Monday, November 17, 2014

Blast from the Past: Saturday Morning in the 70s, Pt. 2: The Cartoons

Saturday morning cartoons--an absolute weekly event during most of my childhood--are a thing of the past. There are entire channels dedicated to cartoons and children's programming, but it's just not the same as the big three TV networks having a slate of kids shows from 6 to noon every Saturday. They competed against each other, and ran promotional ads in comic books to get our eyeballs on their channel. And we all watched. I don't
remember any kid my age who didn't.

My first edition covered the live-action shows, and this time I'm going for the cartoons. These are my favorites, in no particular order.

1. Josie and the Pussycats (1972-73) - A weird amalgam of Archie Comics style and Hanna-Barbara Scooby-Doo-like storytelling. But I loved the music, and Sebastian the cat.

2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969-1970) - Scooby-Doo ran for many, many years, in many, many formats. But long before the insufferable Scrappy-Doo came along, was the original. And dig that music!

3. SuperFriends (1973-1986) - The first season was a kid-friendly version of The Justice League of America, complete with ordinary kids Wendy and Marvin (with WonderDog). The show picked up steam and popularity with the introduction of the Wonder Twins, Zan & Jayna. But the closer they got to the feel of the JLA, the more I liked it.

4. The Pink Panther Show (1969-1980) - This is another one that ran under a great many titles, but I always liked it, with its mix of segments, from the Ant and the Aardvark, Tijuana Toads and The Inspector.

INTERLUDE A: In the News (1971-1986) - CBS ran these mini news programs between cartoons. They brought our mornings to a screeching halt. But as I got older, I started to enjoy them.

INTERLUDE B: Schoolhouse Rock (1973-2009) - Unlike the previous, I loved these shorts. Almost all of them. We looked forward to Schoolhouse Rock just as much as the regular cartoons.

5. The Brady Kids (1972-73) - The Brady Bunch cartoon version included Marlon the talking mynah bird, and Ping and Pong, the pandas, for no particular reason. I was only 6, and I was rolling my eyes at the wacky animal sidekick trope. Speaking of which. . .

6. The Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (1974-75) - For some reason, the Partridges have a different mom, and instead of touring on a bus in the 70s, they're flying through space in the 23rd century. With a robot dog called Orbit.

7. The Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show (1976) - Though Tom & Jerry went through many, many titles (and their theatrical shorts are their main draw), this mouthful of a title still sticks in my head, and thus deserves a spot on the list. Unfortunately, the only video I can find is of the version without Mumbly.

8. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972-1981) - I loved this show, and Bill Cosby (here's hoping he's not guilty of the current allegations), but it always heralded the end of cartoons for the day, which was also sad.

And now, the weekend is over, and it's time to go to school work! Happy Monday!

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