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Get your Saturday morning on
September 22, 2009 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Saturday morning cartoons were once a staple of American television, but by the year 2000 they had all but disappeared. Of course, the Internet never forgets. Case in point: Cartoon Network Video -- a free, searchable, ad-supported service that provides hundreds of full-length episodes of classic shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and The Powerpuff Girls, as well as current offerings and scads of shorter material. Too recent for you? Then give Kids WB Video a whirl -- it does the same thing with the same interface, but for older programs like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo, Thundercats, and the original Space Ghost. If you're in the mood to learn (and don't mind some live-action), PBS Kids Video has educational fare such as Arthur, Wishbone, and Zoom. And don't forget about Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, The Magic Schoolbus and Schoolhouse Rock! Now if only we had some Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs...
posted by Rhaomi (160 comments total) 77 users marked this as a favorite

 
Your idea of "classic" and mine are totally different.
posted by rocket88 at 9:30 AM on September 22, 2009 [45 favorites]


Yeah, that list of "classic" shows makes me feel very, very, very old indeed.

Half of those are ironic reflections on actual classic shows. You might as well throw Harvey Birdman and the Venture Brothers into that "classic" list, methinks.

That said, any source of more Johnny Bravo is a good link, so thanks for that.
posted by rokusan at 9:31 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure late 90s Nickelodeon cartoons don't qualify as classic (yet).
posted by eyeballkid at 9:34 AM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's sad that I'm now sad that I'm going to be outside and away from the internet on Saturday morning.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:34 AM on September 22, 2009


Good riddance. Get outside kids, get some fresh air.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:34 AM on September 22, 2009


Obligatory.
posted by everichon at 9:34 AM on September 22, 2009


PTheres a bit of a horribel trend for everything to turn into nasty, poorly done CGI now though. Angelina Ballerina has been "upgraded" like this, and what was previously a rather charming if twee cartoon is now this blaring glitzy thing where Angelina meets Brand New (American) Characters and learns that Change Is Okay when instead of practicing to classical music she has to dance to smooth jazz. Bleurgh.

(It also features the most horrible mechanical camera movements I've seen in a CG product for quite some time)

I;ve yet to make any sightings of the CG Thomas but I am prepared to hate it. The ones where they CG the faces are terrible - we call it "haunted Thomas".
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Gah... I was saying PBS still runs kids stuff on Saturday mornings... somehow I mangled the beginning of my comment there.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on September 22, 2009


Saturday Morning Cartoon (part 2) comic book ads (via the always entertaining Stupid Comics)
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't view this from an office computer, but I sure do hope there's some 2 Stupid Dogs in that collection. That cartoon cracked my shit up like no other.
posted by Spatch at 9:39 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


jesus christ, Hanna Barbera has had a vice grip on American cartoon culture. outside of the williams street Adult Swim stuff, i'd be hard pressed to think of more than one or two cartoons they've ever produced in their entire history that was actually any good, but they must have made 90% of the cartoons we watched as kids.
posted by shmegegge at 9:39 AM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


This post needs more Animaniacs.
Animaniacs.
Animaniacs.
posted by bastionofsanity at 9:40 AM on September 22, 2009 [15 favorites]


Like the tarting up of Dora the Explorer and even Strawberry Shortcake, Artw?
posted by rokusan at 9:41 AM on September 22, 2009


Animaniacs.
posted by bastionofsanity at 9:43 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Hanna-Barbera always came across to childhood-me as a cheap alternative to Warner Bros.... which if I remember that Jonny Quest documentary correctly was actually the whole point of Hanna-Barbera: cheap-to-make cartoons for TV audiences.

The Flintstones, Jonny Quest and The Jetsons were all significant cultural milestones, though. After that... yeah, the quality of the rest sure looks like a steep dropoff.
posted by rokusan at 9:44 AM on September 22, 2009


Weird, I just watched Saturday morning cartoons this week, including the pretty good TMNT reboot. I want to say that it was on the CW or something like that?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:45 AM on September 22, 2009


I don't think it's accurate to say they've disappeared, or maybe they've come back. I go to the gym on Saturday morning and they seem to be playing cartoons on at least one of the channels. They all seem like they're trying to be vaguely educational though.

Also, they're using computers to do the animation so it's much more fluid. Not like the jerky shit that was inflicted on us when we were kids.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 AM on September 22, 2009


Raises quizzical eyebrow.

Search term: "Samurai Jack". Result: "No Matches Found".

Trudges sadly away. [SFX: Wooden sandals on snow]
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:48 AM on September 22, 2009 [15 favorites]


Needs more Laff-A-Lympics.
posted by HumanComplex at 9:50 AM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Your idea of "classic" and mine are totally different.

When will these sort of comments go away? I'm reminded of that Bob Dylan-nearly-arrested-thread where a drove of baby boomers bitched at those unfamiliar with Dylan. MetaFilter is biased enough with its lack of centrism; must it also contain a ton of harping Tex Avery fans as well?

A cartoon, or any sort of pop culture artifact, becomes 'classic' when it falls a few decades into the hindsight of its appreciators. Reminding readers that you're old is pointless. In fact, your cartoons were covered in the post.

Unless you need Steamboat Willie to get your Saturday morning on.
posted by study the living world at 9:52 AM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't see Rocko's Modern Life on that Cartoon Network site, unfortunately.
posted by Prospero at 9:53 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


We make our kids watch the Boomerang network on Saturday mornings. They deserve the character-building experience of watching the same shitty cartoons we watched in the 70s, the same shitty cartoons my parents watched in the 50s.
posted by padraigin at 9:54 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, I've seen some 'nasty, poorly done CGI' versions.

Speaking of 'classic' it gave me a certain pleasure that when my daughters were five or six, they watched exactly the same episodes of 'Top Cat' that I had watched on a tiny black and white TV thirty odd years before. Still good.
posted by Phanx at 9:55 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]




a free, searchable, ad-supported service that provides hundreds of full-length episodes of classic shows

No offense, but none of the shows you've linked to are true classics.

I remember getting up early every week day of summer vacation in the 70s and early 80s to watch classic cartoons on KVOS 12:

Mighty Mouse. Baby Huey. Woody Woodpecker. Popeye. Tom and Jerry.

At 8 or 830 KVOS or perhaps KCPQ would air Different Strokes and Facts of Life.

True classics.

I also remember running home after school to watch Star Blazers everyday at 3:30 on KVOS.

Those were the days.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:56 AM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


whatup, muthafucks

lets get our cartoon on

Wizards.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:00 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gotta love this Powerpuff Girls episode that has several allusions to the Big Lebowski.

Watch it.
posted by fijiwriter at 10:00 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, yes, and the Banana Splits.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:00 AM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Bah. When I was young, uncle would draw the Deer on the wall with his burned stick, then wipe it off the wall, then quickly re-draw it. Only each drawing was slightly changed! Eventually , in an upheaval of all of our expectations, Deer would eat the Sorcerer.
posted by everichon at 10:01 AM on September 22, 2009 [31 favorites]


A cartoon, or any sort of pop culture artifact, becomes 'classic' when it falls a few decades into the hindsight of its appreciators.

Okay.... but unfortunately, many of the cartoons in that "classic" list aren't even two decades old, let alone the three you say would qualify them. Most are from the 1990's. "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Johnny Bravo", for example, ran until 2001... which is a year after the post says that SMCs ended. So they're made after the alleged death of the genre... but they're also "classic" examples of the genre? The timeline makes no sense.

And even on its face: stuff from the 90's isn't "classic" yet, no matter how old or young you might be. Saying so is just confusing, and it would be just as confusing if you used the same criteria to call Pearl Jam, Nickelback or Matchbox 20 "classic rock".
posted by rokusan at 10:01 AM on September 22, 2009 [12 favorites]


Gotta love this Powerpuff Girls episode that has several allusions to the Big Lebowski.

