Saturday morning TV schedules from the 1950s to today.
August 6, 2002 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Saturday morning TV schedules from the 1950s to today. TV Guide presents the saturday morning schedules for the big three ABC, NBC, and CBS. Although looking through the listings is a nice bit of nostalgia, what's really interesting is watching the rise and fall of pop culture over the listings. From The Beatles to I am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali to Mr. T to Ace Ventura.

Also starting in the 1990s, you can see the networks moving away from saturday morning cartoons. There are several factors, the main two being the Children's Television Act (enacted in 1990), and cable television. Which unfortunately has led to the births of such monsters as Saved by the Bell.
posted by patrickje (58 comments total)
1988 was the bomb.
Garfield, Alvin & the Chipmunks, and the Looney Tunes hour.
Thanks for the mem's, patrickje.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:49 AM on August 6, 2002

What happened to "the Little's?" I thought I remembered them right near "Richie Rich." Those were my favorites.

I HATED the Smurfs, when they added Scrappy-doo to Scooby doo, and Muppet Babies.

Man, there's always been a whole lotta CRAP on TV.
posted by aacheson at 11:51 AM on August 6, 2002

Hey Vern, It's Ernest
The Get Along Gang

Ahhh the memories.
posted by juicyraoul at 11:53 AM on August 6, 2002

This just dredged something up. A while back one of my co-workers was arguing that all information that could be used for nefarious purposes should be banned from the internet. He strongly and wrongly felt that things like the Kansas city bombing wouldn't have happened. I recall that I first learned that fuel oil and fertilizer could make an explosive device when I was a kid. They didn't specify the fertilizer (organic v.s. the stuff I would've seen my dad use on the lawn) but there was some cartoon where either the hero or the villain made use of diesel and fertilizer to make a bomb. I think it might have been an animated Tarzan or Lone Ranger but I can't really remember.

Does anybody to happen to remember any more details?
posted by substrate at 12:13 PM on August 6, 2002

HR puf-n-stuff, Bugs Bunny for an hour, Pink Panther...ah, those were the days. :)
posted by dejah420 at 12:18 PM on August 6, 2002

The Smurfs were memorable but most of my favorites come from a later era: Reboot, The Tick, and The Silver Surfer. And don't forget the Sunday morning cartoons.
posted by euphorb at 12:20 PM on August 6, 2002

This alway tickled my pink.
Meta sometimes reminds me of this show show.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2002

The Heathcliff and Dingbat Show รข?? An animated series starring the comic-strip cat (voiced by Mel Blanc), a vampire dog, a pumpkin and a skeleton who come to people's aid.

And they say LSD was bad. No wonder I ingested boat loads of Count Chocula and practically welded myself to the avocado green carpeting in front of our family TV.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:22 PM on August 6, 2002

ahh.....1985. the best 2 hours of cartoons ever. muppet babies followed by hulk's rock n' wrestlin'. long live the junkyard dog. what happened to wrestling cartoons? that show was dope.
posted by oliver_crunk at 12:28 PM on August 6, 2002

From 1958:

The George Hamilton IV Show

And you're complaining about The Bell?
posted by GriffX at 12:28 PM on August 6, 2002

substrate - I remember MacGyver making bombs out of fertilizer, lighter fluid, and newspaper. Does that help?
posted by starvingartist at 12:31 PM on August 6, 2002

Don't knock Saved By the Bell... I sooooo had the biggest crush on Kelly Kapowski!
posted by bmxGirl at 12:36 PM on August 6, 2002

Certain inquiries spring eternal: the name lf a third-tier cartoon on WNBC in the late 1960's, or perhaps early 1970's with lots of rocket ships. I think it was followed by DoDo, Kid From Outer Space. Probably preceded by The Modern Farmer at 6am.

