Odd, the way things work. A month ago we didn't have squat-all to do at work. Now we're working overtime-in fact I'll be going in on Saturday morning to stay ahead of a couple of big projects. It does beat sitting around trying to look busy.
I hate working on Saturday. I'll miss the morning cartoons! Actually that isn't much of a miss these days, but for people in their 30s and 40s, Saturday morning cartoons were probably a big event. I think children's programming was better back then. I remember in second grade being trooped to the school's TV to watch The Electric Company to learn all about phonics. A good watch, The Electric Company. If you watch the clip, note some of the troupe-the short woman in front is Broadway stage star Rita Moreno, and the two African-American players are none other than Bill Cosby and Morgan Freeman! Quite a cast for a PBS kids' show.
But Saturday morning was the best. I'd wake up, pour a giant bowl of Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter Cereal, and watch The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner cartoon show. These were the original Warner Brothers cartoons that kids enjoyed for the slapstick violence and adults enjoyed for their comments and parodies of people and events of the time.
I suspect that some of the oddball schemes Wile. E. Coyote cooked up to try to dispatch the Road Runner set me on my path to product design. Sometimes his cockamamie ideas and my cockamamie ideas come to the same bad end.
Some of the other cartoons I enjoyed were The Pink Panther (I DO like Henry Mancini's original score from the movies), Hong Kong Phooey (which probably wouldn't make it on TV today due to 'offensive stereotypes of Orientals'), Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (probably some stereotyping here as well, however I can't help but think what today's version would look like. Snoop Dogg's New Fat Albert Show-'Bust a cap in yo' ass, Russell! Hey Hey Hey!'), and the animated Star Trek (would've been great if they had today's CGI technology).
I never got into any of the Superhero cartoons, and oddly enough I don't really care all that much for Scooby-Doo. How many times to you have to debunk some ghostly figure or nefarious scheme before the crew of the Mystery Machine just looks at it as another day on the job? C'mon, man!
Of course, if you watched cartoons on a given Saturday back in the mid 1970s, you saw at least one episode of Schoolhouse Rock or its variants. I know if I gave the segments themselves a lot of thought at the time, but most of the tunes were catchy (some of them are still bouncing around in the cobwebby recesses of the vast empty hangar that is my mind) and as I watch them now, they really do cover their subjects well.
Some of the SHR's that still linger:
Conjunction Junction-hookin' up words and phrases and clauses...
Verb-The theme reminds me a bit of the theme from 'Shaft'. That Verb is one baaad motherf-/Shut yo' mouth!'
Noun-A little 70s country/rock/folk to teach you about the word for person or a place or a thing!
Bill-A three-minute bluesy jaunt through the American legislative process. Somehow this segment fits in well with the current health-care debate going on now.
Electricity-I've sat through basic electrical courses that didn't give as good a thumbnail sketch of the creation of electricity.
Good stuff, eh? And some of you either got a memory dredged up, or worse yet, learned something!
Once the 1980s rolled around, cartoons really became a way to sell a given toy line, the networks decided (rightly or not is open to debate) that they didn't have to do a lot of educational programming, and I think most of the magic was lost for Saturday cartoons. But I'm glad I was around for that particular bit of television history.
Nowadays I watch PBS for the do-it-yourself shows and Saturday night programs from the Beeb and CBC.
I do still like the occasional animated work-lampoons like The Venture Bros. and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
What'd you watch in your misspent youth? Send links to them.
A pleasant weekend, all!