[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

NOW look what you've done... you've made Skeletor ANGRY!

We put this off as long as we could in hopes that the tie would break itself... Skeletor and I didn't want it to have to come down to this, but in our last Friday Poll THERE WAS A FOUR-WAY TIE!!!

We simply can't leave it hanging like that, and so I have decided that THIS WEEK, it's a Battle Royale between those Top Four Cartoons of 1984 because THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!

[Poll #1932818]

Also, I'd like to ask that you all do your darndest to pimp our next 1980's Saturday Morning Historical Reenactment Society Watch-Along on Saturday, September 21st (TWO WEEKS!!!) so we can have our biggest watch-along ever! You MUST know somebody who would like to watch cartoons with us on Saturday morning, don't you? Bring 'em along! It's FREE, and we promise that it won't get preempted by College Football or Golf :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
Just a quick poll for Friday, since I'm still nursing my daughter back to health after having her tonsils and adenoids removed yesterday (OUCH), but I had this poll half-way created before I stopped so why not post it?

Due to a 2-way tie for second place in our last Friday Poll which was to determine the Best Cartoon in the 1981 NBC Saturday Morning Line-Up, we'll have an odd number of entrants in determining this poll:
[Poll #1928406]

Remember that if you don't actually have any memories of watching any of these shows you can feel free to vote for the one you think sounds the awesomest :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


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.

The 1981/1982 season was the fifth season of this show overall, and featured many re-runs of the past 4 seasons mixed with the new half-hour episodes:
  • "The Puppy Saves The Circus", featuring the increasingly popular character of "The Puppy" and his friends saving a circus
  • "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", an adaptation of the classic Mark Twain short story
  • "Bunnicula", which I have embedded above, the story of a vampire bunny
  • "Miss Switch To The Rescue" parts 1 and 2, the second Weekend Special to feature the popular Miss Switch character
  • "The Joke's On Mister Little", a story of two boys who play pranks on the titular Mister Little (and NOT the first episode of "The Littles")
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
In our LAST Official Friday Poll, it was decided once again that the BEST thing on the CBS Saturday Morning Line-Up for 1981 was The Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Show. That show is UNSTOPPABLE!

This week, we turn our attention to the Saturday Morning line-up of 1981 as presented on your local NBC affiliate.

[Poll #1926077]
[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 last week's Friday Poll, it was decided that the best thing on ABC Saturday Morning in 1981 was Super Friends, followed closely by Thundarr The Barbarian which is good, since [livejournal.com profile] the_gneech probably would have left a fairly massive rant if Thundarr hadn't come in at least second place :)

Folks, I don't mean to insinuate that y'all are getting predictable or anything, but this is EXACTLY the same way the vote ended for the 1980 ABC line-up!

This week we delve further in to Saturday Morning of 1981 with CBS!

[Poll #1923819]
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
Last week it was decided thast CBS Television had the best Saturday Morning Line-Up of 1980, due in no small part to that perenial favorite "The Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Show". Will they be able to retain that title through this next round of Friday Polls where we discover who was the best of 1981? Only time will tell...


[Poll #1922678]
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


In 1981 at 11:30 in the morning on ABC, you would see Heathcliff ANd Marmaduke (along with a very catchy theme song). Officially considered to be the second season of the 1980 Heathcliff and Dingbat Show only with Marmaduke instead of Dingbat (obviously), they made 25 episodes of this version ( as opposed to just 13 "Dingbat" episode) which is why you probably remember the Marmaduke titles better than the Dingbat ones, if you remember them at all. Also note that this is a Ruby-Spears joint, NOT the DiC "Heathcliff and The Catilac Cats" version that was syndicated a few years later.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


At 11 in the morning on NBC in 1981 was a brilliant bit of cartoon recycling and pop-culture leaching that went by the name "Space Stars". Watch those opening credits and just try and figure out what super-popular movie franchise they were trying to ape (HINT: it wasn't "Battle Beyond The Stars").

