Though I am a cord cutter, and I enjoy the heck out of my streaming services, I personally haven’t quite made the leap toward working YouTube content into my regular TV consumption. Which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy digging through YouTube obssessively for a completely different reason…
By far my favorite pastime on YouTube is digging through the incredible treasure trove of vintage clips that speak to my childhood, whether it is collections of commercials and bumpers from the late 70’s and early 80’s (I won’t bore you with that in this post, but if you are interested…. oh, it’s GOOD. Hit me up!), or simply creating playlists that recreate a particular moment in time that I love. I’ve done some great collections of movie trailers and bumpers to enjoy with friends before we screen a movie, for example. Or just curated a fun television experience, like the old Saturday morning cartoons that kids today just don’t really comprehend. (Just one day a week for cartoons? But cartoons are on ALL THE TIME now! Oh, sweet summer children… you didn’t really get to know the joy…) So, in that vein and to celebrate our PLAYBACK theme for March, here’s some of my fave clips from my Saturday morning memories!….
Round about 1979-1980, when I was just about to start kindergarten, Saturday morning kicked off with Super Friends (or at least, one of the many iterations of this show… and this was one of the very best intros!)
And no Saturday morning of the era was complete without Bugs Bunny & Friends, who were a staple of the cartoon block for literally decades… I don’t think this classic intro changed at all until Saturday mornings were a thing of the past!
Of course, one of the great things about cartoons in this era was the mix of standard classics like Bugs and Popeye alongside new titles that spoke to the landscape at the time…. and nothing did that quite like Thundarr the Barbarian. Post-apocalyptic angst for the kiddie set! In the far-off year of 1994!
Now, the important thing to remember about this period of TV was that the shows were just the main course… but there were plenty of amazing side dishes to enjoy, too. ABC were probably the gold standard for interstitial fun in between shows, teaching kids education and good health in short bursts… who doesn’t love Time for Timer?! I always hanker for a hunk of cheese, even now…
So, I could have just given you the last clip, but I wanted to include this one too for REASONS. Number one, making sure you brush and floss is super important. But number two, the voice in this short is provided by the late, great Scatman Crothers…. LEGEND. Don’t be a Yuck Mouth!
Naturally, the most famous and beloved of ABC’s educational shorts was Schoolhouse Rock, which doled out innuerable important lessons in the fields of reading, arithmetic, science and history that were repeated constantly for decades after their debut in the early 1970s. Everyone has their favorites. Verb!: That’s What’s Happening happens to be MY. JAM.
Last but not least, the anchor leg of ABC’s Saturday morning schedule in this era was the ABC Weekend Special, an anthology of mostly-animated series that brought terrific stories to life. (By far my favorite: The Trouble With Miss Switch! – bookmark this and watch it all!) This intro, though…. STRAIGHT. FIRE. 🔥
Now, just because ABC was at the forefront doesn’t mean the other networks (all three of them at the time…oof!) didn’t do great stuff too. Here’s an awesome, extensive collection of commercials that aired on CBS in 1979, many of which will no doubt trigger memories for old timers like me. But what is really great in this clip is the “In the News” segment in the middle…. amazing! CBS actually thought it was worthwhile to have their news division create headline segments specifically targeted to get kids interested in current events. Oh, but if we only had such a thing nowadays…