Disney's 1 Saturday Morning

Take a look at this memorable moment of Saturday Morning Cartoon History.
June 01, 2007
To start things off, I am indeed a child of the 90's. It was probably the best decade of my life. Now, how should we begin this article? Ah, yes...

Saturday morning. It's the beginning of the weekend, the kids are off of school, and it's time to spend the whole morning kicking back, relaxing and watching some cartoons! It was mostly the network television stations that did this, but other stations did it too. During the 90's, ABC has always been my favorite station when it came to Saturday morning cartoons.

The early 90's offered some entertaining shows like "Darkwing Duck", "Little Rosie", and "The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show". Later on came cool shows like "Sonic the Hedgehog", "Reboot" and "Bump in the Night". I also remember the claymation commercial bumpers that they played. They showed either a trio of singers, a dog and a fire hydrant, or a country singer, and they'd always sing, "After these messages...we'll be right back." Man, I haven't seen those bumpers for years, and I was psyched when I found them on YouTube.

It was in either 1995 or 1996 when Disney bought the rights to ABC, and that's when things started to change.

As the summer of 1997 was coming to a close, I started hearing about a new name for ABC's saturday morning block. It was called "Disney's 1 Saturday Morning". Oh, how I remember it so much. The commercials announced that it was going to premeire on September 6, 1997. I was getting really excited. I actually remember staying awake in bed all night the night before. I couldn't sleep because I was just too excited!

Unfortunately, there was a last minute change of plans. Just a few days prior to that date, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash. ABC was forced to devote it's time that Saturday morning to instead do coverage on the tragedy. Therefore, Disney's 1 Saturday Morning didn't premeire until the next Saturday morning. I remember waking up and turning on the TV and getting all pissed off because it wasn't on, but when I found out that Princess Diana had died, I broke into tears. It was one of the most tragic days of my life! But Elton John cheered me up when he performed his remake of "Candle in the Wind".

Disney's 1 Saturday Morning had a very memorable opening, which can be viewed here on Retrojunk. It was really the first season of the block's run that was the most memorable to me. I remember the slogans saying stuff like, "Five hours of summer once a week", and "You only get ONE Saturday morning!" I also remember after each intro to each show, they'd always say, "Illuminating Television". It was, indeed, illuminating, let me tell you!

Now that I'm done with my little introduction, let's talk about the shows that were on it. There were a total of 8 shows when it debuted. There were 4 oldies and 4 brand new ones.

Let's start with "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh". This was actually a show made in the late 80's and early 90's. Basically, they were showing reruns of it. As annoying as Pooh may be (well, maybe to some), this show was actually a pretty good show for it's time. Since Pooh is a lovable Disney character, and this show has played on ABC a lot, it would be appropriate to have this show in the lineup. Besides, I like the theme song pretty well. (The 80's were the best decade for TV themes.) What may also be of some interest is that the guy who voiced Tigger in this series was the original voice of Tigger! That's right; Paul Winchell.

Now, here's one of the newer shows in the lineup: "Pepper Ann". I can't really say much about this show. It's basically about some 12-year-old girl who just shows off at everything she does. This girl is so annoying! Why does she have to be annoying? Why is she hogging spotlight all the time? Why does she talk to her reflection? Why is her little sister a hermaphrodite? And why does she disguise herself every time she walks into a comic book store? Is there anything I like about this show? Well, I find it interesting the fact that at the end of the show's intro, she finds something under her desk at school, and it's different in every episode. That caught my interest the most. Well, all I can say is that if you watch this show, you'll probably find something about it that you like.

Out of all the new shows, probably the most popular one was "Recess". I'm sure it was, since it got it's own movie, plus it ran for quite a few seasons. This was an okay show. It's basically about these six fourth-grade kids trying to survive school and do their best to have fun. I guess this show could be captivating for elementry school kids. I was in junior high when this show debuted, and in junior high, there is no such thing as recess, so that's probably why it didn't click with me. It does have it's comical moments, so it was an appropriate addition to the block.

