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Saturday, what a day; the Fun Day before Sunday

March 1, 2014

SatAM
Hey y’all, it’s me, Puer, coming at you with some more childhood nostalgia, about the best day of the week, Saturday!

Mornin’ Mr. RadioVideo, mornin’ Mr. CheerioKrispie-o…

For a kid growing up in the 70’s, Saturday was in addition to being the first free day from school, also (of course) the day with all the new network-run cartoons (as opposed to the old endlessly rerun syndicated cartoons on weekday mornings and afternoons).

One of (to me) the memorable and iconic statements in Philip Yancey’s Disappointment With God (about pain and suffering in relation to faith) was “A dozen cartoons in a row on Saturday morning crank out a similar message [as fairytales where the witch will die and the children will escape] to children who sit enthralled, too young to sneer at impossibly cheery endings”. (p.101-2, or 98 in my old hard cover copy).

Many of them, I now have to admit I didn’t even really pay much attention to. It was just a colorful, musical distraction. Scooby, Superfriends, Fat Albert and the Scooby spinoff Laffalympics were the ones I paid most attention to.

Let’s not forget all the cartooney cereal commercials. Tony the Tiger (They’rrre GREAT!), the Honeycomb Hideout, Alpha Bits, (Though some like Trix and Pebbles started to get pretty monotonous after awhile).
All my mother would ever get me BTW was Apple Jacks for awhile, then just Rice Krispies. All of that other sugary stuff was out! Wheaties and Cheerios were also “good stuff” that she would be willing to get, but I hated the smell and taste of them. Then, of course, our own breakfast of pancakes (or waffles)! Quickly learned to make them myself. Would make several servings. Then, when my brother entered the picture, him coming with his hand stretched out begging me “piece, piece” (kind of evoked the mummy on Scooby; “coin, coin!“), and having to argue with my parents for not wanting to give him any!
(Now, all of that stuff goes in the “Wheat Belly” category!)

Then, all the other “kids stuff” junk food: the Kool Aid man, Hostess (Twinkie the Kid, etc), Chips Ahoy, McDonald’s (with Ronald and his gang), Pop Tarts (thinking of the classic “pop up; pop up” one with the collage of images piled up to space), and the old Tootsie Pop ad (“how many licks does it take?”) that was never retired (was still used over 40 years after it first came out).

I can remember getting up once or twice when still dark, waiting for Scooby to come on at 8, watching the ends of late night black and white westerns or war pictures, CBS Eye On or something like that. Usually, I would get up around 7, and watch the Patchwork Family waiting eagerly for Scooby to come on.

The brightest newest stuff was generally earlier on, starting 8AM. In the ’78-79 period, I remembered how CBS (which had the longest Sat. block) wound down in the 12 and after period, concluding with the depressing live action ARK II show about a devastated Earth. After that used to be 30 Minutes, a kids version of news show 60 Minutes. Earlier on, at 1, it was the Kukla Fran & Ollie program, and at other times, CBS storybreak. ABC capped off it’s lineup with Weekend Specials, and then American Bandstand at 12:30.
Meanwhile, local TV (first Metromedia-5, then later Tribune-11, which later became flagships of the “little” networks FOX and CW) had Soul Train at 11. Had to fight with my cousin over that one, when one was at the other’s house. I never could figure what was the thing with watching people dance. I guess it was about the music, but you could hear the music on the radio.

The rest of the day afterward on TV was totally dreary, with sports and old movies, or some other shows, like perhaps documentaries. (This was when I would often watch animal shows with my father).
I remember one time Channel 4 had an extra half hour around 2 or 3, and listed “$25,000 Pyramid”, which was a weekday type game show. It was so weird, and my father wondered why I was trying to watch it, but whatever sports game preceding it ran overtime and it didn’t come on.
So the day would be really dull if nothing was going on outside, like in bad weather.

Old Classics vs fresh new cartoons

Initially, with TV as still a fairly new medium, cartoons were mostly old, previously theatrical films, syndicated, seemingly on every day. Schedules were not as organized according to timeslots as they became in the ’70’s. I can remember in pre-nursery school days, Tennessee Tuxedo airing weekdays 11:30 AM on network station WABC channel 7! (I was reminded of how all over the place things were in the 60’s, when finding a 1964 TV Guide in an abandoned building in my teens).
But in time, Saturday morning became the place the networks would run their shows, and the studios (the largest becoming Hanna Barbera Productions) soon added first run new shows.

By the late 70’s and afterward, the only old “golden age” cartoons left on the networks were the Looney Tunes, which had been split up into several packages. The pre-48’s were picked up by AAP, and were syndicated only (and which were usually run by independent stations on weekdays and Sunday).
The best of the post-48’s were on the main Sat. morning CBS or ABC “Bugs Bunny” shows, and later variants (co-starring the Roadrunner in the 70’s or Tweety in the 90’s to the end). These focused on the Oscar winners, such as Sylvester & Tweety, Bugs with Yosemite Sam, and the Roadrunner.

Other post-48’s were also syndicated (mixed together with the pre-48’s here on ch.5), and some were later packaged on NBC’s Daffy Duck Show. (In the cable age, most of these would end up on Nickelodeon, ⦅along with black and white older “LT” designated films that were still owned by WB rather than AAP⦆ and the AAP pre-48’s wound up on the Turner networks such as Cartoon Network. The mainstream post-48’s had moved back to ABC, and after the Turner-WB merger, they all ultimately ended up on CN or Boomerang).

Everyone’s Saturday morning nostalgia will include “Looney Tunes”, complete with the familiar WB openings, but only those newer, more popular ones remind me of Saturday, and not only that, but all of the big network shows had their own new title cards without credits in place of the old WB openings. (Making it seem more like a newer made-for-TV show episode. The credits were listed all together in the show’s closing sequence, of course). The original “Merry Go Round Broke Down” (LT) and “Merrily We Roll Along” (Merrie Melodies) themes were not used, at least not until ABC’s final Bugs & Tweety Show which used a scaled down edit of the LT theme on its title cards.

Tom & Jerry had a CBS show of the old films in the 60’s (and also with new title cards, and the credits moved to a single closing card), but in ’77, it was chopped up and syndicated (including on weekends on ch.11. On Sat. both 5 and 11’s block was generally before 8, after which, the networks dominated. Sometimes it would go to 9. They did have bigger Sunday morning blocks).
Badly edited versions of the opening and closing sequences would be used on the ch. 11 version, and most of the episodes would have the full opening credits and closing cards restored. (On very rare occasions one of the opening and closing cards would appear, and not knowing about the old show; I wondered what that was about. The two I remember seeing that way were “Hatch Up Your Troubles” and Barney Bear “Cobs and Robbers”).

New SatAM shows would be produced in ’75 and ’80. Both were shockers, and not liked very much by today’s fans. The ’75 series was by original creators Hanna-Barbera, but the pair were were almost always friends in the stories. I never noticed this show, and only first saw them in syndication a few years later. The ’80 show restored the chase, and some of the supporting characters, but was by HB’s big SatAM rival studio Filmation!

