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Saturday Morning shows : 19691969

In 1968, CBS began broadcasting their kiddie fare at 8:00am, a full hour ahead of NBC and ABC. This gave CBS an advantage, so everyone started at 8:00 this year.

'Archie' was a big hit in '68 for CBS so the Riverdale gang was rewarded with a full hour of music and 'fun' in 1969. 'Wacky Races' also scored big for the network that season, so two spin-off series were scheduled in 1969. CBS won the ratings race for a second straight year, thanks to 'Scooby Doo.'

'Hot Wheels' became the first cartoon series based on a current line of toys, and the FCC complained loudly about it - ultimately passing a law against the practice (that was overturned in 1983). The airwaves were flooded with cartoon/toy tie-ins by that point.

The big 3 nets offered more gentle fare in 1969 than in previous years - no more flaming teenagers and ghostly superheroes.

If parents complained about cartoon violence, surely they couldn't object to characters just running around - the 'chase' cartoon was born.

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"Penelope Pitstop will be an overnight star. And after the kids see a dog named Scooby-Doo in his own series, I guarantee you there will be a million pups named Scooby-Doo next year."
- Fred Silverman

Head of CBS Saturday Mornings in 1969

 

 

1969 TV Shows on DVD here!

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8:00

The Jetsons / CBS
Now on at an earlier hour. Reruns of the 1963-64 primetime cartoon - debuted on Saturday mornings in 1964.

Programming to entertain kids on Saturday mornings before the networks kicked in at 8:00 consisted mostly of reruns - primetime shows like Sea Hunt, Cisco Kid, Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo, Dennis the Menace and others.

The Three Stooges, Little Rascals, Fleisher Popeye cartoons, and 1950s-era Horror & Sci-fi movies were common as well, with most local stations going on the air around 5:00am.

 

8:30

Bugs Bunny /
Road Runner Hour
/ CBS
(debut)
Chuck Jones' inspired theatrical shorts strung together with snippets of new material. This series lasted until 1973.

Bugs began on ABC Saturday mornings in 1962, airing in the noon hour for five years before moving to CBS in 1968 and earning consistently solid ratings.


Chuck Jones produced a series of commercials for Raid insecticides for many years - here's one from 1969.

9:30

Dastardly & Mutley in
their Flying Machines
/ CBS
(debut)
Enormously popular 'Wacky Races' had two spin-offs this season.

This one featured the aerial adventures of villainous World War Two 'ace' Dastardly and his snickering dog Muttley. They were trying to capture a pigeon.

10:00

Perils of
Penelope Pitstop
/ CBS
(debut)
The Wacky Races gang in a Max Sennett Keystone Kops motif. Sylvester Sneakly (Paul Lynde) aka "The Hooded Claw" tries to get a hold of young, nubile race car driver Penelope Pitstop.

If Peter Perfect couldn't save her, the Ant Hill Mob would be close behind. Lots of fun.

"The reason Mr. Meakley always wanted to get Penelope Pitstop was greed - she was heir to a big fortune. He would turn into the evil "Hooded Claw." The Ant Hill Gang, pint-sized, 1930s gangster looking guys, seemingly should have been on the Claw's side, but they instead were Miss Pitstop's rescuers."
- Victoria Mielke

10:30

Scooby Doo,
Where Are You?
/ CBS
(debut)
Hanna-Barbera strikes again.

Scooby would last well into the Eighties on Saturday mornings, while the average cartoon only ran for two years.

Generations of kids tuned into the cowardly great Dane who only responds favorably to Scooby Snacks.

11:00
Archies

The Archie
Comedy Hour
/ CBS
Last year's hit expands to one hour and adds the adventures of Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch and her kooky family.

An animated show cost around $48,000 an episode to produce in 1969.

 

12:00

Monkees / CBS
The pre-fab four returned to Saturday mornings after a year lay-off, with some new songs added over old footage.

A mad scientist hired the Monkees to teach his monster how to 'rock-and-roll' on the first Saturday rerun. Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Davey Jones and Micky Dolenz formed the group.

