Monday, April 20, 2009


Who didn't love cartoons as a kid? I know I did. I would watch my shows to get ideas on what games to make up for the day. I looked forward to Saturday mornings just like all the other kids I knew. Cartoons were special and couldn't be watched at any hour of the day, like they can now.

Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

Rocky and Bullwinkle was the earliest thing I remember watching. I was around two. This show came out in the 60s and was so fast paced and usually adult themed, that I never got it. It also featured Dudley Do-right (below) which was a parody of the silent film era melodramas. Watch the theme to Rocky and Bullwinkle:

Dudley Do-right

Then there was another variety show by the same people who did Rocky/Bullwinkle. The show consisted of three cartoons- one of them being George of the Jungle, which was a spoof of Tarzan. George was a moron because he kept slamming face first into trees (which I loved) and he always forgot he lived in a tree house (he would take a step out and fall.) He had a pretty red headed girlfriend named Ursula, who he didn't even realize was a pretty girl- he called her fella and he had a dinosaur or something that he thought was a dog. He was a real bonehead.

Watch out for that tree!

Superchicken was the second cartoon in the show. Superchicken and his sidekick Fred( a dim-witted Lion) were a well to do guy and his butler. But when trouble arose, they turned into superheros. Superchicken drank his super sauce and put on his super suit and would yell at Fred to jump into the Supercoupe.

Bawwwk for Superchicken!

The third cartoon in the show was Tom Slick. He was a race car driver with a girlfriend named Marigold. His race car could turn into anything from a hot air balloon to a boat. The guy who did all of these shows also did the Cap'n Crunch commercials, which I can totally see.

Tom Slick

I also remember watching Davey and Goliath, which was on at like, 5:00 in the morning. My whole family would be sleeping. This 60s show was done by the people that did Gumby. It was produced by the Lutheran Church of America and even though it was a Christian show, it wasn't all that preachy. It dealt with issues like racism (it had one of the first black side-kicks on tv), vandalism and death. It was heavy! It kind of scared me sometimes.

Awhh, Davey..
Okay, now were talkin. Super Friends made me want to run out the front door in tights and fight crime. When I played this with my friends, I was always Wonder Woman of course. I loved the Wonder Twins though, and thought they blew everyone away. I just couldn't be the girl because she didn't have long, flowing hair, which was my criteria for a female super hero.

I was slightly annoyed that the Wonder Twins guy could only turn into a form of water- I felt he didn't have enough choices. The chick could turn into any animal, which was far more useful. Wait..He could turn into a monsoon...maybe he did have it good. Anyway, they had a space monkey called Gleek (Isn't that the name of that little stream of spit that boys at school would do between their teeth? Eeeooo.)
Form ice cube! Form of an eagle!

Mighty Mouse was a super old cartoon that I watched after school sometimes. He was a parody of Superman and was originally from the 40s but was sold to TV (CBS)in the 50s. The characters on the show were often singing mock opera songs, which I liked for some reason. They did a revival of Mighty Mouse in the late 70s, early 80s, but it wasn't the same. I boycotted it.

Here I come to save the day!

I am including Felix the Cat because it was always on at my house, even though it was my sister who was watching it. He has literally been around since the silent film era of the 20s. Now that is friggin old. He was in the comics and on merchandise in the 20s. There was even a song named after him. But when sound came into cartoons in the late 20s, he started dying away and gave way to Mickey Mouse, etc. In 1953 they put him to sound and put him back on TV and gave him a bag of tricks, which all the villains tried to steal.

Felix the Cat, The wonderful, wonderful cat!

Woody Woodpecker was annoying, but was also always on at my house. He came out in the 40s in short films and then to TV in 1957. He was created by the guy that did Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck for Warner Brothers. The idea for Woody came about when the producer was on honeymoon with his wife and a woodpecker kept them awake all night by pecking on the roof of their cabin. The early Woody was really insane and violent and they calmed him down by the 60s because there was a strict rule that came out in 1961 banning too much violence from children's programming.
Remember that laugh?

I liked Hanna-Barbera cartoons, most of all Pixie and Dixie, the mice. They were chased by Mr. Jinx the cat, who would say grammatically incorrect phrases such as 'I hate you meeses to pieces!'
Pixie and Dixie

Who didn't watch The Flintstones? Flintstones were a working class, pre-historic family. Fred was always yelling and Barney was really passive, but they still somehow made great friends. I wondered how they didn't get blisters on their feet from "driving" the way they did. They had all of the inventions we use, like cameras, record players and vacuums; except that they were usually made of animals. For instance, the record player would be a little animal with a beak playing the record and the vacuum cleaner would be some sort of animal sucking up dirt.

I preferred The Jetsons, even though I didn't like futuristic things. I wondered how George Jetson was so skinny when he had no exercise(moving sidewalks, robots to do everything for him) and Fred Flintstone was so fat with all of the exercise he got(running the streets in his car!) While the Flintstones ran for six years in the 60s, the Jetsons only ran from 1962 to 1963. They came out with a re-make of sorts in the mid-eighties and it was hard to tell the difference. Anyway, the Jetsons never really got off their asses. They lived a life of leisure, so it was fun to watch them just push a button and have everything done for them.

