Animation, Classic TV Cartoons From Way Back When
The best TV cartoons of my childhood
Born in 1952, I am from that generation that were the first to become television addicts. Our huge brown television set, with the tiny screen, was installed in our home with much excitement.
Although at that time, 1959, many television programs were made in colour, English broadcasting and our peculiar TV sets only gave us black and white viewing. Still this did not deter our fascination with the so-called goggle box and, as children, there were some great shows to watch.
Many of the cartoons which were popular when I was a child would seem basic these days. Children currently are used to CGI, computer graphics images, and more imaginative scripts.
However I like to think that those early pioneering cartoons are now classics.
Sure they were not the first cartoons to be shown but they were the first that were played to huge TV audiences around the World.
There are a few cartoons that stand out well in my memory, almost 60 years later, but it is not easy to assess why.
Here are my all time favourite cartoons from the late 1950s and the early 1960s which are as fresh in my mind today as ever.
Simply the Best
Popeye the Sailor-man
As our fist TV set warmed up we could hear the theme tune to Popeye the Sailor-man coming through.
We may have never seen the show before, or heard the theme tune, but we were in no doubt as to what the program was.
Popeye the sailor was a puny individual as opposed to the cartoon bully Bluto. Bluto constantly tried to steal Popeye's gal Olive Oyl. This skinny young woman played with both of their affections but usually ended up running scared of Bluto.
Poor Popeye would take a bashing until he resorted to opening a can of Spinach, by whatever means possible, and downing it in one go.
The transformation was remarkable.
Huge bulging muscles developed instantaneously and Bluto would get what he deserved whilst Popeye got the girl.
Why he bothered which such a fickle female I will never know.
However I guess Popeye helped our parents convince us to eat our greens and showed us that bullies never win. Both great achievements in children.
Popeye the Sailor-man included other quirky characters and a strange baby called Swee pea. No-one ever seemed to know whose baby this was or where he came from.
All mighty suspicious, even to a child.
After all Swee pea did bear more than a passing resemblance to Popeye.
The TV shows we watched of Popeye were often fairly old even back then. However they had everything that we could possibly want.
Years down the road Popeye underwent changes in order to moderize the show but to my mind these inevitably spoiled this classic, children's entertainment.
About 15 years ago I visited Popeye Village on the Island of Malta which is the old set of the Robin Williams movie Popeye. As an old Popeye fan this was a fab experience and much fun.
Good Old Yogi
Yogi and Boo Boo
Remember Yogi Bear? Then you most probably are ancient like me, or at least children will think that you are. Yogi and his buddy Boo Boo made Jellystone's friendly Park Ranger's life a misery.
Yogi was a bit of a smarty pants and constantly trying the patience of Ranger Smith. As he would say at least once in each episode he was " Smarter than the average bear". Now he did not really seem to be but he was smarter than the dumb ranger who always fell foul of Yogi's antics. This was a warm and friendly cartoon with likable characters. Remember the theme song?:-
Yogi Bear is smarter than the average bear,
Yogi Bear is always in the ranger's hair.
At a picnic table you will find him there
Stuffing down more goodies than the average bear.
He will sleep till noon but before it's dark,
He'll have every picnic basket that's in Jellystone Park.
Yogi has it better than a millionaire
That's because he's smarter than the average bear.
What's up Doc?
Bugs Bunny introduced us to other cartoon characters such as Elmer Fud, Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester and Tweety Pie and Road Runner. All were and still are excellent cartoon characters but Bugs with his toothy "What's Up Doc" was the best.
Warner Brothers Looney Tunes went onto to entertain successive generations, young and old, the world over and continue to be well received.
Flintstones and neighbours
When the Flintstones hit our British TV screens they were an instant hit.
The script alone was wacky enough back then to attract huge audiences. Set in prehistoric times the show follows the Flintstone family as they go about their everyday life, but everyday it never is.
With prehistoric animals able to carry out chores, cars that work on pedal foot power and more it was fresh, new and imaginative.
The Flintstones included Fred and his work, his colleagues. friends and hometown. The Rubbles who lived next door were The Flintstones best buddies despite many fall outs. The theme song become one of the most popular and familiar of all time. To this day most people can sing you at least a little of it.
In recent years a couple of Flintstone movies hit the big screen with some success. They were not as successful though as they could have been and I am not sure why. Certainly the idea seemed to be a winning one.
Many other classic, television cartoon spring to mind but the ones mentioned here were, and still are, my all time favourites. All of these cartoons came from the USA. With time UK television began creating their own cartoon classics. However those early memories, from my childhood, of classic TV cartoons all involve characters with American accents.
All I can say about that is:-
YABBA DABBA DOO
Which cartoon was your childhood favourite?
© 2009 Ethel Smith