Trips In The WayBack Machine # 2
The Best And Worst Of Saturday Morning Programing:
When They Were Good, They Were Amazing
But When They Were Bad, They Were Rickety Rocket.
For so many of us, the memories of our youth is a giant hodgepodge of spending many a saturday morning infront of the television with some cereal or whatever you could eat in the living room infront of the tv with out making a mess, there isn't a person over the age of 25 that doesn't have incredible memories of this, long before cartoons were relegated to basic cable, which then gave up and just decided to loop stuff they could get cheaply, or made inhouse that didn't really get ratings anywhere else, saturday mornings weren't always a wasteland, which is something I feel that kids today got cheated out of understanding. And sense i'm feeling abit like taking a trip down memory lane, I figured I'd spend alittle time having a look and a laugh at the best and worst of saturday mornings past, after all, whats the point of remembering if you can't have abit of a laugh right?
Alrighty, so lets get down to it... worst first, then the best...
The 10 Worst Saturday Morning Programs Of All Time:
Just think, the title sequence was actually the least painful part of this show. No really, it was. The basic thought process behind Jabberjaw's creation; Step One: Smoke ALOT of weed. Step Two: Watch The Three Stooges with Frank Welker while he does his horrible Curly Howard impression. Step Three: Watch Scooby Doo. Step Four: Watch Jaws. Step Five: Smoke even MORE weed. Step Six: Watch an episode of The Marvel Superheros Show from 1966 featuring Namor The Submariner. Step Seven: Smoke even still more weed. Step Eight: Make it all fit together somehow in a lose and not really all that interesting plot, and then make the group a band. Step Nine: Sit in your office at Hanna Barbara Studios, look in a mirror and go "Oh Quincy Magoo, you've done it again.." as you count your thousands, because in the 1970s, thousands were alot of money. See, this show really is horrible on its own, but when you filter in the fact that it became worse because it was the first time Hanna Barbara retreated the Scooby Doo plot and concept, and one of the few other times it would be successful. And seriously, don't kid yourselves, Speed Buggy, was not at all successful. But he does make a good segway to my next offender...
Ok so, here is how this show came to be; one day Sid and Marty Krofft were sitting in their failed Atlanta Theme Park that would eventually become the main office for CNN, they were making monsters out of foam rubber and taking alot of PCP, when Sid looked at Marty and said "hey bro, lets rip off Speed Buggy, but make it live action, and have lots of singing.." and Marty goes "Oh Quincy Magoo, you've done it again.." and then they sat there in their failed theme park and counted their thousands while doing pcp, because in the 1970s thousands were alot of money and pcp was sold over the counter as a weight loss drug. A sad note though about Wonderbug, its star John-Anthony Bailey, who some would know as obscure Happy Days character Sticks the drummer, and possibly the only black guy in Wisconson, fell pretty hard after his run on this show and on happy days ended, he ended up doing porn movies in the hight of the late 70s porn boom and even lost all his money doing that, he died in a poor house of a kidney infection just afew years ago. So remember kiddies, sometimes, worse things can happen then hanging out with a talking magic dunebuggy. Also another neat fact, Megas XLR was found the same way Wonderbug was.
8. The Kids Super Power Hour (with Shazam!)
In The 1970s it was pretty common place to mix live action and animation, it was sort of a weird hope that it could be marketable as both a television show and a stage show, much like The Brady Kids were, well actually just about everything the Krofft Studio made really was marketed as live action stage and television honestly. But still, it made them ALOT of money in the 70s, and alot of other companies wanted to rake in some of that sweet cash, as well as those sweet 1970s milfs, but thats a story for another time. Anyway, one of the many failed attempts at this would be a show called The Kids Super Power Hour, where they would mash the at the time hit cartoon Shazam! with a horrible offbeat comedy series called Hero High, about a high school for heroes and the like. It was kind of like the X-Men but with 400% more suck and fail added to it. And because NBC have never really had a clue what they were doing, they really only gave Shazam, the show kids wanted to watch, about 12 minutes of the show, the rest of the "power hour" was made up of animated shorts or the even worse live action skits and musical numbers done by the cast of Hero High, with spliced in stock footage of kids from teir pilot episode and then never filmed with another audience again. Seriously, weak sauce.
Oh and just for added horror, try and see how much you can sit through of this...
And with that, I become the greatest bastard of all time... now be honest, I sat through 4 minutes of it... how about you?
