Saturday, April 4, 2009


Rocky and Bulwinkle: the Cold War comes to Frostbite Falls

When we were kids, Saturday morning meant (1) no school! and (2) cartoons! We'd pour a big bowl of Coco Puffs and plant ourselves in front of the TV for a crazy cavalcade of cartoons that rolled from pre-dawn darkness to early afternoon, watching old classics like Bugs Bunny and newer shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Beany and Cecil. Around noon, the cartoons finally trickled off and the local affiliate broadcast an old Tarzan movie or maybe Abbott and Costello, and we'd watch that for a while, get restless, and finally go outside, blinking like surfacing moles. By then, Mom and Dad were up anyway and the adults were back in charge. But we'd had our taste of freedom, and our imaginations were ringing with cartoons for the rest of the day.

Beany and Cecil spoofed Disney in this oddball cartoon by Bob Clampett

Looking back, I realize not every cartoon was great. Memory plays tricks, and I've probably blocked out plenty of schlocky cartoons, but there were plenty of great ones. Nowadays (warning: geezer screed coming) cartoons seem to exist only as extended advertisements, little half hour pitches for toys, and the cartoons are secondary, created after the fact. Sure, we had toys back then, but a toy only followed a successful cartoon, and didn't precede it. Enough geezer grumbling. Still (I can't stop!) I'd hold up Bugs or Bullwinkle to Transformers or Strawberry Shortcake anyday.

Old classics also ran on Saturday mornings, and we loved Bugs Bunny. "What's Opera Doc?" still one of my all-time favorites. For many of us, this was our first exposure to classical music.

Do you remember Saturday morning cartoons? Or are we just too geeky for our own good? What were your favorites?

The Beatles were big and we watched this semi-terrible cartoon for a tiny sliver of Beatle music. Did we say semi-terrible? On second thought, it was all terrible. But the songs were great!


Anonymous said...

Johnny Qwest was a good adventure show. Also, Caspar the Ghost. And Roadrunner.

Bob Rini said...

Good stuff.