[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
Another year down! This list includes all the new 1984 cartoons as well as the returning ones from the previous seasons. It should be noted that my Master List posts are based on the line-up that premiered in the Fall of each year, and does not reflect any of the minor scheduling tweaks that may have happened in the Spring. Cartoons that debut in the Spring line-up (which are very rare) will be included in the following year's Master List.

So here's the hotlink-filled OFFICIAL SATURDAY MORNING MASTER LIST OF 1984:

[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In 1984, the ABC Weekend Special reinvented itself with a January premiere instead of a traditional September debut, which featured the introduction of Cap'n O.G. Readmore.

Cap'n O.G. Readmore was created in conjunction with some literary council and ABC in hopes that they could bolster the image of the ABC Weekend Special being their compliance with the whole "Educational Programming" mandate that was in full effect. The character was also highly visible in his animated form through a series of "Reading Is Fun" public service spots.

The line-up of new episodes that aired in 1984 included:
  • Cougar! (Parts 1-3)
  • The Dog Days of Arthur Cane, Parts 1 and 2
  • A Different Twist
  • The Amazing Bunjee Venture parts 1 and 2 (embedded above)
  • Bad Cat
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

First, the description - A live-action show about a Monkey named Roxana Banana who is given super-powers by aliens and has wacky adventures. COULD ANYTHING POSSIBLY BE MORE PERFECT?!?!?

Folks, you know me. You know that I have a *fairly extensive knowledge* of 1980's Saturday Morning Programming, right? I mean, hey, I *did* start up a whole Preservation/Reenactment Society, after all... I know my way around a 1980's TV Guide and a 13-channel television dial (14 if you count the UHF).

So believe me when I say that I'm *pretty sure* this show didn't actually exist.

In 1984 i was *obsessed* with Oragutans, chimpanzees and "Monkeys" in general. I sold little baskets of fruit at our corner grocery store in order to reach my goal of buying myself a monkey that could drive me to school, wear pajamas, rollerskate and smoke cigars for my amusement. When i started seeing ads for this show in my comic books, I WENT NUTS! I HAD TO SEE IT!

I tuned in every Saturday at noon, only to find some stupid local educational show airing there instead, to be followed by an episode of Spider-Man & His Amazing Freinds before they moved on to Sportball programs. This is when I first learned about how Network Affiliates and Local Educational Programming quotas, and I was assured by the person who wrote me back from KING (the local NBC affiliate that I had written an 11-year-old letter of complaint to) that the show was airing in other cities but not the greater Seattle area.

HOWEVER! In the 30 years since it supposedly aired on Saturday mornings, I have not met a SINGLE PERSON who has actually SEEN, with their OWN EYES, a single episode of this show! Lots of people kind of think they maybe saw an episode, but ends up it was one of the many Orangutan-centric movies of the time ("Any Which Way But Loose", "Going Ape", "Canonball Run", etc).

To further my claim that this show never existed, I submit the fact that on ALL THE INTERNET, the only image you'll ever see of the show is the one I have posted at the top of this entry. No other pictures, no clips, no video, no theme song - NOTHING. Presumably produced by Hannah-Barbera, even the Wikipedia page doesn't seem to know anything about this show and/or if there's any proof to back up it's existence!

This makes me sad - I really want there to have been a show about a monkey given super-powers by aliens :(
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Pryor's Place (1984, 11:30 on CBS) is generally believed to be one of the more ill-conceived Saturday Morning programs of the 80's that looked great on Paper. In 1984, traditionally adult-themed comedian Richard Pryor was riding a wave of popularity with kids thanks to movies such as "The Toy" and "Superman III", and so a bunch of Hollywood-types started offering him kid-friendly projects, most of them being just terrible (one pitch I heard of was a kind of revamp of the Super Globetrotters theme, only with Pryor providing all the voices for an "Ethnic Super Team" - he walked out of the meeting, insulted).

Sid and Marty Krofft (makers of H.R. Puffinstuff, Land Of The Lost, etc) were the only ones who pitched him a show that wasn't racially insulting; a cross between Sesame Street and Mister Rogers Neighborhood, where Pryor could populate the entire street with characters of his creation. Partially inspired by the recent trend in those noted programs to touch on more "serious" issues such as Death, Pryor was inspired to take the offer.

