[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

YARRRRR, MATEYS! It be September 19th, International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day! And as a special treat, we'll take a look at what I consider to be the greatest tribute to 80's Saturday Mornings that the 90's ever created, THE PIRATES OF DARKWATER.

(Yes, I know that this cartoon didn't even start till '91, but it's relevant I swear!)

The water world of Mer is being devoured by a gloopy substance known as "Dark Water". Only Prince Ren can stop it by finding the lost Thirteen Treasures of Rule. His loyal crew of misfits that help in his journey are Tula the Ecomancer, Niddler the monkey-bird, and a treasure-hungry pirate named Ioz. The evil pirate lord, Bloth, will stop at nothing to get the treasures for himself and provides many obstacles for Ren and his crew.

Depending on who you talk to, there were either 21, 26 or 19 episodes of this show produced between 1989 and 1992. This was the last original show to be produced by Hannah-Barbera before being devoured by the Turner Broadcasting conglomerate, which I think gives it a bit of a special distinction.

So about the inconsistency of Episode count...

The original run was a simple 5-episode Toy Commercial, not unlike the original GI Joe, Transformers and other toy commercial TV shows of the 80's. Simply titled "Dark Water", the show was notable for the fact that legendary actor Roddy McDowell voiced the monkey-bird Niddler (after these 5 episodes it would be voiced by Frank Welker). At the time, Dark Water was seen as being a "Hail Mary Pass" of a cartoon that they put everything in to in order to avoid a buy-out - all they needed was one new, solid hit to keep the studio going.

...And then the multi-market merchandising deal fell through :( No extensive toy-line, no lunch boxes, no sheets, no board games (though most of these would come later, under different circumstances)... it just all kind of fizzled-out during a series of corporate buy-outs. The five BEAUTIFUL episodes, featuring some of the finest watercolor backgrounds and full figure animation the studio had ever produced, ended up being sold off to the lowest bidder, the fledgling FOX network.

Those first five episodes aired on FOX, while Turner Broadcasting was ironing out what to do with all the previous contracts and whatnot. The episodes were slightly retooled and condensed in order to make them fit in to a "Movie" format, which was then split in to individual half-hour episodes for a full series that was sold to ABC.

The show was abruptly cancelled at approximately 21 episodes, never reaching the promised conclusion :(
[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

"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

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

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

(This video includes both versions of the opening credits, watch to see the differences and similarities - it's fun!)

Most of what needs to be said about The Dukes (the cartoon based on the popular "Dukes Of Hazzard" tv show) has already been said in the Speed Buggy post from 1982, but in summary...

Cartoon was nearly complete thanks to Hanna-Barbera, actors went on strike, replacement cartoon was late, Speed Buggy was aired instead, The Dukes debuted in the Spring of 1983 with "Coy and Vance" instead of "Bo and Luke".

Now, further fun stuff :)

This cartoon was doomed from the moment CBS decided to use it as a bargaining chip in their negotiations with the actors. Putting it on the air with two guys who WEREN'T the Duke Boys that everybody knew and loved drove away the viewers, and by the second season (once the real Duke Boys had returned) nobody was willing to give it a chance, probably because no one actually KNEW that the real Dukes were back on the show.

And speaking of that second season... the entire two-season run worth of 20 episodes ran in one year - Spring of 1983 till Spring 1984. Since H-B already had most of the second season (which had been intended to be the first season) completed, turnaround for getting these episodes on TV was no problem. Poor ratings were blamed for the quick cancellation.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Monchhichis was yet another "We want another show like The Smurfs" cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera for ABC that premiered at 9:00 in 1983. The Monchhichis were monkey-like creatures who lived in some weird forest land called Monchia at the very top of some very tall trees high above the clouds. The tribe's leader was Wizzar, a magical wizard who could make up spells and potions to defeat their enemy, the evil Grumplins of Grumplor.

Much like The Smurfs, The Monchichis were already a beloved property elsewhere before we got hold of them and made them STARS. The Monchichis were a line of Japanese stuffed toy monkeys from the Sekiguchi Corporation, first released in 1974. They became so popular that they even got their ow cartoon series in 1980, "Monchhichi Twins", which was nothing like the Hanna-Barbera Monchichis cartoon of 1983.

