As we noted yesterday during the MS-QOTD, there has been much lamentation on the ineternet about the loss of the proverbial Saturday Morning Cartoons, with many commenting on what a shame it is that kids won’t be able to get up and eat sugary cereals in front of the TV like they did when they were young.  ‘Course, the cereals aren’t quite as sugary as they used to be and the programming on Saturday morning has long been a dumping ground for FCC-mandated “educational” programs for the better part of the last fifteen years.  While I understand the thought process behind such remarks, it seems to boil down to a general sort of ‘Change is BAD’ sentiment, one that comes across as romanticized (and maybe a little bit insincere.)  Still, I have to admit I fondly remember watching my daughter and shriek with joy as Bouncing Boy and the Legion of Substitute Heroes went into action against Starfinger, and the moment where she informed me that Matter-Eater Lad was “the coolest.”  Even the most minor loss can still be a loss, which leads us to today’s changing-of-the-guard query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) also has lovely memories of ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ and the wonders of the ABC Weekend Special, asking: What’s your favorite memory of Saturday Morning Cartoons?

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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6 Comments

  1. October 6, 2014 at 11:33 am — Reply

    For some reason, the memories that stand out to me were not so much the Saturday morning shows themselves (although some individual shows I still love, even if just for nostalgia’s sake) as the preview specials that always ran in primetime the week before. Those were amazing. I still remember one near the end of ABC’s pre-Disney era where they showed all these previews for new shows… that they never aired. Other ones I remember were one that introduced me to the existence of pro wrestlers thanks to one hosted by Hulk Hogan and one of the last few by Sid & Marty Krofft that was actually helmed by Richard Pryor. I could talk about individual shows all day, but that’d be ridiculous. More personal thoughts are here for the curious/bored.

    As for the “educational” ruling, I have no problem with it in principle. In practice, however, it’s either networks claiming that stuff with no real learning content qualifies (“Well, it’s set in a school, so it must be educational!” “It’s a space school for Martians.” “Don’t care!”) or stuff from the same production company (I believe Litton) that looks like the target market would find it terribly boring. Pandering does nothing good for anyone.

    • October 6, 2014 at 9:34 pm — Reply

      That fake educational stuff gets me too. I remember a few shows not too long ago that had that “E/I” thing in the upper corner that had absolutely NOTHING educational within it. I didn’t have a problem with the programs themselves (one was the TMNT animated series that was aired in FOX and WB/CW just before Nickelodeon got the new one up and going), I just thought they were passing out the label like it was Halloween candy.

      I think the final years of “Saved by The Bell: The New Class” had the label too. I didn’t watch the show so I’m not 100% certain, but I remember quite a few shows on NBC and ABC Saturday mornings had the educational mark thing that really shouldn’t have.

  2. October 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm — Reply

    Sitting on the floor with a bowl of Fruit Loops or something similar watching Looney Tunes and Super-Friends. Totally typical American childhood Saturdays

  3. October 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm — Reply

    The soundtrack “Saturday Morning Cartoons Greatest Hits”, with lots of old (and a couple of not so old) cartoon themes remade by various musicians and bands.

    Two of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons are pretty obvious to those that know me: The Real Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They may not hold up today (RGB holds up a little better than the original animated TMNT does to me, though), but they were such a staple of my youth that I can’t think of Saturday morning without thinking of them. I still smile when I think about all the episodes my friends and my little brother and I all watched as kids while wearing our toy Proton Packs or using TMNT toy weapons to fight off imaginary Foot Clan robots as we watched the episodes. Many lamps were killed in those days.

    More recently, I enjoyed being woken up by my friend’s little ones to sit in front of the TV and eat sugary cereals. Most of them don’t believe I’m a grown up, so when they think to wake up the other kids, I am on that mental list. I can’t even remember most of the cartoons we watched aside from TMNT or Yu-Gi-Oh, but I still enjoyed just having fun with them.

  4. Oldcomicfan
    October 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm — Reply

    I saw the handwriting on the wall five or six years ago before I fired my cable company. Out of over a hundred channels, aside from Cartoon Network, only one or two were showing any cartoons on Saturday morning. And those channels were only showing an hour or two at most. What most of the channels were showing were half hour or hour long infomercials! Really? That was the best they could do? Hour long commercials for the BaitMaster Fishing Lure Company, The ButtGuster Flat Reducer and haircutting attachments for your home vacuum cleaner? It was if the networks and the majority of cable channels had simply given up and filled the air time with junk that nobody was going to watch. It would be easy to blame the death of Saturday morning cartoons on the Cartoon networks for hogging all the content, or blame it on too little content being spread out among too many cable channels and these are no doubt contributing factors. But I can’t help but wonder if there were other factors at play, also. Let’s face it, most of the American cartoons produced since the 70s were pure garbage with a few notable exceptions and I do NOT include Transformers or GI Joe in that group. And if any channel did dare to air old Tom and Jerry cartoons or Looney Tunes cartoons, they were so heavily edited to remove even the suggestion of cartoon violence or political non-correctness that they were unbearable to watch. It’s sad that the tradition of Saturday morning cartoons has died. To many of my generation, the Saturday cartoon shows were our “babysitters” while Mom and Dad slept in. Of course, the majority of the really great cartoon shows were actually just rebroadcasts of cartoon shorts that were originally made to be seen between the first and second features at a movie show – and most of them were thirty or forty years old, but that didn’t matter. I think the fact that movie theaters no longer show double features, and therefore no new cartoons are required to show in between them may actually have been the first nail in the coffin of the Saturday Morning cartoon shows. There is a direct correlation between the death of the double feature and the appearance of trashy kiddy cartoon shows on television. Still, I think that the Einstiens who think that long informercials and reruns of “Fishing the West” are an acceptable substitute for Saturday Morning cartoons is so out of touch with reality that they need to be put in the care of a keeper.

  5. Hannah Jones
    October 6, 2014 at 10:30 pm — Reply

    Beast Wars and X-Men were the big two for me. Animaniacs and Tiny-Toons followed close behind them. And of course the Batman Animated series was amazing, and Bill Nye… Wishbone.

    I kind of miss the 90’s…

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