As a child growing up in the 1970’s I remember quite vividly the Saturday morning cartoon experience. It’s what we all lived for. We’d wake up early and pour out a bowl of sugar and milk, reaching for some cheap toy that was buried in the cereal box like Blackbeard’s own chest of gold. Then we would entertain ourselves with zany characters, superheroes, and action filled adventures until the noon news programs would begin and it was time to take our playtime outside. It was a far more innocent age, and we didn’t have video games to play. These were our video games. If they appear simple and at times crude, perhaps they were. But these were something of our very own. Watching them today, they don’t hold the same kind of magic they did then. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to revisit those days from time to time. It wasn’t the cartoons that were always special. But, Saturday morning … man, that was something special.
These cartoons are mostly Hanna Barbera shows which dominated the Warner archive from that era. No question this group contains some of the most recognizable characters from my childhood. Certainly, there some of the very well known titles from Bugs to The Roadrunner. I’m glad to see a few other characters added here like El Kabong and Atom Ant. It’s a very eclectic collection, to be sure, so you should find a little something for everyone.
The box art does not contain a list of the cartoons you get in the set, so I’ll list them here for you now. If you’re at all like me, the shows provided make a big difference in buying the set or not.
Quick Draw McGraw: Person to Prison, Vacation Tripped, Mine Your Manners
Space Kidettes: Space Heroes, The SSX-19
Bugs Bunny Show: Big House Bunny, Canned Feud, Home Tweet Home
Porky Pig Show: Scardy Cat, Baton Bunny, Feather Dusted
Wally Gator Show: Dangerous Journey, Droopy Dragon, Whale Of A Tale, Sea Saw
Jetsons: Elroy’s Mob
Quick Draw McGraw: The Mark Of El Kabong, Chilly Chiller, Party Pooper Pop
Peter Potamus: Wagon Train Station, Missile Fizzle, Black Bart
Road Runner Show: The Jet Cage, The Wild Chase,
Atom Ant: Bowling Pinned, Picnic Panicked
Tom and Jerry: Saltwater Tabby, Mutts About Racing, Just Ducky
Magilla Gorilla: Private Magilla, Army Nervy Game, TV Show
Each episode is presented a full screen format. There is a warning when you start the disc that elements of these cartoons have been lost. They have used the best material they could find to piece together these shorts. The results are certainly mixed. There is unevenness in contrast and brightness. Expect some serious problems at times. This is strictly for nostalgic reasons.
The Dolby Digital mono track offers pretty much dialog and music or effects. It’s fine for what it is.
Saturday Morning Wake-Up Calls: These 3 minute features look like vintage promos that give you a sneak peak at the shows on the disc.
Completely Bananas – The Magilla Gorilla Story: (5:16) Warner executives, cartoon historians, and people involved with the show offer various perspectives on the old cartoon character. Old scripts, storyboards, and clips help emphasize the points. You’ll even hear from Alan Melvin, who provided Magilla’s voice. He’s better recognized as Barney Heffner from All In The Family or Sam, the Butcher from The Brady Bunch.
When we’d watch these shows we were also being educated. CBS would include a Bicentennial Minute back in 1976 and 1977 that taught us a little American history, and ABC had Schoolhouse Rock which used music to teach us everything from math to vocabulary. There was also In The News, also from CBS that featured Walter Cronkite delivering some current event in a way that kids might better understand. These would have made wonderful extras, but rights obviously got in the way. If you aren’t a product of the Saturday morning cartoon feast, here’s a taste. If you grew up on this stuff, “It’s non stop fun for you and your family, just the way you remember it”.