Moved to 8:00 in the spring of 1984, when it was combined with the Richie Rich and Little Rascals show.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In 1983, CBS started their official broadcast offering at 8:00 with the Hanna-Barbera show THE BISKITTS. The Biskitts are a group of tiny anthropomorphic Robinhood-esque dogs who live on Biskitt Island and guard the crown jewels of Biskitt Castle while also performing good deeds for the underprivileged inhabitants of their tiny island. The villain of the series is the king's mean-spirited, wasteful, younger brother King Max who rules the neighboring Lower Suburbia. In lieu of a proper coronation, Max constantly schemes to steal the royal treasure with the help of his hench-hounds Fang & Snarl and his jester Shecky. The Biskitts are also in danger of being captured and eaten by a large wildcat named Scratch.

And then they were almost killed by ANOTHER group of anthropomorphic animals, The Shirt Tales

See, when The Biskitts was first ordered and presented to advertisers, they all thought they had a genuine hit on their hands. LITTLE ROBIN HOOD PUPPIES!!! It looked like The Smurfs, only with TALKING PUPPIES! How can you go wrong with PUPPIES???


Provided that the show could pull in the ratings, The Biskitts were poised to be the next Smurfs, with toys, comics, posters, books, sheets, tissues, school supplies - you name it! Provided that the kids would tune in...

The mid-season rating came in and it seemed that children everywhere agreed - The Biskitts ranked somewhere between "The Morning Farm Report" and "Just turning off the TV so we can go outside and play". They tried for a FULL SEASON ROTATION (Fall and Spring) to make this show click with the kids, but it just didn't happen.

Meanwhile, some magical shenanigans were underway behind the scenes! The fickle finger of fate was stirring things up in several place at once to make sure that this show reached the proper audience! All at once, these seemingly unconnected thing happened:
  • CBS was pestering Hanna-Barbera over misrepresentation of this show, insisting that H-B "Fix it".
  • NBC, realizing that they couldn't win the Saturday Morning Ratings Game with re-packaged reruns, were looking to streamline and modernize their Saturday Morning line-up.
  • Patriotism in America was on the rise thanks to The Cold War.

SO! CBS cancelled the second season of Biskitts at the last possible moment. NBC Cancelled Shirt Tales to make room for stuff like Kidd Video. Hanna-Barbera pledged to provide the Armed Forces Network with more "fresh" programming than ever before, "for the troops".

Hanna-Barbera said "Hey CBS! We've got a proven performer for you, SHIRT TALES!"

Hanna-Barbera said "Hey Armed Forces Network! We've got a super-fresh cartoon for you, THE BISKITTS!"

So come Fall of 1984, The Biskitts were replaced by The Shirt Tales AND The Armed Forces Network started showing The Biskitts to the children of our troops stationed abroad, primarily Europe and Asia. That SHOULD be the end of the story, but...

The Biskitts achieved a level of popularity on the Armed Forces Network that they had hoped for here in the States! CRAZY! CBS was supposedly FURIOUS and said something akin to "How DARE YOU take away our wonderful show and replace it with this mediocre cast-off from NBC? GIVE US BACK OUR BISKITTS!"

And so in the Spring of 1985, The Shirt Tales went away and were replaced with re-runs of The Biskitts. Theory was that The Biskitts had just been "before it's time" in the US, but once again it tanked in the ratings and was gone by Fall of 1985.

HOWEVER, as a happy footnote for all you Biskitts fans? The Armed Forces Network continued to rerun the 13 episodes (26 11-minute segments) all the way through the 80's, giving them an international notoriety rarely seen by a single-season cartoon :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

ABC Television brought us this, the SIXTH incarnation of Scooby-Doo, at 8:00 Saturday morning in 1983 courtesy of Hanna-Barbera. For those of you keeping score, THIS is the version that featured Scooby, Scrappy, Shaggy and the triumphant return of DAPHNE BLAKE, who hadn't been in an episode since 1979! They drove around the country solving supernatural mysteries (usually lasting only 11 minutes but occasionally being a two-part story that took the entire half-hour to complete).