Classic.
posted by rokusan at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2009


Agreed on the "Classic" count. I mean I always feel like the young dweeb on the block, but dear lord even those are after my time (The X-Men animated series was probably my staple).
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2009


Your idea of "classic" and mine are totally different.
When will these sort of comments go away?


When will people who complain about other comments, instead of saying something themselves, go away?
posted by rokusan at 10:03 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]




Powerpuff girls are classic? I don't think anything that premiered in the last 10 years can be considered classic. What about the Monchhichis, the Gummi Bears, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Spiderman and his Amazing Friends?
posted by organic at 10:10 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends was in 2004 and the last just a few months ago. My kids like it, but that hardly qualifies as "classic".

But I think a better point is: You can already get a lot of these shows online from *cough* friends. And then you don't have to watch them huddled around a tiny monitor, assuming Video Playback Software Du Jour (Version 10.3) even works on your computer.
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on September 22, 2009


1983 was the best year for me. I was up every Saturday morning eating American cheese and pickle slices on Ritz crackers for breakfast and watching Saturday Supercade and Pac-Man.

Sadly, the videogame era crashed two years later. But at least I had Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling to keep me company.
posted by bpm140 at 10:12 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Guy_Inamonkeysuit Maybe they were better than they are today, but I'm a devote of Warner Brothers and, most especially, Tex Avery. That man was a bloody genius, and it shows.

The Warner Brothers cartoons from his time there are, I'd argue, some of the best cartoons ever.
posted by sotonohito at 10:15 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


You can already get a lot of these shows online from *cough* friends.

Three threads over. Knock twice and ask for Lily.
posted by rokusan at 10:16 AM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]




Oh I agree, sotonohito, but you can't deny that MGM was doing some damn good work back then. And don't forget that Avery went over to MGM after he was at Warners, and arguably did his best work there.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:18 AM on September 22, 2009


If we're just being nostalgic about stuff that used to be on Saturday mornings, ok.

But the post almost seems to imply that there aren't really cartoons on Saturday mornings anymore. Let me tell you as a parent: There are cartoons on Saturday mornings. There are cartoons on every morning, every noon and night, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, on multiple channels, and at the same time, competing with one another for my children's attention. (If you have cable, of course.)

But still, there aren't less cartoons now, there are more.
posted by poppo at 10:19 AM on September 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


Ok kiddies.
Saturday Morning cartoons are nothing like they were in the 80s... You've missed out, and for that - I assure you - my generation is very very sorry.

In the 80s there was no TiVo or DVR, and even if you were lucky enough to own a VCR and had a dad with the technical knowhow to be able to set your TV so you could record a channel and watch a different one - there's no way in heck you would be allowed to record over one of his VCR tapes... sorry - those things were like gold to adults. That meant you had at a minimum 3 channels to pick your viewing from, and that meant you weren't going to get to watch everything. So you picked and you picked carefully...

In early september, the cartoon schedule would be set. No kid went into this season unprepared. You made sure that you had your TV Guide, or at least you demanded your mom take you grocery shopping so you could rummage through the articles at the register line. Most importantly though, you found out the date each channel ran their sneak preview. It was usually mid-week between 7:00 and 8:30 and sometimes they ran concurrent - so you had to talk to your dad - explain to him the importance of the situation and implore him to let you view this critical intelligence. You'd watch with a pencil, and a highlighter, and a copy of TV guide or the TV listings from the paper... You would map out your saturday morning viewing. In the case where you had a sibbling - especially of the opposite sex - this was done like a modern day NFL draft. Where you would have to combine a proper mix of boy/ girl/ dinosaur/ space/ adventure/ serial/ comedy/ etc so that nobody was really really unhappy with what you would be watching.

Now...Saturday would roll around, and you would have your intellegence. You'd swap between NBC, ABC, and CBS and gloss over PBS as quickly as possible (that was some news show, educational stuff they ran during the week, and sopme booring british show called masterpiece theatre that you wouldn't find interesting until you were 16 or so). Sorry folks, there was no FOX and WB - and cable didn't have as good cartoons on it -seriously (though USA was amazing in the afternoon). When FOX came out - hell yes - it had very very cool cartoons... as well as UPN (which later became WB iirc) but they were late comers to children's prime time.

You ate your breakfast beforehand - or planned to watch it during my little ponies or strawberry shortcake or whatever girly torture your sister inflicted on you... You raced to the bathroom between commercials, and otherwise you glued yourself to the television: Smurfs, Droids, Ewoks, Saber Rider and the Star Sherifs, Blackstar, Dungeons & Dragons, bill & teds excellent adventure, teen wolf - whatever was your interest...


Now... I'm sorry we rotted our brains and our parents decided that they wanted to encourage the younger kids to go outside on saturday morning - but man... it was awesome - you'd have loved to have been there...
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:23 AM on September 22, 2009 [64 favorites]


What about The Marvel Superheroes? Best theme song ever:

"When Captain America throws his might shield,
all those who chose to oppose his shield must yield!"

Who I really miss, though, are Rocky and Bullwinkle...
posted by steambadger at 10:23 AM on September 22, 2009


I don't wanna hear the words "classic" and "cartoon" go together unless you're talking about "Gertie The Dinosaur" or "Dreams Of A Rarebit Fiend".

Everything else is a jonny quest-come-lately
posted by briank at 10:25 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I grew up watching the Hanna-Barbera limited-animation stuff in the 50s/60s -- Huckleberry Hound, Flintstones, etc etc. Loved it, but came to appreciate Tom and Jerry far more. It's one reason why I loved Roger Rabbit so much; I hope the much-discussed "sequel" comes to fruition. That opening "Maroon Cartoon" segment with Roger and Baby Herman owes more to the MGM style than it does to the Warner Brothers or even Disney styles, for my money, despite some obvious Warner touches. Zemeckis is apparently still interested in the prequel, Who Discovered Roger Rabbit, but who knows...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:27 AM on September 22, 2009


I'm pretty sure all of your examples used to be on Cartoon Network...like Saturday night maybe?

I miss The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show. But I never understood...why Tweety?
posted by jefficator at 10:31 AM on September 22, 2009


It is with equal parts shame and pride that I admit that I see the occasional episode of Horseland or Strawberry Shortcake, simply because it's Saturday morning and they're cartoons. Slim pickings on broadcast TV.

Still, comparitively speaking, I kind of miss The Emperor's New School. It was frequently clever. I REALLY miss the old X-Men and TMNT shows, even though I'm not sure they'd hold up.
posted by owtytrof at 10:32 AM on September 22, 2009


Guys, ‘classic’ does not really have to have a chronological connotation. The first definition from dictionary.com reads:

of the first or highest quality, class, or rank: a classic piece of work. (I can’t believe I just did that, blech)

So, just because someone didn’t grow up watching the same shows you did, during whichever generation you belong to, doesn’t mean that something newer can not be a classic. There is no arbitrary 3 decade minimum. So yeah, I’m willing to call some of the cartoons presented here “classics”.

Now, if you believe that something has to demonstrate enduring value in order to be considered a true classic, well that may remain to be seen. But come on people: courage the cowardly dog? A freakin’ classic
posted by Think_Long at 10:35 AM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I started getting up and watching Saturday morning cartoons when I was three. That was 1969. Bugs Bunny et al. made a nice break from Vietnam war news.
posted by rtha at 10:39 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Back in the day, the networks would do little primetime specials to hype the upcoming fall season of cartoons. Not surprisingly, Wikipedia has a list and a little Googling around reveals the following:

Weird Al at Knott's Berry Farm
Dick Clark and Emmanuel Lewis hyping ABC, another segment, and another (more info)

One more I remember and sadly can find no video of: Alf Loves a Mystery
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:39 AM on September 22, 2009


We still have the Qubo line-up on NBC, Kewlopolis on CBS, ABCKids on ABC, and 4Kids on the CW.