Unfortunately, there were the censors at Standards & Practices. Perhaps because of Pryor's reputation as a controversial and profane comedian, the censors seemed to to keep an extra-harsh judgmental eye towards the rough drafts, scripts and even finished episodes of the show before they even hit the air. As a result, the aired episodes came off as being extremely dark and moody. A combination of mixed reactions, poor ratings and lengthy delays from the S&P Censors resulted in the show being cancelled before the end of the year.

The show had potential... it even had Ray Parker Jr doing the theme song and in the opening credits!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Kidd Video (1984-1985 NBC) is a show I wish I knew more about - SHOULD know more about because of my "relationship" with Robbie Rist (the actor who played "Whiz")*, and yet here I am with relatively NO INFORMATION on the show :(

I can tell you that there were two seasons that aired on NBC for a total of 26 episodes that were then re-run as a third season before being sold to CBS as a "Filler" cartoon (no official spot on the schedule, used as a filler for whenever Saturday sporting events were delayed because of rain). I can tell you that you'll never see an official DVD release of the original videos because of copyright issues with the 80's music videos they played which they only had broadcast and rerun rights to. I can tell you it was one of the first collaborations between Saban Entertainment and DIC.

I can't tell you why the art and style of the show is so different from Season 1 to Season 2. I can't tell you who came up with the idea. I can't tell you ANY of the usual awesome behind-the-scenes fables and rumors that I usually have for 80's cartoons. When the subject of Kidd Video comes up, it seems that everyone says "Yeah that was a great show" and then they move on to other subjects :/


*(In the early days of The Internet, I created a Religion based around the Robbie Rist character of "Cousin Oliver" from The Brady Bunch, and all the "incarnations" of Cousin Oliver which included "Whiz". I made the mistake of trying to qualify for Tax Exemption through the "Church", which lead to the website being mercilessly taken down by the free site it was hosted on).
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

11:00 on ABC in 1984 was the tipping point for Scooby-Doo, namely with The Scary Scooby Funnies - which I like to think of as the '80 Page Giant Annual" of 1980's Saturday Morning Cartoons.

80 Pages of comics, 4 of which are all-new, the rest is reprints going as far back as the dawn of comicdom.

The current "New" Scooby-Doo cartoon in this season was the second season of The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, which brought the whole gang INCLUDING SCRAPPY-DOO together for the first time ever in a series of two 11-minute adventures, followed by The Scary Scooby Funnies which was a random repackaging of pretty much every Scooby-Doo series of "The ABC Years" that had featured just Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy. Out of the full hour of Scoobcentric programming, you could end up with 45-minutes of "Vintage" Scooby-Doo and a single 11-minute "New" adventure.

This was the last season of Scooby Doo that would follow the traditional stand-alone mystery adventure story structure.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

1984 seemed to have a theme of some sort... can you spot it? 10:30am on CBS was one of the several new Video Game cartoons that had been rushed in to production in the wake of Pac-Man's success and departure from Saturday Morning Television. The (unconfirmed, not from a confirmed source) story of this show and it's creation are kind of neat...

Former Hannah-Barbera writer and story-editor Andy Heyward had this idea floating around in his head for several years, a story about a traveling stock car stunt show circus that was a front for some secret agents and their high-tech computerized James Bond cars. When Andy finally left Hannah-Barbera to help form DIC, he pushed the idea through to get fully developed. When the writers were polishing and refining the idea (adding a little sister to the mix along the way), they were pitching ideas for an actual NAME to the show, which had been stuck under the title "Secret Agent Cars" for far too long. Various names were shouted out, stuff like "C.A.R.Z.", "Fast Track", "Pit Stop"... and then when somebody stated listing automotive/racing terms ("Checkered Flag", "NASCAR", "Race Track", etc) and hit "Pole Position", somebody said "What... like the Video Game?"

The room went quiet as everyone looked at everyone else.

"Yes" it was agreed. "Just like the video game!" And so that's how they sold it.

