August 28, 2006


In 1983 I was in fifth grade, and recess discussions surrounding Saturday morning cartoons were an enjoyable and common pastime. In the Fall of '84 I discovered that the subject had abruptly become taboo among my classmates. Mention of one's interest in say, The Mighty Orbots was grounds for public mockery. Everyone else just seemed to "grow up" that summer. I adapted to the new rules by keeping my passion for weekend animation to myself and a few other low-profile devotees. I hung on to my morning tooning rituals until my late teens when it was my craving for additional sleep, not peer pressure, that put an end to my habit.

83-84 was a highlight in my cartoon watching career, most likely due to the combination of video game inspired programming (which somehow made almost any show tolerable for me) and a handful of well written shows like Dungeons & Dragons and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. With YouTube growing more and more populated, I recently set out to see what sort of Saturday cartoon introductions I could find from this and other eras. Referencing this site, I located quite a few, including most of my favorites. (Although Rubik the Amazing Cube and Dragon's Lair are sadly absent.) Without further ado, here are my findings (Click on the text links to view the intos in a new window. In standard YouTube fashion, image quality varies)...




Kirk D. said...

I've prepared a 70s version of this post for some other time that should be more your speed. I cut my teeth on Land of the Lost, Dr. Shrinker, Space Nuts, Groovie Goolies, etc. so I know the joys of 70s saturday mornings too.

I can only imagine Pryor's Place was following in the footsteps of Fat Albert. Considering this and Eddie Murphy's place in children's entertainment, I wonder when Chris Rock will do a kiddie show.

Kirk D. said...

ha! I didn't mean it that way. How about your alley, your bag, your liking.
And I sure wouldn't want to imply that the stuff from the 80s was much more advanced than the stuff from the 70s.

Todd Franklin said...

About the time Thundarr was taken off the air was about the time I quit watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. The fluff stuff won out on Saturday mornings in the mid-80's.

Saturday mornings with a big bowl of Boo Berry watching Tarzan was a good time!

Jamey Clayberg said...

5 words: Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. This one caught me right around that same "transistion." Loved it, kinda soft-metal theme song, battle vehicles and space-y stuff. Killer. And then cancelled.

chuckbaris said...

I see you've added some of my favorites. The wondrous turbo teen is often lost on people of my generation. The Littles is another one that few of my contemporaries seem to remember. Although I find it interesting that anyone would consider the 80's was a bad time for cartoons. I guess as probably the youngest commenter on your blog I, more than others here remember the 80's as being a golden age for the cartoon/toy line tie in. He-Man, Transformers, GI JOE, Thunder Cats, Super Friends, MASK, & The REAL Ghostbusters (not filmations) are just a few of the wonderful shows I enjoyed watching while simultaneously acting out the story lines at home with my action figures. I also remember the late 80's and early 90's having quite a few cartoons based on popular, or semi-popular films and TV shows. The afore-mentioned Ghostbusters, also Back to the Future, Teen Wolf and ALF. Am I the only one who enjoyed these shows? I suppose like with all things it is a generational thing.

Kirk D. said...

todd- I have to admit that I was into some of the fluff as much or more than the serious, manly shows. Sometimes I actually grew weary of the "rigidness" of shows like Tarzan, Lone Ranger, and Thundarr. My sister served as a good excuse to watch stuff like Muppet Babies.

herva- Wheeled Warriors never played in my town, so I've never seen it, but it never fails to come up in conversations like this. It is indeed from the same era (1984) and here is the intro...

chuckbarris- there is definitely rampant generational bias (just like there is with music.)
I think the thing that really separates the 70s from the 80s in terms of cartoons is that toys and tv shows hadn't completely merged yet. (well, that and the fact that there was way more live-action programming, like the Sid and Marty Krofft stuff) It's kind of cool that toys like Hugo, man of a thousand faces and Suckerman and Big Jim didn't have cartoons. While cartoons like Speed Buggy, Jabberjaw, and Fangface didn't have toys (aside from a some "supermarket toys" that had a few stickers slapped on) In the 80s they even made a cartoon out of a freakin' Rubik's cube. I'm guessing Star Wars had a lot to do with the combining of entertainment and products.

Although, like you said, part of the fun was watching the cartoon and running back to your toys to play when it's over (or while it's on) That's synergy!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Chuck on the timing thing, as I was born in '77 and my golden era was the 80's.

Though my sister who is quite a bit older, I got into more of the 70's stuff, Land of the Lost in particular.

I remember that the cut off for cartoon coolness in my area was the 6th grade as it was a new school and the first time we were with older kids. I will say that I managed to balance my cartoon watching with my 6th grade love affair with heavy metal (I spent the better half of my middle and high school days as a Metallica fiend.)

I never did give up on Saturday morning programming, even in the late 90's early 2000's when it made a switch to Sundays.

Turbo Teen is so sweet, and I only got to watch it as part of the USA Cartoon Express with Sheena, Mr. T (and his weird acrobat kids), and the Superfriends in the late 80's.

Yeah, I think He-Man has a lot to answer for in the toy/cartoon department, as I think it was the first of the half hour toy commercials.

Kirk D. said...

smurfwreck- it's sounding like 6th grade may be a universal cutoff point. Therefore, I don't know what I was thinking when I brought a GoBots lunchbox to my first day of Junior High (7th grade). That was the first and last time I used it.

I don't see how Saturday morning cartoons could even be that big of a deal to today's kids since toons are available 24/7 on cable.