This was, in my opinion, an excellent twist on the old Hanna-Barbera tradition of packaging a few reruns of different shows together and calling it "New". Here you had two classic HB cartoons - Space Ghost and The Herculoids - packaged with two new cartoons - Teen Force and Astro & The Space Mutts - for a full hour. But instead of just dipping in to the pre-existing back catalog of Space Ghost and Herculoids cartoons, they actually MADE NEW CARTOONS! And on top of that, they had the four cartoons actually do quite a bit of criss-crossing and guest-starring! I loved this concept A LOT, and if the first half-hour of it weren't up against The Super Friends, I would have been totally addicted to it!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


At 11 in the morning on CBS in 1981, you could find an... *interesting* little show that I can only assume was created by a committee of Time Traveling Marketing Executives at Filmation, BLACKSTAR.

Buck Rogers crash-lands on He-Man's planet (Eternia) and teams-up with characters from Thundarr and a small platoon of Smurfs so he can fight The Thundercats foe (Mum-Ra) for the other half of a magic sword, because there should always be a sword.

Or, in the words of the narration:
"John Blackstar, astronaut, is swept through a black hole, into an ancient alien universe. Trapped on the planet Sagar, Blackstar is rescued by the tiny Trobbit people. In turn, he joins their fight for freedom against the cruel Overlord, who rules by the might of the Powerstar. The Powerstar is split into the Powersword and the Starsword. And so with Starsword in hand, Blackstar, together with his allies, sets out to save the planet Sagar. This is his destiny".

In later years when I was watching this on VHS, every time the end of the narration came and he says "I am John Blackstar", I liked to follow it up with "...And I'm an alcoholic." HI, JOHN. "It's been one week since my last drink, the last time I saw a Trobbit, but I feel like I might lapse and..." and then the episode would start and it was all just hi drunken nightmare/fantasy, week after week.

Never had much use for this cartoon... sorry I don't know much more about it. It was on opposite two other shows that I liked a heck of a lot better, and it was on a channel that we didn't receive very well with our antenna :/

Although there were only 13 episodes produced (a single season), the reruns continued to air at 1:00 in 1982 and 1983.

Please leave your memories/opinions/thoughts in the comment below :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


At 11:00 on ABC in 1981, you would get to see a little how called "Super Friends" for the very first time.

Not "The Super Friends" as it had been when it debuted in 1973.

Not "The ALL NEW Super Friends hour which debuted in 1977.

Not "The Challenge Of The Super Friends" of 1978.

Not "The World's Greatest Super Friends" of the 1979/1980 season (which we have already covered in this community)

No... this is SUPER FRIENDS. So what's different about this series, other than the snappy new title sequence? The short answer is Length and El Dorado.

Up till this series, all the incarnations of the Super Friends had comprised of half-hour adventures, but the only new content for THIS serie were seven-minute shorts. Each episode of Super Friends would feature a rerun from one of the previous six years and three new shorts. These new adventures featured appearances by the 5 "Big Guns" (Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Batman and Robin) plus The Wonder Twins (Zan, Jayna and their space-monkey Gleek) and the occasional "Guest Star" roll by other heroes of th established DC Universe (Flash, Green Lantern, etc). Also heavily featured were past episodes that included "Ethnic" character such as Apache Chief, Black Vulcan and Super Samurai. The only NEW character introduced this year was the Hanna-Barbera-created hero El Dorado, who was added to the show to provide further cultural diversity. This would prove to be one of the longer-lived incarnations of the series (three years).

(Also aired at 8:00 in 1982 and 1983)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


Starting at 10:30 Saturday morning on NBC in 1981, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends debuted. It followed the adventures of Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar as they fought crime in New York while also occasionally I don't think I've ever met a person over the age of 30 who hasn't seen this show and has at least one favorite episode :) What most people *don't* know is that it was the animated world's first (and possibly only?) *sequel*.

It all started in 1978, with the DePatie-Freleng Studios (founded by two Warner Bros. Cartoons alumni, director/producer Friz Freleng and executive David H. DePatie) producing a few higher-quality Marvel Comics cartoons such as The New Fantastic Four and Spider-Woman (previous incarnations of Marvel characters in cartoon form had been somewhat pathetic in their animation). In 1980 they made a single season of a new Spider-Man cartoon for syndication that was VERY well received. SO WELL RECEIVED, in fact, that it inspired the buy-out of the animation department of DePatie-Freleng and renaming it to MARVEL PRODUCTIONS (the folks who were behind dang near every beloved cartoon of the 80's.

