Saturday Morning Cartoons… aaaahhhh, a magical weekly event for us growing up. Sadly, the current generation of children will never know the joy of Saturday morning cartoons. They’re spoiled by 24-hour access to cartoons on television and DVD. They don’t understand how limited our cartoon options were back then. They’ll never appreciate the excitement and anticipation we felt going to bed on Friday night, knowing that the next morning the television BELONGED TO US! No parental news programs, no cooking shows, and no The Joy of Painting. From dawn ’til noon, it was bright colors, zany music, and moral lessons every 30 minutes. It was OUR TIME!
Below is an advertisement that ran in DC comic books in the fall of 1985. It’s promoting the upcoming fall line-up of Saturday morning cartoons on NBC. Click the image for a larger view.
Advertisements like this were common in comic books. You could usually find an ad from each network sometime in the late-summer or early-fall. It was really the only place we got a sneak peek at the upcoming cartoons. I remember pouring over these ads, studying the new cartoons, trying to figure out the time slots for each show, and planning my Saturday mornings accordingly.
It was the mid-1980’s when the magic of Saturday morning cartoons began to fade. It was a combination of factors that really impacted them: the advent of first-run syndicated cartoons on weekdays (such as GI Joe and Transformers), the rise of children-targeted cable networks (such as Nickelodeon), the spread of home videos, and the success of Saturday morning live-action programs (such as Saved by the Bell). By the early 1990’s, Saturday morning cartoons had lost their special place in most children’s hearts.
Dear Saturday Morning Cartoons… there are those of us who still remember you, still miss you, and still love you… Sincerely, My Geek-Generation.