[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

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
[Poll #1794448]

NOTES: This year had both "Animal Crack-Ups" and "I'm Telling", both of which were live-action shows but I felt important to include here as part of the over-all Saturday Morning Experience.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Not many people remember the Fraggle Rock cartoon, but those of us who do knew exactly how perfect it was. If you were a fan of the real Fraggle Rock, this show never dissapointed; quite possibly the BEST transition from live-action to animation EVER!

Agree or disagree? Leave some comments below and then if you feel up to it and haven't already done so, head on over to our Best of 1987 Poll to vote some love :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

(Unable to find a single embeddable clip of this show on all of You Tube, but you can watch the opening at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgS8oOm0mlM)

The Alf cartoon was every bit as good, if not better than the original live-action sit-com. Take that as you will :P

Leave some love in the comments, go and vote at our Best of 1987 Poll!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

1987 was an epic year for the Babyfication or Youthenation of classic characters, I think due at least in part to the success of The Muppet Babies. Here we had "America's Teenager" and his gang turned in to "America's PRE-Teenager", and I think it worked in a late-80's way :)

Leave some kind words for The New Archies in the comments below, and if you haven't already done so feel free to go and vote it up in our Best Of 1987 Poll!


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