Mind you, the cartoon has literally NOTHING to do with the video game AT ALL beyond the title but who would have tuned in after the Saturday Supercade to watch a single car driving around a track for 22 minutes?

The theme song for this show was *perfect*, reminiscent of both "Airwolf" and "Knight Rider", hooked me from the get-go:

[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

By 1984, ABC had realized that these new-fangled VEE-dee-oh Games were all the rage with kids and brought yet another popular game character to Saturday Mornings at 10:00, DRAGON'S LAIR.

One of only *three* video games stored for posterity at the Smithsonian Institute, Dragon's Lair was a revolutionary video game with rich, delightful animation courtesy of Ex-Disney Animator Don Bluth. Just compare the above opening credits of the TV show (produced by Ruby-Spears on the cheap) to the "Trailer" that played on the old Dragon's Lair Video Game and you'll begin to see why the show may not have performed so well...

The Video Game had been cinematic quality animation, and the Saturday Morning cartoon was... well, TV Animation. And then to further doom the show, it was scheduled at the dreaded TEN O'CLOCK TIME SLOT, the time in the morning when every other network was showing the second or third half-hour of some extremely popular show such as The Smurfs.

Despite all this, the show was *extremely* popular! One gimmick they used that really helped connect the show to the video game was to end on a cliffhanger at each commercial break, having the narrator ask viewers "What would YOU do?" to insure that the kids would stay tuned to find out what happened. Coming back from commercial break would have the narrator show one or two possible "Bad Choices", followed by the heroic option that saved the day :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

1984 ABC Saturday Morning brought us a cartoon that really deserves more love (imho), TURBO TEEN. A teenager (Brett Mathews) swerves his car off a cliff in the middle of a rainstorm and crashes in to a Secret Government Laboratory at the *exact moment* that they're testing their "Turn-Stuff-In-To-Other-Stuff-When-It-Gets-Hot-Inator" ray gun, so now whenever Matt gets too hot he turns in to his car. He's chased by a villain that seems to be Doctor Claw (from Inspector Gadget fame) driving a Monster Truck, going by the name "Dark Rider" (both characters voiced in an identical way by Frank Welker).

Don't you HATE IT when that happens???

As a collector with many connections, I can confidently say that there is NO SUCH THING as a complete, high-quality collection of all 13 Turbo Teen episodes. It was produced by Ruby-Spears, but they don't own the rights to it. Every time I try to find out who owns the rights to make a DVD release of this show, people start disappearing. I'm pretty sure Doctor Claw is behind it...

"Next time, Gadget..."
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

So I've been struggling with this one all day long, trying to figure out exactly how to write up what is quite possibly THE most universally liked and enjoyed cartoon of the entire 1980's, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies. "The Show That Will Never Be On DVD" because of it's liberal use of what was, at the time, "Fair Use" clips of everything fro Star Trek to Charlie Chaplin films, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies was a case of everything going right at the right time for Jim Henson. As a bit of fluff/filler for the third Muppet Movie, "The Muppets Take Manhattan", they put in a cute little number featuring baby versions of The Muppets. They had a lot of fun filming the sequence, and Jim instantly saw the potential in the characters. Without even having an idea beyond "Baby Versions Of The Muppets", they shopped the concept around and CBS snapped it up *quick*.

The cartoon debuted a scant two months after The Muppets Take Manhattan hit theaters, and a multi-level marketing tie-in with McDonalds helped make sure that every kid in America knew about The Muppet Babies, but that's not what made this cartoon so beloved - the cartoon was REALLY GOOD! ANd we really owe it all to that prolific writer of 1980's Saturday Morning Cartoons, Jeffrey Scott - who wrote the entire first THREE SEASONS of the show by himself!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

1984 brought us a revolutionary cartoon on your local ABC affiliate at 9am, The Mighty Orbots! In short, it was a cartoon about a guy in the future who built some robots that could combine in to one giant robot to fight crime and it was AWESOME! [livejournal.com profile] aurora77recently gifted me with a delightfully high-quality bootleg DVD of the entire series and let me tell ya, this is one of the few 80's cartoons that COMPLETELY lives up to the hype in my head! Unlike most every other 1980's Saturday Morning cartoon, The Mighty Orbots got to have a resolutionary FINAL EPISODE where (SPOILER)The Bad Guys got blown up, which was the main struggle of every episode. The Robots and their personalities evolved through the series as well, which was just so refreshing - none of this "This week I learned a valuable lesson about the TRUE meaning of 'Family', which I vow to completely forget about by next episode" nonsense.

