Saturday, September 30, 2006

The one where Todd re-hashes Saturday mornings long past

I am sitting in front of my computer, delicately sipping a mug of Peet's coffee( freshly ground Major Dickanson's Blend). It is Saturday morning, and I am remembering my Saturday morning routine from when I was a kid. I used to wake up early. I was only allowed to stay up until nine on Friday night before. Right after the Dukes of Hazzard, just to give you an idea of what period we are talking about here. Of course, if you were a regular viewer of the show, you just called it "the Dukes." The appeal of Saturday morning was, of course, the cartoons, or just kids' shows in general. In the early morning hours around five or so, the major networks have not started up their day yet. Nevertheless, a few local stations had some great local programming. If you are not from around here, you will have no idea what I am talking about. However, I am sure there is some show you remember that brings back the same kind of memories. Channel 5, which is still an ABC affiliate, in fact, it was one of the few to survive the carnage of Rupert Murdock, media gangster. At 5am they had a show called "Jabberwocky." I really don't remember much about it. It had a puppet with a big beard and dark skin, and it was a bilingual show, sometimes it was all in Spanish. After that, it was on to channel 6, which did not survive the carnage. They are previous CBS affiliates that are now an ABC affiliate. They had a great show, I don't remember the full title, all I know is it was Captain Bob, and it was a "learn to draw" show. I loved it. Unfortunately it is not still being run. He was pretty old back then and I found out that he passed away a few years back. I can affirm that my love for art was started there. I still love to draw. I have to credit my grandma and great grandmas' creative spirit, and their encouragement in artistic endeavors, for my love for art, them, and Capt. Bob. I then traveled up the dial, way up to the, then unaffiliated, now a UPN, UHF channel 38, for Scooby Doo. There was Shaggy: goatee, baggy pants, always had the munchies; just what was in those Scooby snacks? Come on, it was obvious. Of course, at the time I was too naive, it was years later before I solved that mystery. Early morning was a time for older cartoon shows too. Woody Woodpecker, Popeye, Mighty Mouse, Tom and Jerry, Casper, Rocky and Bulwinkle, Mr. Magoo, Flintstones, Jetsons and of course Hanna-Barbaras' World of Super Adventure. Many shows came on after that; the networks were all fired up and pumping out cartoons and kids shows like crazy as well as syndicated favorites. There were shows for boys, like Voltron, Transformers (they're more than meets the eye, and waaay better than Go-bots) and G.I. Joe. There were shows for girls, like Strawberry Shortcake, The Care Bears, and Jem (although I have to admit, I watched that one. Remember the Misfits, the rival band? I never understood why they couldn't just battle it out with record sales, like real rockers.) However, most of the shows appealed to both boys and girls. Kids Inc., Zoom, Bugs and Daffy a.k.a. Looney Toons (loved Wyle E. Coyote and the Road Runner) were good. How could anyone forget the commercial bumpers like "The more you know" on NBC, and ABC's "School House Rock" (without question, the best). I liked The Smurfs, and later the spin-off, the Snorks. There was Muppet Babies (puppets made into cartoons), Vegetable Soup (cartoons made into puppets). The Super Friends were the main event as far as I was concerned. I also loved to watch Land of the Lost, Shazzam and many other shows. I imagine that Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids came on around 11:30 because by the time the Brown Hornet came on, Daddy came home from his half a day on Saturday. He always made us grilled tuna sandwiches (no fluff on Saturdays). That was always a treat. I remember later in the afternoon when the national networks would shut down and the local ones stopped playing cartoons too. You knew it was over when channel 6 started showing Professional Bowling. However, no need to fear, there is still UHF. Channel 56, then unaffiliated, then turned into a WB hackfilliate, now a CW. Every Saturday afternoon WLVI56 had "The Creature Double Feature." Three and half to four hours of monsters, monsters, monsters. There was Godzilla, Mothra, and all of them. And there were movies that involved the "Big-inating" of any creature. Like The Giant Gilla Monster, or ones that had giant ants, or a spider, or any other giant anything really. Any go-motion-heavy film was what they showed on the Creature Double Feature. That was the routine; it changed from week to week, but only slightly. I don't know what I did after the CDF, I can't remember, I guess I just went out and dug up big rocks, or something.

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