(The third major studio in the 70’s was DePatie-Freleng, known most for Pink Panther. Freleng being one of the senior Looney Tunes directors and DePatie a later producer; their studio also produced some of the later films when the original WB animation studio closed down, such as the newest Roadrunners, and most of the Daffy & Speedy series.
Meanwhile, Krofft produced a lot of live action shows in the 70’s. Earlier, Rankin Bass was big ⦅Jackson 5ive their most well known show, but otherwise, they were more known for their holiday specials⦆, and later, HB spinoff Ruby-Spears arose. In the 80’s, DFE morphed into Marvel Productions, and French, anime-influenced company DIC became really big while Filmation left the networks and went totally into weekday syndication until closing at the end of the decade).

As for old TV cartoons, the original Scooby remained on the networks off and on with all the new variants being produced. (It wasn’t even syndicated until 1980). The original Jonny Quest and Alvin & the Chipmunks returned for awhile also. The Jetsons and original Flintstones did too, at times, but were mainly weekday syndication staples.

Before my time, my mother told me of how she and my father used to get up on Saturdays and watch “Dep’ty Dawg”. By that time, that was long gone from TV, and I had never heard of it. (It did briefly reenter syndication years later. Fellow Terrytoons Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle were what played on weekdays at that time, and would get a SatAM Filmation reboot in ’79)

Between the cartoons

Somewhere in those years, an ABC nutritional interstitial (apparently wasn’t “Bod Squad” yet) came up with a simple little sundae-like snack called a “saturdae”

Then there was ABC’s other, more well-known interstitial, the ingenious “Schoolhouse Rock”, which were basically musical mini cartoons teaching you the basic school subjects of math, science, English, and American history in memorable, entertaining ways. (Like I and many others remember the Preamble to the Constitution from this. My wife said in her school, they had to specify that you were not allowed to sing it, when reciting it! They would later add a new series, on computers).

NBC spoofed Saturday Night Fever with a promo called “Saturday Morning Fever”.
And Dad could often be heard fussing about how “every Saturday” I’m laying there watching TV, yet not as consistent about doing chores or homework.

Schoolhouse Rock

How did this day take on its character?

The sabbath commandment read “six days shall you work, but the seventh day is the sabbath”, in which you shall rest and do no work. In a largely non-Jewish culture, it was anciently named after the god Saturn (along with the other days being named after the gods who shared names with the sun, moon and planets), and then in the Christian world was replaced by Sunday, in which a lot of businesses were still closed when I was young.

I could see in places where Saturday was once a regular week day. When reading ERA Bulletin histories of subway lines (which I used to compile my own line history http://www.erictb.info/linehistory.html) you can see in the 40’s, where Saturday pretty much had the same service patterns as the weekdays, such as the Brighton expresses, Myrtle-Chambers and “Banker’s specials” to Nassau St. and even the one way rush hour express services on the three-track elevated lines. The day even had an AM “rush hour”, but a PM peak wasn’t as pronounced.
But as we move through the 50’s, you can watch it gradually get scaled down, like the the Brighton local (basically, today’s Q), which originally went to Queens (like weekdays), then being sent to Nassau St. (this separate from the weekday specials that ran there), and then Franklin (this separate from the Summer Sunday specials that ran there), before April, 1962, when the current local only service (where the local was eliminated, and the former “Express” then ran local in Brooklyn) began, like Sunday and nights.

In some cases, Sunday had the same service as late nights, while Saturday had something inbetween weekdays and nights. On the West End, shuttles to 36th Street were always a total “off-hour” thing for midnights, but also included Sundays. While weekdays had full local (via tunnel) and express (via Bridge) service to Manhattan, Saturday had a slightly shortened version of the express (to 57th instead of Astoria).
Later on, Saturday and Sunday service patterns would become nearly identical (with perhaps lighter frequencies on Sunday, and “daytime” service starting a little later in places).

Ridership had begun decreasing when the war was over. I’m not sure if this had been beefed up simply for the war in the first place.

An “inbetween” day is born

So the non-Jewish world was left with an extra day, that was not their rest day, but was no longer a regular work day. It became the day for shopping and chores, and fun for kids, including cartoons on the new medium of television. (Before that, the movie theater had a similar role; hence, the “Saturday matinee”).
It also became the day birthday parties falling during the week would be moved to. (I in my young technical mind would insist it should be on the actual day!) And also, wedding day.
Stores would often make special advertisements for the day, for sales and other promotions. So you could see it flashed and/or shouted in commercials.

Here’s an example in a Cartoon Network interstitial spoof of TV cartoons, that includes fake commercials (and even the announcer talking over the closing credits like they did!)

(1:21).

Even now, I see more than one major chain calling their sale specials “Super Saturday”.

So since it was a big day for retail, it became a big day for malls, which became large centers of human bustle, including for teens.
So it became more laid back than weekdays, but still having more “energy”, or not as “dead” as Sunday.

I guess with businesses opening more on Sunday, chores became more spread out, and Saturday would become more of a fun day for adult recreation as well. It’s best captured by Chicago’s “Saturday In the Park”.
Of course, in a nonreligious secular environment, Sunday was also a fun or relaxation day. For us, the beach (Riis; and Coney Island for the food and rides only) was generally a Sunday thing. Sunday also had leftover cartoon blocks on the networks, but these slowly faded away.

(I could also mention, one piece of the network weekend on weekday mornings was CBS’ “Captain Kangaroo”, a really old series that carried on well into the 80’s somehow. Where the other networks had expanded their morning shows to the two hours from 7-9, CBS’s show was one hour only, and 8-9 was Captain Kangaroo. I was never into that to begin with and had become too old for it anyway, but one time in the late 70’s flipping by, I saw the SatAM type cereal commercials, and the show would occasionally even play cartoons; the ones I caught being 1968 HB shorts originally made for the Banana Splits show, like the Three Musketeers, etc. Then eventually, it finally ended, and the Morning Show finally expanded to 9).

Party/date night or the morning after?

You can hear the transition in music and culture as well, where Saturday night was originally party night, but in the 70’s, Friday night became more the party night, being the new end of the week.

The former was the main party, malt shop or date night for Archie and his gang I read growing up (which still basically reflected a 50’s pop culture theme). I can think of the second Happy Days TV theme (hence, the title of this article), and the directly named songs by Bay City Rollers, and even Earth, Wind & Fire:

Life is just a day
Living games we play
London Bridge is fallin’ down
Do what Simon says
Doing what you feel,
Games can be unreal…etc.

Former Chic singer Norma Jean Wright’s titular ode to the day, with it’s catchy refrain of “I just can’t wait for Saturday…”. (Not sure I remember it from back then; but rather became familiar with it more recently from Music Choice).
And of course, Saturday Night Fever.

It had also become known as bath night, from the Bobby Darin “Splish Splash” song. I had wondered if this was from before it became party night, but looking at the lyrics, it was like he was retiring for the evening (perhaps concluding a hard work week), and didn’t realize a party was going on.
[Edit: I see the bath connection originally comes from Norse (Viking) tradition. Perhaps this is what figured in the song, but afterwards, it seems pop culture references remember it best from the song. It’s also “washing day” for the distant Maoris, which stems from Christian colonization, when they would wash their white clothes for Sunday. Though I’m not seeing a reason given, I’ll bet the Norse practice originally had the same purpose; of preparing for the Sun’s day].

Right away, the Bell & James song “Living it up”, was a big disco hit which was about Friday, and let’s not forget the movie, theme song and lasting saying “Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF). (And a restaurant chain even named itself this).