You may notice that with the animation and style and look of this show, it looks an awful lot like one of those Anime import dubs like Star Blazers or Robotech. And there's good reason for that...

The Mighty Orbots was created in a joint collaboration of TMS Entertainment and Intermedia Entertainment in association with MGM/UA Television. It was directed by veteran anime director Osamu Dezaki ("Astro Boy", "Lupin The 3rd") and features character designs by Akio Sugino ("Golgo 13", "Gaiking"). Produced by TMS Entertainment, the show ran for 13 very popular episodes - but not popular enough for it's time slot, directly opposed to the Saturday Morning Juggernaut known as The Smurfs. The (comparatively) poor ratings plus a lawsuit from Tonka Toys (who rightfully claimed that the BIG ROBOT looked *exactly* like their licensed Six God Combination Godmars (technically part of the GoBots line even though they never made a toy of it for the US as far as I know) lead to a single season of pure awesomeness :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

"Pink Panther And Sons" was a cartoon that aired on NBC Saturday Mornings at 8:30 starting in 1984 for two seasons, then was traded to ABC for the final season in 1986. Who produced this cartoon? It's complicated, but in the end it was Hannah-Barbera that did all the work - The original Pink Panther cartoons (theatrical and Television) were produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, but in 1981 that studio was sold to Marvel Comics and renamed Marvel Productions. To further complicate things, the actual CHARACTER of The Pink Panther was owned by The Mirisch Company, producers of the Pink Panther (Inspector Clouseau) movies. David DePatie and Friz Freleng served as producers for this series, circumventing Marvel Productions completely, and creating some limited partnership *specifically* for this project with The Mirisch Company, then farmed the grunt-work out to Hannah-Barbera as a (alleged) "Screw You" to the new owners at Marvel Productions.

There is bitterness there.

The show features the adventures of The Pink Panther's two sons: Pinky (the older one) and his brother Panky (toddler), and their Cosby-Kids-esque friends in the Rainbow Panthers Crew (Chatta, Rocko, Murfel, Annie and Punkin, who can all be seen Moonwalking in the opening credits). Each episode was all about the Rainbow Panthers Crew coming together for friendship and fun as they learned all about growing up and caring each other as they take on the a group of lions called the Howl Angels.

(At the risk of getting more hate mail, I'd dare say that this show suffered from Get-Along-Gang Syndrome)


The date of the next all-new watch-along, due to complications beyond our control, has been postponed till Saturday, September 21st! Mark your calendars accordingly, sorry for any inconvenience!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In 1984 at 8:30 in the morning, CBS ironically ran the most Orwellian of all 1980's cartoons, The Get Along Gang. Created by a committee of artists and marketing specialists at the American Greetings Toy Design & Marketing Division (trying to refine and recreate the powerhouse merchandising magic of Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Shirt Tales and Smurfs) working in conjunction with the never-more-powerful Parental Watchdog Groups, The Get Along Gang was an experiment in just how much influence and control mass media had over the masses. Writer Mark Evanier summed it up very well:

"[Television watchgroups] all seek to make kidvid more enriching and redeeming, at least by their definitions, and at the time, they had enough clout to cause the networks to yield. Consultants were brought in and we, the folks who were writing cartoons, were ordered to include certain "pro-social" morals in our shows. At the time, the dominant "pro-social" moral was as follows: The group is always right...the complainer is always wrong.

This was the message of far too many eighties' cartoon shows. If all your friends want to go get pizza and you want a burger, you should bow to the will of the majority and go get pizza with them. There was even a show for one season on CBS called The Get-Along Gang, which was dedicated unabashedly to this principle. Each week, whichever member of the gang didn't get along with the others learned the error of his or her ways....

