[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Been meaning to do this for quite some time, figured I'll make it my regular Saturday Morning Thing for a while...

The ABC Weekend Special was a weekly 30-minute anthology TV series that aired Saturday mornings on ABC from 1977 to 1997, and was generally known in my home as "The last chance to see some cartoons before American Bandstand. It featured a wide variety of stories that were both live-action and animated.

I'm going to start cataloguing the different seasons for us here so we can really appreciate which year our favorite one-shot Saturday morning shows may have come from. I get lots of questions about "mystery shows" that people vaguely remember from their childhood, and I'd say a good 90% of them were ABC Weekend Specials!

The 1980/1981 season of this show was the fourth season over all. Notable episodes that had come before this included the introduction of The Puppy (1977 "The Puppy Who Wanted A Boy", 1978 "The Puppy's Great Adventure" and 1979 "The Puppy's Amazing Rescue") and Miss Switch (1979 "The Trouble With Miss Switch"), both of which would make multiple appearances on 1980's Saturday Mornings.

The 1980/1981 season featured:
  • "Scruffy" parts 1 thru 3 (which I've embedded the first part of above), the super-depressing story of a homeless puppy trying to find a home (produced by Ruby-Spears)
  • "Arthur The Kid", a live-action tale of a kid who helps some old west outlaws become famous
  • "Zack & The Magic Factory" parts 1 and 2, a live-action tale where a nerdy kid puts on a magic show for bullies
  • "Mayday! Mayday!" parts 1 and 2, two kids have to go and find help after their family crashes their plane in the Sierra mountains.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
In our last Friday poll, it was decided that The Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Show was the absolute best thing on your Saturday morning TV in 1980. Shockingly, Thundarr The Barbarian came in second place while The Daffy Duck Show (which had ben voted as The Best Thing On NBC in 1980) recieved *zero votes*. Numbers are weird sometimes :/

And so we come to THE LAST 1980 POLL!

[Poll #1921386]

When voting, try to think of which one of these channels you would be okay with just leaving on ALL DAY LONG. Like, let' say your TV i broken and it only gets one of these channels - which channel do you hope you're tuned in to?
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
Last week you all voted the first season of The Daffy Duck Show as the best thing in the NBC Saturday Morning Line-Up over a pretty impressive list of contenders such as The Flintstones, Godzilla and even BATMAN!

Today is an ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN to determine which cartoon of 1980 wa the BEST. To make things even more difficult and/or fair, I've also included the runner-up from each network so the votes can be more evenly spread. And please remember... this is for *SCIENCE*!
[Poll #1920224]
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
Last week it was overwhelmingly decided by the members of this community that The Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Show was the bet thing on CBS Saturday Morning in 1980, with Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids coming in a distant second. I was saddened to see that my beloved Drak Pack cam in at a three-way tie for third with the likes of The Tom & Jerry Comedy Show and The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckyl. There's something wrong with you people... terribly, terribly wrong :(

SO! ONWARD AND UPWARD! This week's Friday Poll:
[Poll #1919129]
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
Time to instigate a tradition around here - THE FRIDAY POLL! Here we have, complete with hot links (in case you forgot what each cartoon was about) a poll to determine once and for all which was the BESTEST CARTOON IN THE 1980 ABC LINE-UP!

If you've never seen them, you could vote for the one you think might be cool to watch :)

[Poll #1916682]
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
I've finally finished our first year of cataloguing 1980's Saturday Morning line-ups, 1980! Each of these cartoons are tagged as being "1980" because they debuted in September of 1980, meaning that if you remember seeing these cartoons on TV you probably remember seeing them in 1981. Sometimes, TV gets all wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey like that :)

So here's the hotlink-filled OFFICIAL SATURDAY MORNING MASTER LIST OF 1980:


8:00 - The Worlds Greatest Super Friends
9:00 - The Fonz & The Happy Days Gang
9:30 - The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show (And Scrappy, Too!)
10:30 - Thundarr The Barbarian
11:00 - The Heathcliff & Dingbat Show
11:30 - The Plastic Man & Baby Plas Super Comedy Show
12:00 - The ABC Weekend Specials


8:00 - The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle
8:30 - The Tom & Jerry Comedy Show
9:00 - The Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Show
10:30 - The All-New Popeye Hour
11:30 - Drak Pack
12:00 - Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids
12:30 - The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour


8:00 - Godzilla (The Godzilla/Dynomutt Hour)
8:30 - Dynomutt (The Godzilla/Dynomutt Hour)
9:00 - The Flintstones Comedy Show
10:30 - The Daffy Duck Show
11:00 - Batman & The Super 7
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour from Filmation has been mentioned here before, but for continuity sake let's bring it up again.

