LoEB: Poe’s Ideal Saturday Morning Schedule

I’ve recently joined Coolandcollected.com‘s “League of Extraordinary Bloggers.” The idea is that once a week there’s a topic, and you write up a post on that topic. You don’t have to participate every week, but seeing as how I suggested this particular topic I figured I should. It was actually last week’s topic and somehow I completely missed it.

Anyway, the assignment was to create your ideal Saturday morning schedule. This was easy for me because I basically already did it, but here we go:

7am-8am: I never watched cartoons this early on a Saturday, being asleep like all normal people. Not even the lure of Cap’n Crunch or Froot Loops could get me out of bed before eight. Besides, the shows on at this time were usually terrible “educational” crap or infomercials featuring Hollywood has-beens or never-wases. Even at the age of nine or ten, I could sense the despair lingering in the air during those programs.

8am: Garfield & Friends

This wasn’t the best show, but for me, Garfield & Friends was indelibly associated with Saturday morning. I know it’s now uncool to admit any love for Garfield and to regard Jim Davis as a talentless hack, but I can’t deny that I loved Garfield as a kid. And this show could be funny sometimes, though usually during the U.S. Acres segments. Nonetheless, I’m relegating it to the 8am slot, where young Poe would only be sort of half-watching it while waking up and eating the aforementioned Cap’n Crunch.

8:30am: Ultraman

This one’s a bit of a cheat, because I only started watching Ultraman recently. For the past six months my Saturday morning routine has included at least a half hour of the original 1966 series on DVD (available for a mere $7 on Amazon), so I feel it’s fair to include it here. As much as I’m enjoying the show now, I would have enjoyed it 3000% more had it been on a local station when I was a kid.

Seriously, I can’t believe this wasn’t being aired on some UHF station when I was a kid. As much as I loved Godzilla movies, how could I not have loved a show that gave me the best part of those movies – the monster fight – in every episode? The only negative is that at least half the monster designs are terrible, and the other half, while good, aren’t nearly as good as any given Godzilla monster (well, except Jet Jaguar, obviously).

9am:  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I don’t want to rehash my earlier post, but Saturdays were the days when you got new TMNT episodes, which made them special. And it still has the ass-kickingest cartoon intro of all time.

9:30am: Hey Vern, It’s Ernest

Okay, so this show was kind of a ripoff of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, or at least one suspects it got greenlit due to Pee-Wee’s success. But young Poe was a big fan of Ernest (though today I find Ernest Goes to Jail and, to a lesser extent, Ernest Saves Christmas are the only ones that hold up at all), and this was one of those shows that existed only on Saturday mornings.

Oh, the ’80s, when every popular ad mascot could get his or her own merchandise, video game, or if he/she were really lucky, television show. If today were like the ’80s, the Geico Cavemen sitcom would be in its fourth season, while elsewhere on the dial one could find Eat at Flo’s, The Late Late Show with Martin the Geico Gecko, an animated cartoon featuring Cleatus the Fox Sports Robot, and Some Damn Shit with the E-Trade Baby.

I was very tempted to put Beetlejuice in this spot, but I never really watched that on Saturday mornings – I caught more of it in syndication.

10am: Real Ghostbusters

Another one of those cartoons that anchored Saturday mornings for years. The early seasons are better than you remember; the later ones are as bad or worse. Still, it’s hard to argue with the awesomeness of eps like “The Collect Call of Cathulhu” [sic] and “The Boogieman Cometh.”

10:30am: Pee-Wee’s Playhouse

The second-greatest Saturday morning show of all time, but for the one below. This was a show with barely any merchandising associated with it (Matchbox toys notwithstanding), yet it was incredibly popular with kids and ran for years (until Paul Reubens’s utterly tragic and massively avoidable mistake).

11am-12pm: Muppet Babies

That’s right, a full hour of the best Saturday morning cartoon of all time. The fact that this show isn’t and probably never will be on home video – due to all the rights issues to the various clips used on the show – pains me. The fact that any and all future children of mine may never be able to watch this show (except some grainy bootleg torrents) makes me very sad.

