Monday, October 10, 2005

Saturday TV

Back in my early days, Saturday morning meant three things: 1) my parents slept late and didn't want to be disturbed; 2) I made myself cinnamon toast for breakfast; and 3) the morning would be spent watching cartoons and children's programming. I sometimes wax sentimental about those Saturday mornings. These days kids seem to be up and out playing soccer or trying to reach the next level of a computer game. The children's programming today seems dull and wooden. We had Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Walter Lantz, Walt Disney, and other animation pioneers to entertain us. And no one was much worried about whether we were watching politically correct material.

I can remember piling up on the couch with my blanket and pillow and making my way through Mighty Mouse, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Deputy Dawg, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Mr. Magoo, Heckle & Jeckle, Yogi Bear and Woody Woodpecker. After a stretch of cartoons, the lineup would switch to Roy Rogers, Sky King, and Fury. About 11 AM, the kid programs would fade out, my parents would finally get up, and the weekend would commence.

Somewhere along the way I acquired a Mighty Mouse t-shirt, complete with a cape. I wore the tail off that shirt and then passed it down to David. Later on, when I started school, I carried a Deputy Dawg lunch box. I was such a fan of Fury that the horse became one of my numerous imaginary friends. Mother glanced out the window one day to see me passing by, remarking over my shoulder, "Fury, stop stepping on my feet!".

Who can think of Quick Draw McGraw and not remember the dog who went into paroxysms of joy over his dog treat? He would hug himself again and again until he shot upwards in ecstacy and then floated down with a satisfied "ahhhhh". Quick Draw's show also included the Snaglepuss character. Snagglepuss' "Exit, stage right" and "Heavens to Murgatroyd" became American catchphrases. You have to be a fifty-something to remember where those phrases started. Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy also got their start on Quick Draw's show. And I think Pixie and Dixie were in that group as well.

Yogi actually started as a part of the Huckleberry Hound show, but moved on to his own show. I always had a fondness for Yogi, since his girlfriend was Cindy Bear. I've always resisted authority figures, probably a characteristic I developed watching the ranger being outwitted by a "smarter than the average bear".

If you're a baby boomer and would like to spend a little time remembering the good old days, you can visit Toontracker (be sure to visit the old theme songs page); Toonpedia; and The Fifties Web. You will be reminded of the good old days, back when you had 2 or 3 channels to choose from on Saturday morning. In black and white. And the quality of those black and white cartoons, in my humble opinion, was far superior to what is available to the kids today in full color and chosen from 200 cable options.

This little stroll down memory lane was prompted by a recent Ebay purchase. I got to thinking about that Mickey Mouse tshirt and did an impulsive scan to see what was out there for sale. I ended up with a nice little patch to add to my jacket. A mouse in flight, wearing a yellow suit and red shorts and boots.

"Here I come to save the day!"
That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way...


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