This week, thanks to the FCC, Saturday mornings will never be the same again for a kid. With the enforcement of the rule that broadcast networks have to create three hours of educational programing per week, slowly over the years each major network filled the void of time that used to be animated fun with shows geared for learning.
When I was a kid, I had a regular routine prior to starting my chores on Saturday mornings. First, a very serious decision had to be made: was it going to be a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats or Count Chocula? The rest of the morning was a no-brainer; it was cartoons! It began at 8:00 a.m. and ended when American Bandstand began the theme music as Dick Clark ushered in the list of talent appearing on stage for the next hour. Of course in between commercials you got dressed, made your bed and cleaned your room unless the commercial was School House Rock. Then you could politely tell your Dad you were being educated and could use the lesson for homework. How could he argue with that logic?
In my house, my Dad was an early riser no matter what day of the week. So, by the time my twin brother and I got up, Dad had started his day of projects and Mom was cleaning the house. The smell of Pine-sol resonated throughout the house and my brother and I were dominating the living room and television set. My favorite shows were Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo while my brother liked The Justice League and Hong Kong Fooey. Like the evening programs on television each Fall season meant new cartoons were added to the regular lineup (but I always liked the tried and true).
As kids, we didn’t take literally the fact that the coyote was plotting to blow up the road runner each episode. We also knew when the coyote took his fateful trip to the edge of the cliff after an Acme bomb blew up in his face that it didn’t mean we could climb a tree and take a plunge with no injuries. We knew better than that and so did our parents. Instead it would be that our generation, without the technological gadgets that consume today’s generation, had to use our imaginations and the great outdoors for fun. When we needed a drink of water in between chores and playing outside there was always the garden hose.
Life, as simplistic as it seemed, was good–and part of that reason was the joy of Saturday morning cartoons. Goodbye my dear friend. You provided great entertainment for many generations. Maybe one day, a generation will appreciate you once again.