What were Saturday mornings like on ABC in the fall of 1969? Using this comic book ad as a guide, let us see if we can't recreate the experience.
8:00 am - Starting bright and early is The New Casper Cartoon Show. It feels like there was a "new Casper cartoon show" every year. But why? What sustained this annoying character? How did a protagonist that no one could possibly have empathy for keep on keepin' on? At least in this incarnation he didn't possess the thick Hugh Hefner-esque lisp that he suddenly developed in the late 70s Hanna-Barbera cartoon Casper and The Angels.
Yes, The New Casper Cartoon Show brought to you by chewable Chocks Vitamins and, apparently, an epileptic horse.
Was Casper a bed-wetter? The title of that cartoon sounded pretty ominous.
All kidding aside, it is a great looking cartoon. It originally debuted on ABC's Saturday morning line-up way back in 1963. Although it started the season in this timeslot, it was canceled in December '69. Casper was pissed.
8:30 - The Smokey the Bear Show - Rankin-Bass put together this animated series. It was an early 2D cartoon for the studio that was best known for their classic stop-motion animation specials. They had previously worked with Smokey in just such a special, The Ballad of Smokey the Bear in 1966. Couldn't find a clip of this show - strike one!
9:00 - The Cattanooga Cats - One of many Hanna-Barbera cartoon rock bands, the Cattanooga Cats' fashion was far better than Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kids or The Partridge Family 2200 A.D. Their music, unfortunately, was not. Click here for the opening theme. And now some of their awful bubble gum pop - this song actually kinda sounds like Susan Jacks and The Poppy Family. This show filled up a whole hour!
10:00 - Hot Wheels - Produced by Ken Snyder, the FCC effectively canceled this program, ruling that it was the equivalent of a half hour animated commercial for Mattel's Hot Wheels line of toys. They were right. However, that ruling didn't seem to set a precedent as anybody who bothered to watch Saturday morning cartoons in the eighties knows. Pac-man, Pound Puppies, Madballs, and a wide assortment of "animated" garbage flooded the airwaves under the Ronald Reagan FCC. Guess what? Can't find a clip. Strike two! Uh-oh.
10:30 - The Hardy Boys - The first program of the day from Filmation Studios. 1969 saw them base a cartoon on the popular books by Franklin W. Dixon and, of course, tossed them into a rock band. The show had a live-action opening sequence, but the rest of the show was animated. RCA released a soundtrack LP of the show's "best" songs. The animation in the latter clip is pretty wild.
11:00 - Skyhawks - another co-production from Ken Snyder and Mattel. Follow the hyperlinks for some pictures and information. I can't find a clip. Strike three. But let's use bowling metaphors instead of baseball. Three strikes means I'm doing great (and I can continue)!
11:30 - Adventures of Gulliver - A boring Hanna-Barbera serialization of Gulliver's Travels. I can't find a clip. This isn't going very well at all.
12:00 pm - The Fantastic Voyage - Sensational music, sensational sound effects. Without question this Filmation cartoon based on the famous movie of the same name was one of the crud factory's more enjoyable programs.
12:30 - The cartoons are over for the day and this being ABC it is, of course, time for American Bandstand. Today they are showing a re-run from last season. It featured the popular band Pink Floyd performing their song Apples and Oranges.
Well, we didn't do so well today. Those Ken Snyder-Hot Wheels shows must have been locked in vaults by federal agents. Seeya next time!