While both Saturday Night Fever and Thank God It’s Friday and their associated songs were disco-themed, the former showcases mostly the “mainstream” or more “white” disco, while the latter was more the funk-oriented “black” disco, which took over more as the earlier form was fading. (Donna Summers’ “Last Dance”, which was featured in the latter, in a way sort of represented the closing track of the [more richly orchestrated] mainstream style, and afterwards, even she moved more to the more funk-like version of disco). This transformation is covered here: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/what-really-happened-to-disco

In the 80’s, you had Johnny Kemp’s “[Friday Night], Just got Paid”. (Which became a line that would be used by others. Little Richard had sung “Saturday Night, just got Paid” on “Rip It Up” 32 years earlier. The O’Jays’ “Living For the Weekend” {1975} had opened with both terms “Friday Night, Just Got Paid” and “Thank God It’s Friday” before they were popularized by these later works).

NBC had its ongoing big hit show Saturday Night Live (SNL), and for a time, ABC was able to try to compete, with a show called “Fridays”.
Entering the age of music videos, both networks then competed with “Friday Night Videos” and “New York Hot Tracks”.

So that was the night to sit around on the little dead end with all the kids, often listening to disco. Sat. was cartoons, and then playing outside all day. Night would just be a repeat of Fridays, whether chillin’ on the block, or some party or other outing.
As adults, during special occasions, Friday night is “party after work” night, and Saturday night is either the culmination of the day’s festivities (cookout, etc), or a get together time you could go on without having to have rushed from work.

(In this new Friday-oriented weekend culture, daytime ended up the part of Saturday more associated with music, with the long running dance shows Soul Train and American Bandstand).

The Fugees “Nappy heads (Mona Lisa)” had a catchy chorus mentioning both days. If she was too “busy” to date him one night, then how about the next.

To get an idea of this transition, you can look at how Friday is next in line in the process of [slowly] being scaled down to a non-workday, if we ever do go below a five day work week. It starts with it becoming the “casual” day at some workplaces. (In grade school, we were generally not given homework on Fridays. It was generally given as only punishment for something, like a few kids misbehaving and making noise).
Since the Sabbath begins Friday night (and religious Jewish businesses have to close down early as it is), that too makes it the logical next choice to join the “weekend”. (And Thursday is already the end of the week in many Muslim countries, because Friday is their holy day of prayer, even though it’s not really a “sabbath”).
If this ever goes through, then you’d see Thursday become “party night”.

[Edit: here’s an article pushing for this http://www.alternet.org/economy/5-reasons-its-time-4-day-work-week?paging=off
Already, ABC has been advertising it’s Thursday prime time lineup (anchored by such top hit shows as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) as “TGIT” (“Thank God It’s Thursday”)]

Negative connotations

On the other hand, with Sunday in the Christian world coming to symbolize “resurrection” and “rest” (after the original Easter, which was originally the wave sheaf offering day following the “[high] sabbath” that occurred after the day of the Crucifixion), some writers, following the standard “futurist” eschatology, where we are still waiting for Christ to return, began to speak of ‘this current age’, where we still suffer the pains of life as we wait, as “Easter Saturday”; the “period of darkness” in which Christ lay in the tomb. The future Return would then usher in this antetypical “Sunday” (“the eighth day” a 2nd century proto-Millennialist called it) celebrated in anticipation each week by traditional Christians. As singer Carman put it: “If problems seem to bury you six feet deep, and make it hard for you to pray, it may seem like that Friday night, but Sunday’s on it’s way”. This was taking from a familiar sermon by an old preacher who said “Sundays comin!” Citing this, Philip Yancey would then add, that “it is a good thing to remember that we live out our days on Easter Saturday” (DWG p.186).

I found it odd that both Friday and Saturday would come to have such a negative connotation, though becoming the fun day to the modern world (including Christians), and the latter still the weekly holy day to Jews and sabbatarian Christians. (Another interpretation, by Jewish themed Christian teacher Johnathan Cahn of the “Two Nice Jewish Boys” radio show, has Christ actually “resting on the sabbath” while in the tomb, and “rising up to work” on Sunday! That I found an interesting way to look at it).

The Church at one point, in trying to suppress “judaizers”, mandated fasts on the day. (According to preterist views, we are already in the eschatological “Sunday”, after the end of the age of Law ⦅destroyed AD70⦆, through the spread of grace. “Easter Saturday” then was the New Testament period of the early church, which would last “shortly”, until that event. One version suggests this was the actual “Millennium” or eschatological “7th day sabbath” where the saints were “reigning” with Christ. Not sure about that for various reasons such as what exactly were the two resurrections at the start and finish of the 1000 years, but it does make some sense).

Another negative connotation in the world, is a night of revelry, to the point that a gun was even named for it: “Saturday Night Special”. As early as the 1857 NYC gang riots of Five Points lore, this page cites a poem evoking the night: http://www.boweryboogie.com/2012/09/a-history-of-the-bloody-ould-sixth

Some notable Saturdays:

I was born on a Saturday. (Though at 2:50 AM, some could still consider it Friday night).

Of course, the wedding (11-13-93; just made 20th anniversary).

Long awaited “Y2K“: 01-01-00; object of many fears, hopes and wonders. (I particularly liked Arnold Roth’s graphic portrayals of the hype in TIME‘s “The End of The World As We know It”, Richard Lacayo, 1-18-99).
For us, it wound up a somewhat normal, peaceful Sat., for that pre-MTA period. We ate at Maasbachs’ (A neighborhood restaurant now occupied by a new Chase branch), and then saw Toy Story 2 at the run down Ridgewood theater (which is still slowly undergoing renovation). Melancholy friend didn’t really like going anywhere, so it was just a normal weekend in the neighborhood. I had wished for something more extravagant, like Times Sq. Marriott the night before, as I had rung in ’92 by myself, but nobody is interested in that. (We had rung in midnight with a group of friends at home).


Y2K 01-01-00, subject of decades of fear and anxieties,
turned out to be a normal Saturday (Arnold Roth, TIME)

On a more somber note was 9-15-01, when finishing an A job (in which I passed through Fulton St. station, which was still closed for the first trip, but then had just opened by the second trip), I head down to get my first glimpse of the Ground Zero area (still mostly closed off, but you got a clear view of the still burning 5 WTC down Fulton, and the sticking up shards of the towers, in the smoky afternoon sun down Liberty St).

Through the years:

So it was generally cartoons in the morning, and then various activities later in the day. Most likely playing outside, or the different adults might be doing something I would try to watch or tag along in.

From ’72-’90, Sat. was also the day Dad had his radio show at Fordham from 12-3, and many weeks I went up there with him (even got to speak on the air sometimes). Hated that by now, there was only local service on the Brighton, and it seemed like a long wait (luckily, it was now the D, which went straight to Fordham, but it was a long hike down and then back up the hill, and we always walked it. No free bus-subway transfers back then). The campus and especially Keating Hall where the radio station is located were pretty quiet. I would also wander around the campus, imagining it was its own city, and naming its paths as “streets”.

On weeks I could go, I would have to decide, as we left at 10, and the cartoons were still on!

