The 10: Saturday Morning Cartoon Edition
By: Winston Brown, Chief Research and Development Engineer for CLASS of Seventy-Four.
If you were a kid in the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s, you were fortunate enough to experience the phenom of Saturday Morning cartoons.
I’m talking about before the Zach Morris era.
When you would get up, get your favorite cereal and have full control of your television. It was a Garden of Eden. Cartoons on all three channels all morning. What more could a kid ask for?
I’ve decided that my next few posts will break down what I like to call the “Golden Era” of Saturday mornings…the 80’s. I am going to go through the entire decade by seasons, breaking them down by network and time slot.
Let’s start with the Spring of 1980.
I was five turning six in the Fall. My mother was a cartoon head as well, so I would watch the shows she watched. This is my earliest memory of when my love affair with Saturday morning starts. It’s still my favorite day of the week.
Saturday Morning Spring 1980
1. 7:00-8:00 NBC “Kidbits” – I usually got up super early on a Saturday morning. “Kidbits” was a local science show geared towards kids. It was hosted by Gary ed Mach, and he would do cool science experiments If you grew up in Detroit in the 80’s, as a kid you watched Kidbits.
2. 8:00-9:00 ABC -“Superfriends” – This is probably still one of my favorite cartoons. You have Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aqua Man going toe to toe with Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Gorilla Grodd and the rest of the Legion of Doom every week. I don’t think I did any channel switching when this was on. I didn’t want to miss anything.
3. 9:00-9:30 CBS – “Bugs Bunny/Road Runner ” – Without question, this is a classic! Even today it holds up.
4. 9:30-10:00 ABC – ” Plastic Man” – What can I say? I love the cheese! I thought he was dope because he stretches himself and I always thought that would have been a cool power to have.
5. 10:00-10:30 NBC – “Fred and Barney meet the Schmoo“- In retrospect, not really the best of the Flintstone reboots, but Fred and Barney were my guys. Not a real fan of the Schmoo though.
6. 10:30-11:00 NBC – “Daffy Duck” – Daffy Duck is one of my favorite characters from the Bugs Bunny universe. He was always too smart for his own good.
7. 11:00-11:30 CBS – “Popeye“– I have to be honest and admit that this cartoon is responsible for me eating spinach as a kid. I was always expecting to get the crazy steroid forearms like him, but it unfortunately never happened.
8. 11:30-12:00 CBS- “Fat Albert” – Probably one of the greatest cartoons ever created that really gets slept on. Say what you will about Bill Cosby now, but he gave us some of the most iconic characters of all time with this one. From Fat Albert to the Brown Hornet, this one is a classic.
9. 12:00-12:30- ABC- “ABC Weekend Special” – This would be where a special cartoon or kids movie would be featured. I believe this is where I first watched “Wille Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” It would later become one of my all-time favorite films. Again, the Gene Wilder version is the only one I acknowledge.
10.12:30-1:00 ABC- “American Bandstand“- It wasn’t “Soul Train” but you could catch some cool acts performing from time to time. This was my introduction to Prince and Janet Jackson. Dick Clark also. Little did I know then that I would be spending pretty much every New Year’s with him for years to come…