uploaded by MiG Ayesa, the actor of Ash for this particular performance, and was uploaded to YouTube as a response to the popularity of the Pokémon GO app.

The performance appears to be significantly different from the American production, with lower production values and a shorter runtime of 50 minutes. In addition, multiple music numbers and even entire characters have been removed, such as Professor Oak, and Delia (Ash's mother). Still, the video gives a decent representation of what the US recording may have looked like and provides new hope that it may surface some time in the near future.

It seems like these Dubai performances resulted from a mix of people and companies from different countries. The cast, director, and producer were completely Australian. The wardrobe came from the U.S.A. The sound effects and music were also aided by a British sound company.

The Dubai performance of the musical.

Portuguese Show

The Portuguese version of the show went on from March 21 to March 27, 2002.[13] A 6-minute clip of the Portuguese version, showing parts of You and Me and Pokemon has been uncovered March 3rd. The clip[14] was originally uploaded by a YouTube user, craenerX (aka Cláudio Vasconcelos)[15] but has since been deleted.

A Portuguese clip of the musical.

cranerX's Deleted Pokémon Live! Videos

There are more clips of Pokemon Live, which he deleted, for unknown reasons.

Here is the list of the videos deleted by craenerX (not complete)

  • Pokemon Live - You and Me and Pokemon (V.2)
  • Pokemon Live - Introducao ao Team Rocket
  • Pokemon Live - Ash, Misty e Brock na Floresta
  • Pokemon Live - Discurso de Giovanni e primeira cena
  • Pokemon Live - It will all be mine


Here is a link to his channel from Sept. 8, 2009.


The video, Pokemon Live - Ash, Misty e Brock na Floresta was uploaded on Jun 14, 2008, with a run time of 1 min 28 sec. Here is the found description of the video:

"Sorry, but this video is in portuguese Neste clip, os nossos amigos estão a caminho do ginásio de Giovanni, e como sempre, vão por uma floresta. Nota: Este vídeo está muito imcompleto, pois apenas possui +/- 10 segundos. Atenção: Provavelmente este será o último clip que eu vou postar. Por enquanto..."

Latin American Show

There was supposedly another show in Latin America. The musical was aired on Canal 5 in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, any recordings of this televised event are non-existent.

References

  1. Wikipedia page for Pokémon Live! Retrieved 31 Dec '16
  2. Archive of the official Pokémon website mentioning a home video release Retrieved 31 Dec '16 | Archived 19 Oct '01
  3. News article on the UK tour's cancellation Retrieved 31 Dec '16 | Archived 04 Jan '03
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chadtronic's The Mystery Of Pokemon Live", containing many comments from Chris Mitchell Retrieved 31 Dec '16
  5. A behind-the-scenes video where the DVD release is mentioned. Retrieved 31 Dec '16
  6. Script for the musical Retrieved 31 Dec '16
  7. Speaking of EV Volume 1 No 2 newsletter Retrieved 06 Jan '17
  8. Official Pokémon Live Website Retrieved 06 Jan '17 | Archived 09 Nov '00
  9. Radiocity website Retrieved 06 Jan '17 | Archived 07 Dec '00
  10. Ekidsinternet ecenter homepage Retrieved 06 Jan '17 | Archived 05 Dec '00
  11. Contest form given to people who guessed the 5 songs Retrieved 06 Jan '17 | Archived 23 Jan '01
  12. Ekidsinternet Pokémon ecenter Retrieved 06 Jan '17 | Archived 06 Feb '01
  13. Portuguese commercial of Pokémon Ao Vivo Retrieved 29 Dec '17.
  14. Recovered Portuguese clip Retrieved 16 March '17
  15. Wayback Machine record of craenerX's YouTube channel Retrieved 16 March '17