It's my opinion that the newer "Mystery Incorporated" cartoon from Cartoon Network (which was absolutely BRILLIANT and you should go watch season 1 RIGHT NOW) borrowed heavily from this particular incarnation, with a bit more serious approach to the mysteries than before while also being slightly self-aware of just how silly this stuff could be. Moved to the 9am time slot in the Spring of 1984.

For the official 1984 Fall Season, they renamed the show to "The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries" and made no other changes to the show, just producing 13 more episodes. Moved to 10:30.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

"SPEED BUGGY!??!" I can hear you yelling at your computer screen. "But Captain!" you protest, "Speed Buggy is a Saturday morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on CBS from September 8, 1973 to August 30, 1975 that followed the adventures of an anthropomorphic, fiberglass Dune Buggy and his teenage friends as they solved Scooby-Doo-esque mysteries! What's it doing under the heading of 1982?!?!?"

Blame Bo and Luke Duke.

The Dukes of Hazzard was an extremely popular and high-rated hour-long prime-time television show on CBS Friday nights. Having seen the success of prime-time-to-animation transition shows such as The Fonz, Laverne & Shirley (as well as historically successful cartoons of The Partridge Family, Gilligan's Island and Star Trek), CBS decided they wanted to diversify and bring them Duke Boys to Saturday Mornings. "Hey, Hanna-Barbera, can YOU make us a Dukes of Hazzard Cartoon?" they asked, and since Joe & Bill could never say no, they did all the work needed to get a cartoon done (model sheets, story boarding, voice casting, script writing, etc) and everything was ready to go! Bring in the celebrities in, record the dialogue, bring the actors in again for a final voice-over and...

In the spring of 1982, as filming was due to begin on the fifth season of the prime-time show, series stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider did not report to the set due to a contract dispute. Catherine Bach (their cousin "Daisy") also considered walking out due to similar contract concerns, but Wopat and Schneider convinced her to stay, insisting that settling the dispute was "man's work" (actual quote). Rather than cave in to the demands of the talent, CBS pulled the old "YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL. YOU CAN BE REPLACED" move and hired two new actors, Byron Cherry as Coy Duke and Christopher Mayer as Vance Duke.

"Hey, uhm... Hanna-Barbera? You guys can change all the animation and voice-over and everything before September, right?"

Hanna-Barbera said no, we CAN'T do that are you CRAZY it's not that simple, but CBS (at this point crazy with Ceasar-esque power) said something akin to YOU WILL HAVE A CARTOON READY THAT FEATURES OUR NEW GUYS AND LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THE OLD GUYS OR YOU'LL NEVER WORK IN TELEVISION AGAIN, and so H-B said well I guess we can try but we can't guarantee anything so maybe you shouldn't put it on the Fall Schedule...

...And CBS proceeded to promote that a Dukes Of Hazzard Cartoon would be the first cartoon in their 1982 Saturday Morning Line-up.

There are different accounts of what happened next, but the facts are these:
  • The affiliates were told that they would have a Dukes Of Hazzard cartoon at 8:00 Saturday morning, September the 18th.
  • The network and the affiliates sold advertising based on the projected number for a brand-new Dukes Of Hazzard cartoon.
  • CBS received a shipment from Hanna-Barbera labeled "The Dukes Ep 01".
  • The shipment contained re-run of the 1973 Speed Buggy cartoon.
  • Advertisers and Affiliates were PISSED OFF.

The official story is that CBS was aware of the possible Speed Buggy substitution, having communicated with H-B and said something like "Well if you CAN'T get us a Dukes of Hazzard cartoon in time, just send us SOMETHING to do with cars and racing" and intended to compensate affiliates and advertisers only in the event that H-B could not get the Dukes cartoon completed in time.

Popular Theory (and my personal favorite) is that CBS remained stubborn and threatening, so H-B sent them a box labeled "The Dukes" as a decoy while they frantically wrapped production on the new version of The Dukes, with lots of "Gee I don't know how this happened, we finished production a week ago, it must have been my new intern, we're tracking it down right now, blah blah blah" excuse till the Spring of 1983.

