Monday, November 3, 2014

Blast from the Past: Saturday Morning in the 70s, Pt. 1: Live Action

It has come to my attention that there is now no such thing as network Saturday morning cartoons. Sure, there are several channels dedicated to children's programming, but there is no longer "appointment viewing" on the big three (or four) networks. Having grown up in the 70s, this is just sad. Saturday morning was for
getting up early, grabbing a bowl of your favorite cereal, and plopping down in front of the TV for a stretch of hours. If you got up too early, you got a sermonette, or something equally dire. If you started too late, you got Fat Albert, which was okay, except that it was the last one before golf or football.

As it turns out, my era of kids shows was pretty much the golden era. Some of the most iconic programming came between 1968 and 1980. Before that window, there was little color television, essential for the experience, and after that window, all of the shows became little more than advertisements for toy lines. But right in the middle was primo kids' entertainment. But it wasn't all cartoons. Some of my favorites were "live action," often superheroes, other times surreal creatures. Here are the ones I remember best.

1. The Bugaloos (1970-72) - They're in the air, everywhere!
2. H.R. Puff 'N' Stuff (1970-72) - I'm pretty sure this was the result of the creators' acid trip.

3. Isis (1975-77) - Sort of the Saturday morning Wonder Woman, a counterpart to Shazam!
4. Shazam! (1974-76) - My favorite superhero, Captain Marvel (titled Shazam! due to legal reasons, and now--quite wrongly--his new name in the comics.

5. The Krofft Supershow Season One (1976-77) - Headed by "Kaptain Kool & the Kongs," this awesome program featured Electra Woman and DynaGirl, Dr. Shrinker, The Lost Saucer and Wonderbug (a ripoff of Speed Buggy).
6. The Krofft Supershow Season Two (1977-78) - A toned down Kongs now presided over Wonderbug, Bigfoot and Wild Boy and Magic Mongo. It wasn't as much fun.

7. Ark II (1976-79) - Kid sci-fi, with kind of a dystopian future. Heavy stuff for Saturday morning.
8. The Banana Splits (1968-70) - Another program that just might have been inspired by some sixties pharmacology.

9. Land of the Lost (1974-76) - Never a favorite of mine, but huge in my generation.
10. Big John, Little John (1976-77) - This is what happened to Cousin Oliver after he got The Brady Bunch cancelled.

That'll do it for this week's edition. Part 2 coming soon. Happy Monday!


  1. Gotta include Beakman's World, with Professor Beakman, the big rat and Beakman's first female assistant, who I fell in love with.

  2. Too late for me! I think I put a bow on Saturday mornings about 1982. But I did occasionally sneak some Freakazoid and Animaniacs in the 90s!


Have something to say to us? Post it here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...