Saturday Morning Cartoons were a staple of my and I’m sure many childhoods, but nowadays who’s got time for them anymore. From weekend errands, to family, to chores, and everything else we have to cram into our precious weekends where are we to fit them in.
Well that’s what I’m bringing you here, Saturday Night Cartoons. A bi-weekly post, highlighting a wide array of animation for your evenings. A place to kick your heels up and enjoy just a small bit of entertainment, and tonight we’re taking a look at …
So in the past I’ve taken the time to look in depth of individual shows from our childhood, but I’ve decided to change it up and try to recreate those mornings we all loved by taking a look at a channels full line-up of shows from the different years, and tonight we’re going to start out with the NBC 1987 Fall line-up.
One of my favorite things from these time in Saturday Morning history was the great splash ads that you could find inside of comics and TV guides, this one above was scanned in from Branded in the 80s a great site for you to check out as well.
I always imagined that this was how the cartoons all were when they weren’t on the air, just hanging out in the back lot, having some catering waiting for their turn to go and entertain me and my bowl of cereal. I loved these so much that I would hang them up on my walls, like some cartoon vision board, that I could stare at all week to make sure that they would happen that upcoming Saturday, because if I didn’t I’m sure that they never would’ve aired again.
You’re all welcome.
So this lineup got started at 7am Central time for me in North Dakota, and I had to make sure that I was all ready with my cereal and spot on the floor for the next five hours of my morning, until golf or something came on, which meant it was time to head outside then.
And the first on our lineup was…
Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears
Gummi Bears was into it’s third season at this point and was a staple of both Saturday Mornings as well as after school as well, but it was here on NBC that we were given the treat of new episodes.
Gummi Bears were a great way to jump (see what I did there) into the morning, and brought us our first 30 minutes of the day. With the great medieval style and action, this got me ready and wide awake to fully engulf the day.
Here’s the first episode of the third season “Too Many Cooks”.
Next up on the lineup was one that had made it’s footprint in our mornings, Smurfs, which with the 1987 season was celebrating it’s 7th season on NBC and had a strong list of episodes behind it and still a few more years left before it ended.
Smurfs were always a great show to watch as it gave me time to kinda come and go, getting more cereal, bathroom runs, and the such, now don’t get me wrong, it was a great show, but it wasn’t the end of my life if I missed a little bit of one here and there, besides they were on for and hour and a half, from 7:30 to 9, so it’s not like I wasn’t going to get my fill of them each morning anyways.
Well here we have the first episode of Season 7, “Smurf on the Way”.
It’s now 9am and while most of the household is just waking up, I’ve already got 4 bowls of cereal and 2 hours of cartoon genius under my belt, so lets get into the primetime spin offs for a bit, but upping the ante with my favorite Melmacian and his show, Alf: The Animated Series.
This was the premier season of Alf’: The Animated Series, but the prime time show was entering into it’s second season this year, but you could tell from the strength of that first season NBC knew that they had the golden ticket in their hands, so they went with this show, which was a prequel to the live show, featuring Alf back on Melmac, with his crazy friends and family getting into all sorts of shenanigans.
Being the ALF fan that I was I was front and center for this show and sure it wasn’t the greatest thing around, but any way I could get more ALF in my life, I would take it.
Here we have the pilot episode “The Phantom Pilot”.
Next up we got to get a little boogie into our steps, as we now were brought into the world of singing critters with Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Alvin was now into it’s fifth season, and the last season they were known as Alvin and the Chipmunks as the following year they would pull a famous music move, by just being called The Chipmunks.
I loved the Chipmunks, I still do, my son loves the classic shows that I used to watch on Bozo the Clown, as well as this series and even the inferior live action movies of today, but this was the Chipmunks I really hold as my Chipmunks, with the crazy schemes and great musical moments, I couldn’t get enough of them. This was also about the time of the morning that I started to bust out my toys to play with, so getting moments of jumping up and dancing in my pajamas was always a good thing, and I have to admit it, that they introduced me to many songs and artists that I still love today.
Here we have the first episode of that season “Back to Dave’s Future”, a great Back to the Future inspired story, sorry about the speed of it, but some YouTube posters do this to get around copyright I guess, but at least we get to see it again.
It’s now 10 am, and in just a few years this is where the live action shows would start taking over NBC, but in 1987 we got the short lived, only season of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. The show would usually be either two 15 minute episodes, and a couple 30 minute ones, but they would always sneak in a musical number or two into them, most just songs recycled from the live action show.
It’s unfortunate that they didn’t get more seasons as it was a great show, but I think it was over shadowed by the Muppet Babies, and since it didn’t have that impact that’s why it only lasted the one season, but at least we got that one.
Here’s the first episode, “No Fraggle is an Island”.
Following up Fraggle Rock in not only time slot, but also in being a show to get it’s premier and only season in the 1987 lineup was The New Archies, which saw the gang reimagined as Junior high schoolers.
This was a show that I know I only saw maybe once or twice while flipping from other channels, even tho I love Archie comics, I just could never get into their cartoons, which they had a few different ones. Maybe it’s my fault for them only lasting the one season, but at least it opened the door for a full hour of ALF the following year, so you can thank me for that at least.
Here’s the pilot episode featuring two episodes “The Visitor” and “Ballot Box Blues”.
Yet another show to end it’s run after this season was the show Foofur, which was into it’s second and final season. The show was about a blue dog…really. I don’t know much else about it but that, I’m guessing it was like Heathcliff but about a dog, I didn’t choose to really watch either of them, so I don’t have any memories of this one, but here it is for you to see if you like it. I’m not going to watch it, but you can.
Here’s and episode or two for you to enjoy and judge for yourselves.
Next up was a show I dreamed I would one day get the chance to be on, but alas it only got it’s single season, I’m Telling. This show is basically just a retread of The Newlywed Game, but with siblings. They would answer questions about each other to get points, and whichever team got the most points, they were given the ability to run around the Pick-A-Prize Arcade. Before the round was played, the team was shown a collection of 20 prizes available in the arcade, 10 designated for each sibling. Prior to the show, each chose the six prizes he or she thought the other would most like to have. The brother’s prizes sat on yellow platforms while the sister’s sat on pink ones.
After the home audience was shown what the brother had chosen for his sister, she marked the six prizes she wanted by hitting a plunger next to each of them. Once she finished, the process was repeated with her brother. A flashing light and siren indicated that a sibling had matched a prize chosen by the other. The team won the prizes that were matched; if they made a total of 10 matches between them, they won all 20 prizes. The structure of this round guaranteed that each player would win at least two prizes
This show even featured a few stars before they were stars, here I’ve included all three parts of the episode that featured the late Paul Walker and his sister.
Last but not least, scattered throughout the day would be the One to Grow On segments featuring different stars handing out advice for us to make us better people I guess. These were educational PSA’s that were aimed at many different things and always hosted by different actors from NBC shows, they were then replaced in 1989 by The More You Know segments.
Here’s Jason Bateman telling you to turn down that music.
And there you have it friends, it’s now 12 o’clock, and time for the rest of the day to continue on, some may get golf, others may watch basketball, but it was usually sports, and we were now officially the farthest as possible from the next great Saturday Morning Cartoons.
Come back again and join us for the next look at another Saturday Morning Line-up, and if you’ve got any ideas for future line-ups for this post just let me know in the comments.
Hope you enjoyed this rewind into history.
Catch you next time.