1970 was a very good year for network Saturday morning revenues, so 1971
brought a continuation of the shows that were working - along with remakes
of proven series from the past. CBS had success with reruns of the 67-68
sitcom 'The Monkees,' so ABC added its long-running 'Bewitched' to the
Saturday schedule in 1971.
The News' started this year - 2 1/2 minute news segments running eight
times a morning on CBS.
three networks started giving in to pressure from parent groups to offer
more educational, and less violent programs. For the most part they are
all flops. 'You Are There' was a notable exception but 'Curiosity Shop'
and 'Take A Giant Step' failed to catch on.
'Archie/Sabrina' spin-off 'Groovie Golies' aired on CBS Sunday Mornings.
Where Are You? / CBS
Third and last season in the original half-hour format.
The longest running character
ever created for Saturday morning television, Scooby helped make
Hanna-Barbera studios a powerhouse in the Seventies.
Veteran H-B music director Hoyt
Curtin wrote the scores for countless cartoons beginning in 1957,
including "Yogi Bear", "Scooby-Doo" and "Jonny Quest."
Ironically, his best known theme,
"The Flintstones", was created in a panic because production of
the show was way behind schedule.
Globetrotters / CBS
Another season of the trick
basketball players jumping into adventures around the world.
A soundtrack album was released.
The Globetrotters returned with a live-action
variety show on CBS Saturday mornings a few seasons later.
Help! It's the
Hair Bear Bunch! / CBS
More manic Hanna-Barbera
inanity. Stupid beyond belief.
About a pack of bears living in a zoo that
want more from life and are always breaking out, pulling Sgt.
Bilko scams on the Park rangers.
Featured the celebrity voices of Joe E.
"Ooh-Ooh" Ross (It's About Time'), Daws Butler (a million cartoon
voices), Paul Winchell ('Winchell and Mahoney Time') and John
Stephenson doing a near-perfect mimic of Joe Flynn, a voice he
would later use on Inch High Private Eye 2 years later
- and 5 years after that in the “Galaxy Goof-Ups”
segment of Yogi’s Space Race.
The show returned with Sunday morning repeats
Thanks to Jacob Gilbert for info on this show.
Bamm Bamm / CBS
(debut) The kids go solo in this half-hour cartoon about the Flintstone
teenagers and their wiggy stone-age pals. "Oh my staaaars!"
Pebbles voiced by Sally Struthers ('All
in the Family'), Bamm Bamm by Jay North ('Dennis the Menace').
Big ratings winner for CBS
Now the teens are running a television
station and introducing cartoons starring the King Syndicate's
newspaper comic strips - Dick Tracy, Nancy and Sluggo, Broom Hilda,
The Captain and Kids, Moon Mullins, Nancy and Sluggo, et al.
This was the only Archie format
to last more than one season.
Teenage Witch / CBS
Second season of this popular Filmation show now trimmed to a
half-hour and newly titled. The Groovie Goolies (Sabrina's rock
group co-stars from the previous season) got their own show on
Josie and the Pussycats / CBS
Second season (repeats)
with the rockin' Pussycats - Josie, Alexandra, Melody, Valerie,
The plot: Handsome Alan likes Josie, but
crafty band member Alexandra wants Alan for herself, so this leads
to cartoon catfights and conniving backstage backstabbing while
the kittenish rock group tours the globe. Also featuring Melody
and Valerie and their manager Alexander.
The next season, the group blasts off into
space in new episodes.
Another season of reruns with new songs inserted over old footage
in an attempt to restart record sales.
You Are There / CBS
History reenacted with excellent
results, a remake of the 1953-57 CBS news program now aimed at
children. Walter Cronkite was the narrator of both series incarnations.
Television 'reporters' report
historical events as if they are happening. The first episode
dealt with the "Mystery of Emelia Earhart" and featured a young
Richard Dreyfuss and Geraldine Brooks in the cast.
"The Siege of the Alamo"
starred Fred Gwynne and Roger Davis. Also: the cure for cholera,
the nomination of Abraham Lincoln, a Pony Express ride.
Followed by The CBS Children's
Film Festival at 1:00pm.
Dr. Doolittle / NBC
Another year of cartoon "fun" with Dr. Doolittle, Tommy Stubbins
(voiced by Hal Smith) and the rock group 'The Grasshoppers'.
He could talk to the animals,
but was no match for Bugs Bunny on CBS.
Woodpecker / NBC
More Walter Lantz cartoons from the Forties, Fifties and Sixties.
Lantz himself showed how animation
was created in newly filmed segments.
Featuring the voices of Paul
Frees, June Foray, Daws Butler, and Lantz' wife Grace Stafford.
Deputy Dawg / NBC
(debut) Revival of the 1961 Terrytoon cartoon series about the dumbass
detective dog. Lasted only one year.
Panther Show / NBC Not really new at all, 'The Pink
Panther' was on every season from 1969 - 1979, but this season had
new cartoon features including 'The Ant and The Aardvark', a series
of cartoons that first ran in movie theaters starting in 1966.
All-star voices added in 1971 included
Pat Harrington, Jr (Inspector Clouseau), John Byner (Ant and Aardvark',
imitating Dean Martin and Joey Bishop), Arte Johnson (Mr. Jaws)
and Catfish the Hunter (Arnold Stang).
Barrier Reef / NBC
(debut) Live-action adventures with the five man crew of the 200-ton windjammer
'Endeavor' off of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, with marine
biologist Joe Francis (Richard Melkle), Captain King (Joe James),
computer whiz Dr. Elizabeth Hanna (Ihab Nafa) and the Captain's
son Kip (Ken James).
Plotlines included: avoiding the
bends, mysterious radioactive signals from the sea, coral poachers,
a Stonefish is needed for poison antidote, and a WWII minefield
Live action shows were not popular on Saturday
mornings in 1971, this series scored dismal ratings like most
of the NBC Saturday schedule this year.