I miss Nick Jr. on CBS though. Backyardigans and Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends were my favorites. The replacement Kewlopolis pales in comparison.
posted by yeti at 10:40 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't see Rocko's Modern Life on that Cartoon Network site, unfortunately.

And you probably never will, since it's a Nickelodeon thing.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2009


Ok now that our lawns are free of kids I can ask: What time was Rocky and Bullwinkle on? In my memory it was the absolute crack of dawn when the parents weren't even out of bed yet. It was the definition of early. 6 Central? 7?
posted by rlk at 10:43 AM on September 22, 2009


The best thing about Saturday mornings was when they had adaptations of awesome kids books, and then a drugged out cat would tell us how we could read more about it.
posted by drezdn at 10:48 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


The best thing about Saturday mornings was when they had adaptations of awesome kids books, and then a drugged out cat would tell us how we could read more about it.

Were you, by any chance, from the Philly/NJ area? Could you mean the DJ Kat Show? Loved that stuff.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:51 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This list (didn't want to take any credit, haven't made mine yet) shows what MY thoughts on "classic" cartoons go. Although my list would include:

- Wish Kid (McCauley Culkin had his oooooown cartoon...on the same day as MC Hammer's?)
- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (the cartoon...I know...I know)
- Biker Mice from Mars/Street Sharks
- Might Max (best toys ever)
- Also (and very often forgotten) The Popples...if it wasn't for those things I wouldn't know how a sex change works.
posted by beelzebub at 10:54 AM on September 22, 2009


Wow, drezdn just unearthed some deeply buried memories there. I'm pretty sure I remember that as well, but I think it was a cartoon cat.

Ok now that our lawns are free of kids I can ask: What time was Rocky and Bullwinkle on? In my memory it was the absolute crack of dawn when the parents weren't even out of bed yet. It was the definition of early. 6 Central? 7?


Even earlier was Tennessee Tuxedo. That was the first thing aired (after the national anthem) on Saturday mornings in my area.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:54 AM on September 22, 2009


I grew up watching in the 70's The Hulk, Iron Man, Green Lantern, Thor and Captian America!
posted by alteredcarbon at 10:54 AM on September 22, 2009


Oh, yes, and the Banana Splits

That's a little too classic.

Props to SpiderMan '67, Rocket Robin Hood, and Hercules.
posted by mazola at 10:56 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


From what I remember Rocky and Bulwinkle started early early, afterwards the syndicated hannah barbera shows came on - and then the actual cartoons came on. I remember being up before 6:00 to catch everything...
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:57 AM on September 22, 2009


It does beg the question of where is Darkwing Duck?
posted by fijiwriter at 10:57 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dungeons and Dragons was arguably the best Saturday-morning-only cartoon ever made.
posted by Muddler at 10:58 AM on September 22, 2009 [21 favorites]


It does beg the question of where is Darkwing Duck?

That was a Disney Afternoon cartoon, not a Saturday Morning cartoon.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:59 AM on September 22, 2009


Jem (Jem is excitement) oh
Jem (Jem is adventure) oh
Glamour and glitter
Fashion and fame

Jem (Jem is truly outrageous)
(Truly, truly, truly outrageous)
Oh whoa Jem (Jem)
The music contagious (outrageous)

Yeah. So?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:05 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dungeons and Dragons was arguably the best Saturday-morning-only cartoon ever made.

I remember very little of that cartoon except that it filled me with RAGE. I remember being highly annoyed by the guy with the shield, and wanting to bop the dwarf guy who always was walking out from behind trees and rocks just to say something witty or demoralizing, then stepping back into whatever vortex he came from. Plus it was a total Gilligan's Island setup. "Oh look guys, here's how we can get back home! We're almost home! Ahhh..... shit."

This came out on DVD a few years ago, didn't it?
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:08 AM on September 22, 2009


There's a good piece somewhere out there on the internet by one of the people who made Dungeons and Dragons, and the choices forced upon them, like guy with the shield always having to be a dick.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on September 22, 2009


I remember that our neighbors weren't allowed to watch Dungeons and Dragons, because of teh Satan. Also, the Smurfs.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:12 AM on September 22, 2009


Sigh... I'll agree Dungeons and Dragons was the best Saturday morning only cartoon, but Exosquad was 52 episodes of perfection.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:13 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I remember almost nothing about Dungeons and Dragons, except:

1. I adored it.
2. A chronic, futile desire for the ability to shoot balls of magical energy from my palms.
posted by everichon at 11:14 AM on September 22, 2009


In early september, the cartoon schedule would be set. No kid went into this season unprepared. You made sure that you had your TV Guide

This.

My brother and I did this in the mid-to-late 70s and early 80s. We haggled and fought over which cartoon would be watched at which time (no VCR, one TV) and developed the perfect written schedule so that we could efficiently switch channels from around 6:30 am to noonish, when stuff we hated like American Bandstand and Soul Train started coming on. The worst was when you had to switch (using big silver dials, natch) from a regular VHF channel like 3 to the "U" and then spin quickly through the UHF dial to the right channel in the nick of time (remember the ttttttttttttttttttttttttt sound?). If you were too slow or skipped past it, the other party would yell "IT'S STARTING! IT'S STARTING! NONONO GO BACK!!!" at you lest they miss 5 seconds of the opening theme.

Ahh, wasted youth.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:16 AM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


A cartoon only children growing up under the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction could love: THUNDARR the BARBARIAN!

Do all social anxieties get worked out in cartoons?
posted by MasonDixon at 11:19 AM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


re: "classic," I was using it to mean exceptionally well-done stuff that isn't regularly broadcast anymore. So something like Dexter's Lab might not be that old, but it was a highlight of 1990s animation that you can't easily find outside of sites like this. Even Foster's, which ended its run less than five months ago, would qualify I think, since it was a quality show with a lot of personality and heart (and a couple of Emmies) that has nonetheless disappeared from the airwaves.

ArgentCorvid: "And you probably never will, since it's a Nickelodeon thing."

Tune in next week! (Seriously.)
posted by Rhaomi at 11:21 AM on September 22, 2009


Also, Way, way way up on the upper edges of your cable dial is Boomerang, which is an amalgam of Cow & Chicken, Powerpuff Girls, and horrible Hanna Barbera cartoons.

We turned it on for our 3-year-old Gdson to watch The Banana Splits. I didn't think he had it in him but the LOOK he gave me when I started singing along with that Na-na-na, na-na, na-na, na, na, na, na-na, na-na, song, let's just say, the snark is strong with him.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:21 AM on September 22, 2009


rokusan : Like the tarting up of Dora the Explorer and even Strawberry Shortcake

Aww, how can you post that without mentioning the (banned/redacted) Penny Arcade's version (probably SFW, but use discretion)?

Mattel has nothing on fanboys with a copy of Daz3D.
posted by pla at 11:22 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to sign up with 10 more sockpuppet accounts just so I can favorite Nanukthedog's comment again and again and again.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:24 AM on September 22, 2009


Okay, weird place to have broken the URL. Try this one instead...
posted by pla at 11:24 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sorta remember Jem. That was also my first barbie. When I was older and it was time to give my barbies to my little sister, I told her the importance of this first barbie. It was the last one that got a 'haircut' or its head ripped off, so something got through to her.
posted by shinyshiny at 11:29 AM on September 22, 2009


BAH!*

No list of classic Saturday morning** cartoons*** is complete without Schoolhouse Rock. They+ were proof that cartoons could be educational and++ genuinely fun.







