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Toon Tuesday: Creator of Disney XD's "Kick Buttowski" recalls his own days as a suburban daredevil

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Toon Tuesday: Creator of Disney XD's "Kick Buttowski" recalls his own days as a suburban daredevil

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Back in the days before video games, kids (to be specific, young boys who lived in the suburbs) lived differently.

9-to-13 year-old males would get up on a Saturday morning and then select that day's weapon of destruction (i.e. their skateboard, bicycle or scooter). They'd then ride out in their neighborhood looking for adventure with the only hard-and-fast rule to live by: That they had to head back home when the streetlights came on.

Sandro Corsaro remembers that world vividly. As a kid growing up in Stoneham, MA., he spent many a Saturday cruising around the cul-de-sac. Where Sandro would often bash an elbow or scrape a knee as he tried to learn a new trick on his skateboard on Nixon Lane. And it was this time and that place (more importantly, that feeling) that Corsaro was trying to recapture when he created Disney XD's "Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil."


"Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil" Sandro Corsaro

"I remember - when we first started working on this animated series - having these long conversations with Chris Savino about what it was like to be a kid growing up in the suburbs in the 1970s," Sandro explained. "The rules that you had to live by back then. Where you could ride anywhere you wanted in the neighborhood just as long as you didn't cross Main Street. Or that tight feeling that you got in your chest whenever you tried a new trick on your skateboard. That's what we wanted 'Kick Buttowski' to be about.  Kids pushing back against the safety & conformity of the suburbs so that they could then  have all of these crazed, stunt-filled adventures."

And at the very center of this Emmy-nominated (for Outstanding Short-Form Animated Program)  series is the show's title character, Clarence "Kick" Buttowski. Voiced with a steely intensity by "Diagnosis Murder" veteran Charlie Schlatter, Kick is a pot-bellied young boy who is determined to someday become the world's greatest daredevil. Which is why Kick spends every waking hour thinking up new death-defying stunts to perform. What's more, he walks around wearing a crash helmet as well as an Evil Knievil-style jumpsuit.

"People often ask me if I was like Kick when I was a kid," Corsaro laughed. "And while I did do some pretty crazy stuff - like roller-blading down Broadway -- I wasn't nearly as hardcore as Kick is."


Copyright 2010 Disney XD. All rights reserved

And speaking of Sandro's family, Corsaro readily admits that he drew a lot of inspiration for the characters in "Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil" from his own family.

"Brianna is actually modeled after my older sister. Who was kind of the golden child of my family," Sandro said. "While I was outside jumping over things, she was taking piano lessons, French lessons, signing up for an extra math packet. She could do no wrong."

Whereas Corsaro's older brother ... He was the template for Wade, that teenaged gas station attendant who's always so supportive of Kick's efforts.


Kick, Gunther and Wade from "Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil"
Copyright 2010 Disney XD. All rights reserved

"I thought that my older brother was the coolest person in the world," Sandro recalled. "He moved out of my parent's house when he was only 18 and then went to work at a record store. I used to go visit him at his job and stare up at that poster that had been personally signed by Jon Bon Jovi and wish that I had his life. That I was free to come and go as I pleased."

Which brings us to Kick's parents, Harold & Denise Buttowski. Corsaro admits that he may have given his own parents some grief when he was growing up. But nothing like what Kick puts poor Harold & Denise through.

"And nowadways ... My Mom tells me that I've added 30 years to my Dad's life. He's so proud that his son created this animated series which constantly references his old hometown," Sandro stated.


Copyright 2010 Disney XD. All rights reserved

And  the Stoneham, MA. references really do come fast & thick on "Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil." Take - for example - the show's "According to Chimp" episode. Where hundreds of chimpanzees escape from Mellowbrook Zoo and then terrorize the populace. That's something that could have actually happened in Stoneham, MA. Given that this Boston suburb is home to the Stone Zoo.

"I was actually back in Stoneham last Fall," Corsaro remembered. "And it's amazing how much of that town has remained the same since I was a kid. The Watchmaker shop is still in the same place. As is the Dairy Dome and Dead Man's Drop."

Speaking of traveling ... Sandro and the "Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil" team went down to San Diego last month to do a panel for this Disney XD series at Comic-Con International. And Corsaro was really gratified. Both by the huge crowd that turned out on Sunday, July 25th as well as the great questions that the kids in the audience came up with.


Copyright 2010 Disney XD. All rights reserved

"Oh, sure. There were kids who asked the obvious questions. Like 'Are we ever going to get to see Kick's hair?' And the answer to that question is no," Sandro smiled. "But then there those kids who asked really interesting questions. Like 'Why does 'Kick Buttowski' look different than all the other animated series on TV? Why are the backgrounds out of focus?' And it was Charlie Schlatter who jumped in at that point and then explained the concept of racked focus."