On some lucky weeks, some musician friend or whoever would give us a ride home, generally taking Fordham Rd. to the Deegan, and then across the bridge to the Henry Hudson, and as much of the old West Side Highway as was still open. We had to get off the ramp up wherever it cut off, but the structure was still up all the way down. I thought it was so fascinating, first the interchanges uptown, and then West St. with all the mail and other trucks parked under the highway.
We would stop at the little sidewalk cafe restaurant in a little mid-19th century building in Abingdon Sq. (617 Hudson/317 W12), which when I checked last year, was being renovated yet again (changed hands many times, and was last a Thai restaurant; I dragged our little typology get-together to see what was there on in looking for somewhere to eat, my first meeting with them, but none of us was interested).
An even rarer treat, without a ride, was to stay on the train, to go straight to Coney Island.

With Mom, you had shopping (Flatbush Ave, Kings Plaza or downtown; usually A&S). After watching the cartoons in the morning, going someplace felt like an “adventure” of my own, though of course, it would get boring when she would spend a lot of time in one place, just looking at women’s clothes.

She for a time attended Saturday classes at Brooklyn College, and she took me once, and it was a music appreciation class. Another student ended up playing Deniece Williams’ new song “Free” over and over. (First time I heard it).

I remember earlier on, when Dad was starting out at Fordham, and taking classes at the Lincoln Center campus, he said he was taking me “to school” one day, and I didn’t want to go, for some reason. I probably thought how boring school was for me, and now on the day where I’m free from that, having to go to another kind of school. But it became one of those memories that stuck, along with the rest of the “sights and sounds of Manhattan; growing up in NYC” experience. (Perhaps my first time around Lincoln Center).
Then, when he told me about the radio station in the other campus, and the “record players as big as this table”; I became interested in going with him.

School on Saturday! Just the thought; Ugh! In one old Archie comic story (I had it in one of the later “Digests”, but here’s the original issue: http://www.comics.org/issue/228161), Archie and Jughead were playing in the fall leaves on school grounds on a day school was out. The principal Mr. Weatherbee catches them (apparently he’s always there, “skulking” as Mrs Grundy, also there, points out), and imposes a “Saturday Detention Rule” he made up, for them to clean up all the leaves. I felt so bad for them. (I dreaded the idea of after school detention on a school day, now here we have it on a day off!)

To me, seeing “Saturday” printed on a school or work schedule was (and still is) odd.
It had become synonymous with “fun”; like the day you see printed on workplace or school bulletin board notices of some off-time outing, so who wants to be doing work or classes then?

An argument some people on transit fan forums have for either the D to stop at DeKalb on weekends, or for perhaps the B to run, is “what about someone on the Brighton line taking Saturday classes at NYU?” (Currently, you have to change at the long Atlantic-Pacific St. ⦅now, Barclays’ Center⦆ corridor (including several staircases the whole way) to get 6th Ave. service on weekend days. Night time, the D does stop at DeKalb, but is already local on 4th Ave. The switch leading to the local track to DeKalb at Pacific is very slow, and they don’t want to bother having express trains cross over regularly).

The only school on Saturday for me was the SAT exam, which was at Lincoln, nearby to my school, and only one station past. Was very weird heading out there on a weekend. (For something other than Coney Island with Dad). Aside from that, later would come Civil Service job exams, generally held in high schools on Saturdays. My 28th birthday was spent taking the exam for Transit, at Flushing HS.

[Trying to remember if I actually did have one class, music appreciation, on a Saturday. I remember it being on quiet mornings when things were pretty peaceful on campus. Perhaps a last ditch effort to cram in some classes to try to make up my grades. I remember the professor playing “Maiden Voyage”, which was like a throwback to the otherwise quiet Saturday Mornings at WFUV on the Fordham campus with my father, or his “programming” rehearsals at home. Also, a lot of DeBussy, a different version of Romeo and Juliet, and other such stuff. Ended up as the only “A” I got in college, but still, what I was going through back then, it wasn’t enough to keep me going].

My wife did have a Saturday class in the mid 90’s when finishing her Bachelor’s at City College. I remember going up there with her, and while she was in class, sitting on the window sill of a very quiet North Academic Center hallway, reading the CD-ROM Professional magazine forecasting the development of rewritable CD’s (as well as read-only and later recordable DVD’s), which I had been waiting a decade for. Other weeks, I would have something else to read. (This in the days before the internet for us, and mobile phones).

With Grandma here in Brooklyn, spending the weekends generally started with her weekly shopping on Friday (which by my teens was at the Restoration Plaza Pathmark, right near where my future wife was living. We joke that we likely crossed paths when she would be there with her mother).
So Sat. I would still watch the cartoons, and since she stayed in the house mostly, I would generally go outside or something, though without my familiar block and friends, it was hard to find anything to do. By teens, she lived across from the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and even though I was a bit old for that, I would still go inside, and look at the neon lighting and water stream alongside the central ramp or whatever. Still new at the time, it was so interesting.

On some rare occasions we would go downtown, and on other occasions, in pre-teens, she would go to her best friend, on Lafayette, in a brownstone next to where she lived until I was 7, usually to have her hair done (The friend had an informal hair parlor in the old cellar). My grandmother’s old building was by this time abandoned (and constantly broken into, though miraculously there were no fires), and I would go outside to look at it, wishing they would fix it up (which they were beginning to do in other buildings across the city, including the one on my own blocks’ corner. It wasn’t until almost 2 decades later, in the 90’s, that they did, but not before the one on the corner was damaged by fire, and then demolished, and then the remaining three were gutted and converted into a single building so that the inside is nothing like when grandma lived there).

Sundays, she generally wasn’t going to Church, at least when I was there. (This was Bethany Baptist, of the somewhat well known Rev. Jones, who seemed to be close to Jesse Jackson. Even went to his 1980 speech there). She had taken me when I was younger, and I hated it, and couldn’t figure out what the purpose was; just sitting there and having someone talk at you.
So that day was generally just sitting around, reading, and then in the evening, I went home.

In the earlier part of this period (’78 and a few years after), were the few old syndicated cartoons I noticed on the day of new network cartoons. The 1966-7 “Hanna Barbera Super Adventures” ran on Sat. and Sun. from 9-10:30 on ch.5, introducing me to these early superhero cartoons. I remember seeing the titles in the TV guide and wondering what these “new” shows (most of them funny dual titles) were.
Sat. was Birdman and Galaxy Trio, Shazzan, and Moby Dick and Mightor; and Sunday was Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles, Space Ghost and Dino Boy, and the Herculoids. (A 7th series, Fantastic Four, floated around to different times, usually on weekday afternoons, and another one; Young Samson and Goliath, was unseen in NYC until recent years’ Boomerang cable).
Again; I didn’t pay much attention to the stories; I liked the jazzy background score, the animation, and the sound effects!

(This is noteworthy, because of how significant Space Ghost would become two decades later, when turned into a goofy comedy feature on Cartoon Network. At first, I thought the “Coast to Coast” show was too slow-paced and boring, but then the livelier “Cartoon Planet” is what got me into the new productions. Then, I became more interested in the original cartoon stories, to see the original battles with the now comical villains).