* Interjection
** Adjectives
***Noun
+ Pronoun
++ Conjunction
posted by magstheaxe at 11:30 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I miss Chilly Willy, Foghorn Leghorn and ... umm ... The Monchhichis.

I remember agitating for the military television network we had in West Germany to run The Monchhichis instead of either Sesame Street or Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. (In the eighties, we only got one channel on the military bases. Off-base, we could watch German television or nothing.) I would have been about seven years old then, and though I have a feeling I wouldn't vouch for that show now, back then I was determined to see it on the air.

I wrote them a letter -- I was probably seven or eight at the time -- saying that five-year-olds weren't the only kids who watched television, and that after-school programming should be geared toward slightly older kids. But they continued to play the Big Two in the afternoons, which meant those of us who were old enough to read only got to watch TV in the early mornings, when The Secret City (video) was on.
posted by brina at 11:32 AM on September 22, 2009


When will people who complain about people who complain about other comments, instead of saying something themselves, �̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚ ҉҉ ̔̕̚̕̚҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇ ̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍ ̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ # ̎̏̐̑ ̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇ ̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍ ̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ͡҉҉̔̕̚̕̚҉ ͡҉҉̔̕̚̕̚҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇ ̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍
posted by everichon at 11:33 AM on September 22, 2009


My favorite was Spiderman and Friends, because I wanted to be Firestar and also had a crush on Iceman. Then as now, way too few female heroes to choose from.

Anyhoo:

I;ve yet to make any sightings of the CG Thomas but I am prepared to hate it. The ones where they CG the faces are terrible - we call it "haunted Thomas".

If it's anything like the animated abortion that is JayJay the Jet Plane, then you're right. The plane's faces all look like they're chewing when they're talking. Shudder.

My son loveslovesloves Thomas (or rather, Percy), and there are lots of old style videos he hasn't tired of yet. He probably wouldn't mind the horrid CGI, sadly. Most kids don't, just as we happily watched the same running sequence over and over on He-Man.
posted by emjaybee at 11:35 AM on September 22, 2009


All these comments, and no "Superfriends"?
I got yer classics right here.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:40 AM on September 22, 2009


This has nothing to do with anything, but this thread made it pop into my head.

What rolls down stairs alone or in pairs
Rolls over your neighbor's dog?
What's great for a snack and fits on your back?
It's Log, Log, Log!

It's Log, Log, it's big, it's heavy, it's wood.
It's Log, Log, it's better than bad, it's good!
Everyone wants a log! You're gonna love it, Log!
Come on and get your log! Everyone needs a Log!

posted by diogenes at 11:40 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey diogenes...
They used to show the commercial that parody was based on, between the real classic cartoons.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:47 AM on September 22, 2009


I had no idea! The Log version is much catchier.
posted by diogenes at 11:49 AM on September 22, 2009


I've mentioned before that I was born the Friday before the debut of both Captain Kangaroo and The Mickey Mouse Club, so I consider myself eminently qualified to spout off regarding 'kids TV'.

It must be noted that Crusader Rabbit (linked by Guy_Inamonkeysuit) was truly the first cartoon made for television, debuting in 1949. Three-and-a-half minutes daily episodes of serialized 'adventure' stretched out over several weeks syndicated to individual stations by NBC to fill time in the local 'kiddie shows'. Compared to the theatrical toons available at the time (mostly early '30s or silents with added-on music) it was apparently pretty impressive (I don't know, I hadn't been born yet). One of the co-producers was a guy named Jay Ward, who, after losing the show to another production company after a couple seasons, sold real estate for a few years until he met an animator/voicer named Bill Scott and they brought us Rocky & Bullwinkle.

When the Mickey Mouse Club showcased Disney theatricals from only a few years before, it was a big deal, as was Captain Kangaroo's resident toon, Tom Terrific (created by UPA veteran Gene Deitch). The first TV cartoon produced in color was Colonel Bleep in 1956, with a very stylized look and characters (an alien, a caveman and a pinocchio-like puppet) who didn't speak English, so the narrator did all the talking and it never had to bother with lip-synching. In the no-budget world of TV cartoons in the '50s, a smart move.

Hanna-Barbera's Ruff and Reddy on NBC was the first cartoon made for Saturday Morning, but still in the three-and-a-half-minute serialized format, on a show alongside some recycled theatricals (sadly, NOT Tom & Jerry) and a live host with puppets. H&B got the reputation as 'pioneers' in 'limited animation for TV' although they weren't, but when they started doing the syndicated half-hour Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw, they became the best at it, and the quality of those shows led to their Saturday Morning domination from the mid-'60s into the '80s.

When I was a kid, I had a record player and lots of kid-targeted records, including the yellow vinyl "Golden Records" that played at 78RPM. My first 12-inch-33-and-a-third albums were 'story records' of early H-B cartoons, which essentially contained the soundtracks of the 7-minute cartoons and added some narration to fill in what you couldn't see. What I realized, even at a young age, was how little the pictures were really needed.

Then there was Beany & Cecil, produced by former Looney Tuner Bob Clampett (and previously done as a puppet show with Daws Butler & Stan Freberg doing voices and operating the puppets) which rivaled Rocky & Bullwinkle for 'grown-up wit' and beat it hands-down for animation quality (Bullwinkle was one of the first to 'outsource' its animation... to Mexico, where Gamma Productions was essentially 'learning by doing').

And the first Japanese import was Osamu Tezuka's AstroBoy, dubbed and translated by Fred Ladd for syndication by NBC (who rejected the literal translation of the character's name, "Mighty Atom", as too generic), followed by giant robot Gigantor, Speed Racer, Kimba the White Lion (which Lion King DID steal from) and my favorite, The Amazing Three, about aliens sent down to observe and judge humanity, disguised as animals (and disguised well, the alien duck had all of Daffy & Donald's personality flaws).

The Marvel Superheroes beat Superman and his DC allies to TV cartoons by several years, using the limitations of animation to look like comic books brought to (semi-)life (including visual sound effects stolen by the live-action Batman show). But when SpiderMan got his own show, they recycled the same animation of him swinging across town for almost a third of the air time, making it the most boring superhero cartoon I ever saw.

Many shows generally remembered as "Saturday Morning" actually started in Prime Time and only aired in Kiddie Time as reruns: The Bugs Bunny Show, Rocky & Bullwinkle, The Alvin Show, Top Cat, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Calvin & the Colonel (a version of Amos & Andy that tried to skirt the racial issues by making the characters animals).

To many of us, the Banana Splits was a giant step backwards for its use of live-action segments between the cartoons (even if the Splits were voiced by Daws Butler, Paul Winchell and Allen Melvin), and the live-action Danger Island seemed like Jonny Quest with less action. But the guys who designed the Splits, Sid and Marty Krofft, went on to better things.

And THAT is "Classic Saturday Morning Cartoons", next to which the "Classic '80s stuff" pales in comparison (except Thundercats, which was the first TV toon I ever saw that impressed me with its action animation).
posted by wendell at 11:55 AM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Your favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon Sucks!

My list:
Ghostbusters
TMNT
HeMan
Transformers
Plastic Man
Scooby Doo (various incarnations)
posted by Big_B at 11:56 AM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Rocket Robin Hood.

'Nuff said.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:03 PM on September 22, 2009


rokusan: Saying so is just confusing, and it would be just as confusing if you used the same criteria to call Pearl Jam, Nickelback or Matchbox 20 "classic rock".

I have heard Nirvana on a Chicago classic rock station. I wept.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:06 PM on September 22, 2009


This came out on DVD a few years ago, didn't it?

It did, and the DVD set came with a pre-fab DnD adventure with characters based on the show already written up to play. I have the DVD set, haven't played the adventure... prefab campaigns tend to go off the rails when my parties are involved.