7. Lassie's Rescue Rangers
I guess at one point in time, Lassie got bored of saving that stupid kid she was raising because his parents were to ashamed of his retardedness, and decided to go into business for herself, forming the Rescue Rangers, a group of humans and animals dedicated to saving the environment from badly drawn people and badly drawn wildlife thats decided to rise up and rage against man for some reason or another. It was alot like Sealab 2020, where they went for a super serious and education about the world around you tone over comedy, until the final moments of the show which would normally end in a laugh, much like with this show, but it would also end with alot of barking. Honestly I'll never understand what the fixation the world has with Lassie is, I really won't. Even though Rex The Wonder Dog would have made a better cartoon.. I mean he fought Tyrannosaurus Rexes and vaguely octopus looking things called octopuses, what did Lassie ever do? Watch Timmy fall down that old well for the 50th time? Yeah real heroic there. Fun fact though, After Lassie went out of business, mostly because dogs aren't good with money or power delegation, and finding herself at that point in her life were it was either sell her business and likeness or end up doing those "peanut butter movies" we all heard that Snowy from TinTin had to do near the end of his life, not wanting to do that, Lassie sold the Rescue Rangers company to Chip and Dale, who, got their money to buy from investing with Scrooge McDuck, because, well, everyone knows Scottish ducks are good with money, they make it by the moneybin load after all. Chip and Dale would go on to rebrand the company, and make it much more successful.
6. Street Frogs
This is what happens when Jessie Jackson bitches that there isn't anything in american cartoons aimed only at the black community. No, seriously, I'm not kidding. So seriously, thanks alot Jessie. Street Frogs was one of those shows that seemed innocent enough when you're a child that you don't notice that the writing is so horrible and by people that have no idea of the subject matter they're dealing with that when you see it years later, you realize how offensive it was, its sort of the Amos and Andy of 1980s cartoons, much like how The Cosby Show was the Amos and Andy of 1980s prime time programing, ok well really anything where that Cosby guy gets to go around in blackface is the Amos and Andy of that time period, but thats for another time. Street Frogs tried to bring the at the time young musical form of hip hop and its culture into the mainstream, the problem was, there really wasn't anyone that knew the culture old enough to actually be a writer on the staff, so you basically have a bunch of middle aged white jewish guys who got booted off working on shows like Maninal and Automan for not making them suck enough, writing about rapping frogs that really aren't living very hip hop like lives. Its more like 1950s kids dressed in tracksuits and vaglely attempting to rap. Seriously, this was just horrible. Oddly though, it was very popular in france, no seriously, it was released on dvd there and everything. Go figure, the french like unintentional racism.
5. The Funky Phantom
Ok, seriously, what in the FUCK just happened? What was that? I have no idea what the hell is going on, I've watched this thing through 5 times before writing this out and I have NO IDEA what is going on. So, these kids bought and repainted Speed Buggy the colors of the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, and broke into an abandoned house during a rainstorm, and thought "hey, lets set the clock to the right time" and that somehow triggers a homosexual ghost and his ghost cat both dressed like its 1776 to pop out and become their friends? ... Huh? Isn't that also how The Big Bad Beatleborgs started? Seriously, I have no idea at all whats going on here, and the show itself, WAY more confusing then the intro, I mean this shit is light compared to what actually went on in the show. It seriously just leaves me confused and wishing for the next stop on the USA Cartoon Express, because really, this is some drugged out Hanna Barbara stuff right here. And not in the fun way.
4. Partridge Family 2200 A.D.
Once you get past the projectile vomiting caused by remembering the Partridge Family, or if you're a girl from the 70s, the same of thinking one or more of them were cute, you'll notice something, does all of this look familiar? Because it should, this show was intended originally to be a show about Judy and Elroy Jetson, Judy would be working as a reporter, and Elroy would be in his third year of high school and would be the Jetson's answer to that horrible show Pebbles and Bam Bam had as teenagers, but for some odd reason, that when asked neither William Hanna or Joe Barbara could explain, they changed the concept at the very last second to be The Partridge Family, in the future, where they're still singing shitty pop songs, but now have a robot dog, and a creepy textile colored jetson's car. You know, because thats totally logical for them to do and have, almost as logical as believing that fad pop music from the 1970s would still be popular in 2200 AD. Because, you know, thats totally possible.... my head hurts, I really hope this show hasn't given me a tumor... Honestly, of all the Scooby Doo clone shows, this was possibly the worst, worse then Jabberjaw, yes, much worse, worse then The CB Bears even. Oh yeah, I went there. I went The hell out of there.