So the rest of the time in High School years, I still watched cartoons, and then would sometimes go off exploring the city, with my newfound freedom to travel. Most often, just playing games in arcades, which were everywhere.
I did not have the Archie-style “malt shop with the pals and gals” experience I had grown up expecting. Not fitting into a more “street” culture (where it was all about getting high and acting “bad”), I had pretty much become a loner. In pre-teens, I had a small social-“circle” at the house of a brother-sister pair we were close to (and the sister a childhood “girlfriend”, basically), and sometimes my cousin, and that would be something to do (we often had a lot of fun) on weekends when no one was outside, but when they grew up, and were into typical urban teen lifestyle with their high school friends, and I was just too self-conscious to meet new people, that was the end of my social life. Outside, I ended up still playing “tag”-like games with mostly slightly younger kids, but that was pretty much it.
(The closest and most memorable event in teens was being taken roller skating by the family of a girl I liked. She sat on the bench the whole time, and some other girl came and helped me skate. —Though this was a Friday!)

There was a luncheonette across Flatbush, and I was often in there usually by myself. It had room in the back for two machines, and was where I first began playing games in April, ’81. First, Space Invaders, and then right next to it, Astro Blaster. Soon after, PacMan in several other places around the area.
I had for months been going to the arcades with others to watch them play, before I worked up the nerve to try myself. Was pretty slow to get good at any. (All of this could be on Sundays and weekdays after school or in the summer as well, of course).

Somewhere around this time, McDonalds had a commercial (which someone else remembers on this blog: http://32viewings.blogspot.com/2005/08/me.html but there doesn’t seem to be a video of it anywhere):

Melissa, Donna & Me
(really havin’ a ball)
On a Saturday Spree
(for the fun of it all)
Every shops full of fun
Trying everything under the sun.
There’s one more stop to make today
Cause you deserve a break today…
at McDonalds.

All I had remembered was the basic melody and “Saturday spree”. It was that typical teen lifestyle I was missing out on. I forever remembered it.

Two cartoons that came out during this period, both PacMan and the Scooby and Scrappy Doo/Puppy hour had their episodes divided between what we could call “work” and “play” stories.
PacMan would be working at his job guarding the power pellet forest, and Mezmaron (the evil “boss” character; think of him as representing the game’s “artificial intelligence”) would send the ghostmonsters after him (their “job”).
But other episodes would take place in a weekend recreational setting, such as a family picnic, and the ghostmonsters would come after them on their own. When chomped, you would see the eyes float off, but usually not see them going back to Mezmeron’s lair, and the few instances they did, he was not there to chew them out for messing up (which was sort of a relief, because I always hated those “Puer/Senex” sorts of dynamics on TV).
The second season, the “work” episodes would usually feature the newly added character Super Pacman, and the “play” episodes would feature Fonz-like teen PJ (and most of which wouldn’t even have the ghostmonsters at all).

Likewise, in 13 of the 26 mini episodes, Scooby, Scrappy and Shaggy would work at Shaggy’s uncle’s detective agency, where they would receive new cases (this was the semi-return to a crime-solving format, after two seasons of slapstick comedy only. This was the dark period of Scooby’s run many have bemoaned). In the other 13 episodes, they would be hanging out at a teen center, and get into comedy adventures with other teens.

I didn’t think of this much, at the time, but later on, it would become sort of a blueprint for the distinction between weekdays and weekends (in those two series, a more active recreational day would remind me of Saturday, and a quieter, slower paced one that took place in the home, or maybe the picnic, would remind me of Sunday).

College was pretty much the same thing; watching Scooby’s re-ascendence to popularity in new shows in the morning (keep telling people Scrappy saved the show rather than killing it), and then just exploring the new city I was in.

One nice warm midday, I started walking all the way from the campus, via Campostella, Wilson, (entering Chesapeake somewhere around there) Liberty and Atlantic, then via Military Highway, to Indian River Rd., Virginia Beach; and then some. (What was still known as CBN University, now Regents, was just over the hill formed by the overpass over the I64. Never went there, though).
Of course, Indian River Road itself was basically a shortcut, intersecting Campostella as soon as you cross the bridge, but I just felt like going down Atlantic, which kind of reminded me of the quaint Eastern Shore I was then falling in love with. I went to say hi to my friend at the Flowers bakery thrift store there.

For some reason, I walked the same [long] way back, instead of Indian River. Probably just wasn’t thinking, and as usual, had no money for the bus. Checking Google Street View, now, brings back to remembrance that it may possibly have been because Indian River looked more dark and desolate (less traffic, less shopping areas and more wooded), and it was already dusk when I started heading back. Was so tired when I got back to my room. My roomates began calling me “The Trooper”.
All that walking I did is what kept me from blowing completely up, with all the junk I was eating and drinking those days.

During this time, you had the popular Jam/Lewis produced hit “Saturday Love” with the familiar refrain:
Never on Sunday, Monday’s to soon, Tuesday and Wednesday, just won’t do, Thursday and Friday the weekend begins, but Saturday love will never end…
With party night by now solidly Friday, this I imagine would be when you’ve picked up your “love” to spend the next day with. (Though the song seems to be about someone he hadn’t seen in a long time).

Now entering my 20’s and dropping out, Saturday became (it seemed it would be forever) a work day, though I loved that job at Alexander’s. Was fun in itself.
As a retail store, Saturday was of course a very busy day on the selling floor, but behind the scenes, such as in the Receiving area, it was a little less busy, and there were often different people working as certain of those non-sales/non-stock jobs (like the funny freight elevator operator) were [usually] M-F only and filled in by others on weekends. (The immediate stock areas on the floor were just as busy or busier on Sat. and with pretty much the same co-workers, as these were the stock and sales people and managers). Weekdays were hectic getting all the stuff in for the weekend. So even there, the atmosphere of Saturday was in some places a bit different from the weekdays.

After a year, I became persuaded of the Bible, but through a sabbatarian understanding of it. They had a point that the fourth commandment specified the seventh day, not the first (and not simply any one out of seven), and that the Jews had been keeping the same sabbath for their whole existence (so it had not been lost). When The Plain Truth ran a series excerpting both Who or What is the Prophetic Beast and Armstrong’s new book, Mystery of the Ages, I finally saw something to the Bible, through its prophecies (which were interpreted in a futurist way, and it really did look “soon”, of course, to us).

The day I told my father I could no longer do chores on the sabbath, he thought it was just an “excuse”, but soon accepted it.
So I left that job, and Macy’s (Herald Square flagship) took me as a sabbath observer, but was quick to let me go. I got one other regular workday job, lost that, and then signed up for the Air Force.

I did not join the Worldwide Church of God, because they were a pretty “closed” group (occasionally holding public lectures, but you had to join to fellowship with them; it was a true “cult”, even beyond the doctrines; but has since become “orthodox” —which included dropping the Sabbath as a mandatory observance), and on other sabbaths, had tried an Adventist church (sermon was on “man’s day of rest, or God’s day of rest”), the three different Church of God 7th Day congregations (Denver, Salem, Meridian) in Flatbush (these were basically [in practice] typical charismatic storefronts that were heavily West Indian and older people, and I just didn’t feel them), and even one week, a Progressive Jewish synagogue!

With nowhere to fellowship (was still suspicious of all organized religion, and didn’t agree with any group on doctrines like the Godhead), I still went on my little journeys, though I worried that might violate Isaiah 58:13, but I didn’t know what else to do, to get away and try to enjoy God’s creation of life.

