What happened to Saturday morning cartoons?
Where did the good old days go?
What happened to Saturday morning cartoons?At what point did they disappear and does it change children of today?How about society in general? Does the loss of something so novel and seemingly trivial have an impact on the younger generations?
Anything to look forward to?
Some of my fondest memories are rooted around Saturday mornings,at home,laying on my belly in front of the tv.My favorite action figures spread out across our living room floor and mom cooking breakfast are a comforting memory that is entwined into who I am today.From the Smurfs to Bugs and Friends to Rocky and Bullwinkle,Saturday was the only day my parents didn't have to use power equipment to get me out of bed. Even my father would occasionally slow down long enough to watch cartoons for a couple of hours before he started his busy weekend outdoors working.Friday nights were spent in anticipation of getting up and watching my favorite cartoons.No plans were ever considered before noon well into my teen years,even my parents worked around Saturday morning,it was like an unspoken law.This made Saturdays special and every week kids had something to look forward to and created a sense of magic and reward for a week of school.
I grew up,forgot about cartoons altogether for several years until after my first child was born.It took a year or two but it hit me one Saturday morning when my son was watching one of his favorite VHS movies.I thought I would pass on an old ritual, I picked him up went into the living room and plopped down on the couch grabbed the remote and switched the t.v.on and to my utter horror NO CARTOONS! I flipped through every channel and the only ones that had cartoons were the channels that played cartoons all day every day and they were geared toward older kids. What happened? Did children change? Did the world change?What would kids have to look forward to and what would make Saturday mornings special?
As time passed and after my wife and I had three more boys I came to understand that kids today do not have those little things to look forward to. With my first two children I consciously created things to make the weekend something to look forward to by keeping them involved in weekend athletics.My youngest children seem to have little interest in sports and it has proved to be tough to tear them away from the video game console.
Did someone along the way decide that Saturday cartoons were not important? Could it be that the bombardment of cartoons on cable t.v. brought down the ratings of cartoons as a whole?The majority of these cartoons shown on cartoon specific channels are just not very entertaining and some are just plain offensive and the content is aimed more toward teens and young adults.One evening while shopping I saw DVD's featuring some of the cartoons I loved as a child,so I bought a couple.I assumed that my children would be bored by Bugs Bunny and Foghorn Leghorn Elmer Fudd but to my surprise they have watched those cartoons more than anything else in their vast library of DVD's and now stream as many as i can afford or find online.
As my older boys began to drive I was also surprised to find that all of the things we did as teens had now become illegal. No more cruising around town or hanging out downtown talking to friends. No one under eighteen can be at the malls on weekend nights without an adult and groups of kids are broken into sections at the theatres. All of the things I so fondly remember growing up are gone or against the law. So what are the kids today to look forward to? Parents can try to make special traditions within the family but otherwise kids don't have the things that my generation had.It seems that at some point kids actually stopped having that importance that they once had.It's almost as if they have become too protected from life or a nuisance such as the case of "cruising"around town.I asked some of the local "officials" in my area ,why the kids couldn't gather anywhere anymore. They all said the same old bad for business and for the safety of the public rhetoric.Curious,I called a couple of the local t.v. stations and asked why they stopped airing cartoons on Saturday mornings and was told that it wasn't as much due to ratings as it was management had other ideas for programming line-ups. So apparently our society today does not view children with the same level of importance that it did when I was a child. Even though statistically children still account for the same amount of money spent in the family. As a society on the edge of economic and social failure it seems to me that we might back up and take a hard look at the very things we hold as important and what as a people we value in life. Is it possible that maybe this is a trend in a lack of values that is manifesting itself in the business world and in our government that has directly caused the dire straits our land is in this very moment. Seems like such a simple small little thing to have those special memories,but is it simple after all? Maybe we should take a step back and start from the beginning and place an emphasis on some things that have been forgotten. Maybe something as simple as Saturday morning cartoons could turn out to be part of the thread that binds a society together. Either way it would please me and my house to get up early and see Boris Bandanov and Natasha trying to get that moose and squirrel.