Spring of 1983 saw only one new cartoon debut, "The Dukes". More about THAT when I get to 1983 :) Also, it all became a moot point because Coy & Vance only lasted one season before the contract disputes were settled and the proper Duke Boys were back, making the second season of The Dukes SO EASY for Hanna-Barbera to produce since they were 98% done and in the can :)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In 1982 at 11am on ABC was a little slice of cult legend, misdirected ambition and same-old same-old in the form of the hour-long Scooby & Scrappy Puppy Hour. This show was the first (and I think only?) collaboration between the Saturday Morning Juggernauts, Ruby-Spears and Hanna-Barbera. The first half-hour of the show consisted of three 7-minute shorts, a mix of "Scooby and Scrappy-Doo" (the version where Scooby, Scrappy and Shaggy travel across the country as the "Fearless Detective Agency" and get involved in typical spy or criminal cases) and "Scrappy and Yabba-Doo" (Scrappy-Doo's adventures with his uncle Yabba-Doo and Deputy Dusty in the wild west), followed by a full 30-minute episode of "The Puppy's New Adventures" in the second half-hour. The Scooby/Scrappy-related shorts were written and voiced at Hanna-Barbera Productions, but animated and edited by Ruby-Spears Enterprises.

(Also aired at 10:00 starting in the Spring of 1983)
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

In 1982, the world belonged to Gary Coleman, which is why he had his own cartoon every saturday morning at 10:30 on NBC. The fine folks at Hanna-Barbera made 13 episodes of this show, which featured Gary Coleman as the voice of apprentice angel Andy LeBeau, who was sent back to Earth to earn his wings by helping others. The half-hour series was based on Coleman's 1982 made-for-TV movie The Kid with the Broken Halo. Each episode, Andy helped some kid in need and fix his problem. The villain trying to stop Andy for some reason (I forget why) was Hornswoggle, who tried to make Andy's mission more difficult, usually by getting him to make the wrong choice or by otherwise complicating the mission. It was up to Andy to correct whatever mistakes he made and foil Hornswoggle's plans.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

This cartoon, which debuted at 10:00 Saturday morning in 1982 on ABC, is an example of evolution gone horribly wrong.

"The Mork & Mindy / Laverne & Shirley / Fonz Hour" has it's origins back in 1980 with one of my all-time favorite time travel epics, The Fonz & The Happy Day Gang", which was then joined in 1982 by the swine-tinted Laverne & Shirley In The Army. Having had a fairly successful run at adapting sit-coms for Saturday mornings, the unholy trinity of Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears AND Paramount Entertainment combined their forces to create... this.

First, they mashed Laverne & Shirley together with The Fonz, taking away the whole time-travel aspect and instead making it the story of an Army Base (with a pig for a drill sergeant) where a leather-jacket hoodlum on a motorcycle and his talking dog are allowed to com and hang out. This is where I refused to continue suspending my disbelief. Talking military pige, time-traveling greasers, yeah, I can get behind that. But civilian hoodlums allowed on base for no particular reason? NO.

And then there's the Mork cartoon. It's the same basic premise of the Mork & Mindy sit-com (alien sent to Earth in order to learn their customs and report back to his superiors), only Mork is a teen-ager. ANd he has a wacky alien dog because this *is* 1982 Hanna-Barbera and EVERYBODY GETS DOGS!!!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Okay, this is just terrible. Check this out.

On Saturday morning in 1982 on ABC, at 9:30, right after the Richie Rich/Little Rascals/Pac-Man hour, you know what was scheduled? What was officially sent to each and every ABC affiliate in 1982?


"Oh good" you may be thinking. "Another half-hour of Pac-Man cartoons at the height of Pac-Mania!" But NO. It's not like that... not like that AT ALL.

