pressure from parent groups, the networks hired psychologists as consultants
for their 1974 Saturday morning shows. In press releases, the networks
would take the premise of each show, find some redeemable aspect to
it, then proclaim it "educational."
trend in making poorly animated versions of canceled primetime shows
continued to the point of absurdity, but cartoons in general were
becoming too expensive to produce.
success of 'Shazam' and 'Land of the Lost' in 1974 led to the next
big trend in Saturday morning programming - live action shows. Saturdays
would never be the same.
there's Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough, Brian Foster, Susan
Dey and Dave Madden (from the original cast) providing voices
for the animated characters they made famous as the musical
Partridge Family, a rock group now traveling through time and
space. The show was cancelled in March.
Another cartoon series featured several 'Partridge'
cast member voices - "Goober and the Ghost Chasers', which failed
to catch on during the 73-74 season.
the Dinosaurs / CBS
Cartoon about a modern family (the Butlers)
sent back in time to a valley that is a home to prehistoric
creatures. Ran for two years, the second season was all reruns
(which was typical).
John Butler and his wife Kim, and the two kids
Katie and Greg emerge from a pool into the past - there they
meet a cave dwelling family, Gorak, Gera, Lok and Tana.
Third show on Saturday mornings in 1974 that
had dinosaurs running around - one on each network. Only 'Land
of the Lost' was a hit.
"SHAZAM! was revived a decade
ago. They eliminated the Billy Batson/Captain Marvel character,
kept the Winnebago, and renamed it 'MTV's Road Rules'."
Popcorn Machine / CBS
Globetrotters, Rodney Allen Rippy and Avery Schreiber (as Mr.
Evil) are the unlikely hosts for this comedy-variety half-hour.
Guests included Ted Knight,
Marty Feldman, Arte Johnson, Sandy Duncan, Ruth Buzzi, Tom Bosley
and Ester Rolle.
Meant to advance "pro-social
messages such as good behavior, good health habits ... and showing
respect." Ran for two years, the second (reruns) on Sunday mornings.
For some reason, CBS thought the variety show genre could be
revived on Saturday mornings.
This half-hour was a continuation of the Hudson
Brother's successful summer series, with Sonny and Cher Comedy
Hour producers, writers and supporting players.
Every episode featured the same
rotating skits - a monsters sketch, a desert island sketch,
the 'Razzle-Dazzle Wrap-up', the bear (a holdover from 'The
Andy Williams Show', 1969-1971), Knights of the Round Table
sketch ("Do it for me- Lady Patricia!"), and a visit with Chuckie
Margolis (the show's bright spot).
The show ended with the boys talking
to Fabulous Freddy,
the world's youngest 'network executive in charge of kid's programming.'
Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show was another show meant to
"convey value-related messages". This series was in production
for one season's worth of episodes (17) - it returned for reruns
on Sunday mornings in 1976.
U.S. of Archie / CBS
A new Archie show. Gone is the 'TV Funnies' (which weren't)
format. Now the gang is venturing back through time to meet
historical figures like Ben Franklin and George Washington to
learn good old American values. God Awful beyond belief - was
CBS intentionally trying to kill this franchise? This format
lasted two years.
Fat Albert and
the Cosby Kids / CBS
Fat Albert gets tricked into helping a drug pusher in the 1974
season opener as more serious topics are tackled. Hey, Hey,
Children's Film Festival / CBS
This season's films included: "Winter
of the Witch" starring Hermione Gingold in the story of
a city boy and his mother moving into a country home.
Yogi's Gang / ABC
Back for a year of reruns in the graveyard timeslot.
Daws Butler and Don Messick created
most of the voices - including Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw,
Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Augie Dogie, Wally Gator, Peter
Potamus (all Daws); Boo Boo, Ranger John Smith, Touche Turtle,
Squiddly Diddly, and Atom Ant (all Don Messick).
Bugs Bunny / ABC
Second and last year on ABC. Moved back to CBS in 1975.
Scatman Crothers (as 'Hong Kong'), Don Messick (voice of 'Mutley'
and 'Astro' as 'Spot'), Kathy Gori as 'Rosemary', and Joe E.
"Ooh Ooh" Ross (as Sarge) provide the voices for the adventures
of a police janitor ('Penrod Pooch') who turns into crime-fighting
martial arts 'expert' who got his 'kung-fu powers' from a correspondence
of Gilligan / ABC
Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jim Backus, Russell
Johnson and Natalie Schafer were all on board the Minnow as
it sailed into choppy cartoon waters. Proved pretty popular,
the series ran for three years.
Even this production had a
Ph.D on board to ensure positive interactions. Jane Edwards
and Jane Webb played Ginger and Mary-Ann. Another animated Gilligan
came along in 1982, 'Gilligan's Planet' but it lasted only one
Devlin / ABC
Three orphans (Ernie, Tod and Sandy) are
determined to stay together in this cartoon adventure centered
around a young boy/girl motorcycle stunt team.
'Devlin' moved to Sunday mornings in 1975. Mickey
Dolenz provided one of the voices, along with Michael Bell and
Korg, 70,000 B.C. / ABC
Live action drama revolving around a Neanderthal family coping in a primitive
world - from Hanna-Barbera.
Narrated by Burgess Meredith.
Here is a fall season promo for the 1974 Saturday
morning programming lineup on ABC - they had only moderate
success with these new shows.
Second season with new episodes
of the popular cartoon series - terrific character designs,
but some of the sloppiest animation ever seen on Saturday mornings.