3. Rickety Rocket
Jesus Christ surfing ontop of a jet fueled monkey driven rocket car being driven across the yukka flats, did you really have to give the spaceship big lips? REALLY? REALLY? Sigh... I get that Ruby Spears animation wanted to take the ever popular Fat Albert, mix it with Scooby Doo and The Jetsons, but my god, really? Did they have to make it this? REALLY? Remember what I was saying earlier about how middle aged white guys shouldn't try to write shows aimed at inner city kids that try to be relative to what they know? Yeah see, this is another example. Not sense the 1930s have I seen such a racist depiction in drawn form, and thats saying something because I've read TinTin comics. This sickens me so much I can't even look at it for more then afew seconds with out feeling the need to donate to a worthy inner city charity, or maybe watch The Whiz as a way of saying I'm sorry.
There is a tie for the second worst, so here we go..
2-B. Beverly Hills Teens
Now, don't let the delisiously 1980s theme song fool you, this show is basically Rickie Rich meets Beverly Hills 90210 about 5 years (I think) before everyone knew the zip code 90210 was for Beverly Hills. This was basically The Archies meets Richie Rich, well The Archies before that horrible "Archie's Weird Mysteries" show ruined the Riverdale gang from being relevant to kids, much the way Yo Yogi ruined Yogi Bear from ever being relevant again in a way that horrible 2010 movie never could, but thats something for another time. Each episode of Beverly Hills Teens was basically a Richie Rich style plot, someone using their insanely large wealth to do some insane thing or another that we all wish we could do ourselves, as apposed to like solving world hunger or taking some under privileged kids to an amusement park or something. Something stupid would happen, and the group, which has one token stereotype they could think of for teenagers, would need to each use their unique talents to help get their friend out of trouble, because, you know, the best way to get a kid out of trouble with a international jewel smugglers trying to steal some jewel they've recently been given as a "love me because of my money because I can't make emotional connections" present from their parents, is to have help from a giant haired rock girl and a nerd that built himself a robot girlfriend. Add to the fact it was later repackaged for weekday afternoons and paired with the just as horrible James Bond Jr. about the nephew of british super spy James Bond. And yes, that was as bad as this one was, just with less of a catchy theme song.
2-A. Rubik The Amazing Cube
Somewhere in the early 1980s, in that month that Menudo was sort of almost cool for a week, someone had the brilliant idea to take the massive craze that was the Rubik's Cube, and make a horrible cartoon that would haunt the nightmares of a generation as a vaguely remembered nightmare of horrific short bits of images and a hauntingly creepy voice that sounded like 10,000 angel babies singing as their murdered souls spiral down into hell for all of time. Kind of alot like Menudo actually. Now why someone would ever think making a magic rubik's cube was a good idea, I have no real idea, it doesn't really make sense, why would children like a show about a fad puzzle game aimed at adults? Seriously, unless the real cube magically became, in my friend Rose's words "something that looked like a smurf fucked a rubik's cube" after you solved it, and granted wishes while annoyingly trying to be your friend, sort of like a furby, but even more horrific, if thats even possible. Rubik, for all of its wrong and horrible nightmare fuel imagery, Rubik teaches us afew lessons; 1.) Kids don't like puzzles made for adults created by a genius as a super hard to solve puzzle, 2.) It doesn't matter what you are trying to market, a shitty cartoon is a shitty cartoon, and 3.) Corperate greed was the biggest drug of the 1980s, even bigger then cocaine.
1. Casper The Friendly Ghost
Am I really the only one that was bothered by the fact HE'S THE GHOST OF A DEAD CHILD? Seriously what in the hell is wrong with the world? GHOSTS DON'T HAVE GHOST CHILDREN THATS NOT HOW BEING A GHOST WORKS! Casper had to be a child who died in some way that would leave him here on earth forever, where his only family is a 10 year old Hitler ghost and his three uncles who rode around on a horse called Nightmare, and I guess you could consider Wendy his girlfriend, but that'd make Wendy the world's youngest necrophiliac. Seriously, for all of this to happen, added to the fact that Casper can NEVER find friends, all points the fact he had to be a dickhead of a child in life. Which makes me wonder if maybe he's the ghost of a murdered child. Which kind of supports my idea that Casper actually is the ghost of Richie Rich. Mostly because you have never seen them together, and they look almost exactly alike, plus each of their shows followed the same plot basically, Casper would make a friend, they'd for some reason not notice he's a ga-ga-ga-ga-ga-ghoooooooooooooost til something goes through him, and they'd run off and leave him emosad. Richie Rich was kinda the same but Professor Keenbean's invention to make his friend's life better would just end up ruining it instead. But still, Casper is a murdered child's ghost, who on earth would find that worth showing to our children, or to anyone at all really? Its sickening.
I'll post Part 2, which is the best in Saturday Morning Programing either later today or tomorrow...