EVERYBODY in 1982 wanted to advertise during the new Pac-Man cartoon, and ABC (not wanting to upset any advertisers) obliged not by providing MORE PAC-MAN, but by stretching each half-hour episode over the course of an hour-and-a-half with Richie Rich and Little Rascals. This made some advertisers very happy ("HOORAY FOR MORE COMMERCIALS!"), angered other advertisers ("BOOO! WE PAID TO ADVERTISE DURING PAC-MAN, NOT RICHIE RICH!") and so they added a second show, titled simply "Pac-Man", that rarely had any Pac-Man in it. YOU'RE WELCOME, CHILDREN OF THE 80'S!
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com

Saturday mornings in 1982, over on NBC at 8:30 in the morning you could find the adventures of The SHIRT TALES, although if you're younger than me you *probably* remember this show from somewhere else and are getting ready to hit "Leave Comment" to let me know that I've made a terrible mistake.

HOLD THAT BUTTON, and read on...

Much like other perennial 80's favorites Strawberry Shortcake and The Care Bears, The Shirt Tales were created for the Hallmark Greeting Card Company (by Janet Elizabeth Manco) with no real story or reason other than to look cute on greeting cards. The Hanna-Barbera came along and gave them a storyline! Tyg Tiger (in orange), Pammy Panda (in pink), Digger Mole (in light blue), Rick Raccoon (in red), and Bogey Orangutan (in green) lived in a big hollow tree in Oak Tree Park (as Tigers, Pandas, Raccoons, Moles and Orangutans often do in the wild) and wore shirts which flashed various brightly lit messages reflecting their thoughts. They spent their time teasing the park ranger (Mr. Dinkle) and FIGHTING CRIME AS SOME SORT OF SUPER-SECRET AGENTS (as Tigers, Pandas, Raccoons, Moles and Orangutans often do in the wild). They zipped around the world in a vehicle known as the STSST (Shirt Tales Super-Sonic Transport) which was a car, jet, boat, submarine, and pretty much anything else they wanted/needed it to be.

The show ran for two seasons on NBC Saturday Mornings, 10 episodes in the first season and 13 in the second season. In the second season things changed *slightly* with the addition of "Kip" (a young Kangaroo) and an apparent power-struggle between Rick and Tyg. Rick was rarely seen in that second season, which i weird since he had been the apparent leader of the group in season 1. Weird.

Anywho, you *MAY* remember seeing this cartoon on CBS rather than NBC, and with good reason; in the Fall of 1984, NBC dropped Shirt Tales from their schedule and it was immediately snapped-up by CBS, who were looking for a last-minute filler to replace the low-rated "The Biskitts" cartoon at the last minute. CBS showed a mix of re-runs from both seasons of Shirt Tales.
[identity profile] captain-slinky.livejournal.com
This is the most annoyingly complex entry I've ever had to make in this community, so bear with me and please excuse the cluttering of your Friends List. Usually I like to start these posts with a video clip of the show in question, but this one has no real official opening that I can find or even really remember...

It had been a long standing tradition on Saturday Morning to take several different cartoons that had 15-to-30-minute segments and slap them together in to an hour-long show of randomness in order to help boost new shows with existing show ratings. But here in 1982 they had something new to drop in to the mix; SEVEN MINUTE SEGMENTS.

First, the returning champion who had successfully survived being paired with Scooby and Scrappy; Richie Rich (follow the link for my crackpot theories about that).

And then we had the newcomers, The Little Rascals (who had no official opening credits of their own) and Pac-Man.

Although Pac-Man had been the STAR of the ABC Friday Night Saturday Morning Preview Show, it was for some reason decided that he needed to be introduced as part of a cartoon block interspersed with Richie Rich and Little Rascals bits. I've never ben able to confirm or deny a reason for this other than the assumption that they didn't have a full season worth of Pac-Man cartoon segment completed in time to fill a full half-hour show of its own on a weekly basis.

This infuriated me as a kid who tuned in Saturday morning expecting Pac-Man and getting only 7-to-15 minutes of the yellow fellow out of an entire hour of programming.

NEXT YEAR (1983) Pac-Man will get his own proper full half-hour show, and The Little Rascals will *kind of* get an opening title sequence when they make an awesome mash-up opening featuring Richie Rich, Little Rascals and new comer The Monchichis... buit till then we get this slapped-together Frankenstein of Saturday Morning snippets.
[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 11:00 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

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.


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1980's Saturday Morning Historical Preservation Society

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