So between it being “fun day”, then “work day”, and then “sabbath day”, this is when, to me, Saturday began to take on a special connotation.

That fall, a street evangelist who had become sort of like a mentor convinced me from Galatians and Acts 15 that we were no longer obligated to keep the sabbath. I got one more little dept. store job at Mays (had missed out on Drake’s in their LIC plant when I had gone to Albany to babysit my brother), and then went into the service.

Boot camp was mostly just marching around to different buildings on base for processing, and this was usually weekdays. So the weekends were a bit more laid back. (Sort of like the PacMan episodes. Eventually, our dorm chief would be the one entrusted to watching over us, and the dorm without the instructors was like Mezmeron’s castle without Mezmeron).

We had only one “town pass” day (Sat. 1-14-89), and I of course went to explore downtown San Antonio (including the Riverwalk, of course), but cut it short, to go back to the base, just to get on a charter bus to go right back down where I came from for a Spurs game in the evening. (When first being flown down there, I noted the airport code for San Antonio was “SAT”, which further made it sound like a fun kind of place!)
Next, technical school (which was a lot more free and laid back than basic training) was also class on weekdays, and weekends off. So I was exploring Denver!

In my permanent base (in the remote California desert), it was a two days on, two days off system with 12 hour shifts at the diner I worked (the other diner on base was M-F, regular business hours, but I wasn’t able to get that one), so I had every other Sat. (or any other day) off. I would go to LA, and sometimes San Diego, and once a piece, Tijuana and San Francisco, whatever day I could. I even swung by WCG’s Ambassador College campus, which was open (had lunch there), and a campus guard I commented to regarding the necessary sabbath work he was doing compared it to “the ox in the ditch”.

Was nice when the Sat. off would line up with others’ outings and I could catch up with my friends from the Navigators Christian singles fellowship group. (A really great night at the miniature golf; first time ever doing anything like that. When I was getting ready to leave, we drove to LA County and tried to catch a Pacific sunset off the Palos Verdes cliff ⦅a lot of clouds on the horizon⦆, and then dinner in Torrance on the Hawthorne strip).

When I came back home, and back to Alexander’s, it was of course a steady work day again. I had already missed most of the original Super Mario Bros. Super Show because it was during work on weekday syndication, and now, the game franchise cartoons moving to the NBC Sat. lineup, and my work area by now being next to the TV dept., I had to sneak over to catch as many glimpses as I could of the Super Mario World show. (The previous Super Mario 3 was on Sat. as well, but I believe was on right before I left for work, so I saw that whole show).

Another week, I was able to get the day off for the church pancake breakfast, and a mentally retarded orthodox Jewish man (all dressed up in the black outfit) got on the B11 bus, to the horror of his friends who tried to stop him. (They are not allowed to ride transit on the sabbath, as it is basically “hiring” the driver, in essence). When he got off, the fellow orthodox on that end, it appeared, pulled him aside to lecture him or something.
I felt so bad for him.
Otherwise, it was a great day.

As was the following year, when I attended a singles fellowship at a sister church in Staten Island. Stevie Wonder’s “Jungle Fever” soundtrack had just come out, so the opening track “Fun Day” provided the background to me as we played volleyball and such.
During these years with that fellowship, was also my first times ever at Great Adventure, the Six Flags theme park I had long seen TV ads for, but never got to go to.

Eventually, I finally found a partner, and a stable business-day/hour weekday job (the courts), and at first Sat. was spent trying to get to her house, and then once we were married, it was probably chores like the laundry, but on some nice weekends, going somewhere like Queens Mall with our friends and their kids. Also, in the summer, Big Splash, which was a weekend event where most people stay in the old Victorian hotels, and the highlight was the Saturday beach party, concerts and street fairs, and the big concert in the Ocean Grove auditorium in the evening.

Only one week, did I do some overtime, where we would go in on Sat. to try to catch up on the files in the record room. This was completely voluntary. (Completely dead down there in the Foley Square area out front, and century-long-dead Five Points out back, and train service was much more scaled down as well).

Growing up, I always remembered those instances of Dagwood (from Blondie) being called into work on Saturday (And Flintstone and Jetson too?) You know, with those mean bosses who just order them around and frequently fire them on the spot just for annoying them.
In real life, Dad was called in on very rare occasions; the last time I remember, to move judges’ furniture and stuff when they were remodeling or painting their chambers. (Nice of us lower workers to have union protection from stuff like that!)
You never heard of people being called in Sunday, and there was no overtime Sunday (even as society became less “Christian” and other businesses almost universally opened that day). So Saturday remained the next day to revert back to a workday when needed.

Reluctance to working that day was even expressed by Space Ghost and his captured enemies when the Cartoon Planet variety show was expanded from weekdays, on Cartoon Network:

That was a good show, showing cartoons, compared to the current repackaging, where they took all the skits and squeezed them into a half hour show. I used to rush to see the new (pre-“Adult Swim” era) SG Coast to Coast followed by the half hour Cartoon Planet when they were on Friday nights 11-12. But the hour show the next morning was really nice (and showed some of the original cartoons, plus others, as it was originally supposed to).
Yet it foreshadowed things for me, again.

Entering Transit, it became mostly a workday again. “School car” was Monday-Friday, but afterward, we went out to the bottom of the seniority list. High on the list among the new trainees, I was for a time able to get extra extra list with weekends off, but once I started picking my own jobs, it was the bottom of the barrel, starting with the typical Tues/Wed, then occasionally getting the equally middle of the week Wed/Thurs. (I originally would alternate, with a vacation relief slot in the wintertime, where I could get high seniority jobs for a week at a time, including the weekends and holidays, but it’s a lot of work selecting your preferences, so I eventually just went with my own pick jobs all year round).

Generally, Saturdays (along with Sundays) were spent, when in the “south” district, going back and forth on the D,Q or N (taking the crowds to and from Coney Island in the summer). The one pick I was in the IRT (Summer ’07), it was the long 2, (known as “the Beast” for its length) which I luckily got out of the not too far away Flatbush end, and was also lucky that most weekends that summer there were supplemental schedules due to construction projects, where we were all local in Manhattan, but it was only one round trip instead of two.
So more recently, it was the J and finally, E.

When others would be scheduling something like our typology meetings, or the “old block” reunions, I would have to suggest vacation weeks, since it was very hard to get a random day off (had to be a narrow window in advance, and there was still no guarantee you would get it). Or, to try to suggest a different day besides Saturday, which almost always wouldn’t be good for them (even if it were a matter of catching something after work; I usually worked late that day, even for an AM shift).
For my childhood “old-block” reunion a few years ago, I could not get the days off, so ended up after work rushing to the Friday night banquet (that I had to pay for and dress up for and there was limited time for actual one-on-one interaction), but totally missed the best part of it, the cookout on the actual block —just like old times, the next day! (Now, with people in other states, we haven’t been able to get another one off the ground yet).

By the turn of the millennium, Saturday morning TV had lost a lot of its steam, since you now had 24 hour cable networks of kids programming, including cartoons. As far back as ’83, new shows began going straight to weekday syndication again. (He Man and Inspector Gadget being the main pioneers).