Do little kids still wake up at 6am?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:37 PM on August 6, 2002

Everything started going to hell in '86, when they changed the name of The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Hour to Bugs Bunny and Tweety. Tweety? TWEETY? He must have had a kickass agent to get top billing next to The Bunny like that. I hate that little bird.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2002

"you've got a friend, friend, friend in funky phantom..." and "lidsville is the kook, kook, kookiest..."
oh, to be 8 again! (but what was it about repeating everything 3 times?--those are the ones i remember best)
posted by amberglow at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2002

Lordy, lots of memories there.

The '80s: I remember being adhered to the TV for the whole of the morning, sucking the two-dimensional eye candy down like an addict. GI Joe, Transformers, Ghostbusters, Muppet Babies, Ed Grimley and yea, even the likes of Alf and Hulk Hogan's Rock n' Wrestling, were my drugs. Noon would pass and with it would come the abrupt end to my wild ride. American Bandstand here, candlepin bowling there... no matter which channel I fled to, I met with oppressive banality. It was like throwing a drunk into a shower and turning the cold water on full blast. I'd peel my sad carcass of the couch and blearily make my way outside to find my friends.

Thank you, Dick Clark. If you and your craptacular, anachronism of a show weren't there to repulse me and drive me outside, I probably would've been a plumper and paler kid.
posted by picea at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2002

1983 on CBS, now that was Saturday morning. The animated adventures of Donkey Kong and Pitfall Harry, nerdy kids fighting orcs, and the Dukes of Hazzard racin' around the world. It didn't get any better than that. Can't believe they ditched all those and kept the Muppet Babies.
posted by ramakrishna at 12:43 PM on August 6, 2002

This thread confirms one of my strongest beliefs: I was born in the wrong country.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:47 PM on August 6, 2002

The 70s was the best for kid's shows (ie, not glorified 30 minute toy commercials) on the networks. The Star Trek cartoons were written by people who wrote for the live action version ... and let's not forget the many well-known authors who wrote for the first Land of the Lost.

However, we also need to thank Sid and Marty Krofft for seriously warping all our fragile little minds back then. Talking flutes and sea monsters ... oh, the metaphors, the metaphors...
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:52 PM on August 6, 2002

don't knock saved by the bell... after all, it gave us screech!
posted by quonsar at 12:57 PM on August 6, 2002

Galaxy High School and Teen Wolf! Wow. I'd kind of always assumed that those were just figments of my imagination. Wish I could say the same of both Bobby's World and Hammerman....
posted by youhas at 1:04 PM on August 6, 2002

Then there are shows like Hot Fudge and Cool McCool. Fleeting, half-remembered: before the web I was convinced I had dreamed these shows because I couldn't find anyone who remembered them.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2002

Does anyone remember a show called "The Lost Cities of Gold"? I think it was on Nickelodean. Or what about Voltron? And I seem to remember a lot of sci-fi based cartoons in the mid 80s about robots and spaceships and the like. Anyone remember the names of those?
posted by pjgulliver at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2002

A vote for Land of the Lost as all time coolest show with low budget.

As for bad shows with low budgets, Shazam! and Isis come to mind. Gee, I would love to see videos of those!
posted by ParisParamus at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2002

Hmm, I spent most of my childhood outside of the US. Of what little Saturday morning programming I did manage to catch during my parent's brief sojourns in the States, I recall thinking that it was all crap except for Bugs Bunny.

When I settled back in Los Angeles in the early '70s, I caught the first wave of Japanese anime: Astro Boy, Speed Racer, Amazing 3, and Kimba, along with Gerry Andersen's SuperMarionation shows. That stuff made a much bigger impression on me than anything the networks were putting out.
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:13 PM on August 6, 2002

PJ Gullivrer: The lists mostly revolve around Broadcast Television. More info on the Mysterious Cities of Gold here.
posted by dr_dank at 1:18 PM on August 6, 2002

Captain Scarlet and Thunderbirds.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:19 PM on August 6, 2002