The show on Disney's 1 Saturday Morning that made the least sense was "Science Court". I mean, what kind of a name is that? "Science Court" sounds like it's the name of a court show of some kind. And you know what? That's exactly what it is, a court show that focuses on scientific principles. Court shows aren't fun! Court shows are boring! This is a Saturday morning cartoon! Are they trying to entertain kids or make them feel like they're in school? What were they thinking? Well, I think Disney was aware of this later on, and when the second season of the show started up, they changed the name of the show to "Squigglevision". Seriously? "Squigglevision?" That sounds like the name of a cliche show they'd play on "Playhouse Disney". Well, not that that's a bad thing, but still, I don't think I know a single person who watched this particular show. Why? Because it sucked! "Home Movies" pissed all over this show. And yes, this was made by the same creator of "Home Movies". Go figure.

Of course, what Saturday morning lineup on ABC would be complete without "The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show"? This show, I believe, had the longest run of any Saturday morning cartoon on ABC (14 years). It's basically a 1-hour block of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. Those cartoons define the word "classic". Today, I can't even find them anywere. I mean, where did they all go? I'm not interested in those stupid new cartoons on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network! I want to see classics!

"Jungle Cubs". Okay, I havent' gotten a chance to watch this one very often, because it didn't always play every Saturday morning. This is another one of those baby-form shows like "Muppet Babies" and "Baby Looney Tunes". This one, however, has baby versions of the animal characters from "The Jungle Book": Balloo, Baghera, Kaa, King Louie and Colonel Hearthy. If you love "The Jungle Book", then this show's right up your alley.

Oh, man. I was hoping I'd never come to this show. "Doug" was originally property of Nickelodeon. I can't believe Disney bought the rights to this show. Hey, Disney can do anything! Disney rules the world! When this show started under Disney, it was called "Brand Spanking New Doug", but now it's called "Disney's Doug". Well, Disney did turn this show into a disaster after they bought it from Nickelodeon, but that didn't stop me from loving the company. Disney still remains my champion.

As you can see, looking back on these shows today, none of them can really amuse anyone over the age of 10.

The only real memorable show on Disney's 1 Saturday Morning was "101 Dalmatians", which is arguably the best Disney animated series of all time. (Yes, I know, that's just my opinion.) This is a show that I seriously think deserved more respect than it received.
Now some of you are wondering how they can make a five-hour block out of just eight shows. Well, one of them was an hour long, and there were also some shorts that played in the block, which included "Mrs. Munger's Class", "Great Minds Think for Themselves", "Manny the Uncanny", "The Monkey Boys", and of course, "School House Rock".

That pretty much does it for the first season. The second season is where it started going downhill. They added some other shorts like "You Rock", where kids got to submit videos of themselves singing and the people of Radio Disney would put rock music around them. That was pretty epic. They also added Jelly Roll, the elephant, and he was pretty cool, especially since Brad Garrett did his voice. They also added the new shows, "Hercules" and "Mickey Mouse Works". I was afraid a lot of my favorite shows would get taken off of the lineup, but I was surprised that most of the originals stayed in the lineup (including "101 Dalmatians").

Disney's 1 Saturday Morning only had a 5 season run. I'm actually kinda glad they stopped it early before it got really worse, which it would have, believe me. The block was renamed ABC Kids in 2002. When the 2000's started, Saturday mornings weren't as entertaining as they were in the 90's. Besides, I wasn't a kid anymore, so now, to me, Saturday mornings are more for sleeping in!

So anyway, I just wanted to share with you all my experience with the first two seasons of Disney's 1 Saturday Morning. It did have it's ups and downs, but it still remains a memorable moment of my life. I wish there were many others there to share the experience with me. Those of you who are a bit confused about some of the flaws I mentioned, you should know that I pretty much appreciate anything made by my champion, Disney! So give a nice round of applause to the company's founder, Walt; we couldn't have had stuff like this had it not been for him!
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