Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday Morning Recreated: ABC, Fall 1979

One of the blogs you'll see in my blog list is the Saturday Morning blog (http://saturdaymorn.blogspot.com/). This is an awesome sight run by Kliph Nesteroff, also owner of the Classic Television Showbiz and Generation Exploitation blogs. He has posted some cool and often forgotten cartoons of the 50s through the 70s. One feature he carried for awhile was Saturday Morning Recreated, in which he would attempt to present all of one network's Saturday morning lineup via clips from video sharing sites such as YouTube.

With permission from Kliph himself, I'd like to take over the reins on this great feature and present further installments here. To do that, I needed the same source material that Kliph used to determine the lineups: comic book ads. For years, networks would advertise their new Saturday morning lineups in comic books (that's where the audience was), and they're a great window into Saturday mornings past.

For these ads, I thank Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s, a great site for all things 80s pop culture. They are now linked at right. Shawn has entire articles dedicated to these ads. Check them out here: http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/index.php?post_category=Saturday%20Morning%20Cartoon%20Ads . One of these days I'll learn how to hyperlink.

For this first installment, let's check out ABC, Saturday morning lineup from the Fall of 1979!

This ad doesn't have the exact times, but it's likely that the lineup began at 8am ET. The ad uses arrows to show which program leads into which.

First up at 8am is the Super Friends, which by 1979 had been a big hit for ABC for a few years. As this ad mentions the Legion of Doom, the team of super villians bent on conquering the world, the incarnation of the show this season is likely Challenge of the Super Friends. Here it is!


Watch The Time Trap in Super Friends View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Up next at 9am is the Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, featuring the titular hero (albeit a relatively obscure one) headlining his own series. Here is Plas in "The Horrible Half Ape!"


Watch Plastic Man - 1x03 - The Horrible Half-Ape in Plastic Man View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Plastic Man shared this hour with several other features. Here is Mightyman and Yukk, the world's ugliest dog. Proceed with caution, as this is a bad cartoon.



This in turn was followed by Rickety Rocket, which is the first cartoon in this lineup I have absolutely no recollection of, but here's the intro.



The Plastic Man hour was concluded with Fangface, a comedic take on the werewolf concept. I enjoyed this one as a kid, but shake my head in disbelief at this now.

Before the next show, it's time for Schoolhouse Rock! ABC relied heavily on this and other short programming and PSAs between programs. Let's go with a classic--"Conjunction Junction!"



Up next at 10am is Spider-Woman, another cartoon based, like Plastic Man, on a relatively obscure comic book character. This was Marvel Comics' first production from its own animation studios, followed by Spider-Man and the Hulk on NBC in the early 80s. Here, Spider-Man guest stars in "Pyramids of Terror." Please excuse the non-English subtitles.




Up next at 10:30am is the Scooby and Scrappy Doo show. As Scrappy Doo is so universally hated, I'll keep comment here to a minimum. While his inclusion in the show is certainly a classic "jump the shark" moment, he doesn't bother me as much as other people.



Time for Timer!



Rounding out the morning are two programs aimed at tweens and teens. The ABC Weekend Special was a series of adaptations, both animated and live action, of books aimed at middle and high school age viewers. Here is the intro and first few minutes of one installment from the 1979-1980 season.



Finally, the legendary American Bandstand. I had a really hard time getting a decent clip of this show, at least from the late 1970s, which really surprised me. Instead, here's a clip of some goofball harassing people with his dancing to the theme song. Will this do?



And that's what Saturday mornings were like on ABC in 1979-1980. An interesting lineup certainly, with it's highs and lows. Super Friends was and is a classic. I liked the Plastic Man cartoon when I was young, but it's aimed squarely at a very young intellect. The rest of the Plastic Man hour was simply not good. I never knew the Spider-Woman cartoon existed until a few years later when I saw it on VHS--not bad. As stated previously, Scooby Doo wasn't as good during the Scrappy years, but I didn't hate it like others did. The Weekend Special was, as are many anthology series, uneven, but had its good installments. American Bandstand is, or course, an iconic program.

This was a lot of fun! I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I must thank again Kliph Nesteroff of the Saturday Morning blog for the idea and Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s for the ad scan. Check their sites out!

5 comments:

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Shawn Robare said...

Great job with this Brian. Awesome posts like these make it so easy to drop back 30 years in time.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks Shawn! You helped make it possible. I'll create another one soon.

Kliph Nesteroff said...

I like your blog! I love Elvis Presley. - er what was I here to say again... ah, yes the ABC Saturday Morning Special opening was a serious mind fug - jarred a great forgotten memory. Altho it was also the memory of disapointment that Saturday Morning cartoons were coming to a close. The two specials I remember being played the most were animated versions of Stuart Little and Pierre Berton's Land of OG.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Hey Kliph! Thanks for the kind words. I hope I did right by you with these posts.

Yes, I had also forgotten about the Weekend Specials, but that opening clip brings it all back. The one I remember most distinctly was about a boy who became a werewolf, sort of a Pre-Teen Wolf.

Please check out my CBS post when you get a chance. Thanks!

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