Friday, June 21, 2013

1968 Saturday Morning Cartoons

Saturday morning cartoons

In 1968, CBS began broadcasting their Saturday morning kid fare at an earlier hour, 8:00am, thanks to a growing baby boomer audience looking for cheap thrills. And these were some cheaply produced shows but they had a charm, being the first of their genres.

The other networks started in at 8:00am not long after the fall ratings came in and they realized CBS was clobbering the competition..

Superheroes had been hot on Saturdays for a few years, Superman scored a huge audience share for CBS in 1967, this year The Man of Steel was tag teamed with the animated adventures of Batman. ABC's Batman live-action primetime series was still running, so Batman had two shows on two networks.

Hanna-Barbera and a few other smaller animation studios pumped out an amazing array of comic book inspired mind candy for 1968-69, some of it actually good.

The ArchiesAlthough Hanna-Barbera produced shows dominated the morning on all three networks, The Archies made Filmation a force to be reckoned with for the next twenty years.

Here are shows based on fantasy concepts or comic book characters in 1968:

Super 6 / NBC
Year two, ran for three years - well-liked adventures of six super-powered do-gooders available for hire from Super Service, Inc.

Adventures of Gulliver / ABC

Ginny Tyler also provided the voice Flirtacia in this cartoon based on the Jonathan Swift novel. 17 episodes ran for two years.

  Spiderman / ABC

A rare second season of new episodes, leading off with the 'Origin of Spiderman'. Stories for 1968-69 were now 30 minutes in length, last season there were two 15 minute episodes per show.

A third season was produced for syndication - the series had the same theme song, but the show took on a darker look and attitude with surrealistic watercolor backgrounds (by DC artist Gray Morrow) and a new guy playing Spidey's voice. Ralph Bakshi ('Fritz the Cat') produced the third season.

Note the jazzy music and use of still drawings to suggest movement.

Super President / NBC

You think Obama's powerful, this guy had real super-powers... almost as great as Obama's ability to listen to all of our calls and read all our emails. Huh?!? Super President's second term was cut short - he was impeached mid-season because of low ratings. The producers of this cartoon had mega-success with 'The Pink Panther' on Saturday mornings.


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