was the first year all three network's began programming Saturday mornings,
with a line-up that consisted mostly of reruns of former live-action,
prime-time shows like 'The Lone Ranger',
'Circus Boy', 'Roy Rogers', 'Dennis
the Menace' and 'Space Patrol'
along with original filmed programs like 'Fury' and 'Sky King'. Theatrical
cartoons like 'Bugs Bunny', 'Casper', and
'Heckle & Jeckle' were also popular.
the phenomenal success of ABC's 'The Beatles' cartoon in 1965, the competition
heated up considerably as the networks scrambled to create more original
animated children's programming for Saturday consumption.
A huge tune-in
by kids to Batman in prime-time
naturally led to super-heroes galore on Saturday mornings in the fall
of 1966 - a year considered by many to represent the beginning of a
'Golden Age' of Saturday morning cartoons.
only live-action show on the Saturday schedule in 1966 was Captain
Kangaroo at 8:00 on CBS, the eleventh year for Bob Keeshan on
was the winner in the Saturday morning ratings race in 1965 and 1966,
thanks mostly to 'The Beatles' (a group that had 12 singles in the top
100 at one time in 1964). 'The Beatles' cartoon was the first ABC series
to beat out both CBS and NBC in the ratings - ever!
in syndication in 1966: 'The Marvel Superheroes', very limited animation
featuring popular comic book characters like The Hulk,
The Mighty Thor and Captain America (actual panels from the
comics were used for 'animation').
of American homes had at least one television set in 1966.
This cartoon ran on Saturday mornings
with only one year off from 1964 - 1973. Wally Cox was the voice
of Underdog, aka meek and mild Shoeshine Boy - forever saving
sweet Polly Purebred from the evil grasp of Simon Bar Sinister.
Look for UNDERDOG out now in a
special DVD packages!
Great Hanna-Barbera cartoon with
character designs by master stylist Alex Toth.
Frankenstein Jr. was a big flying robotic
behemoth with a kid sidekick.
The show also featured the separate adventures
of 'The Impossibles', a rock group that could turn into superhero/government
agents (now that's a scary thought).
Coil-Man - Hal Smith / Fluid-Man - Paul Frees / Multi-Man - Don
Space Ghost / CBS
Space Ghost and his pals Jan and
Jayce fight evil aliens in outer-space with the help of SG's invisibility
belt and powerful energy beams from his wristbands.
Another Alex Toth designed Hanna-Barbera
cartoon. So cleverly illustrated the show shot to number-one against
stiff competition - and thirty-some years later the character
is even more popular than ever.
the separate adventures of Dino Boy, a boy lost in prehistoric
times (all the superhero cartoon shows of the day split the bill
with another feature).
Space Ghost originally ran for
two seasons. In 1976, NBC re-ran this show with 'Frankenstein
Jr.' but no one was particularly interested.
The New Adventures
of Superman / CBS
Disappointing but popular Filmation
animated series starring the Man of Steel, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen
and Perry White. The voice of Superman was provided by Bud Collyer,
Lois Lane's by Joan Alexander - they were the original voices
from the long-running 1940's radio program. Narrator - Jackson
(Superman as a boy) was featured in separate adventures.The
editor of the Superman line of comic books (Mort Weisinger) was
story editor on this series while Superman comic book writers
Now on DVD!
The Lone Ranger / CBS
Even worse than Superman, but
this half-hour cartoon lasted for three years.
In this low budget production
with watercolor backgrounds and moody themes, The Lone Ranger
battles 'Wild, Wild West' style villains like Dr. Destructo.
Road Runner / CBS
Road Runner goes head to head
with Bugs Bunny on ABC - but they'll be joined at the hip for
most of the next two decades on CBS.
The Beagles / CBS
Stringer and Tubby were a doggy
version of the Beatles. Well, they were a duo actually.
There was a soundtrack album of
catchy tunes from Columbia Records.
From the producers of 'Go-Go
Gophers' and 'Underdog'. The show moved to ABC for a year of reruns
Tom and Jerry / CBS
Reruns of Tom and Jerry classics.
Local Programming / ABC
Typically shows like 'The Cisco
Kid', 'Robin Hood', 'The Little Rascals' and 'Three
Stooges' shorts were aired in this time slot.
Commercial for Post Cereals
promoting a contest that gave away the most popular toys
of the day like Spider bikes, the cool Vvvroom motors (a noise contraption
that attached to kid's bikes) and Baby First Step Dolls.
Third (and last) season of this
venerable cartoon character, along with other Chuck Jones favorites
like Bugs, Daffy and Tweety. Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner take
center stage over the next few years as protests mount from people
with speech afflictions.
King Kong / ABC
First of a three year run for
this Japanese produced cartoon. King Kong is friendly here, helping
Professor Bond and his kids Bobby and Sue Bond battle adversaries
from their lair on Mondo Island.
