My Saturdays are always busy but lately my little one has been requesting that we watch on-demand viewings of old favorites such as The Banana Splits, Jem and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers together.  (She seems to prefer the Japanese Rangers, but says she gets tired of reading all the dialogue.)  When I told her about the concept of “Saturday Morning Cartoons,” she was confused, and didn’t understand why someone would put all the shows together or why you’d have to wait to see them, and I realized that part of the fun was in the once-a-week frequency of it all.

The MS-QOTD (prounounced, as always, “misquoted”) is this:  Should we picket the networks to bring back the old-school Saturday Morning cartoonery?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. April 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm — Reply

    The fracturing of programming caused by cable networks pretty much kicks this idea to the curb, as the major networks can make more money from paid commercial programming (infomercials) and sports coverage.

    I do miss the Saturday morning block of cartoons, but Cartoon Network has done (or rather did) have a great block of programming on Friday evenings starting with Ben 10, Batman, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Now, The DC Nation block on Cartoon Network and the Sunday block of Marvel programming on Disney XD is about as close to “the old days” as I think we are going to get for animation programming geared to getting kids/adults to sit down for hours at a time.

    The biggest question is that of attracting the appropriate audience. Now that kids have videogames, iPads, and on demand, plus the fact that many kids now have even more Saturday morning activities to participate in, I doubt there are millions of kids ready to sit down and watch something on CBS at 6:00 AM on Saturday and stare vacantly at the television for four hours of toy commercials disguised as entertainment like it used to be.

  2. April 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm — Reply

    Agree with Stephen, with on demand and 24 hour channels dedicated to cartoons (and any other niche programming you can think of) the Saturday morning cartoon block is a relic of the past. The generations that didn’t have 24-7 access to cartoons remember that block as something special, because it was pretty much the ONLY time you saw TV animation outside Christmas and other Holiday Specials. Especially those of us who grew up with strictly broadcast television.

    I remember the first time I saw USA’s Cartoon Express on a neighbor’s satellite (the giant KU band dish in their yard blew my mind), I couldn’t believe that there was a 3 hour block of cartoons on EVERY SINGLE DAY! It seemed inconceivable, yet that was the beginning of the end of Saturday morning cartoons being thought of as a special time.

  3. April 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm — Reply

    I don’t really see the point in doing so. Kids these days have been conditioned to expect their shows whenever they want it, not when others say they can. It’s only us old fogies that grew up with broadcast schedules dictated to us that even care about Saturday morning cartoons. And I almost never get up before noon on Saturdays.

    Don’t get me wrong, I miss all the fun and all. But this all seems like a step backwards, and the old ways are progressively proving less profitable than the new ways of on demand.

    On another note, give your child a kudos on my behalf, for watching the original sentai. That’s a Japanophile in the making, and I couldn’t be more proud.

  4. ~wyntermute~
    April 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    No. “Saturday Morning Kids’ Tv” was a commercial designed to sell toys & cereal. We have entire networks devoted to these two things, and as such I don’t think we need more thinly-veiled commercials on an already commercial-saturated medium. ^_^

  5. Oldcomicfan
    April 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm — Reply

    Yes, I think they should bring back saturday morning kids television. First of all, not everybody has cable TV, iPads, iPhones, etc. Cartoon Network is doing a good job, but it’s a premium cable channel, which means that if your parents can’t afford a $100+ cable bill a month, you ain’t going to be able to watch it.
    I’m probably older than the other folks who commented, and let me tell you that they’re not wrong but they aren’t entirely right, either. Not all the shows were disguised commercials for toys. One of the longest running shows was the Bugs Bunny show, which ran for generations under different names, including the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner show – and actually played in Prime Time for a number of years. There was the Woody Woodpecker Show, Rocky & Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, Mighty Mouse, etc., and none of those were created to sell toys. Those shows all died a slow and horrible death once the doctrine of political correctness and non-violence was espoused by a lot of interfering busybodies who had nothing better to do with their times since they couldn’t get laid or something. The cartoons were gutted, anything smacking of violence was cut out. The last time I saw the Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon with “Wabbit Season… Duck Season… Wabbit Season” it had been so badly butchered that it made me weep. As a result, kids didn’t watch them any more since the butchered cartoons no longer made sense, and shows that had been on the air since the early days of television went away.
    There were two waves of commercial cartoons. The first I remember were the Post Cereal shows with Sugar Bear, Granny Goodwitch, and Leo the Lionhearted and their ilk. These shows were blatant half hour commercials for Post Cereal products and the FCC shut them down after about six months. The later generation came along when television shows like The Transformers and G.I. Joes, to name just two, were put on the air for the sole purpose of selling crappy toys to kids. They skirted the edges of legality and didn’t bring the FCC down on themselves.
    But the real reason I’d like to see the Saturday morning cartoons come back is what has replaced them even on cable channels. The morning programs are nothing more than hour long infommercials for products like the “Buttguster” or the Ronco Pocket Barbecue or other such trash. Just about the only channels that actually show programming are the weather channels, the sports channels, and the movie channels. Last time I flipped down the list, out of the fourteen channels I get on basic cable, there were only four that didn’t waste air time on nothing but infommercials on saturday morning. Two of them were fundamentalist Christian channels, and the other two were shopping channels. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  6. gilberto nieves
    May 1, 2012 at 12:23 am — Reply

    i was lucky enough not only to grow up during the late 70’s & the 80’s before cable when the major networks showed great sci-fi, monster flicks and martial arts movies but also saturday morning cartoons on all the major channels and i wouldn’t give up my childhood for anything. i disagree that all the toons back then were geared for toys, i think that’s more the case with alot of today’s toons just look at most of the japanime toons like pokemons, digimon, beyblades, ninjago, redakai, not to mention Yu-Gi-Oh! all geared just for profit of some sort. i think it’s sad that now a days non cable channels no longer have saturday cartoons, the few that do play reruns of shows. not everyone has cable, some people can’t afford it, we can thank god, cause when i think of the crap they play on the networks these days.

  7. Belmont
    May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm — Reply

    I think now with the releases of Cartoons and certain Live Action Shows aired Saturday mornings or weekend afternoons on DVD, you could have that Saturday Morning just minus the commercials. The times that I have off I run my own network on the DVD player……..

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