Classic Saturday Morning Cartoons
Was there anything better then rolling out of bed, pouring yourself a bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries and plopping down in front of the TV in your pajamas to enjoy your favorite Saturday morning line up?
1970– In the early days we were entranced by the slap stick off-the-wall shenanigans of Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Sylvester, Heckle & Jeckle, and Woody Woodpecker. And who could forget that pathetically mischievous, yet ingenious, Wile E. Coyote and how his dastardly plans to capture the Road Runner were consistently foiled by those faulty ACME rockets or simply out-witted by the Road Runner himself (which usually ended up with an explosion and trademark puff of smoke).
1975– Kung Foo Fighting was at the top of the charts, Saturday Night Live premiered with George Carlin as the host, Bill Gates & Paul Allen were in the midst of forming a small partnership they called Micro-Soft and Bugs Bunny continued to promote orange flavored Tang (the drink that astronauts drank). Sales of color televisions had finally surpassed those of black & whites – and NBC’s Pink Panther (the most popular cartoon that year) was making the most of it.
Meanwhile… Scooby, Shaggy and the gang, motivated mostly by the muchies, continued to comb the country side in the Mystery Machine in search of clues, suspects and determined to prove those monsters were just regular everyday low-life bad guys in disguise…
“And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!”
Children’s television series were also jumping onto the Saturday morning bandwagon with the introduction of new shows like Shazam, featuring America’s first and only trailer park super hero, Billy Batson. Who’s idea was that anyway?
Many little X’ers got their first taste of science fiction by being transported along with Marshall, Will and Holly into the action packed dinosaur infested alien world of the cult classic Land of the Lost, where they met up Cha-ka, the freaky little chimp-like caveman, and maintained strategic relations with the Sleestak.
The return of Gilligan’s Island, which consisted purely of reruns, was watched by more people on Saturday mornings then when it originally aired back in th 1960’s. In fact, the young X’ers went on to spend so much time watching these reruns, Gilligan’s Island was said to be the ‘baby sitter for the Boomer’s generation.” … On a side note: Ginger Grant, the sultry movie star may of had all the right curves and the seductive moves enabling her to extract information from all the male castaways, but you didn’t need to be a outcast to see that Mary Ann made the best coconut cream pie on the island.
Over the next couple years kids would soon get to know the likes of Yogi Bear, Alvin and the Chimpmunks, the new Popeye and in order to satisfy 70’s demand for super power, the networks introduced us to the Fantastic Four, Flash Gordon, the Super Friends and the goofiest super hero of all time – Captain Caveman.
1980’s– Income averaged $24k a year, Gas cost just $1.22 per gallon, Funky Town, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and Another Brick in the Wall were topping the music charts.
Technology, in the way of personal computing and video games, finally had lift-off, was rapidly entering our homes and what seemed like overnight, had become part of our everyday lives. Commodore began shipping the VIC-20 (soon to become the worlds most popular computer -costing only $299.95) and the wildly popular ATARI 2600 video game console seized control of our adolescent minds with classics games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Pitfall and Frogger. Networks responded to this this new technology craze by adding popular video game based cartoons like Dragon’s Lair, Donkey Kong Jr. and Pac-Man to the Saturday morning roster.
The 80’s also debuted the mega-merchandised Smurfs. Every drug store, supermarket and toy store had the shelves packed with these little blue creatures… everything from Smurf figurines, Smurf books, Smurf action figures, even Smurf cereal… you name it – they had it. Smurfs merchandising was off the charts. Smurf figurines were the Webkinz of their time. Ironically, Stuart Ross, the creator of these happy little gnomes, is not only penniless after blowing his Smurf fortune, but was busted just last week for trying to extort $11 million dollars from his well to do son-in-law and now faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. Let’s hope Stuart doesn’t drop his Smurf soap allowing some of his fellow inmates to unload their little blue balls.
Anyway, the years have rolled by and I’ve now got young children of my own. With kids comes the opportunity to go back in time, play with toy cars and gives you an excuse to sit back and laugh out loud at all the great cartoons that were once a big part of your life. If you enjoy the old cartoon classics half as much as I do, then I suggest you pour yourself a big bowl of cereal, lay yourself on the floor in front of the TV and steer your remote over to the Boomerang Channel for all the classics mentioned above and more.
That’s all folks,
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