Saturday Morning Cartoons

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Saturday Morning Cartoons

Saturday morning cartoons are on the verge of becoming extinct on the major networks. Year after year there are continually less and worse cartoons on Saturday mornings. It was painful and sad but I thought that they had hit rock bottom and they will only get better from here. However, it now seems that cartoons may very well slide out of existence. How did this happen? Where have all the cartoons gone? Is there any hope in the future or will we all lead a cold, miserable existence (ok it might not be that bad).

First, it would probably help to start at the beginning of Saturday morning cartoons and give a history to find out how we got here. Saturday morning cartoons have been around since the 1950’s. Since many people who worked in radio knew that most kids programming does better on Saturday mornings than any other time. Like most television programming of this time most these cartoons seemed like radio programs with pictures and really didn’t utilize the medium. Nevertheless these cartoons were spearheading the way for future cartoons. This era gave birth to The Rocky and Bullwinkle and Popeye. The most popular cartoon, however, was Mighty Mouse Playhouse. The show had the ability to mix action with comedy, which seems to be the key to most good cartoons.

In the sixties and seventies a lot things were changing in America and cartoons were no exception. These were the first “post-T.V.” cartoons and this era was referred to as the “golden-age” of Saturday morning cartoons. During this time some of the most influential and longest running cartoons debuted on Saturday morning. The one cartoon, however, that attracted the highest ratings was the Beatles cartoon. Fortunately, after its initial season the ratings dropped off dramatically and the show was canceled. Bugs Bunny first appeared on Saturday morning in 1960 and has continued to be shown on one station or another for the last 40 years. Scooby-Doo first started in 1969 and also continues to be shown today. The Jetsons, which originally started out in primetime, was very popular on Saturday mornings as well. This time period also gave birth to some the very first “action” cartoons on Saturday morning.

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