This Hanna-Barbera production
ran until 1985 in one form or another. Features Superman, Batman,
Robin, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Wendy, Marvin and the Wonder Dog
- still seen on cable TV today.
the Days / ABC
June Lockhart ('Lost in Space') and Henry Jones ('Phyllis')
provided the voices of the Day family in this turn of the century
cartoon drama about a Grandpa and a widowed mother of three
Came off like an animated 'Waltons'.
Reruns played out for another year on Sunday mornings where
CBS and ABC reran cartoons that got so-so ratings on Saturdays
the year before.
Bandstand / ABC
Ran for a million years starting in 1957.
'Soul Train' (syndicated) was
the show everyone was watching in 1974.
Even though 'Soul Train' is
still running today, "the hippest trip in America" has a bit
less soul now than it had back in the day.
Guests on Soul
Train in 1974 included James Brown, The Moments, The Isley Brothers, The Commodores, Al Green, Michael Jackson, The Dells, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Barbi Benton, Maureen McGovern, Lamont
ABC IN 1974: Make
A Wish (1971-1976) was a Sunday Morning series starring
Tom Chapin, produced, written and directed by Lester Cooper.
Reruns made up the second season of the animated Addams Family,
which looked more like the television Addams family than the
original Addams Family - which was a cartoon page in the New
Yorker by the brilliant Charles Addams.
Starring the voices of the primetime
(1964-66) Lurch (Ted Cassidy) and Fester (Jackie Coogan) and
Jodie Foster as Pugsley Addams.
A very unsatisfactory effort
considering the original source material.
Aired 9/8/73 - 8/30/75.
Wheelie and the
Chopper Bunch / NBC
Wheelie is a souped-up little Volkswagen who's in love with
Rota Ree and has to out race the bothersome Chopper Bunch, a
motorcycle gang who try to ruin their fun.
The educational shows didn't
catch on in 1973, so it's back to the races in 1974. With voices
by Paul Winchell, Frank Welker, and Don Messick.
Educational because it teaches
kids how to deal with fire and stuff.
Lasted three seasons, the last
consisted entirely of reruns.
Run, Joe, Run / NBC
"Wanted: male German Shepherd, black and tan, answers to the name
Live action show with a German
Shepherd on the run in Los Angeles after being falsely accused
of attacking his master while undergoing Army K-9 training.
Every week Joe saves someone's
life and somehow just misses Sgt. William Corey (Arch Whiting),
his former master who is hot on his trail - not to capture Joe,
but to let him know he's been exonerated.
During the second season, Joe
teamed up with Josh McCoy (Chad States), a teenage hitchhiker.
There was a toy Run Joe Run German Shepherd
with moveable legs made by Kenner toys.
the Lost / NBC
Produced by Sid and Marty
Krofft. Classic Science Fiction series about forest ranger Marshall,
Will and Holly, lost on a routine expedition that leads them
to the otherworldly Land of the Lost where they encounter Sleestaks,
Pakunis and prehistoric creatures. They are befriended by missing
links Chaka, TA and Sa.
Some imaginative scripts by
story editor David Gerrold ('Star Trek') made this series a
standout. With a few years off, this show ran on Saturdays until
1994 in three different formats.
Sigmund and the
Sea Monsters /NBC
Second season brings new episodes of the depressed sea monster,
outcast because he can't scare humans.
Incredible cast featuring Mary
Wickes as Zelda Marshall, Rip Taylor as Sheldon the Sea Genie
and Margaret Hamilton as Miss Eddels.
The last year for this odd but
Pink Panther / NBC
Another year of the Blake Edwards creation.
There will be many more Mancini mornings for 70's kids.
It took twice as many drawings
to make a Pink Panther cartoon than any other Saturday offering
- but this was still considered limited animation compared to
what a theatrical cartoon would require.
Star Trek / NBC
A few excellent second season
scripts were scattered among reruns from the previous year.
NBC felt this cartoon was too
expensive to produce, it cost quite a bit more than any other
animated show, so they cut back on the episodes ordered for
the second year.
There was lots of narration
over shots of the ship floating in space in every episode -
that helped cut down on costs as well.
Maybe the best of all of the
various Star Trek series, the aliens are more believable
when everyone is a cartoon. The show's script editor was Dorothy
C. Fontana, a veteran of the original NBC series and Star
Trek, The Next Generation.
The animated version was produced
by Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott ('Archie').
Several plotlines were continued
over from the original series, including the return of both
Harry Mudd and the Tribbles in 'More Trouble with Tribbles'
- penned by original scriptwriter David Gerrold (see also: Land
of the Lost).
Jetsons / NBC Year
after year the same episodes. But what else was on?
The Jetsons ran almost continually
from 1963-1976 on Saturday mornings over all three networks.
Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll
were originally slated to be the voices of George and Jane Jetson
(played by George O'Hanlon and Penny Singleton).
Also featured the voices of
Daws Butler, Don Messick, Mel Blanc and other familiar Hanna-Barbera
Go / NBC
A second season of new episodes starts with a look at the Los
Angeles Fire Department with guest-hosts Randolph Mantooth and
Kevin Tighe ('Emergency'). Also this season: the birth of a
baby (human and calf) is shown, Penn State's great coach Joe
Paterno is profiled.
In 1975, the name of the show
changes to 'Go-USA', featuring fact-based half-hour dramatizations
with a bicentennial perspective.