80's Saturday Morning Cartoons
Looking back after 20+ years I see how special the ritual of saturday morning cartoons was
Hey all Jay here. I'm a new writer for Retrojunk.com
In late November 2009 I was at my best friends house and my 6 year old Nephew was watching Sponge Bob Square Pants. It was I dunno around 2 in the afternoon. So I asked Larry what Luke was watching. He says cartoon network. Then before I know what happened the kid is flipping between Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Animal Planet, and some other channel, in high definition no less.
Jokingly I said to my Nephew "Kiddo you don't know what you're missing. Do you know what me and your daddy had to watch at your age?" Of course he had no clue and asked what we had and I yelled " SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS!!" Much to my surprise the kid was outright confused and wanted to know what they were. This poses a problem. I don't have many of my beloved Saturday Mornin' Cartoons on VHS or DVD, BUT Larry did.
Before we knew it we were watching the Smurfs episode where Smurfette made her debut, Spiderman and his Amazing Friends " Enter the XMEN", Disney's The Gummy Bears, and The Super Friends. So that gave me an idea.. let's show the kid what it was really like for us.
Disney's Gummy Bear Adventures
Spiderman and his Amazing Friends
Later that day I began to compile a typical Saturday Morning Cartoon slot. I wanted to use NBC's Lineup as my guide and realized it was no easy task, but with some work I got the opportunity to put together some really cool stuff for the kid. Now for the big problem... how the hell do I get the commercials!? Ya can't have the cartoons without the commercials right?
Off to YouTube, retrojunk, and a few others to download commercials to insert in the cartoons. Let me tell you I wasn't disappointed. He-Man, Star Wars, Nerf, CHILD WORLD TOY STORES and TOYS R US, and the grand daddy of Saturday bumpers.. McDonalds!
Dungeons and Dragons
The REAL Alvin and the Chipmunks, none of that 3D stuff
ALF baby!! Kids he's from Melmac not Earth
Ok so the groundwork was in place for Luke's Back to the Future ride to the 80's. After HOURS of editing the commercials into the ripped dvd's it was all done and let me tell you, editing commercials into dvd video really sucks, but it needed to be done.
Sidenote, as you'll see in the picture below there is a Spiderman and his Amazing Friends Toys R Us exclusive 3 pack out now in 3 3/4 inch size, just like our good ol' Secret Wars, Gi Joe, and Super Power figures of old. Where the hell was that in the 80's!? Yeah Yeah I uploaded the Super Powers Batmobile as well... I loved that toy and still have it to this day.
Anyhow a few weeks went by and Luke had been nagging me about the present I promised him. So we got him up bright and early at 7:50am on Saturday Morning. Luke came downstairs eyes half opened and yawning in his superman robe. We had a pillow and a blanket on the couch waiting for him, with one of those old school foldable snack tables with OJ in none other then a vintage 80's McDonalds Star Wars Return of the Jedi glass! "Neat lil' addition in my opinion."
I asked Luke if he was ready for his present and away we went. I was able to fit all of the episodes on 2 DVD's. About 25 minutes into an episode of ALF Luke said he was hungry and I had been waiting for it! AsI drank my coffee in the kitchen with Larry I yelled into Luke that we were gonna get McDonalds for breakfast. No sooner did I say this a McDonalds Hamburglar commercial came on. How the Hamburglar got his stripes, I remember that one fondly. Luke wanted hash browns... and it stuck me, that was my favorite part of McDonalds breakfast too!
Jim Henson's The Muppet Babies
This is the Real Ghostbusters. There were 2 Ghostbusters cartoons at the time, a cheap ripoff and the Movie based cartoon.
How do you milk the Smurfs popularity?
Easy create Snorks The Underwater version of the Smurfs
I headed out to get McDonalds, and by the time I got back Luke was literally in 80's heaven! We had out breakfast and watched the cartoons, and to be honest with you all I felt like a 6 year old again, at one point putting my feet up on the couch and becoming totally lost in the moment, oblivious to anything else going on around me just like I did as a kid on a Saturday Morning. Little did I realize that Luke's father was in the exact same "fog" I was in! We were getting just as much enjoyment out of it as Luke was. A few times we went nuts over the Star Wars commercials I used and the Castle Greyskull commercial went over real big, Luke even asked if we could buy him one.... which is another story all unto itself, ha ha ha.
Again The Smurfs
Around 10 Luke dozed off for a bit, which looking back on it now is something I always used to do between 9:30 and 10:30 give or take. Without realizing it I set a mood though. I used a lot of Christmas commercials in this little Saturday Project. Christmas was right around the corner and with the tree, and the stockings, and the presents under the tree I gotta tell you, it really did feel like Christmas in the 80's again! Larry commented to me about that, the memories this all brought back to him.
The Superfriends ruled and was on for the majority of the 1980's. Gotta love it!
The morning lasted for almost 4 hours. Hey the Smurfs was an hour and a half long or 3 episodes at it's peak. Luke said that he wanted Saturday morning every Saturday now. Ah kids lol. After 12 noon the morning was officially over and it was back to the 21st century for us.
Dungeons and Dragons
This is most certainly something I would recommend to anyone who has kids and wants to have a little piece of what it was like for us at that very special age between 5 and 12. Seeing my Nephew's reactions to the cartoons and the commercials was really special. Seeing this for myself truly made me feel like a kid again for a few hours on a Saturday. And being 35 I admit it, I miss Saturday mornings so much. Saturday mornings around Christmas time was extra special. The toy commercials and the way it made you excited to see Santa at the department store, the begging for He-Man and Transformers, the list goes on and on.
In closing Saturday mornings were a special treasured thing among anyone growing up in the 80's. Unlike today we didn't have "on demand". We waited impatiently for a week at a time to see the next episode and follow our cartoon heroes. As children it gave us something to look forward to, and for our parents something to use against us as punishment to keep us in line all week. The TV networks spent millions of dollars on Saturday Mornings. they were just as competitive as prime time, time slots. We really had it made in the 80's. It was a great time to be a kid, and it was extremely nice to be able to share that with my best friend, and my Nephew.
Some traditions just should not die! Long Live Saturday Morning Cartoons.