Giant Step / NBC
(debut) Sixty minutes of kids talking about their lives and thoughts with
occasional adult guests. Lasts in this format only one year.
Producers described the production
this way: "attempts to help youngsters 7-14 formulate their own
value judgments". Since the kids on the show drove the content
(with the help of the show's staff and guest advisors) it often
slipped into unrestrained chaos.
The premiere episode dealt with
beginnings and endings - like your mom and dad's marriage. Also
seen were reports on fashion designer Betsy Johnson, the film
Cabaret, a visit to the UN, the Moog synthesizer is shown.
TV Guide critiqued, "Take
A Giant Step, run by a handful of teen-age hosts, is murky of
purpose and often unintelligible. Its young performers exhibit
no signs of professional training or poise, but are left to stumble
over each other's words as they bravely but vainly attempt to
communicate with their audience."
Twice as many kids watched Road
Runner reruns rather than this show.
Six months later, a similar but
better realized program began a long run on PBS - ZOOM.
Season two (reruns) of the
odd (but entertaining) goings on in Sid and Marty Krofft's Tranquility
Magnificent old-school movie/radio comedienne
Martha Raye stars as Benita Bizarre - Martha Raye also appeared
in the big screen version of 'HR Pufnstuff'.
Mr. Wizard / NBC
One season revival of the
1951-1965 NBC series (originally broadcast from Chicago) starring
Don Herbert as Mr. Wizard. Mr. Wizard who would amaze his child
guest with a feat of science or physics experiment, and then show
how it's done.
There were five-minute 'Mr. Wizard Close-up'
short segments running in daytime syndication during the Seventies.
Mr. Wizard returned in basically the same
format in 1983 on the Nickelodeon network - and ran for another
seven years of original episodes.
Jetsons / NBC
Moved to NBC after two years
on CBS and ran continuously for five more years. In 1962, the
Jetsons was the first ABC program ever broadcast in color.
No other show has been repeated on Saturday
Mornings more than 'The Jetsons'. That's saying a lot, especially
since only one season's worth of episodes were ever filmed - until
1985 when pathetic new episodes were made for syndication.
Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Stand
up! / ABC
Second and last season for Lewis' last network series to date
- he was a producer of the show but the voice of Jerry in the
cartoon belonged to David L. Lander, 'Squiggy' on 'Laverne & Shirley.
Howard Morris (Ernest T. Bass) was also heard.
Road Runner / ABC
The Road Runner moved from CBS to ABC to star in his own half-hour
show. This format ran only one year.
Funky Phantom / ABC
(debut) Three kids teamed with their colonial era ghost that popped out
of an old grandfather clock from 1776.
The ghost loved to tell tall tales
and drop names and places in history while hanging out with his
teenage pals and their dog solving mysteries that generally turn
out to be about someone committing real estate fraud.
Another Scooby rip-off.
Jackson 5ive / ABC
(debut) Cartoon adventures of the singing, dancing Jackson family, including
a blue snake and the rest of Michael's odd menagerie.
This cartoon did not use the voices
of the actual Jackson Five but did use their original songs. This
was the closest thing around to music videos on TV in the Seventies.
A Rankin-Bass production, the
animators who did the wildly popular 'Beatles' cartoon and 'Rudolph,
The Red Nosed Reindeer'.
10:00 Bewitched / ABC
Reruns of the classic sitcom begin even as 'Bewitched' was still
airing in primetime.
On the first Saturday episode,
Sam tries to hide Tabitha's developing witchcraft powers from
Mark (Butch Patrick) falls into a giant hat that leads to a Sid
and Marty Krofft land of hat-people.
Weird concept, great cast and
lots of fun with Charles Nelson Reilly as "Hoo-Doo" and the brilliant
Billie Hayes (Witchiepoo) as "Weenie the Genie".
Ran for two years on ABC, one on NBC.
Curiosity Shop / ABC
Sixty-minutes of science
experiments and discovery kinds of things for younger kids. Networks
were under attack from parent's groups for not providing enough
educational shows for children, this show was created with that
in mind. Combines live action, animation, puppets and music -
'Mr. Wizard' meets 'Sesame Street'.
Hosted by Chuck Jones, animator
extraordinaire and VP of Saturday Programming for ABC in 1971.
Two kids visit the shop and discover
something new each week, with the help of puppets like Baron Balthazar,
S.I. Trivia (a worm in the dictionary), and Gittle the Bumbling
Witch. There were also Dennis the Menace, Miss Peach and B.C.
One memorable animated segment
was the first Multiplication Rock - "Three Is The Magic Number."
This became a regular Saturday morning feature in 1972.
Other features on stop-motion
animator George Pal, cartoonist Johnny Hart (BC), improv comedians
The Committee do Goldilocks, 'The Strange World of Mr. Mum,' a
1908 cartoon "Fantasmagoria" by Emil Cohl, the origin
of the handshake, the invention of the sun dial.
The show moved to the Sunday morning
boneyard in the fall of 1972, where programs were routinely bumped
by local affiliates for church broadcasts (at least where I lived).
Johnny Quest / ABC
Second year of reruns from
the exciting 1964-65 animated primetime series - in 1970 it aired
on Sunday mornings.
This ambitious series ran only one season
originally, with storyboards and character designs by Doug Wildley
and Alex Toth. Considered by many to be the best production ever
Secret Chimp / ABC
Second and last season of
silliness, a year of reruns. In all, 16 chimps were used for the
cast. The budget was over a million dollars for the season, high
for Saturday mornings.
The clip is from a very entertaining documentary
called "I Created Lancelot Link" featuring an interview with series
creators Stan Burns and Mike Marmer.