And I can't believe that no one has touched on the freakiest of the 80s cartoons, the downright Lovecraftian "Inhumanoids"
posted by FatherDagon at 12:18 PM on September 22, 2009


It must be noted (because I was working in radio at the time) that when "Classic Rock Radio" started in the Early '80s, it was all music from the '60s to the Mid '70s, a time lag less than Nirvana would be today. I blame Radio for the degrading of the term "Classic".
posted by wendell at 12:20 PM on September 22, 2009


I got up at 6 am to watch Beast Wars. I liked it. I will apologize to no one.
posted by hellojed at 12:24 PM on September 22, 2009


My favorite cartoon theme song of all time is the 1966 Hulk animated series because in just a few short stanzas, they manage to accomplish the following:
  1. Rhyming "gamma rays" with "unglamorous"
  2. Referring to Hulk as a lovable "monster clown" without getting stomped
  3. Likewise, calling him "Ever-Lovin' Hulk" without the aforementioned stompin, though that sounds like such a Stan Lee-ism I'm sure Hulk was a-ok with it.
The series itself was nothing to write home about (Hi mom!) but that theme is brilliant in its incongruity.
posted by Spatch at 12:25 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clutch Cargo - with Spinner and Paddlefoot !
posted by rfs at 12:25 PM on September 22, 2009


I remember when California Raisins appeared before commercials during ABC's Saturday morning cartoons.

I'd flick back and forth (with my HANDS --- we didn't have a remote controlled tv until the 90s!) between ABC and CBS....didn't like what NBC was offering Saturday mornings, but boy oh boy, 7 pm every night I ate up those Warner Bros cartoons!

And I have to agree, any show (like most of the ones on the list in the post) that started when I was 12 or 13 is a ways away from being able to even be considered a classic. I'm not 30 yet.
posted by zizzle at 12:29 PM on September 22, 2009


Growing up in Tennessee, I remember getting up too early on Saturday morning and waiting through the last few minutes of the Farm Report before the cartoons started. It was delivered by a guy who looked like he actually worked on a farm and just dressed up in his Sunday best on Saturday morning and combed some black shoe polish into his hair.

I was rarely able to wait until 9:00 to wake up my dad to make me pancakes. He must have hated me those days--this is a man who likes to sleep in.
posted by lackutrol at 12:34 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Animaniacs was crap.

I said it.
posted by LarryC at 12:42 PM on September 22, 2009


Eh, Saturday Morning cartoons, though seriously reduced, are still here. What has completely disappeared is weekday cartoons. Is there anybody who was a kid in the 80s and 90s who didn't get up way early to catch some cartoon showing at 6:00 am or rush home to catch Darkwing Duck, Tiny Toons, Duck Tales, X-Men (the first animated one), GI Joe, Jem, Superman TAS, Batman TAS, Chip 'n Dale, C.O.PS, Sailor Moon, Voltron, the Gummi Bears, etc?

Weekday cartoons were where it was at and they are all gone now (on broadcast tv).
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:45 PM on September 22, 2009


If it wasn't soon followed by Creature Double Feature, then it ain't a classic.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:46 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


What time was Rocky and Bullwinkle on? In my memory it was the absolute crack of dawn when the parents weren't even out of bed yet. It was the definition of early. 6 Central? 7?

I recall it being too early to get up for (and almost too late to stay up for). Something like 4:30, CST. I think if I saw it without early morning delirium I wouldn't recognize it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:07 PM on September 22, 2009


nooneyouknow:
Weekday cartoons were where it was at and they are all gone now (on broadcast tv).


Is this true? I haven't had network teevee on at 3-5pm in ages (also, I don't own one and I only eat organic locally-grown soy) so I had no idea.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:07 PM on September 22, 2009


There's a good piece somewhere out there on the internet by one of the people who made Dungeons and Dragons, and the choices forced upon them, like guy with the shield always having to be a dick.

Goddamn, I have to find that. If anyone does, please please link.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:09 PM on September 22, 2009


Durn: This?
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:17 PM on September 22, 2009


Growing up in Tennessee, I remember getting up too early on Saturday morning and waiting through the last few minutes of the Farm Report before the cartoons started.

Heh, same in Pittsburgh. The guy was always talking about yet another burlap sacks of seeds. Our TV was in the guest bedroom, so if we had a guest we had to somehow disturb them to get them out of there by 6 or 7 am.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:19 PM on September 22, 2009


There's a good piece somewhere out there on the internet by one of the people who made Dungeons and Dragons, and the choices forced upon them, like guy with the shield always having to be a dick.

Goddamn, I have to find that. If anyone does, please please link.


Is it this?
posted by Bonzai at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


oops... spent too much time looking for it forgot to check if anyone had beaten me to the punch.
posted by Bonzai at 1:23 PM on September 22, 2009


Looks like it. Thanks!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:30 PM on September 22, 2009


Animaniacs was crap.

I said it.


You can assert it all you want, but that doesn't make it true. Animaniacs was wildly popular. Do you have pay-or-play contracts?
posted by explosion at 1:31 PM on September 22, 2009


There was a time in my late teenagerhood where I could get Animaniacs, Tazmania and Batman: The Animated Series in one sitting. IIRC I didn’t even have to change the channel.

(That I could get up for this may say something about the dullness of my late teenagerhood Friday nights)
posted by Artw at 1:34 PM on September 22, 2009


Um, okay, so this was Saturday Morning at our house in Milpitas, CA in 1970:

1. Wake up with the lark, despite having used our Friday night stay-up privilages to watch "Here Come The Brides" WITH BOBBY SHERMAN! (or david soul if you were a real dweeb.)

2. Make breakfast for my sister and for me. This was probably old-fashioned oatmeal, but it might have been hot dogs heated up on the stove in a pie tin. I was 7 and I was allowed to use the stove. Deal with it.

3. My sister would turn the black and white TV on to get it warmed up while I cooked.

4. Start watching Saturday morning TV, this would include: Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour, Sabrina and the Groovy Ghoulies, The Monkees, Josie and the Pussycats, The Pink Panther or HR Puffinstuff.

5. Then it was American Bandstand, unless that was boring and we'd go out to play in the park with about 700 other neighborhood kids.

On weekday afternoons it was usually channel 44 and Bugs Bunny, Speed Racer, Kimba the White Lion, Marine Boy, Ultraman and Johnny Quest.

Intellectually I know these toons were horrible, when I rewatch them, but at the time I was totally invested in them.

Thank you for this slog up memory lane, I now return you to your snark.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:35 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


These comments should be color-coded by year of birth so I don't have to wade through a bunch of stuff I've never heard of to see what everyone has to say about He-Man.
posted by palliser at 1:37 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


If you look very closely at the middle of my right thumbnail, you will notice that it is dented relative to the curve of the rest of the nail; turn it to the side and you will notice that it is utterly flat. This is because I had a small black and white TV to watch cartoons on. Should I have wanted a cartoon on UHF, the dial wouldn't quite stay where it needed to be. I wasn't able to tighten the dial and wadded up paper didn't work as a wedge. A previous attempt with molding clay didn't work out. So I jammed my little thumb in the dial and stayed that way for the whole of the show, rotating my wrist ever so slightly to compensate as the channel went in and out.

Spiderman owes me a new thumbnail.
posted by adipocere at 1:38 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


This all kind of points to a strange theory, which I think is interesting in how it psychologically defines generations and creates in and out groups out of strangers, but I haven't yet been able to flesh out fully.