Filmation had a ton of 15-minute adventure cartoons featuring Tarzan that they kept running and re-running with various new cartoons all through the 1970's and well into the early 1980's. This show was officially called an "Adventure Hour", although it rarely went hast 30 minutes per scheduled episode. For 1980 and 1981, the Tarzan cartoons were packaged with brand new Lone Ranger and Zorro cartoons as part of a bait-n-switch scam that I've never ever forgiven them for; I'd tune in hoping to see a new Lone Ranger cartoon and ALWAYS get an episode of either Tarzan and Zorro, or just a double-dose of Tarzan re-runs :(

They are why I have trust issues.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was a Filmation animated series created, produced, and hosted (in live action bookends) by comedian Bill Cosby, who also did a huge chunk of the voices for the show (including Fat Albert himself). The show premiered in 1972 and *kind of* ran until 1985... See, up till 1983 they had been doing short-order seasons of the show - 6 to 8 new episodes per season - but then between 1984 and 1985 the cranked out some FIFTY NEW EPISODES of the cheaper, lower-quality "The Adventures of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids".

It should also be noted that this was the year that they replaced the "Junkyard Rock Band" segments of the show with Fat Albert and the gang rushing to their clubhouse to watch the latest episode of "The Brown Hornet" (Also voiced by Cosby).

What do you think? Have any good memories or thoughts to share about Fat Albert and the gang? Come at me with comments and fun, and if you're not careful you might just learn something before we're done. So let's get ready, okay? Hey, hey, HEY!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

The ABC Weekend Special was a weekly 30-minute anthology TV series for children that aired Saturday mornings on ABC from 1977 to 1997. It featured a wide variety of stories that were both live-action and animated, so it totally counts as a Saturday Morning Cartoon in my opinion.

Many people confuse The ABC Weekend Specials with the ABC Afterschool Specials, so let's get this straight right now - Similar to the ABC Afterschool Special that had started five years previous, the ABC Weekend Special differed in that it was primarily aimed at younger viewers following ABC's Saturday Morning cartoon lineup, whereas the ABC Afterschool Special was known for its somewhat more serious, and often dramatic storylines dealing with issues concerning a slightly older teen and pre-teen audience.

Basically, if it felt like you were supposed to learn something about life and/or adolescents from it? It was an ABC Afterschool Special.

Unfortunately, to further complicate matters, they took a bunch of the ABC Afterschool Specials that had been aimed at slightly younger audiences and re-packaged them into episodes of The ABC Weekend Specials.

The ABC Weekend Specials were a huge downer to me, as they signified the End Of The Cartoons. Oh sure, I could probably flip around the dial a bit and find some syndicated cartoons, or over on ABC they always had re-runs of Jonny Quest and The Jetsons if there wasn't a sporting event of any kind that they could air. The ABC Weekend Special meant I had to go get dressed :(
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Drak Pack was an action/comedy cartoon that aired on CBS Saturday Morning between September 6, 1980 and September 12, 1982. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera for a total of 16 episodes before it was mercilessly cancelled.

The series centers around three young men: Drak, Frankie and Howler, descendants of Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, and a werewolf. To atone for their ancestors' wrongdoings, the three are recruited by the REAL DRACULA (who they call "Big D") to be a kind of under-cover super hero team that saves the world from Doctor Dred and his assorted henchmen who go under the collective name of "OGRE" which may have stood for something but I forget. The Drak Pack look like regular young folks (college age maybe?) until they do a three-person high-five ("High Fifteen?") known as the "Drak Whack", which allows them to transform in to their monstrous forms.

This, more than any other show, is the one I am afraid to revisit because I loved it so much as a child. Part of my love for it was because I only ever got to see ONE EPISODE, and then never saw it again because of stupid College Football (aka "Saturday Morning's Arch Enemy"). But this show stayed with me all my life as the motivation for getting in to animation history and whatnot.

Do you hav any memories of this show? Was it really as epic as my memories seem to think it was? Leave a comment below!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

So here's something interesting - Oh, not the cartoon mind you... The All-New Popeye Hour (Saturday Morning at 10:30 on CBS in 1980) was your average hour-long animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions that had been on the air since 1978. This show tried its best to retain the style of the original Thimble Theatre comic strip (Popeye returned to his original costume and "Brutus" to his original name of Bluto), while complying with the prevailing content restrictions on violence. Because of those helpful parental watchdog groups and their restrictions on violence in TV cartoons for children at the time, in this version Popeye did not throw punches to get back at Bluto; he often lifted him, with his own hands or with machinery, and hurled him away. This series marked the last time that Jack Mercer would voice the spinach-eating sailor. Mercer died in 1984, one year after the show was cancelled by CBS.

...But that's not the part that I find interesting.