...I don't believe you should always go along with the group. What about thinking for yourself? What about developing your own personality and viewpoint? What about doing things because you decide they're the right thing to do, not because the majority ruled and you got outvoted?"

Thirteen mind-controlling episodes were produced, which American Greetings still refuses to release on DVD for some unknown reason. Like, not just a "Meh nobody would want a DVD of that show", but an actively negative stance towards any company approaching them regarding DVD release rights! The closest to a full season DVD release we've ever gotten is from Mill Creek Entertainment, who released a low-quality "Best Of" DVD that contained 10 of the 13 episodes(?!) and then the remaining 3 episodes were released as "Bonus Features" on other 80's cartoon DVD releases such as Heathcliff and the popular-but-oddly-mish-mashed TV Toons To Go DVD set. Weeeeeeird....
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Sheesh! Are there ANY new cartoons of 1984 that DON'T have some crazy story behind them?

In 1984, NBC kicked off their official broadcast Saturday morning with a half-hour of The Snorks at 8:00. The most successful of all the Smurfs knock-offs, The Snorks are the product of underhanded business dealings, Dutch pop-star negotiations and an honest-to-gosh 3-minute LOST TREASURE OF THE 80'S!

You can blame Freddy Monnickendam.

Freddy was a Belgian businessman, plain and simple, who negotiated the rights for Father Abraham (real name: Pierre Kartner, a well known and respected Dutch performer) to sing "The Smurf Song":


This negotiation (which proved to be quite financially agreeable for all parties involved) lead to Freddy Monnickendam becoming THE GUY who negotiated all of the Smurfs merchandising beyond the comics. Freddy is the reason we have a Smurfs cartoon!

Freddy is also the reason we have a Trollkins cartoon :(

Remember back in the write-up of The Trollkins where I told the tale of Peyo seeing the finished committee-aproved version of The Smurfs (aka "Trollkins") and he reportedly said "That is a very nice cartoon, and I can hardly wait to see what you can do with a GOOD concept like my Smurfs"? FREDDY MONNICKENDAM WAS THE GUY ON PEYO'S SIDE OF THINGS WHO TOLD HANNAH-BARBERA THAT THE TROLLKINS VERSION WAS OKAY AND TO GO AHEAD WITH IT!!!

Freddy was the first executive producer of The Smurfs, but Peyo wanted the Smurf cartoons to be as faithful as possible to the world he had created in his comics, and Monnickendam preferred to make the cartoons more "mainstream" - (aka "Scrappy-Dooified"). This led to fast deterioration of relations between the two men, ending in court cases about the division of the rights and the money involved.

Freddy was pretty open about how he though Peyo was foolish to not allow these big, important American Marketing Executives to make The Smurfs in to something that would be a sure-fire hit (like "Trollkins"), and if HE owned The Smurfs, out-right, he could -

Hang on. A light bulb of villainous ingenuity appeared over Freddy's head, his eyes turned in to dollar signs, and he rubbed his hands together in sheer delight at the awesomeness of his evil plan...

He hired an artist/designer by the name of... crap. Can't remember his name. Freddy hired a guy who took the smurfs, replaced the heads and put them underwater. Freddy rushed this concept right along. Now that he had connections at Hannah-Barbera, he was able to push this concept through production and create a three-minute "Pilot" that, although it is on production schedules and notes and was paid for through billing and was well received by the test groups according to the reports, NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN IT OR KNOWS WHERE IT IS.

Little tiny bit of it (about 15 seconds total) showed up on the NBC Saturday Morning Preview Show that year, but that's it. It's a bonafide lost treasure of The 80's :)

Freddy maneuvered quickly, buying up all the rights to The Snorks and just waiting for the Smurfs-like money to come rolling in.

So now you know the secret behind The Snorks; created out of spite by a Belgian businessman to try and teach a nice cartoonist a lesson :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In 1984, the official network feed from ABC started at 8:00 with the all-new Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, a show that forever changed how Saturday Morning Cartoons worked.

Geez, how do I write this out in a bite-size blog post???

Backwards, I guess?

