One gumshoe writer sets out to hunt down the real-life Carmen Sandiego, embarking on a long quest to discover who brought the notorious criminal to life.
The realm of edutainment video games walked a difficult line to simultaneously educate and entertain. One major standout is Broderbund’s Carmen Sandiego series, which was a major success, spanning dozens of games over multiple decades, and even a television show on PBS. One writer who grew up with the series made it his personal quest to hunt down the real Carmen Sandiego, and he’s now reported success in his endeavor.
Todd Van Luling went on a search worthy of the game series for the actress who originally played Carmen Sandiego on the PBS television show, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? According to Luling, although Sandiego herself was the titular character, the actress who played Carmen Sandiego was never given a named credit for the role. Since Sandiego has always appeared with a partially-covered face to remain mysterious, it made it even more difficult to identify which actress brought the video game character to life.
Van Luling’s hunt took him all over the internet, where he discovered that it was believed that actress Janine LaManna played her. However, no real proof or interview existed that confirmed it, and after a run on Broadway, LaManna had disappeared with no internet presence. Van Luling subsequently decided to reach out to anyone he could find via email with her name in an attempt to find her. LaManna herself eventually got wind of Van Luling hunting for her, and reached out to him personally, finally confirming once and for all that she was indeed the actress who played Carmen Sandiego.
Van Luling’s full interview with LaManna reveals that LaManna played several different characters on the show, and maintained a good relationship with the actors who played the duo that were committed to hunting Sandiego down. Although her time as Sandiego on the show was limited, as the character was re-cast in subsequent seasons, she enjoyed being the first person to portray Sandiego in the flesh.
Carmen Sandiego had a major impact on young gamers, managing be both entertaining and an excellent educational tool. Although Sandiego’s character has since appeared in cartoons and Facebook games, LaManna’s appearance as the notorious leader of the crime syndicate V.I.L.E. was one of the very first times an actor was tasked with bringing a video game character to life. LaManna and the rest of the team responsible for Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? achieved a major success and clearly created a lasting impact on those who watched it, to the point that Todd Van Luling couldn’t let the real-life Carmen Sandiego go.
Source: Huffington Post