Saturday Morning Cartoons

06 September 2003

When I was a kid, Saturday morning was my favorite time of the week. Mom and Dad would sleep in. Jeff and I (and later, Tony) would wake early in order to find ourselves some fun.

During the rare periods that we had a television, I’d be in front of it even before the good Saturday morning cartoons began. I can remember watching the Star Trek animated series on a small black-and-white television for a short time: every Saturday morning at 6:30. 6:30! For an eight-year-old, that’s a big deal.

During much of my childhood, we didn’t have a television. During these times I was forced to find other ways to get my fix of Saturday morning cartoons. When I stayed over at friends’ houses I was able to see them. We were friends with Kurt Gunderson, who lived a half mile away, in the housing development. Many Saturdays I would bike over to his house, sprawl on the shag carpet eating Trix or Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops, and get my fill of Super Friends and Fat Albert. Most often, though, we’d just try to listen to the cartoons on the radio. Channel six came through at the far end of the FM dial, and this allowed us to listen to the CBS cartoons. Listening to Bugs Bunny is not the same as watching it, however; most of the humor is visual.

Though I didn’t see many Saturday morning cartoons as a kid, I had some favorites:

More than the cartoons, I liked the various live-action shows, which tended to be more science-fiction oriented:

I never liked some of the more popular cartoons. For example, Scooby-Doo always seemed tedious, too formulaic (though I would never haved known to use that word at eight years old). I’d watch it, but only if nothing better was on.

Once American Bandstand came on, I knew that the cartoons were over.

In the afternoons, Channel 12 would show old Tarzan movies and the old Tarzan television series, and other action-adventure fare that we devoured. The evenings featured Buck Rogers (which I loved) and The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

Saturdays were television days.

Comments

On 06 September 2003 (10:06 AM),
Tiffany said:

I must have watched Saturday morning cartoons often. However the only real memory I have of watching them is at Grandpa�s house. I slept on the sofa in the den, so I did not even have to get up to watch. Grandpa would come out, and we would watch �Road Runner� while everyone else slept in.

We have started shutting out four cats out of the bedroom at night. It seems that at any given time at least one is awake and wanting to play. This makes sleeping very hard. This morning they have made a toy out of the bathroom rug. They take turns burrowing under the rug only to be attacked by one of the other cats.

On 06 September 2003 (04:05 PM),
Dana said:

I remember all those shows, actually, although I enjoyed Isis, Shazam, and Scooby Doo more than you did, apparently. I always wanted to be Thelma, because she was so smart, and usually solved the mysteries.

While we did have TV for all of the childhood I remember, we lived in the UP of Michigan until I was about 9, and we got a limited variety of stations (except for a brief fling with cable, when we were getting WGBS from Chicago).

You left off Space Ghost and the Herculoids, though.

I can remember not getting the station that showed Speed Racer, and as a kid I remember thinking it was keen, but I’d only seen one or two episodes, over at the Koski’s house.

But we did get G-Force (with 7-Zark-7!) on a goofy UHF station. Oh, the same station had Thunderbirds (in Super-Marrionation!). But both of those were on after school, so they don’t count as Saturday Morning shows.

Underdog, too, I remember from afternoon repeats in the summer or something. My favorite sections of it were Commander McBragg and the Tennessee Tuxedo & Chumly sequences. In particular, I retained an awful lot of actual practical knowledge from all those little visits to Dr. Whoopee, and I didn’t even realize it until I saw a repeat when I was in College and recognized the diagrams Dr. Whoopee was drawing on the 3-D Black Board.

(PS: Marvin and Wendy were far keener than the Wonder Twins)

On 06 September 2003 (06:23 PM),
J.D. said:

You left off Space Ghost and the Herculoids, though.

I never knew either of these shows. I’m not sure they were ever broadcast in the Portland area during my youth. According to this page, the original show was broadcast from 1967-9. A second show aired for a single year (Sept. 1981-2) on NBC. I rarely watched the NBC cartoons. I mainly watched ABC and CBS. Regardless, I have no memory of Herculoids or Space Ghost!

Also, I don’t know that Speed Racer was ever a Saturday morning cartoon around here. I rember that channel 12 showed it in the afternoons when I was in second or third grade (so 1976-1978), but, in retrospect, I suspect that this was a syndicated series.

On 06 September 2003 (10:21 PM),
dowingba said:

Scooby Doo (the character) was pretty darn smart. I mean, he’s a dog, who can (sort of) talk. He’s a genius, as far as dogs go. I mean, sure, Thelma can talk, but that’s nothing special, she being a human and all.

On 06 September 2003 (11:22 PM),
Dana said:

Thelma

D’oh. Velma. I am so ashamed. :/

Speed Racer was indeed syndicated, and it was on afternoons where I was, too. But I’m just reminiscing about shows from when I was a kid in general. I was never very network conscious as a kid. I knew what shows were on what numbered stations at what time, and that’s pretty much all I cared about. :)

After we moved to Minnesota, we actually got a different UHF station that showed the old black and white Adventures of Superman with George Reeve (“Golly, Mr. Kent!”). I loved those.

I remember an awful lot more than just one year of Herculoids and Space Ghost. But that may have been in syndication, too.

Of course, I’m pretty sure both were short and bundled in with other stuff, possibly even with each other. Can’t remember, too late to do research. Hm. Ah, here we go. Far more than you ever wanted to know about the Herculoids. I remember Teen Force from the ’81 show, too.

I think there was a Herculoids/Teen

On 06 September 2003 (11:28 PM),
Dana said:

Geez, I forgot Dynomutt and The Blue Falcon! I’m slipping up!

On 07 September 2003 (05:41 AM),
dowingba said:

I was all Astroboy all the time.

On 07 September 2003 (03:24 PM),
Mom said:

When I was a kid during the 50’s, I loved George Reeve’s Superman. Other favorites were Popeye and Howdy Doody Time. One of my strongest memories regarding George Reeves, though, is that my Grandfather Watson was very concerned about how I would take the news that George Reeves had committed suicide. My grandfather didn’t realize that I was young enough that I didn’t fully understand the import of that. I think Rocky and Bullwinkle came along when I was in my young teenage years and my younger brother and sisters watched it, but it was still amusing to me at that age.

On 16 December 2003 (07:37 PM),
michael laforme said:

I miss the saturday morning cartoons too even though I haven’t seen any since the late 60’s-70’s
I really liked popeye and bluto but my favorite was Wimpy The Tuesday Hamberger King. The roadrunner was alway funny But the best was Bugs Bunny a character who always had a get away close by.
Now all that’s on are space crud and super beings with high tech weapons that really arn’t that interesting.

On 16 March 2004 (06:17 PM),
pj said:

ah those great ole saturday mornings, how this message board brings back alot of child hood memories! i too lived for saturday mornings growing up in the 70’s, shazam, land of the lost,fat albert, bugs and road runner, scooby doo, and tarzan and lone ranger, and ark 2 alltho i can barley remember ark 2 and o superfriends, alllot has changed since then now they force our kids into watching pokamon and power rangers wut stuiped shows, todays kids shows have gotten lousy and crappy! i would like to say is to our major stations bring back the old 70’s saturday lineup for our kids sake!, i would like to mention i did grab all 43 episodes of the land of the lost off ebay to preserve.

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