Be warned, this is another post that has a round-about connection to writing.
I grew up in the late 60’s and early 70’s – and it was ritual to turn on the tube and gaze wide-eyed and slack-jawed at the wide variety or Saturday morning programming. The parents would still be asleep when my sister and brother and I would throw off the covers and make our way into the living room to turn on the big TV and begin the pattern of cycling through the limited channel selection to watch the cavalcade of shows that would blare with color and sound into our living room. Hanna-Barbara (Atomic Ant/Secret Squirrell, etc.), Looney Tunes (careful with that link – it’s 4 hours long), The Worlds of Sid & Marty Krofft (H.R. Pufnstuf, etc.), School House Rock, Multiplication Rock, and of course Time for Timer. Space Ghost, Johnny Quest, Land of the Lost, the list goes on and on.
From 8am to almost 2pm – there were hours and hours of shows to entertain every kid across the globe – Superfriends, Shazam, Isis, Scooby-Doo, Tarzan and the Lone Ranger (in filmation!), and so many others.
And of course there is my tenuous connection to the Saturday morning fare seen by millions in the early 90’s through MMPR – and I myself remember getting up at 7am on August 28, 1993 to see the original airing of the 1st episode – and saw my name in the credits. I had been cemented into a part of pop culture history, joining the ranks of all the shows I had watched growing up.
But now, that’s all over with. All these shows are more readily accessed through DVD or Blu-Ray collections and streaming – or seen on youtube, as the many links I’ve been able to find show.
It’s kind of odd to see something you grew up with disappear from the landscape – but then again, I guess every generations witnesses the end of something they think fondly of, something that made their childhoods bright and fun.
I haven’t watched Saturday morning cartoons in decades – you grow up, you find other interests. Still, it’s a bit melancholy to know that if I ever found myself in front of the TV on a Saturday morning, I wouldn’t be able to find anything resembling the old friends I used to watch.
I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but these shows, along with the books I read, informed all of the things I insert into my own writing. The life lessons, the morals, the silly and yet hopeful idea that good will always triumph and that the bad guys will always have the mask pulled off and would pay for their crimes.
That isn’t the way the world works, and that also has worked its way into my writing, because the world is a much scarier and darker place than when I was 8 or 9 and watching four-color heroes and talking dogs do battle with selfish carnival owners and mad scientists.
I am very glad I got to see those shows and for what they contributed to my growth as a storyteller.
RIP Saturday Mornings. You will be missed.