There was a singular joy to being a kid in the 1970s, the hey day of Saturday morning cartoons. You’d be up early, just as the sun was rising, and you’d have the whole house to yourself (because God help you if you woke up your parents) as you snuck downstairs and flipped on the television for your weekly dose of animated goodness. You might grab a bowl of sugary cereal between toy commercials and the ever-informative Schoolhouse Rocks segments, but the real draw was the shows, one of TV history’s most eclectic and flat-out fun lineups ever. Join us won’t you, as we take a stroll down memory lane and relive the good old days of Saturday morning primetime. The best part is, you don’t have to be up at 6 a.m. to get in on the fun.
1. Cartoons Starring Famous Kids
The late-1960s-early-1970s’ obsession with singing families eventually found its way onto Saturday mornings, well mostly. The cartoon versions of the popular sitcom and musical acts featured basically zero adults (they were mostly replaced by talking animals). There was The Brady Kids, in which the famous sitcom stars got into scrapes and sang songs. There was the oddly spelled The Jackson 5ive, in which the famous musical act got into scrapes and sang songs. And there was The Osmonds, in which the famous musical family got into scrapes and sang songs.
2. Harlem Globetrotters
1970’s Harlem Globetrotters actually holds the distinction of being the first Saturday morning cartoon to feature a primarily African-American cast. Created by cartoon legends William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the show followed fictionalized versions of the most popular Globetrotters roster (one of whom was voiced by actor Scatman Crothers). Every week, the Globetrotters would basically travel to some new place, involve themselves in some local issue, and then squash said beef with the funky power of basketball.
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