When did Saturday morning cartoons die?
When I was a kid, I rose early every Saturday morning to watch cartoons. I started my mornings with Scooby Doo, a cartoon with a huge amount of staying power. I then spent the rest of the morning as an unmovable fixture in the den.
One of my favorite cartoons was The Amazing Chan and Chan Clan, where Charlie Chan and his family solved mysteries. They had this really cool van that could change into anything.
Another favorite was The Funky Phantom. This cartoon featured a Revolutionary War ghost named Mudsy. (Yes, my fascination with both Asian cultures and history began early.)
The thing I remember most, though, was that it was like “my day” for TV. My parents didn’t care to watch. Eventually, I would go outside, but I loved cartoons.
Now, though, Saturday and cartoons have seen a divorce. You can get 24-hour cartoon channels on cable. My teenager used to watch them but has moved on. My preteen still follows them. As I sat home last Saturday morning, watching the news, I wondered if the lack of cartoons might have ruined Saturday morning. So, I posted that thought on some infamous social media website.
It wasn’t long before a half-my-age cousin of mine named Vivian brought up a counter point. Did my parents have cartoons?
I looked it up, discovering that Saturday morning cartoons were an invention of the 60s. My parents hadn’t had them growing up. Vivian’s point was to wonder if my parents thought Saturday morning cartoons had ruined Saturday morning when I was growing up.
I wondered if it might be a change of entertainment mediums. Parents in the past were free to kick the kids out of the house on a beautiful Saturday morning. (These days, parents seem to get arrested for doing it.) My maternal grandparents used to send my mother and my aunt to Saturday afternoon matinees at the local cinema. Still, kids got out of the house. Cartoons were different in that kids stayed home on Saturdays.
What do you think?
Did Saturday morning cartoons ruin Saturday mornings? Or did removing them ruin Saturday mornings? And were the things you enjoyed as a child also things your parent enjoyed? Also, what was your favorite cartoon, when you were a kid?
Special thanks to my cousin, Vivian Lipscomb, for providing the inspiration for this post. People can debate whether she is my first-, second-, third-, or some variation with “removed” in it. I’ll just say we both have four great-grandmothers. However, unlike most southern families, we only share one of them.
Walt Mussell primaily writes historical fiction with inspirational and romantic elements. His favorite setting is medieval Japan and he refers to his writing as “Like ‘Shogun,’ but the heroine survives.” He also writes Biblical fiction and is working on a manuscript with a 19th century American setting. He has one published novella in the Christmas anthology, Hot Cocoa for the Heart.
Amazing Chan picture from www.comicsworthreading.com. Funky Phantom picture from www.bilinick.blogspot.com. Fat Albert picture from www.blackcartoonstars.blogspot.com. Vivian’s picture courtesy of Vivian.