Recognize any of these?
  • Muppet Babies
  • Transformers
  • GI Joe
  • Jem
  • My Little Pony
  • Inhumanoids
  • Fraggle Rock (animated)
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • RoboCop: The Animated Series
  • Dino Riders
  • Defenders Of The Earth


It all started right here, with Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends :) Often teaming with Sunbow Entertainment, these guys pretty much defined 1980's action/adventure animation!

So anywho, about it being a sequel. Unlike other cartoons that change the model sheets from season to season or from series to series in order to keep things unique (see the artistic and design evolution through animated Batman, Justice League, modern Spider-Man shows, etc) and copy-rightable as distinctly different properties, Marvel Productions used the existing model sheets and backgrounds from their syndicated Spider-Man cartoon and added just a few new characters.

This paid off BIG for Marvel Productions in 1984 when they decided to repackage the previous three seasons with the syndicated Spider-Man episodes, instead of making new episodes.

This show had many different incarnations over the course of the 80's, and each on will get their own entry in this community because they had a distinctly different opening title sequence for each one. In one way or another, Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends was on Saturday Morning TV all the way through 1986.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


Goldie Gold and Action Jack was a Ruby-Spears cartoon from 1981 that aired for 13 episodes at 10:00 Saturday mornings on ABC. It also aired at 9:00 starting in the Spring of 1982 (the second half of the season), and that's kind of important... remember what was so weird about the 1980 Saturday Morning line-up? NO CARTOONS STARTED AT 10:00! This is the first time I've ever had to use the 10:00 tag in this community, and it feels WEIRD!

This show woulda/coulda/shoulda been a prime-time action/comedy along the lines of "Moonlighting" (the TV show that introduced the world to that old guy from the new GI Joe movie - kids, ask your parents).

Goldie Gold was a super-rich and super-beautiful (teenage?) owner of a newspaper, Action Jack was her ace reporter friend (boy friend?). Each episode had them being pulled in to some random action-adventure that lead them to uncovering some great front-page news story.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


First, the straight data. The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam was a live-action/animated comedy/action/cartoon show that aired at 9:30 on NBC starting in 1981, and was produced by Filmation. The live-action segments were your standard vaudeville jokes and skits performed by attractive people in spandex super hero suits. The animated segments were of either "Hero High" (animated versions of the live-action spandex vaudeville folk) or "SHAZAM!" (animated adventures of the famous Superman knock-off of the 1930's). How many episodes were there? Good question...

See, this show is one of my favorites AND one of my most frustrating.

One of the first bootlegs I tracked down when I got in to "Tape Trading" (VHS tapes) back in the late 80's was Hero High. I paid $30 for 3 video tapes full of The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam, which the seller swore were the only 9 episodes that were ever made.

When The Internet happened, I discovered that the order from NBC was for at least 13 episodes - four more than what I had paid for.

Since then, in my attempts to find the entire series, I have heard people claim that there are as many as THIRTY-EIGHT EPISODES of this show - and INSANE amount of episodes for a weekly Saturday morning cartoon!

I know for a fact that there were only 12 8-minute SHAZAM! cartoons produced, and the rights to them are owned by Warner Brothers who has no plans to ever make an official release.

I know for a fact that there were 26 8-minute Hero High cartoon segments produced, and they are available on DVD.

Combining those two might get us to the fabled 38 episodes, but since this was an hour long "block" of cartoons that regularly showed 4 or 5 cartoon segments along with the live-action vaudeville, I'm assuming that my 9 episodes are closer to the true number of episodes than 38 ever could be.

Wish I still had those tapes, even if they WERE on Betamax tapes :(
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


Laverne & Shirley in the Army (which never actually had the words "In The Army" in their logo or title sequence) is a 1981 Hanna-Barbera cartoon series that aired on ABC Saturday mornings for a grand total of 13 episodes. Based on the "You're In The Army Now," episode of the Laverne & Shirley sit-com that aired on November 15, 1979, best friends Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney find themselves enlisted in the U.S. Army and often get involved in weird top-secret projects with their drill sergeant ("Sgt. Squealy", voiced by Ron "Horshack" Palillo from "Welcome Back Kotter") who is always threatening to report them to his superior, Sgt. Turnbuckle.