Mickey Dolenz also starred in an early Saturday morning series in the Fifties called 'Circus Boy'.

'The Monkees' ran on CBS until 1972, then moved to ABC for a year.


AVAILABLE ON DVD

 

The Monkees was occasionally pre-empted for the CBS Children's Hour, a highly acclaimed hour-long series of 3 specials beginning with Jane Wagner's poignant teleplay J.T., the story of a shy Harlem youth's tough Christmas with an injured stray cat that he can't bring home because of his grouchy dad.

12:30

Wacky Races / CBS

Mostly reruns from the year before. Didn't matter, it was all just a run around the track anyway. Replaced by Penelope Pitstop reruns mid-season.

CBS continued programming with Superman cartoon reruns at 1:00 and Johnny Quest reruns at 1:30.

8:00

Casper, the
Friendly Ghost
/ ABC
Kicks off ABC's "Saturday Morning Club," a brand loyalty scheme with premiums mailed out to thousands of kids who returned coupons found in comic books.

Casper was cancelled midseason, ending a run that began in 1963, replaced by 'Adventures of Gulliver' reruns.

8:30

Smokey the Bear / ABC
(debut)
Smokey starred in what seemed like public service messages stretched out to fill a half-hour; a Rankin/Bass cartoon that started with a primetime special starring the voice of James Cagney.

Smokey's reruns played out on Sunday mornings in 1970. "Remember, only you can prevent forest fires."

9:00

Cattanooga Cats / ABC
(debut)
Hour long Hanna-Barbera musical/cartoon about a rock group made up of cats. Features the adventures of Motor Mouse in separate segments.

Very much like an animated variety show.

10:00

Hot Wheels / ABC
(debut)
First of two years for the animated series that took its name and logo from a popular miniature car line that debuted the year before. This caused CBS problems as the FCC considered Hot Wheels to be a half-hour commercial.

Mattel sold 16 different Hot Wheels in 1968 with hip names like "Hot Heap" and the "Custom Cougar" - and models like the 1931 Ford Woody and the '57 T-Bird.

There was also an excellent comic book series in 1969 that lasted 6 issues from DC comics, drawn by Alex Toth and Neal Adams.

The cartoon (and comic) was about a group of young racers, their mentor Mike Wheeler and their devious opponents. Featured the voices of future filmmaker Albert Brooks and radio legend Casey Kasem.

Also seen: safe driving tips - as if ten year-olds were driving.

10:30

Hardy Boys / ABC
(debut)
Anemic cartoon mysteries starring this venerable children's lit family - that were created over a hundred years ago. In this incarnation, the Hardys were rock stars who travel the world to solve crimes, this allowed for the requisite bubble gum numbers.

There was a Hardy Boys album with tunes from the cartoon series on sale in 1969; it was somewhat less successful than The Archies' hit album from 1968.

Another Filmation offering, 'Hardy Boys' ran until 1971.

11:00

Sky Hawks / ABC
ABC was getting creamed in the ratings with their flaccid entries, but 'Sky Hawks' - aerial daredevils for hire - lasted two years.

11:30

Adventures
of Gulliver
/ ABC
(debut)
Hanna-Barbera again, warmed over fare from the previous year.

Replaced midseason by 'George of the Jungle' repeats. Now THAT was a good cartoon!

12:00

Fantastic Voyage ABC
Reruns from last year; yet another cartoon very loosely based on classic literature - there were several this season - the network thought this constituted educational fare, I guess.

 


12:00
Get It Together ABC

Midseason (January 3, 1970), a terrific new music show moved into the noon slot before 'American Bandstand.' The series featured top acts performing live.

Dick Clark produced this hip Saturday morning music show airing from January-September 1970.

This energetic dance / concert program was hosted by Sam Riddle and the great Cass Elliot (or a guest host). On the first episode, Cass and Sam welcomed Three Dog Night and Creedance Clearwater Revival.

Mark Lindsay was an early guest singing "Arizona" - The Spiral Staircase were on tap as well.

"Let's face it," Dick Clark said of the show's failure. "Kids have turned to movies."