Shazam! and Isis

That was my favorite! I recently bought some tapes at a film convention. They, um, don't hold up very well.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:23 PM on August 6, 2002

thanks wolf and paris, i was feeling old around here!
all this 80s talk...they don't know what they missed...
the Kroffts made me who I am today (no, don't ask!)
posted by amberglow at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2002

there used to be a local band in tulsa (not hanson) who's name I don't remember that had a Kelly Kapowski tribute song. All i remember was the beginning of the chorus, which started out
"Kelly Kapowskiiiiii, you're number 1"

It was full of allusions to the Bell.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2002

They didn't hold up very well then, either. What year(s) was that? Are those actors still around? I want to music from those shows!
posted by ParisParamus at 1:25 PM on August 6, 2002

80's talk? Try early-mid 1970's (which is an eternity from for a sub-11 year old.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:26 PM on August 6, 2002

Supercarrrrr! Supercarrrrr!
It's the marvel of the age!

SuperMarionation is quite possibly the creepiest thing ever.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2002

no, that's what i meant...sorry...most posts were about 80s cartoons (way after my prime cartoon-watching years), not my 70s shows...
posted by amberglow at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2002

Feh. The best stuff on in the early '80s was after school: Robotech and Voltron. 'nuff said.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2002

Very cool link. Having recently seen the original Japanese series, I would agree that it's superior to the first part of Robotech (less dialogue and voice-overs, a slightly more grown-up tone, and, so help me, I liked Minmay's Japanese songs better than the American ones). It was, however, groundbreaking for its time. Better than GI Joe, where no one was shot, and no one died.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:40 PM on August 6, 2002

Thanks for bringing up the Krofts amberglow. This "shellevision" show rocked my world as a youngin'.

And where were the Banana Splits?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:44 PM on August 6, 2002

Let's not forget Thundarr. My suspicion has always been that infomercials were (at least partially) responsible for the death of Saturday mornings.
posted by yerfatma at 1:46 PM on August 6, 2002

SuperMarionation is quite possibly the creepiest thing ever.

I was more interested in the cool gear and rockets so I didn't really pay much attention to them, although I'll admit that I found the shots of marionettes smoking cigarettes quite amusing.

I just bought a Thunderbirds DVD and watched it with my 13-year old son. We both got a big laugh out of the way that almost every episode involves some big nuclear-powered device going haywire immediately after a character says, "Don't worry. It's perfectly safe!"
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:54 PM on August 6, 2002

My obscure mid-80s Saturday morning animated memories:

"Dragon's Lair" -- starring Dirk the Daring. Right before the commercial break, they'd set up a cliffhanger and say that Dirk was going to do one of two things. When they came back from the commercials, the announcer would say, "If Dirk had done this..." and whatever that alternative was, he would have died. Instead he always picked the better choice.

"Turbo Teen" -- the adventures of a teenage guy who would turn into a car if you poured hot water on him, and would turn back into an ordinary teenager if you poured cold water on him. Or maybe it was vice versa. I can't remember

"Fonz and the Happy Days Gang" -- Fonz, some of the gang, and this futuristic girl named Cupcake got stuck travelling through time in a time machine, always hoping to get back to the year 1957.

Loved, loved, loved the Superfriends, or the Super-Powers Team, or whatever they were calling themselves during any particular season. Yay Firestorm!

And I'd be glued to the TV for the full 90 minutes (90 minutes!!) of the Smurfs.

Don't forget Schoolhouse Rock (ABC) and One to Grow On (NBC)!
posted by Tin Man at 1:55 PM on August 6, 2002

One very good cartoonl; one of the few programs which did not make me cringe, was the Fantastic 4, also circa 1970.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:01 PM on August 6, 2002

OK, to all the old fogies complaining about the '80's shows, first of all, did you all even get to watch Garfield and Friends or The Real Ghostbusters? :)

Second, does anyone besides me have fond memories of CBS Storybreak? Cartoon reenactments of great children's books? I used to watch that show and want to spend all day in the library.

Yes, I was a nerd.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 2:09 PM on August 6, 2002

you're so right Kevin--my bad...
here you go!