Oh, and for some unknown reason, Sergeant Squealy? Yeah, he's an anthropomorphic pig. NO OTHER TALKING ANIMAL CHARACTERS IN THE ENTIRE SHOW.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


(Sorry for the poor sound quality, it was the only ORIGINAL 1981 OPENING with the voice-over that I could find)

Saturday morning at 8:30 in 1981, NBC and Hanna-Barbera made history with the debut of The Smurfs. What can I tell you that isn't already common knowledge (to people like us) about this show? Fred Silverman (President of NBC at the time) had bought a Smurf doll while on vacation in Colorado (the toys started hitting US shelves as early as 1976) and Fred thought "Hey, I'll bet that would make a good cartoon".

Anybody else know any good stories about The Smurfs?
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


Tune in to your local CBS affiliate station at 8:30 on Saturday morning in 1981 and you'll be watching Trollkins - Like a cross between the Smurfs and The Dukes Of Hazzard. SERIOUSLY. Multi-colored Smurfs, with cars and Southern hayseed accents, living in trees that make up "Troll Town". If the two cartoons hadn't been made by the exact same studio (Hanna-Barbera) and debuted on the exact same day in the exact same time slot, you'd swear that one was a rip-off of the other.

And you'd be right.

The third-hand story behind this show as I have heard it repeated from fairly reliable sources (HOORAY FOR GOSSIP YAAAAY!) is that when Hanna-Barbera got hold of the rights to make an American animated version of the beloved European comic strip characters The Smurfs, it was decided (and nobody will take credit for this) that was "too intelligent" for the youth of America and it needed to be dumbed down. The concept was passed around through all the various lawyers, marketing executives and Censors to make "notes" on how to "improve" the show.
  • All of them being just blue could be seen as being racist. Make them a multitude of colors.
  • Mushroom houses could be a drug reference, have them live in trees.
  • The Dukes Of Hazzard is popular right now, make them all sound Southern.
  • Put them in vehicles - easier to sell as a Happy Meal Toy if this cartoon takes off.
  • Villains are too threatening, make our conflict be with a biker gang that is just non-conforming and annoying.
  • They need a dog. EVERY Hanna-Barbera production should have a dog in it because Frank Welker needs work.

This was given the green-light and went into production before they checked with Peyo, the creator of the Smurfs. When they showed him the Trollkins, he said something like "That is a very nice cartoon, and I can hardly wait to see what you can do with a GOOD concept like my Smurfs!"

Nobody spoke of the Trollkins ever again. One season and *done*, never to be spoken of again, put in to lots of syndication packages as padding.

I don't know if that story is true, but I love it :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com


The Kwicky Koala show from Hanna-Barbera aired at 8am on your local CBS station starting in 1981, and only lasted one season. The show is a pretty forgettable comedy anthology, mostly notable for being among legendary cartoon director Tex Avery's final works. Avery died during production in 1980.

The show consisted of a mish-mash of relatively fresh and original comedy concepts that were unfortunate victims of an overzealous network of censors, corporate interests and parental watch-dog groups who feared anything that might even come close to being actually funny (I'M BIASED).

Kwicky Koala was a cross between Tex Avery's "Droopy" cartoons of the past and a Road Runner/Speedy Gonzalez theme. Wilfred Wolf was always trying to catch Kwicky for some undisclosed reason (either money or cartoonibalism, I think?), and Kwicky used the natural faster-than-light capabilities of a Koala(?!) to outsmart him and escape.

The Bungle Brothers were the vaudeville dogs who kind of hosted the show, and/or were always trying to sell their vaudeville act and become big stars. They didn't really have a PART in the show, just the little intros and endings of each episode.

Crazy Claws was a wildcat who used his sharp wits and equally sharp claws to evade the fur trapper Rawhide Clyde and his dog Bristletooth in a National Park run by Ranger Rangerfield. I don't remember much about this one other than how my buddy Kevin always said that Crazy Claws reminded him of his favorite X-Man, Wolverine (he bought a copy of Incredible Hulk #181 for $8 and back in 1981 that was just stupid-expensive for one comic book, but I digress...)

Dirty Dawg was the story of a homeless vagrant dog and his best friend (a rat named Ratso) as they tried to better their lives, and Officer Bullhorn as "The Man" who constantly foiled them.
[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.

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