No, what's REALLY interesting (to me, at least) is that all three networks - ABC, NBC and CBS - programmed their Saturday morning of 1980 so that NO CARTOONS WOULD START AT 10AM!!! They all programmed 90-minute blocks for 9am, or a half-hour block followed by a full hour block so that NO SHOW would start at 10am!

That's WEIRD!

In 1981, this show kept the 10:30 time slot but was cut down to 30 minutes and renamed "The Popeye & Olive Comedy Show". Oddly enough, I can't confirm or deny that they ever actually made a new opening title sequence for "The Popeye & Olive Comedy Show" and I distinctly remember being confused when I would tune in on Saturday morning only to see the "The All-New Popeye Hour" opening and thinking I had a full hour till the next cartoons started on this channel. Imagine my HORROR when I flipped back to this channel during the first commercial break of the 11:00 hour only to find that the cartoon had changed at 11 and I missed the first 5 minute of the new show!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

The Plastic Man & Baby Plas Super Comedy Show was a continuation of the Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show that had debuted in 1979 in the time slot directly after The Super Friends. I am very sad to say that this version, with the baby version of Plastic Man (a very stereotypical Scrappy-Doo if ever there was one), was a BIG let-down from the 1979 version and yes I'm gonna gripe about it here.

Y'know what? NO. Looking back at the multitude of shows that made up the Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show, I've decided on YET ANOTHER WEEK-LONG EXPLORATION of the individual elements that made that show great, even if it was 1979. EVERY PART OF THAT SHOW WAS A FAVORITE OF MINE. So brace yourselves.

The Plastic Man & Baby Plas Comedy Show was a half-hour show comprised two parts, usually both of them being the Scrappy-esque adventures of Baby Plas. It mercifully died off in 1981.

However, the one *good* part of this show is that they made NEW episodes in 1984 that got first-run syndication along with a LIVE-ACTION PLASTIC MAN:

As you can see, this syndicated version of the show was kind of asweome not only because of the live-action, but because they packaged it with all the shows I used to love from 1979 and in to the early 80s! This is probably how most of us in this community became familliar with any of these shows...
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Continuing our exploration in to the highly forgettable collective of cartoons known as The Super 7, this morning we start with one that even *I* don't remember - MANTA AND MORAY.

This Filmation cartoon ran for all of 7 episodes that got re-ran over and over again over the course of the early 80's and featured Manta (Monarch of the Deep) who was the last survivor of the ancient civilization of Mu. Mu was destroyed by a terrible explosion, but Manta was engulfed by a wave of unknown radiation, and placed into a form of suspended animation deep beneath the waves. He was discovered and awoken by Moray, a human woman, whom he subsequently married. He is amphibious, but cannot be away from water for too long or he will weaken and die. He is able to communicate with the creatures of sea and land.

Moray (voiced by Joan Van Arc) was raised by dolphins after the plane her parents had been flying in crashed into the sea, she learned to live in the ocean. She discovered Manta, whom she managed to revive. They got married and pledged themselves to protecting the seaworld from any who would threaten it. She is an excellent swimmer, able to hold her breath for incredibly long periods.

They also had their own "Scrappy-Doo", a sea lion named "Whiskers". But as with most of the Filmation Scrappy's that were created in the late 1970's, Whiskers was mercifully unable to speak.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Jason of Star Command (the only Filmation Live Action show of the "Super 7" line-up) was actually a spin-off of an earlier show called "Space Academy". If you love cheesy 1980's sci-fi that is themed firmly somewhere between Gil Gerard's "Buck Rogers" and Martin Landau's "Space: 1999", do yourself the favor of watching these two shows!!!

The original series, "Space Academy", featured Johnathan Harris ("Doctor Smith" of the 1960's sci-fi show "Lost In Space". The first season of Jason Of Star Command featured James Doohan ("Scotty" from "Star Trek").

But the season we're talking about here, the season that was a part of Batman And The Super 7, featured none of those. Just the outer-space adventures of a guy named Jason, his super-fast Space Ship, and his HAND-HELD COMPUTER NAMED WIKI That's right... this show was the origin of WIKIPEDIA!!!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Okay, this one is difficult... bear with me as we travel all the way back to 1977 (again).

"The Young Sentinels" was a Filmation cartoon that debuted on Saturday mornings in 1977 and was quickly renamed "Space Sentinals" in the middle of their very short 13-episode first-and-only season. In this series, a racially-diverse assortment of Roman mythological figures Hercules (white as white could be) and Mercury (Asian) and Astrea (Black), a character created specifically for the series, to form a superhero team to protect mankind from their base on... the moon? I want to say the moon. Maybe it was a spaceship. Their main bad-guy was the "sinister" villain Morpheus, who is also an Earthling given powers in the same manner as Hercules, Mercury, and Astrea, but far earlier. However, those who had given Morpheus his powers had erred by giving him a variety of powers rather than one specific power; he had rebelled and turned to evil.