The people here arguing about what they grew up with. I read 2 comments here that made me go and look at the posters profiles, and sure enough, they are pretty much exactly the same age as me, and thus had very similar cultural influences upon them in their formative years. I could probably sit down with them and reminice about all kinds of things even if we grew up in completely different states. However, we still shared experiences, and thus have a strong common memory, which we fall back on and use as a way-point in our psyche when evaluating situations in our lives. We all probably recall how awesome a friend Ookla the Mock was to Thundar, and how much of a jerk Thundar was. But it's okay, because Ookla was better than that, and a true friend. We also probably grew up addicted to Star Wars and still want to punch people who talk bad about the original trilogy. Oh, and Han shot first.

I think that the 80's childhood was where everything congealed. You actually had national syndicated programming, where you could watch the Smurfs while on vacation in Oregon around the same time you could when you were normally home in Virginia. The schedule wasn't the same, but the program was. Before that, regions varied and not every region carried the same programming. And this is just in America. The rest of the world doesn't have this solidarity of programming. You could almost look at it like actual brainwashing. Kids in New Jersey were saying Cowabunga, Dude along with kids in Tuscon. Then, blam, it all shattered. Cable became more dominant and the 3 national broadcasting central networks began losing their base consumers. By the time video was available on the internet (in broadband, etc, not dial-up), it all went down the tubes. No longer could you guarantee that the show you watched was being watched anywhere else. Sure, it's on, but who's watching? Instead of the majority of households, you now scatter the programming into dozens, if not hundreds of distinct focuses.

Thus, the question: Was it a good thing? Or does national unity require that there be some common ground in our minds for us all to hold on to?

*this probably makes no sense. I'm still working on the wording.
posted by daq at 1:41 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Spiderman owes me a new thumbnail.

So you're about my age then. Coat hanger channel change ring any bells?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:41 PM on September 22, 2009


That was a Disney Afternoon cartoon, not a Saturday Morning cartoon.

Not in my world. It was on every morning at 7a or so. It was my macabre bridge between sweet, sweet slumber and the cruel reality of school.
posted by spamguy at 2:00 PM on September 22, 2009


For the record, my Saturday morning routine was to wake up around 6, watch Rock and Bullwinkle, eat some sort of sugary cereal, go to karate classes at the local adult school, come home, whine to my mother to make me a can of this, which I would consume with a glass of whole milk while watching . . . you guessed it, the ninja turtles.

(I was kind of sort of obsessed, but it was an improvement over the fit I would pitch if I missed an episode of the Super Mario Brothers Super Show a few years before.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:17 PM on September 22, 2009


organic: "Powerpuff girls are classic? I don't think anything that premiered in the last 10 years can be considered classic. What about the Monchhichis, the Gummi Bears, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Spiderman and his Amazing Friends?"

If only to cease the arguing about what is or isn't classic:

One thing only is needed for a work to be considered classic. That thing is timeless worth. It's not that a work must be old before it can be a classic, it's that, given how we are ruled by superficial, localized context, it requires a distancing quantity of time, measured in at least decades, before it becomes obvious.

Of the cartoons mentioned, Monchichis and Alvin are definitely not classic. They might be studied in the coming years, but it won't be for reasons of their quality. Gummi Bears might be; if I had to bet on which product of Disney Television Animation made it, however, I'd have to choose DuckTales. Spider-man and his Amazing Friends, if this is the show I remember, probably won't be.

Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends all would have a pretty good chance, they're original and witty. Courage has, if anything, improved in the years since it ended. Johnny Bravo probably would not make it, except for maybe one or two episodes.

Cow and Chicken has become amazing obscure in the short years since it went off the air, but is pretty good.

Hanna-Barbera stuff:
Flintstones and Jetsons: Not bad, by Hanna-Barbera standards, but not actually that great.
The Smurfs: Same. The original European strips and animation probably better qualify.
Scooby-Doo: Often awful, but the original show shows wit at times. Was redeemed somewhat in those direct-to-DVD releases and "What's New Scooby Doo."
Space Ghost: Pretty good. Helps that it had character designs by Alex Toth.
Thundercats: Its early episodes are amazingly atmospheric, far more than you'd expect for a show based on a toy line. (The surviving royals of an alien planet, including their young, uncertain prince, escape the destruction of their planet and the death of their race, fleeing to another world populated by strange and ancient creatures in an attempt to found a new civilization? Fucking epic. Shame one of those races turns out to be robot teddy bears. Later on the premise gets diluted when more Thundercats show up, they get a new home planet, and Mumm-Ra gets an animal friend.)
posted by JHarris at 2:18 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is the Genndy Tartakovsky Star Wars cartoon classic yet?
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on September 22, 2009


The best thing about Saturday mornings was when they had adaptations of awesome kids books, and then a drugged out cat would tell us how we could read more about it.

Captain O.G. Readmore?
posted by Lucinda at 2:50 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


The best thing about Saturday mornings was when they had adaptations of awesome kids books, and then a drugged out cat would tell us how we could read more about it.

Captain O.G. Readmore?

I would love to know what people were cracked out with to come up with these 80s cartoons I remember watching:

Punky Brewster. Capitalizing on the *ahem* hit sitcom, Punky and her friends joined up with Glomer, a weirdass magical talking cat-type animal to spread joy and rainbows. Or something.

The Gary Coleman Show. Gary Coleman plays an angel named Andy LeBeau, who comes to earth for no reason I can discern, and hangs out with a bunch of kids. A demon named Hornswoggle (not-so-subtly drawn Jewish) constantly attempts to steal Andy's halo. Why? What would he possibly do with it?

Rubik, the Amazing Cube. A Rubik's cube is really a magical creature that joins up with three kids for adventure.

Mr. T. Mr. T is the coach of a traveling teenage gymnastics team.

Shirt Tales. A bunch of exotic animals live in a tree in a park. I can't remember why. Apparently they drive a car, and I seem to remember the words on their shirts changing for some reason.

Kidd Video. Oh MAN did I love this show. A garage band is kidnapped by Master Blaster, the evil ruler of a rock n roll kingdom, only to be saved by Glitter, a fairy in leotard, legwarmers, and headband, who becomes incredibly strong when she sneezes. They travel around the country, releasing other bands that Master Blaster catches and imprisons.

I need more Kidd Video in my life.
posted by cereselle at 3:02 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm a bit alarmed to find that Robert Smigel didn't just make some of those up.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have so much to say about this topic and no time to say it, so I'm just going to back slowly away from the computer before my head explodes.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:16 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Backyardigans and Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends were my favorites.

Ohhhhhh I used to watch the Backyardigans every Saturday morning. With my boyfriend. In college. It was our appointment television. (Is that cute, or lame? Both, I think.)
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:16 PM on September 22, 2009


Maybe it wasn't quite Saturday morning fare, but I'm quite convinced that no cartoon's introductory sequence will ever top the opening minute of Battle of the Planets (aka G-Force).
posted by washburn at 5:11 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Han shot first.

Well, of fucking course he did. Is there some dispute about this?!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 5:45 PM on September 22, 2009


Yikes, I still remember the jingle from Astro Boy! Funny, today I saw a poster for the new AstroBoy movie on a bus shelter and I was all "No way! That is totally not what AstroBoy looks like!" Although, for the record, I think AstroBoy was an after-school cartoon for me, not Saturday morning.
posted by Quietgal at 5:52 PM on September 22, 2009


how young are y'all? here's my playlist --which were dubbed IN SPANISH

Looney Tunes (1930s - 1950s)
Krazy Kat
Little Lulu
Popeye
Flintstones (Los Picapiedras)
Tom & Jerry (which my kids have discovered on BOOMERANG)
Roadrunner (Correcaminos)
VOLTRON
The Beatles
The Pink Panther
Scooby Doo (which i've always hated but watch the way you look at the corpses of car crashes)
Smurfs (Los Esmurfs)
Speed Racer
Betty Boop
any and all MGM cartoons

and last but not least,

MERRY
awesomely racist and bigoted but oh-so-good MELODIES


Now, THAT'S classic.