"1 banana, 2 banana, 3 banana, 4...." (see, that 3-times repeating again!!!)
posted by amberglow at 2:10 PM on August 6, 2002

You can relive some 80s cartoon nostalgia by watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which comes on at 11:00am Saturday morning on the ABC Family Channel. Watching those cartoons is a real treat for me, especially when I consider how entertained I was by those shows as a child. But before I get too weepy and sentimental, I have to admit that modern shows like X-Men:Evolution and the new Justice League cartoons really put those old shows to same.

But I do wish that they still made Thundarr, that was a fine cartoon!
posted by rks404 at 2:17 PM on August 6, 2002

That site is unavailable...
posted by ParisParamus at 2:23 PM on August 6, 2002

Ufez Jones: Rock on! Perhaps I should try to find them and do a cover!
posted by bmxGirl at 2:33 PM on August 6, 2002

1973 seems to be the first season I recall being cognizant of, (I was 3.) I never realized that Scooby Doo jumped ship at CBS and Moved to ABC. It makes sense though, otherwise he would have been banned from the "Laff Olympics". Does anyone remember the Scooby season where his hillbilly cousin was on the show? I think his name was Jasper. he was grey, and I think he talked like Christopher Guest in "Best in Show".

BTW....neither Scooby or Doo are in our spell-check....
The suggestion for Scooby is Schoolboy.

"Schoolboy, Schoolboy, Dooooo.........."
posted by buz46 at 2:41 PM on August 6, 2002

otherwise he would have been banned from the "Laff Olympics"
who says there's a war on?
posted by amberglow at 2:44 PM on August 6, 2002

the adventures of a teenage guy who would turn into a car if you poured hot water on him, and would turn back into an ordinary teenager if you poured cold water on him

sounds like a rip-off
posted by lotsofno at 3:48 PM on August 6, 2002

oh man , laff a lympics,

thats an old one.......

stop the pigeon was good,

1. dick dastardly

2. skeletor

3. mr burns.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:54 PM on August 6, 2002

buz46, I think you're thinking of Scooby-Dum.

The interesting thing about this for me is that I can peg right when I started and stopped watching Saturday morning cartoons based on my memory of the schedules: age 3 (though I probably started earlier) through 13. And then again around ages 23-25.
posted by jjg at 6:40 PM on August 6, 2002

Looking back on those schedules, I am amazed that I got up before dawn (in winter) to start watching that crap. Some I still remember fondly...the Littles, Storybreak, Fat Albert, Muppet Babies...But why, oh Lord, did I watch the Smurfs? Let alone the Snorks? Egads!

Afterschool was where it was at. Voltron and GI Joe. Yeah baby!
posted by kayjay at 6:58 PM on August 6, 2002

The Smurfs were a strange bunch. With only one female, how did they propagate the species? And why did Gargamel hate them so much? Did they reject his art when he was younger? I hear that a Smurf doctor helped his mother when she was dying, so Gargamel spirited him out of the forest. Just another irony of the Smurf Holocaust.

Afterschool was where it was at. Voltron and GI Joe. Yeah baby!

Damn straight!! But I'm talking Marine boy, Speed Racer, Kimba The White Lion; and live action like: The Bannana Splits and Lancelot Link. Hells Yeah!! (Checks mirror for grey hairs)
posted by buz46 at 8:10 PM on August 6, 2002

Ok, so who remembers the Great Space Coaster?
posted by kayjay at 10:18 PM on August 6, 2002

On the Great Space Coaster
Get on board!
On the Great Space Coaster!
Off we go!
posted by jennyb at 4:46 AM on August 7, 2002

Ok, so who remembers the Great Space Coaster?

No Gnews is good Gnews with Gary Gnu.
Richard Stallman was unavailable for comment.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:14 AM on August 7, 2002

Does anyone remember a show called "The Lost Cities of Gold"?

Do you mean this? I absolutely adored it, especially the theme tune. It was a joint French/Japanese thing I think.
posted by Summer at 7:34 AM on August 7, 2002

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