Ask Dayton 62 – Saturday Morning Cartoons
Saturday mornings were such a great time in my youth, cartoons out the wazoo. What were your Saturday mornings like? What cartoons did you love?
Ah, Saturday mornings. You roll out of bed, stay in your pajamas until mid-afternoon, chomping on Pop-Tarts and Hawaiian Punch while you camp out on the living room floor getting hypnotized by the TV.
Hold up. That was yesterday.
But when I was a kid? My Saturday mornings were filled with chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze!
No, wait. All of that was just in my head. Sorry.
Saturday mornings in the early to mid 1970s were a special time for youngsters everywhere. Every one of the networks—ALL THREE OF THEM—had cartoons on, from eight in the morning until at least noon, if not later. Super heroes, space adventure, and Scooby Doo? OH MY. Hanna-Barbera and Filmation ruled the airwaves! Yes, most of it was little more than goofy fun, but we also had groovy educational bits like Schoolhouse Rock. Conjunction Junction, what’s your Function? See, you’re singing it already, aren’t you?
My favorite cartoons of that time were what you might expect: Super Friends, or Filmation’s Batman or Tarzan shows were appointment TV. I got to watch the animated Star Trek during its original run, along with Return to the Planet of the Apes. Other sci-fi shows were Flash Gordon and Space Sentinels. I also watched stuff like Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, various flavors of Scooby Doo, and so on. And let’s not forget various live-action fare that sometimes got sprinkled into the mix. Shazam and Isis had their own shows, and then there were shows like Ark II, Space Academy and Jason of Star Command.
And because my local UHF stations also ran reruns of old shows out the ass, I got healthy servings of classic sci-fi TV from the 60s and 70s, all in glorious black and white because by that point in the day my father had kicked me out of the living room to watch college football, and I was left with the little black and white TV in my room with the crappy rabbit ears. Still, I got my fill of shows like the original Star Trek along with Lost In Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Space: 1999. Those were followed by one station running a double-bill cheesy sci-fi or horror movie block, Creature Feature, hosted by a dude in creepy makeup who called himself Doctor Paul Bearer. That’s where I got to see flicks like The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Creature from the Black Lagoon for the first time, along with some of the borderline pervy stuff like old Hammer horror films.
Saturdays in the 70s were the shit, people. Kids today just have no clue how much Awesome they missed.
By the time the 80s rolled around, I wasn’t watching as much of the Saturday morning offerings, but I remember catching the first versions of shows like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Thundarr the Barbarian, and G.I. Joe, even though these weren’t always on Saturday mornings anymore. By then, I’d also gotten a plate full of quintessentially 70s and 80s sci-fi in primetime, too: The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Logan’s Run, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, just to name the prominent examples.
Since having kids of my own, I’ve taken to acquiring several of these series which are now on DVD or Blu ray, and we’ve been watching them together. My kids actually dig 70s cartoons like the Super Friends and Scooby Doo and even the animated Star Trek, but other shows just don’t grab them in the slightest. In all honesty, not everything from my childhood holds up, and some of it is just plain awful. But, seven or eight-year old me had a ball with those shows. Whenever I see my kids watching some modern cartoon on Nickelodeon that I think sucks, I remind myself that when I was their age, some of the shows I watched also sucked. Big time. Donkey balls big time. But I can still watch some of the other stuff, and it’s fun to do it with the kids as I pass on a bit of harmless geekery from days gone by.
And the Pop Tarts and Hawaiian Punch are still tasty, too.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.