You may have noticed that the 1983 ABC line-up didn't have a Super Friends cartoon. This was because all the OLD episodes were finally available for 5-days-a-week syndication. The folks at ABC didn't like that, feeling that new episodes would be competing with syndicated re-runs on other channels and/or at least providing free network advertising for the syndicated episodes, pulled the plug. The general attitude of ABC was that they wanted something completely new that was noticeably different from the syndicated Super Friends, while also remaining the same.

Meanwhile, the Super Friends comic book was selling great by churning out stories that were more in line with what was actually being published in current DC comics rather than stories geared towards the cartoon viewers.

Also, comics legend Jack Kirby was now a freelance artist looking to do more non-comics work in animation which could then lead to character ownership and a piece of the merchandising action, churning out untold amounts of concept drawings for the folks at Ruby-Spears.

And last but not least, the MEGO company no longer had the rights to make DC comics action figures - the rights were snapped-up by Kenner Toys and the industries first "Multi-Marketing Blitz" began (more on that later).

All these things fell in to place *perfectly*. Hannah-Barbera hired writers from the Super Friends comics to write episodes of a new cartoon, and Jack Kirby characters and designs were used for the new Kenner "Super Powers" line of toys.

The "Super Friends" comic book was cancelled, replaced by a series of "Mini Series" comics under the "Super Powers" title.

And the new cartoon, which had been pitched and developed under the two separate titles of "The Super Powers Show" and "Super Friends: Legends", debuted as "Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show" (love that compromise).

Multi-Market Media Blitz had been done before, but in a much different way; characters such as Strawberry Shortcake and The Shirt Tales had started their lives as greeting card characters and moved on to toys and cartoons, sure... but this? This was a special oroborus of creativity. A cartoon that inspired a comic book that inspired a toy line that inspired a comic book that inspired a cartoon - WOW!

Later in the 80's you would see this type of stuff happen a lot with properties such as Transformers, GI Joe and Masters Of The Universe... but this cartoon is where it all started :)

This incarnation of The Super Friends introduced Darkseid, Apokalypse and Firestorm to the mix, as well as featuring Adam West as the voice of Batman for the first time in Super Friends history :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Where do you begin with this? In 1983 at 11:00, the folks at NBC brought us the adventures of Mister T as animated by the Ruby-Spears studio.

If you don't know who Mister T was/is, I have nothing but pity for you and think you somewhat akin to a Foole.

The premise of this show was the Mister T was the trainer/coach of a teenage gymnastics troupe who for some reason drove around the country solving mysteries. They also had a dog with a mohawk and a red-headed white boy who wanted to be Mister T.

Unlike other celebrities who got their own cartoon series (Chuck Norris, Hulk Hogan, Muhammad Ali, etc) Mister T was pretty heavily involved with the creative end of this cartoon series. Each episode opened with Mister T explaining the set-up of the episode, and ended with him explaining the moral of the story in a live-action segment. There was a big struggle between the story writers and T, where the story writers wanted Mister T to perform some super-human feat of strength each episode (the entire reason behind making a cartoon about a muscle-bound hero, after all), but T insisted that his role be more of a mentor and not doing things that kids would try to imitate at home. This is why many episodes end with The Bad Guy just SEEING Mister T and deciding to give up rather than fight.

The show ran for 30 episodes over the course of three seasons, but because of contractual negotiations that fell through at the last minute Season 3 ended up being 100% re-runs of episodes from the first two seasons; they never even made it to the plotting stage of Season 3 because at that time, Mister T was trying to develop his standing in the WWF Professional Wrestling Federation - distancing himself from his established "Good Guy" persona.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Bneji, Zax & The Alien Prince was a live-action show that premiered at 11:00 Saturday morning in 1983 on CBS. Created by Benji's owner, Bob Camp, this show was one of Hanna-Barbera's infrequent attempts at a live-action TV show. Pretty much everything you need to know about every episode is right there in the opening credits - Space Prince and his Robot hide from an Evil Empire here on Earth with the help of the most famous dog of the 70's/80's, Benji.

