Saturday Morning Cartoons – R.I.P.
Felt I needed to do that. For years, this was a ritual for kids. Get up, get hollered at by our parents who were trying to sleep, rustle up some food (mine was Alpha- Bits, milk, plenty of sugar), start things off by turning on the tube, get hollered at again ‘cause the sound was too loud, and settle in for the morning. At some point, either one-half or the whole parent team would throw me outside to play (back when we went outside to play and could actually damage ourselves).
But for a solid three or four hours I sat in front of the magic box and watched, without guilt, some of the finest cartoons ever, not computer-generated. Hand-drawn. And with some of the best voice actors ever. Let’s time hop back to an average Saturday morning in ’64.
On CBS, at 9, we crank things up with The Alvin Show, followed by Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. Tennessee, a penguin (I love that name, Tennessee Tuxedo), lived in a zoo with his buddy, a walrus named Chumley. The late great Don Addams (Maxwell Smart – “Sorry about that, Chief.”) voiced Tennessee. Then we had Quick Draw McGraw (I’ll do the thinnin’ around here.”), Mighty Mouse Playhouse (“Here I come to save the day…”), and Linus the Lionhearted (this wasn’t one of my faves, so I probably went for more Alpha-Bits and some Nestle’s Quik – 4 tablespoons, not teaspoons). We’re in the home stretch now with the The Jetsons (“Jane! Stop this crazy thing! Jaaannne!”), hit a snag at noon.
Decision time. One channel had Beany and Cecil (Cecil the sea-sick sea serpent – who came up with that? I think drugs were involved), the other channel had Sky King.
That’s when I’d get yelled at again because I’d try watching both at once, spinning the ol’ tuner back and forth (“You’re going to wear out the dial! Go outside and play!” “Aw, Mom… I won’t do it anymore. I promise.”)
We’d wrap things up with The Bugs Bunny Show, and finally Hoppity Hooper. Then it was time to go outside and play for real because the put stupid old adult news stuff on. That just wasn’t right, man.
Those were the days when we got an education from TV. Captain Kangaroo, for example. Our folks would hound us all the time about saying please and thank you, but if the Captain told us to do so, we did. Days of Magic Drawing Board, Grandfather Clock, and picture books read to us. Where the worst thing that would happen was Mister Moose dropping ping pong balls on the Captain.
Granted, the generation that came along right after us got Mister Rogers and Sesame Street, so they still had some calm, insightful, fun, and educational shows. How do I know? Because even going into adulthood I still would watch those shows. I was in my late teens when one of the most memorable, creative, fun, and educational group of cartoons appeared.
Didn’t matter how old you were, Schoolhouse Rock was a hoot, with its great animation and catchy little tunes. And what a great way to remember all those speech parts, huh?
Conjunction junction, what’s your function? Yeah, I still love it.
So, in honor of those, I leave you tonight with this link. Have fun.
‘til next time… Adios.