Nonetheless, I’m grateful this show was on the air when I was a kid. It was truly a testament to the power of imagination.

But wait, there’s more! Lots more, if you visit the other members of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers. Many of them put a lot more thought and effort into this than I did, too.

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  • You are so right about the caveman show running several seasons if television was the same now as it was in the '80s. TV was horrible back then, for the most part.

    And Pee-Wee will always have my respect for opening that year's VMAs with his "Heard any good jokes lately?" comment. So brave and badass.

    But if you couldn't drag your sorry ass out of bed at 7:00 for Gummi Bears, there's just no talking to you.

    • I just never got that show. So they were "gummi" because they could bounce? And was that show actually licensed by a candy company? I do recall the theme song, because like so many other Saturday morning cartoons, it was pure earworm fodder.

      I agree Pee-Wee got way more shit than he deserved. Of course that didn't stop me from making this.

      All that said, while everyone's entitled to a private life, I think if you're best known for doing a kids' show you really should reconsider going to porno theaters and keeping a large collection of vintage erotica. Just sayin'.

      • Blame Gummi Bears on the Eisner.

        When the then-CEO of Disney overheard his kids gushing about gummy bears, he was intrigued. Disney was looking into creating high quality Saturday morning cartoons, so Eisner had the creative team in this venture to create a new Sat. AM show based on gummy bears. The team did a collective "LOLWUT" at the prospect of making a cartoon about candy bears. But since their jobs and Disney's reputation was on the line, they did as they were told and created Gummi Bears. This lead into Ducktales, which led into the Disney Afternoon, which lead into the Disney Renaissance.

        True story. Seriously.

  • No man shall slight the awesomeness of Jet Jaguar. He eats sushi from a pale, son. You don't want to mess with ANY of that.

    Interesting list, and a great topic for discussion among interesting blogs.

    What the hell. Here's my list for a perfect fantasy Saturday.

    7am- H.R.Puffinstuff (sooo good)

    730- Ultraman (any Ultraman- there's been several localized in the US)

    8- Freakazoid

    830- Eek! The Cat/Terrible Thunder Lizards

    9- Exosquad

    930- The New Adventures of Gigantor

    10- Batman: TAS (still unsurpassed in Batmanness)

    1030- Gargoyles

    11- Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future

    1130- A Power Rangers show (preferably nothing after Time Force)

    Then in an absolutely perfect world, the Sci Fi channel would still be running Saturday Anime, old superhero show re-runs, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the rest of the day…

  • Pingback The League has spoken: Saturday morning cartoons — Cool and Collected - collecting pop culture memories and memorabilia

  • Good call on having both Ernest and Pee-Wee. From what I recall, they aired opposite one another on different networks. There was always a tough choice to make.

    I enjoyed Gummi Bears, but at that point I was such a trained monkey to kids' marketing that I was confused at the lack of candy connection. I kept expecting Disney brand Gummi candy. I wanted it! So that my little world would make more sense. Delicious sense.

    I also wanted more knights and stuff to show up. Both GB and Smurfs teased a cool Medieval fantasy, but never quite delivered what I wanted in that area.

  • Great topic!

    To me there is a distinct difference between "Saturday Morning Cartoon" shows and "After Sschool "

    I've always been a late sleeper. The only show I can ever recall setting my alarm for was Ultraman: Towards the Future. It ran on FOX in early '92. I don't think it was on for very long but I LOVED that show. I remember being so upset if I overslept it.

    Garfield and Friends: This was a Saturday morning mainstay. Such fond memories of this show. I didn't realize how satirical/subversive it was at the time. I was a dumb kid.

    The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World/Captain N: The Game Master – These Mario shows were a departure from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show (which I recall typically aired afternoons) but I still loved 'em.

    TMNT: New episodes on Saturdays were awesome! I was always confused how the Technodrome was in Dimension X one minute, then under the arctic ocean another.

    Also have to agree with Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Muppet Babies!

    I might throw in an episode of Beakman's World — I used to enjoy watching that show!