Daughter Judy, his boy Elroy and Astro

And that ended the age of well drawn cartoons or even decently drawn cartoons, which brings me to the Groovy Ghoulies of the early seventies. They were a spin off of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (her cousins), who was a spin-off of the Archie comics. The show had a laugh track and was cheaply made- you would see the same thing passing in the background 20 times. They were supposed to be hip monsters and they sang a pop song every episode. It was kind of structured like the show "Laugh In, with one liner jokes.

Groovy Ghoulies
Groovy Ghoulies was a variety show and also featured an Archie-like New Adventures of Gilligan cartoon. I was irked that Ginger had white hair. Apparently, she was the only one who wouldn't do voice overs for the show, so they made her a platinum blond so she couldn't sue the show for using the likeness of her image. What's next, Mary Ann with a basket weave?
The professor and Mary Ann!

Another show on the Groovy Ghoulies hour was The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty. Waldo would daydream he was different characters in different adventures. His real life must have been quite dull! He dreamt up a parody of Batman and Robin (Cat-man and sparrow), Tarzan (Catzan), The Lone Ranger (The lone kitty) and Star Trek (Cat Trek).

Okay, on to the 80's. This is in no particular order.

The Snorks lived under water and were a rip off of the Smurfs, but not as successful. As a matter of fact, I think the Smurfs guy sued the Snorks people. This cartoon came out in the mid-eighties for Saturday Mornings.

The Wuzzles were animals that were crossed with another animal,
such as a Hoppopotamus (half rabbit and half hippo) or a Butterbear (butterfly and bear). They came from the new Disney TV animation studios in 1985, along with the Gummi Bears. The show didn't last because the voice of one of the characters passed away and they didn't replace him I guess. Wuzzles were marketed heavily as toys, board games etc etc.

Okay, now for my favorite cartoon when I was a kid- Richie Rich. Richie was a kid from a ultra wealthy family who had super ostentatious displays of wealth all over the place, which attracted many burglars. Everything was made of gold and diamond studded, as flashy as flashy can get! Who wants to watch a cartoon on understated elegance? Not me. I liked the fact that Richie got a $100,000 a week allowance and had anything he wanted at his disposal, but most of all I liked that he had all these cool inventions. He had a science center headed by professor Keen Been, who invented the robot French maid, Irona, among other things.
The show was about Richie solving crimes that were usually committed on his own property (the burglars could see his golden headquarters from miles away!) Richie had an English butler named Cadbury, a dumb dog named Dollar who always daydreamed about being the hero in the crime situations, and a red-headed girl friend named Gloria. Richie's parents were kind of fat asses- they both had double chins, which I found weird. Richie's mom didn't get the memo that you don't wear diamonds before 6 in the evening, but that's okay, because she thought it was okay to walk around in a tiara and opera glasses at all hours too! And again, who wants to see a cartoon with the mom walking around in some beige outfit? Not me! Bring on the elbow length gloves during breakfast!
The theme song sounded like a Vegas show: Richie Rich

Awwwhh, The Gummi Bears. I loved this show! I don't even remember the whole premise, it was like during medieval times or something and there was Sunni Gummi (the girl), Gruffy Gummi (tough guy) and a bunch of others. I can see by this picture there was a dumb one, a wise one, a little kid one-oh, and there was a human princess named Calla. This show came out in 1985 and was a hit for Disney.
The Muppet Babies came out in 1984 and stayed on for like, six years!
The show was about childhood versions of all of the Muppets, who lived in a nursery together. They would always daydream up an adventure and would come back to reality when their nanny came in the room to ask what the noise was. You could only see the nanny's legs.
The Chipmunks were on for several years as well. They were a remake of the Chipmunks from the 60s. They came out again in 1983, along with some girl characters named the Chipettes.The girls were total matches for the Chipmunk boys- Brittany was self centered like Alvin, Jeanette was nerdy like Simon and Elenor was chubby and into food like Theodore. They were all in singing groups and sang the cool songs of the day in their little voices. It was really cute.
The Punky Brewster cartoon came out in 84 and was on for two years. It was a cartoon version of the TV show, except that there was a weird animal named Glomer who was a magical gopher or something. He could transport Punky or any of her friends to any part of the world- which is more fun for a cartoon I suppose. Check it out: Punky Brewster

Saturday Supercade was a cartoon show featuring characters from video games, which were all the rage in the early 80s. There was Frogger, Donkey King, Pac Man and Q-Bert along with some other ones that I don't remember.

Pac Man was huge in the early 80s, so a cartoon made total sense!

Donkey Kong was right up there with Pac Man

Jem was a cartoon done by a toy company, Hasbro, who had the show created around a line of dolls in 1985. They hired an advertising agency to create the series (the same one who did G.I. Joe and Transformers) and the animators were Japanese. Anyhow, the premise of the show was that Jem was the alter ego of Jerrica Benton, the manager of a music company. They sparred with a rival group of rockers, The Misfits. Something felt off about that show and I didnt watch it. I didnt like the theme song and it seemed complicated. That, and I was a Barbie fan so I wouldn't go near the dolls. Maybe I sensed that it was created completely to market the dolls and I refused to fall for it! Naw, unlikely.
Until next time, folks!