In 1978, they made 5 more episodes (so it could fit in to the "Super 7" line-up) and changed things up a bit. Same basic story, only they ditched Mercury and Astrea, and the team was now assembled by an animated version of the live-action super-heroine "Isis". Added to the team now were Merlin the Magician, Sinbad the Sailor and... SUPER SAMURAI!!!

I love the Super Samurai character :)

Super Samurai was a small Japanese boy who could become a giant steel (robotic?) suit of glowing, flying Samurai armor! HOW COOL IS THAT???

So when the "Freedom Force" segment and opening credits came up in the Super 7 line-up, you never knew if it was going to be Freedom Force or Space Sentinels...
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In The New Adventures of Batman & Robin, the "Dynamic Duo" fights crime in Gotham City, encountering the classic Batman rogues gallery as well as some original villains. Complicating matters is Bat-Mite, a well-meaning imp from another dimension called Ergo, who considers himself Batman's biggest fan. As a result, he wears a variant of Batman’s costume and attempts to help him, only to often create more problems (although he is occasionally an asset). Missing is Alfred, the faithful butler of Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne; also notable in this series are the inverted colors of the "R" on Robin's costume.

This was an excellent Filmation cartoon from 1977 featuring the voices of Adam West and Burt Ward (the live-action Batman & Robin from the 1960's Batman TV show). This cartoon stayed closer to the more serious Batman comics that were being published by DC Comics at the time, with the glaring exception of BAT-MITE (who is an honorary member of the Scrappy-Doo Club).

Only one season of this show was ever made, and it was then re-packaged over and over again till some undetermined year of the early 80's.

Once they figured that they could shuffle the episodes in to the Super 7, they kind of abused it and over-ran the show. Still awesome, though!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Kicking off our week of in-depth investigation of the Frankenstein Monster of Saturday Mornings known as "The Super 7",we have the earliest of the cartoons featured: TARZAN LORD OF THE JUNGLE.

Starting in 1976, this half-hour adventure offering from Filmation was by far the most faithful adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan, and featured a number of "lost cities" from the novels. The rotoscoped animation is based upon the work of Burrough's favorite Tarzan artist, Burne Hogarth. Tarzan is intelligent and well spoken, rather than the "Me Tarzan, You Jane" of many films. His sidekick is N’kima the monkey (since the chimpanzee "Cheeta" was an invention of the movies but kids were expecting to see a monkey dag-nabbit).

There were 6 seasons of this cartoon stretching from '76 to '82. First season was 16 episodes. Next year they added 6 more. Then 6 more. Then they said "Y'know what? Kids don't know the difference" and just kept shuffling the existing episodes in to shows like "Batman & The Super 7", "The Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour", "Tarzan & The Super 7", "The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour" and for the final season, "The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour".

And so it begins...
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Batman & The Super 7, Saturday mornings at 11am on NBC in 1980. Sorry that the quality is so lame, but this is a kind of rare opening to find...

This show was like a Lego Set of re-runs that they just kept reconstructing over and over again.

It all started in 1976 with the Filmation animated series "Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle" and 1977 with "The New Adventures of Batman & Robin".

In the short season between 1977 and 1978, they slapped reruns of those two shows together and called it "The Tarzan/Batman Adventure Hour". No new content, and they only ran for a fistful of episodes before becoming "Tarzan & The Super 7" in 1978. And then in 1980, by changing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT THE OPENING CREDITS by the SLIGHTEST BIT, the show became "Batman & The Super 7".

"The Super 7" where just seemingly random episodes of Tarzan and Batman, mixed in with some new cartoons that nobody had every heard of before or ever would hear from again except for in the future Lego Set incarnations of this show over the next few years (each of these other cartoons will be getting it's own entry in our archives this week).

This is going to be really fun to follow the genealogy of... it's all very exciting :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

The Heathcliff And Dingbat Show (1980 Saturday morning at 11am on ABC) was a Ruby-Spears show that mainly featured Heathcliff (or as he was known in our house, "Not Garfield") This season ran for 13 episodes and included backup segments with Dingbat and the Creeps, who were created for the show. "Dingbat and the Creeps" revolved around the adventures of three monstrous characters who were self-employed as "Odd Jobs, Inc." which consisted of Dingbat, a vampire dog who used a bat-shaped novelty straw to eat most foods, Sparerib, a strangely rotund skeleton with the ability to change himself into useful items (such as a floor lamp, which he did in the opening credits), and Nobody, a gravelly-voiced jack-o-lantern who led the team and often found them various work.

This show had no chance in my household. My Brother was a die-hard Garfield fan, and Batman was on another channel. Sure it had Thundarr as a lead-in, but it was easy to change the channel :)


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