12:30

American Bandstand ABC
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Stevie Wonder were guests on the season opener.

Also on the show this season: The Grass Roots, Steam, Bobby Vee, Arkade, Beau Sybins, Three Dog Night, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Ohio Express and the top ten songs of the Sixties were saluted on December 27, 1969.

Hosted by Dick Clark, more famous today for his New Year's Eve extravaganzas and Blooper shows.

8:00

Heckle
and Jeckle
/ NBC
An hour of Terrytoon's battling Magpies, a Saturday morning staple for the entire decade.

While 2-5 year olds controlled the dial from 8:00-9:00 on Saturday mornings (hence the cheaper reruns in that time slot), Neilsen numbers indicated that 6-11 year-olds came in at 9:00 to hang out all morning.

The 12 and over set joined in around 10:00, resulting in programming that was just a bit more 'mature' as the morning wore on.

One fifth of all households were tuned in to Saturday morning programming in 1969 - an estimated 6.6 million kids between the ages 2-5, and 9 million kids age 6-11.

9:00

Here Comes
the Grump
/ NBC
(debut)
Princess Dawn, her dog Bip and her friend Terry Dexter are in the clutches of the evil Grump in this animated series from DePatie-Freleng. Paul Winchell provided voices.

Industry practice was to buy 17 episodes of a cartoon series and run teach episode six times in a two-year period. The kids didn't seem to mind, audience numbers dropped hardly at all during the rerun months.

9:30

Pink Panther / NBC
(debut)
Another huge hit, this one from DePatie-Freleng.

At one time, the producers of this cartoon experimented with having the Pink Panther talk, but the results were disastrous. The show also featured 'The Ant and the Aardvark' and 'The Texas Toads'.

The Pink Panther lasted almost ten years on NBC Saturday mornings.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom on DVd
(on DVD now!)

10:00

H.R. Pufnstuf / NBC
(debut)
Witchiepoo is obsessed with getting her hands on Freddie the talking Flute. Mayor Pufnstuf and Jimmy (Jack Wild) do their best to save the humanized musical instrument from her clutches.

In this live action half-hour from new producers Sid and Marty Kroft, former MGM character actress Billie Hayes stars as Witchiepoo - and her histrionic scenery chewing makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Hasbro was the show's single sponsor. This was NBC's only big winner this year besides the 'Pink Panther'.

Episode synopsis from TV Guide: "It's Dr. Blinky to the rescue when Ludicrous Lion's horse swallows Freddy Flute." - calling Dr. Phil!

10:30

Kelloggs' presents the
Banana Splits
Adventure Hour
/ NBC
Costumed theme park rejects bounced around and raced Dune Buggies through Knotts Berry Farm in Southern California, introducing musical numbers that weren't half bad - along with cartoons that were all the way bad. This was NBC's biggest show on Saturday mornings in 1968.

The 1969-70 was the second and last year; with the voices of Daws Butler (Bingo), Allan Melvin (Drooper/Announcer) and Paul Winchell (Fleegle/Cuckoo/Goofy Gopher).

The Arabian Nights, The Hillbilly Bears and The Three Musketeers were regular cartoon segments.

Produced by Hanna-Barbera, several new episodes aired this season.

11:30

Jambo / NBC
(debut)
Marshall Thompson and Judy the chimp from Daktari presented fables told with the help of wildlife footage.

This was the first of two years, the opening episode dealt with an ostrich that was too lovesick to race.

Other stories included a pygmy donkey that asks a wise owl for the secret to growing tall, a countess looks for a magic leopard, a baboon befriends an injured game warden, and a lion raised by humans faces rejection from his own kind - but acceptance from a tortoise family.

12:00

The Flintstones / NBC
This is the third year of reruns from the 1960-1966 primetime run - now on Saturday mornings.

12:30

Underdog / NBC
"There's no need to fear, Underdog is here!"

Underdog was created by Joe Harris, creator of the Trix Rabbit.

 

 

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Fridays TV Show on DVD DVDWhen Things Were Rotten on DVD

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Shazam on DVD

 

 


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