This week, one of the prompts is this:
Did you watch Saturday morning cartoons as a child? What was your line up?
And the answer, naturally, is the title of this post, which I’ve cleaned up for younger and more sensitive viewers.
I first wrote about the TV viewing habits of the Holton boys during the 2014 A to Z Challenge, about how the three of us would sit in front of the TV, in our underwear, eating Rice Krispies and watching the test pattern as we waited for one of the Chicago TV stations to commence with its broadcast day and thus with the cartoons. We’d watch the test pattern on WBBM-TV (channel 2) for a couple of minutes, then switch over to WNBQ (channel 5), WBKB (channel 7), and WGN (channel 9), which might be on the air with the farm report, and we’d repeat this pattern as many times as it took to finally get a station that wasn’t showing its test pattern or talking about hogs in Peoria. In short, we were TV junkies. And we wouldn’t just do this on Saturday morning, we’d do it on Sunday, and in the mornings before school, and in the afternoons after school. We watched a lot of TV. If it was on, we watched it.
And remember, this was in the relatively early days of TV. We only had four channels (well, five, but the fifth was the educational TV station, which hadn’t turned in to PBS yet). I was really excited when I heard that Chicago was getting another TV station, then realized it was on a channel we couldn’t get on the old metal box on the back porch. I talked about that the next day of the 2014 A to Z.
Nearly 60 years have passed since those days, and my memory of exactly what we watched and when we watched it on a typical Saturday morning (or Sunday morning, or weekday afternoon, or weekday morning) is pretty much gone. So, here’s a list of what I remember on what day. Note that not all of these ran concurrently.
Saturday/Sunday: The Bugs Bunny Show (later The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour), Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo & His Tales, Dudley Do-Right, Top Cat, The Banana Splits (which was part cartoon, part live action), H. R. Pufnstuf (ditto), The Pink Panther, Mighty Mouse, Heckle & Jeckle, The Archie Show and its spinoffs, Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp (mostly live action, but on Saturday morning), The Beatles, The Bullwinkle Show, The Jetsons, and probably a bunch I’m forgetting.
Weekdays: The Ray Rayner Show (featured some Warner Bros. cartoons), King Leonardo’s Short Subjects, Felix The Cat, Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers!, Woody Woodpecker, shows featuring Hanna-Barbera cartoons (Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, The Flintstones, Magilla Gorilla, Peter Potamus, etc.), Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Rocky and His Friends, and on and on and on…
That should give you an idea of the many ways we managed to waste many hours parked in front of the TV. And we all got good grades, and we’re relatively well-adjusted, and none of us regrets the time we spent watching.