Here at WestBorn, most of us were born between 1980 and 1990. So most of our childhoods consisted of cartoons throughout the week. Yet Saturdays were special. Wake up before your parents got up and make your way to claim the TV and watch the best cartoons ever. Saturday morning cartoons were devoted to the cartoons that could claim that they were the ITS of the cartoons. There wasn’t a cartoon that could touch them. From Scooby Doo to Muppet Babies to Street Sharks, there are numerous cartoons that could claim that they were able to positioned in one the coveted time slots that were between 8am and 12pm. Recently there was a huge decline in viewership for the shows that were shown on Saturdays. For a block on networks that could claim 11-20 million viewers, now could see less then 2 million. CW marked the last to close out its block as of Saturday September 27, it was the end. In honor of what we here see as the closing of an era, I mean no child will know the glory of Captain Crunch commercials or toy spots that make you wanna wake your parents up and make them run to Toys R Us. Seriously what child currently knows the theme song of Toys R Us, “i’m a big kid now” anyone? This was the time of the week where even advertisers would push to show that kids could push sales in a way that no other cartoon could. So here I wanna place just a few here that our staff thought were great shows that they loved. Shows that made them remember their childhood. You won’t find the common. You might only see shows that didn’t long. Yet you will smile.
Sonic the Hedgehog ABC(1993-94)- there was alot of series based upon the quicker then sound Hedgehog. There is actually a current show on now known as Sonic Boom, get it Sonic Boom. Well this series was his Saturday morning mark. This series was the second show, debuting on tv after the afternoon series had run its course, also noted that the Hedgehog at the time was still a Sega Genesis staple. Sonic was a character that can arguable seen as Sega’s Mario. He was there character that you knew was theirs. In the series he was a freedom fighter. He worked with his friends to stop the tyrannical Dr Robotnik. We got to see characters like Tails along wit new characters like Bunnie Rabbit. The cool part for kids at the time is that Jaleel White was still the voice of Sonic, he also was the voice during the afternoon show that predated this series. Which is a big note because during that time most studios would attempt to keep hiring the same artist for the same character where now that is not the case. Same character with multiple voice actors to save money seems to be the case now. This show is noted as being darker and also more in the vein of having a full thru story along with love interests. The show grabs you and has a more concrete cast and story where the previous show took time to grasp.
Bobby’s World Fox (1990-1998)- First I wanna say after research we found out that the show ran for this long, no one hear knew it ran for 8 years. This is a show that probably everyone knows in some fashion even if they have never seen it. This was a series brought together by Howie Mandel, who was the voice of Bobby and his father. Also the show created numerous catch phrases, one being the mom’s “don’t cha know”. It was the one thing that would get me every time. The show ran on Fox during its Fox Kids block. It was also one of its main big shows. Bobby was a kid who would take us in his view of the world. He would break the fourth wall, show us his imagination, and journey thru the world with abandon. Bobby would start the block for Fox in a big way. Eventually bobby would get little twin siblings he had older siblings and couldn’t escape from having fun. This was a show that everyone on Monday as kid had to have watched to tell all their friends what was funny. Or they could watch with their parents who didn’t understand at all what was going on.
Batman The Animated Series– Fox/Kids WB (1992-1995)- This was the show that changed how many of us view superhero shows. The show would debut on Fox during after school time in the year 1992. It marks the beginning of show to show continuity, going to Superman the Animated series to Batman Beyond to Justice League and finally Justice League Unlimited. The series was darker for a cartoon and for the most part stood very close to stories from writers like Dennis O’Neil and Elliot S. Maggin. The series also is noted for creating characters like Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya. Even today it is noted as a series that stands beyond just an ordinary cartoon and has an impact on television as a whole. I remember the Clayface arc, with his creation from actor trying to keep up appearances to villain, to the creation of Two-Face from Harvey Dent. The series would eventually come to Kids WB from Fox become slightly lighter in tone and with a name and art change to The Adventures of Batman and Robin. The series would never die out as sections would be referred to in Justice League and it would get, what most fans think of, a sequel in Batman Beyond, which has a similar art style. Bruce Timm would also gain recognition as keeping this cohesion. This series would take superheroes more into the mainstream then they had been before. Also Batman would go from the man in the shadows to the hero kids wanted to have on their curtains, sheets, and back packs.
Opening (The Adventures of Batman and Robin)
A Pup Named Scooby Doo-ABC (1988-1991)- OK yes, there has been numerous shows based on Where are you Scooby Doo. The dog himself can be argued as the most popular Hanna-Barbera character of modern times. But the reason that he’s included in this form because he introduces somethings that was not only popular at the time but also he did it well where it didn’t looklike he was trying to hard. One of the popular things during the time, besides making tougher cartoons or adapting games or more shows to sell toys, was the beginning of making popular characters younger. We had Tom and Jerry Kids, The Muppet Babies, The Flintstone Kids, and The New Archies, I mean even the Power Rangers did it for a season. The series showed the Mystery Machine gang as kids living in Coolsville with Scooby. They solved mysteries thru their agency “The Scooby Doo Detective Agency”. The show was comedic at the same time being smart. Not only did it go up against a new mystery each week but it also showed various issues that kids would go thru, from bullying to being grounded. The series played to what kids would know. Also a lot of the villains and stories nodded at previous versions of the show. There wasn’t a person on the staff that we spoke to for this article that didn’t immediately go “oh my god I loved that show” for various different reasons. From Velma yelling “jinkies” to giving Scooby scooby snacks, which I still wanna know how he got his own brand of snacks yet no one seems to be able to afford anything that they have to have a part time. The show took the show from the 70s to the modern times and the kids with no problem. It was one of the more more familiar shows of ABC Saturday morning.
Listen to episode 3 of UserFriendly:Rated G where we talk about more Saturday morning cartoons, what we remember from each show, and just stuff from our childhood. Also write in to the show and tell us your thoughts @firstname.lastname@example.org. Also comment below. Also subscribe on iTunes