The Golden Days of Saturday Morning Cartoons

"If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the 1960s or 1970s, you grew up in the golden age of Saturday morning cartoons." --

Now that I have a baby daughter, I was wondering what type of entertainment will spark her imagination growing up. I remember the joy of Saturday mornings, watching School House Rock, SuperFriends, and other fun shows. Back then Saturday mornings were a goldmine of children's programming. I caught the tail-end of the golden age, right before the 1980s started watering-down the content, and before the expansion of channels brought more competition. Nowadays, kids have entertainment at their fingertips, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on countless networks and DVDs, not to mention videogames.

There was something special about waking up on a Saturday morning and looking forward to the shows on the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). I kind of feel sorry that the kids today won't have that same experience my generation had. That's not necessarily a bad thing. They probably aren't missing anything, it's just my nostalgia rearing its ugly head, wanting to relive my memories with my child.

But even if the Saturday mornings won't be the same, I'm sure there will be other entertainment to spark the minds of the little ones.


Peter said…
One thing's for sure. Saturday morning cartoons are not what they were before. I remember I grew up on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Thundercats, MASK, Transformers and many more. Admittedly, Care Bears was in the list. These days, Saturday morning cartoons are bordering on being mental. I mean, come one, a talking sponge with pants at the bottom of the sea?
Jeff Singer said…
You are now entering an arena which I feel I am an expert on.

Let me say this first -- most of the early 1970's cartoons sucked. Scooby-Doo, Hong Kong Phooey, Dyno-mutt, Pebbles and Bam Bam as teenagers with Schleprock, Captain Caveman --- sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked and sucked.

GOOD cartoons were shown in movie theaters before the main feature. Droopy Dawg, Tom & Jerry (directed by Hanna Barbera, NOT Chuck Jones), Woody Woodpecker, and, of course, the Looney Tunes/ Merrie Melodies from Warner Bros.
These were shown on Saturday mornings sponsored by Kellogg's cereals.

Speedy Gonzales had been removed from the Warner Bros. canon because of supposed racism. But they never got rid of Pepe LePew. Maybe the French didn't protest as much.

Today's cartoons are just stupid and weird (as opposed to, say, Pink Panther cartoons). A lot of them are computer animated now, and they have no plots (like the Pink Panther cartoons), and they just plain suck.

Good news for the kids growing up is that at least kiddie programming is more educational in a traditional sense. Baby Einstein, Sesame Street, that kind of stuff. Although I learned that I shouldn't chase Tweety Bird in I'm on the fifth floor of a building because there was a very real chance I could fall out a window and have an anvil/safe/piano land on me.

A quick word about Spongebob -- I think he's awesome. His cartoons have plots, the guy who does the voice of Spongebob is from Syracuse, and the guy who does the voice of Mr. Krabs played the meanest guard in Shawshank. so there.
Nick said…
Peter: Even though Masters of the Universe and Thundercats were basically commercials trying to sell toys to kids, I enjoyed them too because at least they had cool characters and plots, unlike some of the more bland cartoons.

Jeff: I totally agree with you about the movie shorts: the original Tom & Jerry were some of my favorities, and you can see how they messed them up whern they watered them down for telelvision later and actually made the cat and mouse FRIENDS! But I must disagree with you on Scooby Doo and Captain Caveman! The original Scooby Doo cartoons were awesome. They started sucking when they made them sugary sweet with Scrappy Doo, etc. That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it! :)