When Cartoon Network went on the air in the ’90s, it would soon begin its “World Premiere Toons” (which would eventually become “Cartoon Cartoons”), which Turner had hailed as a throwback to the golden age of cartoons (i.e. theatrical one-off films), where there was freedom from the restrictions of both a network schedule as well as their standards (censorship, etc), and I imagine also freedom from the “watchdogs”, who soon faded from the scene.

So this was like a total reversal to the decades before Saturday morning TV, where new cartoons were not confined to a TV slot. It only signaled the beginning of the end!

In passing, I remember in the summer of ’80, ch.11 used to show the Three Stooges at midnight, and since it did not fill the half hour slot, they would stick in a Tom & Jerry, —as they did during the daytime. It was so strange seeing a regular cartoon at night like that, but now, it’s like nothing!
CN’s sister channel “Boomerang” actually began not as a separate channel, but as a Saturday morning cartoon block on CN, and this was one of the first things I watched when first getting cable in ’94 (being I by then no longer watched most of the new network stuff). Every week, a different year was chosen (ranging from the 60’s to the early 80’s, IIRC), and Turner-owned shows (which included most of the HB library) from that year (including rerun shows from earlier seasons) were played; some having their original opening credits put back, but others, like the Bugs Bunny Show, simply airing in the typical CN format, with the full opening and closing sequence for every film, and using only the pre-48’s then in their library.

Eventually, the networks scaled back their SatAM blocks, with NBC dropping them altogether in the early 90’s and on all three big networks, the weekday AM news shows —Today, GMA, This Morning even arriving; with expanded local news filling out more of the block!

By this time, the so-called “little networks” (hooking up with the former independent stations) had arisen, and breathed one last breath into the timeslot, with new cartoon blocks. But even these blocks would usually be pre-packaged by third parties (either the series’ producers, or syndicators), and not actually programmed by the network itself. (Sort of like the syndicated “Disney Afternoon” in the ’90s or “Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera” on Sundays’ local syndication in the 80’s). IIRC, even NBC would even briefly restore cartoons with one of these package deals at one point, before finally ditching cartoons for good. ABC would then have a Disney-oriented block toward the end as well. (So I should say, third-party, unless it was from the network’s by then owners, the big-studio-turned-multimedia-empires).

One throwback to the good old days of childhood in the new Millennium was the two new Scooby shows, “What’s New” and “Get a Clue”, as well as the new “Tom & Jerry Tales”, which all first ran on little network WB or CW’s “Kids WB” SatAM block, and I would try to catch before work.
Eventually, even the little networks would follow the big ones, and all that is left is cable.

So with the earlier news shows, we’ve gone from “Superfriends” and “Saturday Supercade” to “Super Cat Saturday”, which is a ch7 “Eyewitness News” feature every week on social media pet pictures, along with “Big Dog Sunday”.
Now, on the rest of the block, ABC has animal shows, like what they used to have on weekend afternoons amidst the sports, when I was a kid (Wild Kingdom, etc.), but now geared as educational kids’ programming. NBC was the first to add teen oriented sitcoms, and I believe has stuck with stuff like that, and CBS, has a variety of programs (some educational; I also think I once saw a cooking show, etc). [Edit: CW and FOX would ultimately follow suit.]
So now, it’s become, like animal day; social media even creating the tag “Caturday“: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Caturday

Between this, and cable’s nearly full time cartoon airings, it pretty much became less different than the rest of the week. (Like a total reversal of what earlier happened in the work world and transit).

So now, on ABC, on the local flagship station at least, after the last news program goes off, you see this intro to a “quality children’s television” block, with these rosy cheeked cartoon kids and a dog looking all happy, and you think, “finally!” the real Saturday morning begins (albeit in truncated form), perhaps with echoes of the glory days of the the sights and sounds of yesteryear all faintly surfacing, with the Curtin-scored action of the Superfriends flying off to fight, the latest Scooby show or licensed character adaptation, the latest Looney Tunes repackage, or at least the latter-day Disney block, if nothing else, all interspersed with Schoolhouse Rock, the Bod Squad or Time for Timer and the cartooney cereal commercials.
But all it is, is the animal shows! (So you just change to one of several cable channels to get cartoons).
[Edit: I see one company, “Litton”, whose name is familiar from the ABC shows (e.g. “Weekend Adventure”), actually produces the blocks not just on ABC, but CBS and CW as well, and is set to take over NBC in 2016, according to Wikipedia. So it’s like a single company owns almost all of Saturday morning “air” TV!]


What’s left of network “children’s programming”:
a block of animal shows, after all the news!

As ABC always ended its weekend block with an 11:30 AM Sunday “educational” show (“Make A Wish” when I was younger, and then, “Animals, Animals, Animals”, with Wonderama spinoff “Kids Are People too” filling the 10-11:30 slot wiping out the remaining cartoons on that day in ’77), it’s like this is what has expanded and eventually engulfed Saturday (and thus the whole weekend) itself! (I would have died if I imagined that happening back then! Sunday, now on all the networks has no kids programming at all, but is news/politics discussion shows).

It’s all pretty much what the crotchety old children’s TV watchdogs who complained for decades about the “Saturday morning ghetto” (especially in the 80’s, when it became largely toy and game themed shows), always wanted!

Eventually, I could get Mon/Tues or Thurs/Fri, and now in the most recent picks, Sun/Mon, and finally, snagged the last Fri/Sat, which my wife preferred since she’s in church all day Sunday.

To the present (Conclusion)

So now [at press time], since it’s my “Sunday”, it has tended to become a rest day again, since I have to go back to work the next day. I usually don’t even do chores; the main one, being the laundry, I always try to squeeze into after work the last day, so I can have both RDOs free.

So I’m usually just doing stuff online, including the blog or my sites.
[Edit, as of later in 2014-2015, I was able to get both weekend days off, (FINALLY!), but working late, I can’t do the laundry on Friday night, so Sat. has become “wash day”, in that respect. (And sometimes, Trader Joe’s in Manhattan, for about half of the food shopping, when my wife doesn’t get a ride to one on payday Thurs.) Then, I’ll usually relax and be online, or an occasional event such as a “MeetUp” typology group afterward].

I was inspired to do this, when recently, she wanted us to get her a new keyboard from Sam Ash (she wanted to try music), and I wanted to go to Modell’s to get new socks, and see if they had a new backpack. So we were at Queens Mall, just like old times. It was a warm day (40’s seemed warm, after such a long spell of snow and freezing cold) bringing a lot of people out. (Also ended up getting my second and third green cab rides. The first one that day was a Camry, and the second one was Lincoln Towncar AF870).

So as a day of “great food, good fun” with people, enjoying life, it really could be “God’s special day” after all, without being a restriction as it was in the Old Testament.

Here, I just ran across on the sidebar of another video, but had missed last summer, is a great video on the biggest (for me) Saturday morning staple, Scooby:

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10 Comments
  1. Speaking of school on Saturdays; ugh!

    Fort Lee considers Saturday snow day makeups
    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_jersey&id=9426894

    Either that or extending further into the Summer as well (which I’ve heard done before in different places. Also, taking from Spring Break; which is what I would have preferred. So glad I’m not a kid in school).

