Monday, December 23, 2013

1986 Saturday Morning Shows

Saturday morning shows 1987Networks were programming for a younger audience than a decade before; as a result, the Saturday shows were getting annoyingly cute by the mid-eighties.

Saturday mornings were in turmoil in 1986, ratings were falling. This was the first Saturday morning lineup in over fifteen years without Scooby Doo. Scooby, Bugs and the SuperFriends ate up 2 1/2 hours on ABC in 1985, but by the fall of 1986 all but Bugs were gone and he was busted to a half-hour.

While NBC took the road of least resistance (lots reruns of established shows), CBS and ABC took big gambles in 1986 in an attempt to lure a new audience. It wasn't long before Scooby and the DC heroes returned. In terms of ratings, CBS won the year handily thanks to Pee Wee Herman - but the real hit cartoons were playing on weekdays after school - Jem, Transformers, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony among many others.

Here are some highlights - go here for the complete Saturday 1986 schedule for all 3 networks.

Teen Wolf - Based on the hit movie starring Michael J. Fox, first of three years on Saturday mornings.

Galaxy High - Outer space style fun revolving around two exchange students from Earth who attend a high school on the asteroid Flutor made up of kids from every planet. I swear I don't make this stuff up; it ran for two years.

The Real Ghostbusters - Based on the hit movie. Four guys search for ghosts with Slimer, their pet glob of green goo. Just as in the cartoon version of Teen Wolf, no attempt was made to have the animated characters look like their big screen counterparts. This show was so popular it began running on weekday afternoons

Lazer Tag Academy - A time traveling teen girl from 3010 lands in the present to stop the villain Draxon Drear from changing history. She teamed with her ancestors, Tom, Nicky, and Beth who are uniquely able to use Lazer Tag guns to travel through time and manipulate objects. There were 13 episodes filmed by Ruby Spears Animation.

Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling! - Last year of two, reruns from the previous year. No, the Hulkster didn't take the time to voice his animated clone, it was Brad Garrett who did the honors. The other famous WWF wrestlers featured in this series were also voiced by others - including The Iron Sheik, Andre the Giant and Rowdy Roddy Piper. 

It's Punky Brewster - Punky was prime time kiddie fodder that translated well into cartoon format. Year two of four. Soleil Moon-Frye provided the voice of Punky; in fact, all of the original cast was on hand, as well as the obligatory added animal cohort with magical powers - in this case a gopher-like thing named Glomer.

The complete Saturday 1986 schedule for all 3 networks.