'Tom of T.H.U.M.B' (Tiny Humans
Underground Military Bureau) appeared in separate segments. Accidentally
shrunk by a U.S. experiment, Tom and pilot 'Swingin' Jack' fight
the evil M.A.D. (Maladjusted, Anti-social, Darn Mean) villains
as the Pentagon's tiny secret weapons.
The Beatles / ABC
Second of a four-year run, brightened
considerably by classic Beatles' tunes - MTV '66 with lyrics shown
at the bottom of the screen. This was the
year 'Help!' and 'Yesterday' hit the charts.
The Beatles were the first living
persons to be turned into a network cartoon. Unfortunately, the
animated Beatles never evolved like the band and was a total anachronism
This was ABC's first
Saturday daytime ratings winner ever in 1965 - making the network
a player after many years of flops. But in 1966, the Fab Four
were beat out by Space Ghost!
The show was renamed
The New Beatles (despite offering only reruns) in 1967
then moved to Sunday mornings; that's where Saturday shows went
to die in 1968.
The New Casper
Cartoon Show / ABC
For God's sake, how many times can a kid watch Casper walk up to
some unsuspecting schmuck and say something nice and have the guy
go into hysterics and run off? Several times in each segment evidently.
Based on the very entertaining, decades-spanning
comic book series from Harvey Productions, 'Casper' ran on TV
from 1963-1969 and featured 'Wendy, the Good Little Witch' with
her spirited horse Nightmare and 'The Ghostly Trio' in separate
Terrific (but extremely repetitive)
cartoon about Milton
(the friendly monster with the Gomer Pyle disposition)
and his oddball family up on Horrible Hill. At least a third of
this program consisted of just the theme songs and intros between
features - which were the same every week.
Created by Hal Seeger (Popeye), this was
the second of a three year run. Also featured the adventures of:
Fluky Luke, Fearless Fly,
Dayton Allen ('Howdy Doody', 'Winky-Dink')
provided all of the voices for the Fearless Fly cartoons.
Hanna-Barbera again co-mingling
jungle animals and humans.
How much is that Gorilla in the
window? Ask Ogee, the little girl who wants to buy him, or Mr.
Pebbles, the pet shop owner who wants to sell the troublemaking
ABC bought the re-runs to this
syndicated show for a one year Saturday run in 1966. Other features
included 'Richochet Rabbit' and 'Mushmouse and Punkin' Puss'.
Sponsored by Ideal toys.
Hoppity Hooper / ABC
Cartoon adventures of a friendly
frog and his friends from Foggy Bog, Wisconsin. Another Total
TV quality production.
Written by Chris Jenkyns and Bill
American Bandstand / ABC
program starring the world's oldest teenager, Dick Clark.
Super 6 / NBC
Ran for three years; the adventures
of six super-powered do-gooders available for hire from Super
"The 'superheroes for
hire' were Magneto Man, Granite Man, Elevator Man, Super Scuba
and Captain Zammo. In addition to the separate "Super Bwoing"
episodes, there was another segment, "The Brothers Matzoriley",
which followed comic adventures of a three-headed set of siblings
(one tough guy, one coward, one Chinese stereotype) all sharing
one body, one set of arms and legs.
"This show had a killer
theme song by Gary Lewis and the Playboys of 'This Diamond Ring'
- David Johnson
Atom Ant / NBC
"Up and at 'em Atom Ant". Second year of Hanna-Barbera silliness
with a (you guessed it) super-powered ant that wore a funny helmet
and had a secret identity.
Originally starred the voice of
Howard Morris (Ernest T. Bass) as Atom Ant. The H/B studio dominated
the Saturday morning schedule during the late-Sixties.
Also seen: The Hillbilly Bears,
Precious Pupp, a dog with a raspy laugh just like Mutley, and
Granny Sweet, a motorcycle riding grandma.
Scooter, Jenny, Snoopy and Countdown are
the Kidettes, along with their dog Pupstar, frolic in space battling
the evil Captain Skyhooks, who also narrated the adventures.
Lasted only one season. Voices by H-B regulars
Janet Waldo, Don Messick and Daws Butler.
Secret Squirrel /NBC
Second year for the secret agent
squirrel loaded down with James Bondian gadgets, trenchcoat and
a black mask. Secret's sidekick was Morocco Mole and his boss
was Double Q.
In 1965, an hour-long prime-time
special entitled "The Secret World of Secret Squirrel and Atom
Ant' introduced the characters.
The series featured separate segments with
'Winsome Witch' ("Have Broom, Will Travel") and 'Sqiddly Diddle',
aa octopus attraction at the Bubbleland theme park that wanted
to be a movie star more than anything. Entertaining Hanna-Barbera
Jetsons / NBC
morning without the Jetsons?!?!
Series originally ran for one
year in prime time, but was rerun for over a decade on Saturday
Cool McCool / NBC
Private Eye with an animated attitude
and a boss named Number One. Starts a three year run in 1966.
"Cool McCool was cool, Cool".
Also on board - McCool's Dad 'Harry
McCool', an uncool policeman. Created by Batman creator Bob Kane,
for whom lightning didn't strike twice.