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

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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 release on TV and home video. However, these plans fell through, and no full recordings of the US show have surfaced, outside of bootlegs.

Plot and Production[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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". 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.
Chadtronic's video on the subject.
A "making of" video for the musical.

Dubai Show[edit | edit source]

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.

The Dubai performance of the musical.

Sound Equipment[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Here, I have listed when each of the official "Pokémon Live" websites opened and closed. All of this couldn't have been possible without the Wayback Machine. I know this isn't any help, but I'm trying my best to find ANYTHING about this show.

  • First mentioned on Pokémon website[8]sometime between: May 27, 8:43 AM - June 13, 10:06 AM, 2000
  • First appearing on Radiocity page[9]sometime between: May 27, 8:43 AM - June 13, 10:06 AM, 2000
  • eKIDSinternet ecenter homepage[10]sometime between: August 18, 6:11 AM – October 8, 10:44 AM, 2000
  • First Wayback Machine record of Diamondbadge.com redirecting to Radiocity is on: November 9, 4:09 AM, 2000
  • Diamondbadge stopped redirecting to Radiocity sometime before: April 5, 9:42 PM, 2001
  • Radiocity page got taken down sometime between: December 7, 9:10 PM, 2000 – April 5, 9:42 PM, 2001
  • Pokémon site took it down sometime between: June 2, 12:17 PM – August 5, 3:33 PM, 2002
  • Ekidsinternet ecenter homepage got taken down sometime after: June 2, 12:17 PM, 2002

References[edit | edit source]

  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. Chadtronic's "THE MYSTERY OF POKEMON LIVE", containing many comments from Chris Mitchell Retrieved 31 Dec '16.
  5. Behind-the-scenes video where the DVD release is mentioned Retrieved 31 Dec '16.
  6. Script for the musical Retrieved 31 Dec '16.
  7. Full Speaking of EV Volume 1 No 2 newsletter Retrieved 6 Jan '17
  8. Official Pokémon Live Website Retrieved 6 Jan '17 Archived 09 Nov '00
  9. Radiocity website Retrieved 06 Jan '17 Archived 07 Dec '00
  10. Ekidsinternet ecenter homepage Retrieved 6 Jan '17 Archived 05 Dec '00