For the longest time, I thought this show was some fevered dream or hallucination from my childhood; I think I tuned in to one or two episodes by accident, in the middle of the show, so I had no idea what was going on. FREQUENTLY preempted for College Football and/or Golf, the show had a very spotty record of actually making it to air in most time zones.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

I'd have to do too much googling to confirm or deny this so I'll just let all y'all correct me if I'm wrong; 1983, 10:30 on NBC brought us the first ever Saturday Morning "Reboot" of a cartoon*, Alvin & The Chipmunks.

Back in 1961, Alvin & The Chipmunks looked like this (please feel free to ignore the Nickelodeon branding):

Produced for prime-time television, this version of The Chipmunks was a fast-paced half-hour "Gag" show, with 2 musical segments, a "Clyde Crashcup" cartoon and a single, quick joke featuring The Chipmunks.

But here in 1983, the show was refined. The musical segments were gone, replaced by actual storylines and character development. The character of Dave Seville was finally established as an adoptive father rather than an ambiguously disassociated record producer with anger management issues. The artistic style of the 1983 show was smoothed out and standardized to fit in with all the other cartoons of 1980's Saturday Morning thanks to the involvement of Ruby-Spears, as opposed to the highly stylized 1961 version that had been crafted solely by Bagdasarian Productions.

This was a completely different cartoon.

From the very first episode of the 1983 version, they distanced themselves by having a guest appearance by Mister T and also by introducing "The Chippettes". Even the theme song (one of the best ever on Saturday Mornings) implied that this was an all-new, all different approach to the Chipmunks and it REALLY WORKED!

*(You may point out various Hanna-Barbera shows of the 70's such as "Yogi's Space-Race", "The New Scooby-Doo Movies", "Yogi's Ark" and/or "Laugh-A-Lympics" as previous reboots of cartoons, but those weren't reboots so much as sequels that just used the same characters in new situations. It's like the difference between "Star Trek III: The Search For Spock" and the more recent JJ Abrahms "Star Trek" movies)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

At 10:30 in the morning on CBS in 1983, you got something pretty darned special - The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show! These characters had been around since 1950 and been the subject of several movies and seasonal television specials, but never before - not even during the HEIGHT of popularity in the 1960's - had there ever been a weekly cartoon!

The show was pretty straightforward and easy to produce, as they had over 30 years of "storyboards" to pull from - and that's exactly what they did. Direct adaptations of the comic strips. It was quite brilliant! Produced by Bill Melendez, whose animation studio generally specialized in specials, these episodes fit seamlessly with all the existing movies and specials that had already been produced!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

At 10:00 on ABC in 1983, you'd find "Rubik The Amazing Cube" courtesy of the fine folks at Ruby-Spears. As is the case occasionally here at the SMHRS, once I started Googling to confirm or deny the information I knew about this show, I learned that I was WRONG. This is the second or third time I've had wrong information on something!

So first, let's start at the basics. The Early 80's were all about 3 things - Pac Man, MTV and The Rubik's Cube. The Rubik's Cube, for those who may not know for some weird reason, was a very popular cube-shaped puzzle with 36 squares of 6 different colors that could be rotated to create headaches and confusion.

So naturally, they made a cartoon about some Puerto Rican kids finding a magic one that could talk and help them with their daily conflicts while they helped the cube avoid being captured by the evil Gypsy Magician who would use the power of the cube to rule the world.

My INCORRECT INFORMATION on this cartoon was that the entire voice cast had been members of the popular Puerto Rican Boy Band "Menudo", along with Emanuel "Webster" Lewis as the voice of Rubik.


Ends up that Menudo only sang the theme song to the show, and the voice of Rubik was done by former Sweathog Ron "Horshack" Palillo from "Welcome Back Kotter" (a show that surprisingly holds up rather well after the passage of so much time).


One story about this show that I've always heard that made me feel warm-n-fuzzy on the inside is that the Puerto Rican kids on this show wasn't some affirmative action, racial equality, diversification mandate from higher up; the show was pitched as specifically Puerto Rican in order to capitalize on the momentum of the popular "Menudo On ABC" segments. Instead of being forced to rework a character or characters in to ethnic roles for diversification sakes (which is why cartoons are so full of multi-racial casts that all act as white as a bag of mayonnaise & marshmallows), this show was *natural*.

I love that :)


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1980's Saturday Morning Historical Preservation Society

March 2017

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