(Tex Avery was a god)
posted by liza at 6:26 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Watterson was inspired by Peanuts for chocolate frosted sugar bombs:

Lucy: "What are you eating?"
Linus: {chomp-chomp} "Sugar lumps with honey on them."
Lucy: {Runs out gagging}
Linus: " They're good with cinnamon too!"
posted by TDIpod at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


from the article:
"Primetime family programming is also an endangered species due to the same proliferation of cable TV. Successful family shows like Full House and Family Matters no longer have a place on broadcast networks because of channels like Nickelodeon and ABC Family."

To this I say WHAT. I don't think anything on Nick or ABC Family compares to what Full House or Family Matters were.

Going back to cartoons:
I'm pretty young. But I totally remember waking up at 630am to catch Sailor Moon (right after Dragon Ball Z, I think), and getting home ASAP to catch Digimon (I'm big on anime, what can I say). On Saturdays I really liked ABC's cartoons -- Pepper Ann or Recess, anyone?
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 7:37 PM on September 22, 2009


Seriously, though, to be classic a thing has to be revered by three consecutive generations. In other news, a diva must be remarkably talented first, and difficult to deal with second. Remarkably talented.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:17 PM on September 22, 2009


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids. "Yeah - we're gonna beat them all and solve that mystery." I'm going to go out on a limb and say their theme tune was better than Jem and the Holograms.
posted by Sparx at 9:12 PM on September 22, 2009


High school class of 1990 here. I remember gorging myself on cereal and cartoons for at least four solid hours on Saturday morning. I'd always flip on the TV on Sunday morning hoping against hope that there would be more cartoons on, and finding, sadly, only Davey and Goliath. And I would watch it, because the other channels had nothing but church or political talk shows. You kids today, you have no idea what we lived through. No idea.
posted by chowflap at 9:13 PM on September 22, 2009


You people are heathens.

The Mighty Hercules -- "softness in his eyes; iron in his thighs"

Tales of the Wizard of Oz

And hell yeah The Amazing Spiderman. Have you watched this show?

Or, uh, if you prefer, the Rocket Robin Hood version.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:17 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Off the top of my head I could only remember a few shows I used to watch -- The Pink Panther, The Jetsons, Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids, Ark II, and whatever Warner Bros. package was running. Which didn't make sense because that's nowhere near enough shows to account for the five or six hours I spent in front of the TV every Saturday morning. So I went back and checked the original schedules to figure out what used to fill in the rest of the gaps, and it became pretty obvious why I couldn't remember them without assistance:

Mission: Magic! (Starring Rick Springfield!)
Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (title card: "Look! We're not even trying!")
Emergency +4
Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch
The New Adventures of Gilligan
Shazam!
The Lost Saucer

It kind of goes on like that: the ones that weren't bad live-action shows were bad knockoffs of other live-action shows. (For every Honeymooners that becomes The Flintstones, a dozen All In The Familys exit the meatgrinder as The Barkleys.) Likely if I saw any of them today it'd go about as well when my thirty-something self finally saw an episode of my nine-year-old self's all-time favorite show ever (The Six Million Dollar Man): not well at all.
posted by Lazlo at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously, goddamn. Watch that Wizard of Oz clip. Strangely addictive.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:29 PM on September 22, 2009


The thing is, I don't even recall Dexter's Lab, Powerpuff Girls, etc. as being Saturday morning cartoons. My memory might be fuzzy but I swore when they were first on the air, they'd show the cartoons primetime during the week, which isn't the same thing as getting up early on Saturday morning to watch them.

For most of my childhood, I mostly remember switching between ABC and Fox for Saturday morning cartoons, though I think it would be around 11 that they'd show Beakman's World on CBS. Then I'd go back to ABC and see O.G. Readmore (I seem to recall one episode where they took some liberties with a retelling of "Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde" to the point Robert Louis Stevenson shows up to object to changing the story to the part where the message was lost, and he set everything right) and I'd watch the Saturday afternoon film (a serial version of The Mouse and the Motorcycle is all I remember).

I also remember how there would be one night in the fall where the TGIF before the season premiere of the new cartoons would show clips from the new shows.
posted by champthom at 9:38 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Durn Bronzefist did you grow up in the Maritimes with CHSJ / MITV or were there other TV stations as limited in their cartoon budgets as well?

For weekday morning cartoons I always remember being embarrassed to get up to watch Teddy Ruxpin since it was a show about a teddy bear and obviously for much younger kids than me but God damn if it wasn't way way better than it had any business being. Complex arcing story lines, a definite conclusion, villains that were actually scary (M.A.V.O.). And I'm sure without L.B.'s influence I wouldn't have grown up to be such a smartass.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:35 PM on September 22, 2009


bastionofsanity put up the comment that makes me feel old here. Why? Because every single one of the animaniacs songs he links to here is now wrong. Clinton isn't the president, Czekoslovakia doesn't exist, and there aren't nine planets (sorry, Pluto).
posted by nat at 12:23 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


TDIpod:
"Lucy: {Runs out gagging}
Linus: " They're good with cinnamon too!"
"

That's one for the blog.

liza: "
Krazy Kat


Man, you got my hopes up with that one, but it turns out to be some lame Bosco clone.

washburn: "Maybe it wasn't quite Saturday morning fare, but I'm quite convinced that no cartoon's introductory sequence will ever top the opening minute of Battle of the Planets (aka G-Force)."

It's the music that makes it. Japanese shows from that time had fucking awesome music. Couple of months ago someone linked to episodes of Star Wolf, a space opera live action show from Japan at about the same time, and the music was just excellent. Really made the show. The Mystery Science Theater guys even remarked upon it in a host segment when they did the patched-together-episodes "Fugitive Alien" movies.

Oh, that's something else that connects Battle of the Planets and Star Wolf (and thus with MST3K): they were both brought over to the U.S. by Sandy Frank Productions.
posted by JHarris at 12:59 AM on September 23, 2009


Space Coyote: "For weekday morning cartoons I always remember being embarrassed to get up to watch Teddy Ruxpin since it was a show about a teddy bear and obviously for much younger kids than me but God damn if it wasn't way way better than it had any business being. Complex arcing story lines, a definite conclusion, villains that were actually scary (M.A.V.O.)"

Agreed completely.

Durn Bronzefist: "Seriously, goddamn. Watch that Wizard of Oz clip. Strangely addictive."

I first heard of it a few months ago, and it's actually not bad, although it does suffer a bit from that hyper-stylized and relatively inexpensive animation that ruined theatrical cartoons in the 50s. I was surprised.

champthom: "I also remember how there would be one night in the fall where the TGIF before the season premiere of the new cartoons would show clips from the new shows."

I used to just live for those specials, beg the 'rents for the TV time to watch them. Looking back, they were uniformly abysmal, at a level suitable for Everything Is Terrible.

Durn Bronzefist: "You people are heathens.

The Mighty Hercules -- "softness in his eyes; iron in his thighs"

Tales of the Wizard of Oz

And hell yeah The Amazing Spiderman. Have you watched this show?
"

If you're responding me denying the classic status of Spider-man and his Amazing Friends, it's not the same show. The one I was talking about is the 80s update with Iceman and Firestorm. I don't seem to remember it being really bad, but not really good either.
posted by JHarris at 1:08 AM on September 23, 2009


The one I was talking about is the 80s update with Iceman and Firestorm. I don't seem to remember it being really bad, but not really good either.

Yeah, I don't think it was a masterpiece, but I remember liking it a lot. The once-an-episode scene of Peter Parker's swingin pad transforming into super computer central hero HQ inspired many Saturday afternoon adventures.

