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The Death Of Saturday Mornings
Having been born in the late 1950’s, I grew up as a child in the 60’s. I thank God for those times. There was still a certain level of innocence in those days. My young mind was not preoccupied with sex, drugs, or any other type of vice -- I did kid things. I played, went to school, kept my room cleaned, and kept from getting beat-up by bullies.
Most children during that time didn’t concern themselves with technology like kids today; there were no cell phones, i-pods, dvd’s , satellite, cable, plasma screens, gps, x-box, -- well you get the picture. All we had were transistor radios, backyard baseball and football games, hopscotch, jacks, etc. As for girls, at least for some of us, were taboo, because to kiss them, was to run the risk of “cooties”. You know, to this day, I still don’t know what it was. Ah, those were the good old days.
But Saturday mornings, were great. Our main source of entertainment, at least for me was a black and white TV with rabbit-ears. We had three channels, CBS, ABC, and NBC -- four if you count PBS, but that was it.
Saturday morning programming began at 6am with local programming, for Cincinnatians, it was Mr. Hop and Artie Mouse, then Captain Kangaroo, then later on in the morning the cartoons started. I sat glued to the TV for shows like Casper the Friendly Ghost, Frankenstein Jr, Space Ghost, Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor, The Mighty Heroes, The Superman-Aquaman Hour, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, Samson and Goliath, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel -- I can go on and on. The trouble I ran into was that I had to constantly switch channels, because there was something good on every station,-- I tried to catch a little of each show.
These programs started around 1958 with Hanna Barbera's Ruff and Ready ending in 1969, at the start of what I call the Scooby-Doo era (1969), when things went south. The reason being is that some watch-dog group thought that the aformentioned cartoons were too violent. God only knows what they think about Anime’ today. Even networks such as Cartoon Network's show are rife with violence and vulgarity. And what do these watch-dog groups think now that characters such as Superman and Bateman have made it to the big screen. Now, to be honest, Tom and Jerry, and the Road Runner/Coyote cartoons, as funny as they were, were a little over-the-top, but Tom and Jerry have been around for over 60 years. So the result was “kid-friendly” shows like Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, Jabber-Jaw, live-action shows like Isis, Shazam, The Banana Splits, Jason of Star Command, and of course, Scooby-Doo. Except for Scooby-Doo, even the artwork on the animated shows during this time, showed a lack-luster quality.
Since I’m strolling down memory-lane, there were movies like Francis The Talking Mule series, Ma and Pa Kettle, The Bowery Boys, Abbott and Costello, The Our Gang Comedies, and The sons of Hecules that came on Sundays around 12 noon. There were cartoons I would run home from school to see, shows such as the Original Speed Racer, Ultraman, The Marvel Superheroes, Rocket Robin Hood, Marine Boy, Johnny Cypher, the 8th Man.
Today, Saturday morning children's programming consists of live action educational animal shows,(Yawn!)
Happy Tree Friends
This is what makes for quality children's programming today. I found my young grandkids watching this garbage. Although it didn't seem to phase them, I was immediately disgusted. This makes Tom The Cat's troubles pale by comparison.
These characters may look cute and cuddly, but I hope you have a strong stomach.
Please let me know what you think.