Corsaro came away from Comic-Con feeling newly energized. He was thrilled to see some of the drawings that "Kick Buttoski: Suburban Daredevil" fans had done of characters from the show.

"I just hope that they're just as enthusiastic about Season 2 of the show. Which is going to feature some exciting new characters," Sandro said. "Like Gordon Gribble, Kick's first real rival when it comes to who is Mellowbrook's top daredevil.  And then there's Hush and Razz, the guys who run the top skate shop in town, Skidzee's."


Copyright 2010 Disney XD. All rights reserved

And there are lots of other surprises that will be revealed in Season 2 of "Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil." Which is supposed to debut on Disney XD in the Spring of 2011. But - for now - Corsaro is just enjoying the ride. Which started out with him working as a production assistant on "The Iron Giant" (where Sandro regularly rubbed elbows with Brad Bird, Teddy Newton and Mark Andrews) and recently resulted with the creator of this animated series having his picture printed on the front page of the Boston Globe.

"Of course, given the way that I behaved as a kid, I bet that there are a lot of my old neighbors who thought that I'd eventually end up with my face on the front page of the Boston Globe. But not for a good reason," Sandro chuckled.

"Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil" airs on Disney XD Saturday mornings at 8:30 am ET / PT, 7:30 a.m. CT

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  • Good read, reminded me of my hometown in NC.  Looking forward to catching Kick soon!

  • Yeah... great show...  In the episode I saw the main character talks back to his teacher and other authority figures and then decides to just walk out of school.  My children are now banned from watching it.   Walt must be rolling in his grave.

  • Joe, when you get back to 1953 say hi to Ward Cleaver for us.  It's a cartoon! And a really fun one at that.  The Mouse himself was quite a rascal before he went Corporate.

  • Agree with Joe except that I don't have kids. If I ever do and for some reason this junk is still on, I'll ban it too. Bring back the classic stuff like DuckTales, Darkwing and GoofTroop.

  • Kick and Gunther are awesome! LOL

  • Shooutha

  • i ♥ kick!!!

  • horrible 2010 animation .. people need to get a style and quite making toons from teh box

  • Having grown up in Bucks County PA, I can see what he was going for.  The show, which I found entertaining on a number of levels, is true to his roots.  Its a shame half this country isn't like this anymore ------  But I'll save that for another post....Certainly did remind me of the good old days hanging around Silver Lake Park.

  • We were stuck inside so I watched more than a few episodes this weekend with my kids.  Think it was part of the DXD channels marathon.  All I can say is LOL.

  • HELLO I LVE IN NYC I HAVE A 2 YEAR OLD SON NAME ETHAN WHO IBREATHS,EAT, AND SAY'S KICK ALL DAY LONG AND THE DAYS HE CAN NOT SEE IT ON DISNEY XD I'M IN TROUBLE DOING REPEATS OF KICK ON MY COMPUTURE I WOULD  LOVE TO ORDER OR EVEN OWN  EVERTHING KICK FROM A BED SHEET SET TO THE ACTUAL TALKING KICK, SCOOTER, STICKERS WHATEVER MERCHANDISE YOU CREATE  I'V NEVER SEEN ANY OF MY KIDS SO DRAWEN TO A CARTOON LIKE THIS THANK YOU FOR YOUR AMAZING IMAGINATION AND CHILD HOOD MEMORIES I CAN SHARE WITH MY SO IN ADVANCE I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SEE KICK PARTY DECORATIONS FOR NEXT YEAR HE WILL BE 3 AND WOULD LOVE TO MAKE HIM HIS PARTY WITH THE COSTUME THANKS AGAIN PARENTS OF A TRUE DIE HARD FAN OF Kick Buttowski:

  • Kick is great. Caught my first glipse of the show back home in Colombia, where it is dubbed is Spanish. And I loved it. Once the episode ended I hopped on the computer to find out more! The artistry is great. The colors are amazing and the Show in itself is so entertaining! Keep up the good work.  Im 29 and loved it !

    much success!

    (to those parents complaining... the way your kids act is not because of a single tv show ; )

  • kick buttoski iam you, friend

  • Well, I'm from Germany.I must say that the VERY great show "Kick Buttowski" began in Germany on SuperRTL in the end of April this year (2011).And I was very impressed of him and love him ♥

    I would be very thankful if a DVD of season 1 would be published (of course in Germany too!)

    :D

  • I love disney xd kick buttowski is my faveret show

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