And at least there wasn't an annoying talking animal sidekick.
posted by Spatch at 5:52 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]




For myself, Saturday morning cartoons were a serious matter around 1965. Somehow, I was fortunate that my sister was uninterested. I became extremely territorial about my seat at the TV on Saturday mornings, together with my breakfast. It was MY time (yes, in all caps). I wouldn't even take shit from my father, bugging me about some bullshit like 'chores'. I knew what I was supposed to do, and intended on doing it...as soon as my shows were over! END OF DISCUSSION! It is doubtless from these situations that I learned to be completely intolerant of anyone telling me I had to do stuff I already knew.

As for what my shows were, back then: I don't remember many, and some apparently were short lived. I liked "The Impossibles", disliked the "Frankenstein Junior" that played with them. Spiderman was there, too. I was quite superhero oriented at that age. Sadly, I didn't appreciate Rocky & Bullwinkle back then. And where I lived, it was late in the morning. And yes, indeed, American Bandstand was the hint that it was time to do other things.

All that being said, I have to say this: Dexter's Labratory totally rules. It's the first 'new' cartoon I've ever seen that I really like. Partly because I relate well to having an older sister. But mostly because I totally relate to the imagination of Dexter. Reality and imagination weren't always properly divided, you know?

Courage, the Cowardly Dog fascinates me as well, but not as reliable as Dexter. It's a very seriously weird cartoon, which is why I like it. Stupid Dog!

Why, yes. I have a rather unusual love for animation, for someone my age. I have a PVR filled with Dexter, Bugs Bunny, and other gems, including a pile of MGM cartoons. Sadly, no one seems to want to run Walter Lantz's material much anymore. I miss his stuff a lot. Yes, he was clearly racist as hell. But his wit was fabulous, regardless. (These include Woody Woodpecker, Chilly Willie, and others I can't recall).
posted by Goofyy at 6:17 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What was that live-action show about a group or family in the post-apocalyptic future roving around in a VERY COOL white futurismic RV? Doing science? I don't know what they were doing.
posted by everichon at 6:56 AM on September 23, 2009


Requisite "The Mighty Hercules" joke:

If Hercules has got the strength of 10 ordinary men, why don't 11 guys get together and beat the shit out of him?
posted by mazola at 7:36 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


A cartoon, or any sort of pop culture artifact, becomes 'classic' when it falls a few decades into the hindsight of its appreciators. Reminding readers that you're old is pointless. In fact, your cartoons were covered in the post.

Agree agree agree. There are probably posters here who were born in the 1990s. I don't get annoyed when people talk about things that are 'classic' to Americans yet didn't hit outside the borders, because, y'know, not everyone on the internet is my age and my nationality.
posted by mippy at 7:38 AM on September 23, 2009


Someone should do a British stop-motion thread, mind. I wish Big Bertha and Portland Bill were in a similar online archive...
posted by mippy at 7:39 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was Ark II! My favorite show! Linked above by Lazlo. It's reassuring that a couple of you are my age and experienced the true psychedelic era of children's TV: Josie & the Pussycats in Outer Space, anyone? Lidsville? Lidsville was really, really weird. Even weird for the time period.

I was in my late teens and early twenties for the eighties stuff but I really fondly remember Dungeons and Dragons and Kidd Video and I can't believe nobody has mentioned PeeWee's Playhouse yet. That was the Saturday morning show college kids got up to watch: wake and bake and settle in with PeeWee.

I think that the 80's childhood was where everything congealed. You actually had national syndicated programming,

I think it actually started ten or even fifteen years or so earlier. In the seventies everybody in the country watched the same stuff.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:46 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now...Saturday would roll around, and you would have your intellegence. You'd swap between NBC, ABC, and CBS and gloss over PBS as quickly as possible (that was some news show, educational stuff they ran during the week, and sopme booring british show called masterpiece theatre that you wouldn't find interesting until you were 16 or so).


See, we didn't have that. We had Saturday Morning Television - ITV and BBC each had a three-hour long magazine show, with their own puppets and imported cartoons (usually The Raccoons) and live bands. For some reason, these were replaced by different shows in the summer, such as Fully Booked (set in a hotel with a puppet cow called Morag) or Parallel 9 (set in a space universe with a purple dinosaur called Brian).
posted by mippy at 7:47 AM on September 23, 2009


On non preview, oops, that first line is for everichon.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:47 AM on September 23, 2009


it's not the same show. The one I was talking about is the 80s update with Iceman and Firestorm.

Ah, that's alright then. But then I inevitably compare every new incarnation of Spiderman to the '60's cartoon and find the newer versions wanting.

Ark II! My favorite show!

This stands out for me as the one thing I remembered from childhood that I had a terrible time describing to other people, and never received any confirmation that I hadn't dreamed the whole thing up until the internet came along.

Durn Bronzefist did you grow up in the Maritimes with CHSJ / MITV or were there other TV stations as limited in their cartoon budgets as well?

I think I only remember the old stuff because it stood out. Everything else was a blur of Smurfs/Flintstones/Popeye/ScoobyDoo/Jetsons and I hated anything involving Mickey Mouse or his gang. Occasionally something like Astro Boy or Captain Nemo would come along and I'd marvel at how different it was. I think I caught a fair amount of Bugs Bunny, though.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:39 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ark II! Thanks, mygothlaundry! If I had an Ark II model, and an Eagle from Space: 1999, I would be the stokedest.
posted by everichon at 12:48 PM on September 23, 2009


mygothlaundry: "Josie & the Pussycats in Outer Space, anyone?

Actually not one of Hanna-Barbera's shining moments IMO. Their unholt genre-mangling attempts, trying to bring multiple audiences in on one show, also gave us that also gave us Casper and the Space Angels (Casper the Friendly Ghost, outer space, and girl police) and the Super Globetrotters (superheroes and the Harlem Globetrotters).

In fact, the Harlem Globetrotters are kind of the poster team for ill-advised media representation. HB did more than one Globetrotter cartoon, and they cameoed in Scooby-Doo, too.

Lidsville? Lidsville was really, really weird. Even weird for the time period.

Yeah, but c'mon, that's Sid and Marty Kroft we're talking about here. Everything they did was like that.

Goofyy: "Courage, the Cowardly Dog fascinates me as well, but not as reliable as Dexter. It's a very seriously weird cartoon, which is why I like it. Stupid Dog!"

A few months ago I delivered pizza to a local family who were having a party, and I espied the inside of their garage. It was painted with huge, on-model Courage the Cowardly Dog characters! Courage and Eustace were both there. They even got that little hole in Courage's tooth right! It was a shocking thing indeed to find delivering pizza to guys on the outskirts of Brunswick, Georgia. Almost gave me a bit of hope for humanity.
posted by JHarris at 8:21 PM on September 23, 2009


Lidsville starred Charles Nelson Reilly. Do not speak ill of anything with CNR.
posted by wendell at 8:37 PM on September 23, 2009


Wow, "Lidsville"? As if the Kroffts' heavy drug influence wasn't obvious enough. Mind you, "H.R. Puffinstuff" doesn't obscure much, either.

That theme song goes on forever, too. Makes for less scripted material for each episode, I guess, which would mean more time for Sid and Marty to get rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreal fuckin' high on drugs.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:01 PM on September 23, 2009


Pufnstuf. You know.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:02 PM on September 23, 2009


Captain O.G. Readmore?

That's him!
posted by drezdn at 4:39 AM on September 24, 2009


Guys, ‘classic’ does not really have to have a chronological connotation. The first definition from dictionary.com reads:

Ok. We're looking up money laundering in a dictionary.


Also, I wish I had a friend like Ookla the Mok.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:16 AM on September 27, 2009


Dang, all that and no love for Wacky Races? You people never rocked the Muttley laugh? Penelope Pitstop, for the love of jeebus. I was always certain that Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth were Canadian...I don't know why.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:48 PM on October 16, 2009


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