  2. September 27th, 2014: The Day Saturday Morning Cartoons Finally Flatlined
    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=902864

    ‘That’s All Folks:’ Saturday Morning Cartoons Bid Farewell
    http://www.npr.org/2014/09/29/352538416/thats-all-folks-saturday-morning-cartoons-bid-farewell

    Saturday Morning Cartoons, R.I.P. (Mark Evanier; who was heavily involved in the industry)
    http://www.newsfromme.com/2014/09/30/saturday-morning-cartoons-r-p/

    Say Goodbye to Saturday Morning Cartoons
    http://sourcefed.com/say-goodbye-to-saturday-morning-cartoons

    The Death Of The Saturday Morning Cartoon Is Complete
    http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Death-Saturday-Morning-Cartoon-Complete-67543.html

    Saturday morning cartoons are no more
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/09/30/saturday-morning-cartoons-are-no-more/

    http://geektyrant.com/news/saturday-morning-cartoons-are-officially-dead

    Exclusive: Traditional Saturday Morning Programming Ends This Fall as Saban Brands Pulls the Plug on the Vortexx
    http://www.toonzone.net/2014/05/exclusive-traditional-saturday-morning-programming-ends-fall-saban-brands-pulls-plug-vortexx/

    Funny, I had just been doing a minor edit to the article that morning, adding info about the current programming on the networks, and on Facebook, I see this post about it being the last day of Saturday morning programming, with the end of CW’s “Vortexx” block.
    I had never even heard of that; as I don’t pay attention to the networks anymore, and this was a “little network” at that; not even the Big Three I grew up with, and also a prepackaged block, and I’m not into the new cartoons (most of it anime-infused) anway; but I had just looked at the channel guide, to make sure of what was on every channel. I knew CW had a block, and figured FOX had one too, but didn’t bother to examine whether the shows were cartoons.

    I had thought of making this comment then, but I didn’t quite believe it, but then now I’m seeing another post, and with a video done on it.

    [some strong language]:

    RIP SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS, AND THE REASONS WHY THEY’RE DEAD
    http://www.anthonynotes.com/2014/09/29/rip-saturday-morning-cartoons-reasons-theyre-dead/

    Here also is the schedules of the networks throughout the ’80s:
    http://www.inthe80s.com/saturdays.shtml
    He starts with “fall, 1979, but that’s actually Fall ’78/Spring ’79. I clearly remembered the ’78/79 season on CBS (as mentioned above, which was mostly Filmation, except for Popeye and Bugs Bunny; and after 12 [not shown] was Space Academy, Fat albert, Ark II, and then the news show 30 Minutes), and notice, on ABC, Scooby and Scrappy hasn’t been added yet. (The 2 hour version of “Scooby’s Allstars” was from ’78).

  3. This Is the First Weekend in America With No Saturday Morning Cartoons
    http://gizmodo.com/this-is-the-first-weekend-in-america-with-no-saturday-m-1642441646

    To be totally accurate (aside from cable, which still has cartoons, of course) NBC’s block has a mix of kids’ shows, most live action, but two of them animated, and another one that mixes animation with live action. But these are really ‘little kiddish’, like stuff that would have been found only on PBS years ago, so they are not being considered the same as the cartoons of old.

  4. Realizing how when I’m so into something I should do an entry or a page on it (Like Five Points, then this very article), I’ve decided to do one on one of the big staples of Saturday mornings: SUPERFRIENDS!

    http://www.erictb.info/superfriends.html

    (Also, complete episode list)

  5. 19 “SNL” GIFs That Prove Saturday Is The Best Day Of The Week
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/h2/fbso/saturdaynightlive/19-snl-gifs-that-prove-saturday-is-the-best-day-1ae57?b=1#.hxJ7ZzGjd

    (Tomorrow’s the 40th anniversary, with the big special (one day off), but tonight, they’re celebrating by playing the first episode).

  6. The sound of Saturday mornings 40 years ago! Someone finally put together all the major Star Trek animated cues (a few of which were introduced in Treasure Island the year before).

    These were composed by Ray Ellis (under the pseudonym “Yvette Blais” —who I believe was his wife), in addition to “Jeff Michaels” (co-producer Norm Prescott, using his two sons’ first names). The ones not specifically referencing the Star Trek theme became common stock for the rest of the Filmation action-adventure cartoons for the rest of the 70’s (and received one last major reprisal in Sport Billy before Ellis was dropped and DIC’s Haim Saban became the new musician, beginning with He-Man).

    It was when I heard some of them still being used in Batman and Tarzan (though mixed with newer, less orchestrated and more synthesized stock by that time), that I began taking notice of which studio produced which cartoons (and also noticed by that time, Filmation had been dropped entirely by ABC). I then became particularly a Filmation fan, only to hear, in the age of the internet, people constantly trashing the studio for its “limited animation”. But to me, the music, coupled with nice equally rich backgrounds, more than made up for that, producing a whole product that was nice!

    I’ve for a while been imagining someone doing a whole symphony concert using these pieces!

    Here on the Hanna-Barbera side, someone has done the same with Hoyt Curtin’s Jonny Quest score (similarly orchestrated, but with a more jazzy than classical favor than 70’s Ellis). Many of these similarly became the stock for the rest of the HB action-adventure cartoons of the late 60’s, where I first took notice of them when syndicated (and mostly on weekends) in the late 70’s.

    And here representing the third major 70’s production company DePatie-Freleng, I myself put together the “extended” Pink Panther theme by that studio’s late 60’s scorist Walter Greene (he took the original Mancini intro, and added more statements to it using the same rhythm). It would be used on the majority of the Pink Panther cartoons produced from 1967-1974, and so just as much apart of the Saturday mornings of that period as the Ellis and Curtin offerings.

  7. Saturday Morning Fever: CBS 1968
    http://www.popretrorama.com/saturday-morning-fever-cbs-1968/

    (not sure what the very last word “the Lo” [“animated adventures of the Lo”] is. Probably something cut off, and likely “Lone Ranger”, which did run on CBS from 1966 to 1969. Though I don’t know that would be called “obscure”. I even vaguely remembered it.

    Seen this meme lots of times, and it should go here:
    Who remembers watching Saturday morning cartoons with a big bowl of cereal

  8. Breaks down the several factors involved in the downfall of the timeslot.
    1. Rise of technology; i.e. video games
    2 Cable networks
    3 Angry Parents
    4. FCC Regulation (of air networks)

    Makes the point of #2 that you can get cartoons anytime now. So what has been lost is simply a timelike concentration of cartoon broadcasts (similar to the Delmarva Peninsula having specific mystique because of its relative isolation; which is a spacelike “concentration” where you have towns closer together all in a straight line).

    These days; I’ve been appreciating more Jack Hanna’s “Wild Countdown”, which is the first show on ABC (after the news and the non-animated kids heralding the kids’ block). He broadcasts from his “base camp” which is a studio in the Columbus, OH Zoo made to resemble a straw hut in out in the wild somewhere. He has an animal from the zoo there with him, and then begins counting down the global adventures showcasing different animals. (Reminds me of our “school car”, including refresher courses every few years; where the motorman’s class would start in a retired subway car made into a classroom in many yards, which was filled with retired signals and signs, and after briefing and review of rules, etc. we would set out to an in service train and borrow it for an adventure out on “the road”. School car is only on weekdays, though).
    Kind of reminds me of enjoying cartoon adventures on Sat. mornings, and then going out in the afternoon to try to have “adventures” of my own.

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