Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday Morning Memories: Part 1

The Saturday mornings of my childhood were such fun. My brother and I would get up early, grab some sugary cereal and sit down in front of the tube. We played outside most of the day--living on a farm in the country sort of made that mandatory--but from about 7:3oam until noon we watched cartoons.

Cartoons B.S. (Before Scrappy Doo, for those who have not heard me wail about it) were lively, inventive and advanced by great story-line writing. Cartoons P.S. (Post Scrappy Doo) seem to be created only to sell merchandise, and suffer from tired, re-treaded plotlines.

It's interesting how much from those B.S.shows have stuck with me into my adulthood. Thirty years later I can still sing the entire theme from Hong Kong Phooey, and I rely on Schoolhouse Rock's "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly" for my definition of an adverb. Fun cartoons weren't just for Saturdays, though:



Timer rocked! He taught kids about the nervous system in an After School Special. On Saturdays, in between full length cartoons, he showed us how to make homemade popsicles. Most importantly, he taught us the value of cheese as a snack.

About 10 years ago my wife and I were eating at The Cheese Cellar, in Pittsburgh. Our first time there, we were reading the menu when the waitress arrived to take our order. It went like this:

Waitress: Hi. Ready to order?

Me: Well, I'm hankering for a hunk of...

My wife: Please ignore him.

Me. A slab, a slice, a chunk of...

My wife: [kicking me under the table] Really, he is just weird. Ignore him and he will stop.

Me. I'm hankering for a hunk of cheese.

Waitress: Yeah...Whatever. Listen, you wanna hear the specials?

You'd never get that life-long memory from The Care Bears!

21 comments:

Kelly said...

ah, I remember the days! Oh yes, I'm only a bill, sitting on Capitol Hill... or conjunction junction, what's your function... those were the best!

Hoyt said...

That's hilarious! This is also why I have a copy of Schoolhouse Rock on dvd.

The Simpsons satired "I'm Just A Bill" in an episode called "The Day The Violence Died." The song went "I'm Just A Constitutional Amendment To Be," and used the same vocalist from "I'm Just A Bill." Classic.

The Film Geek said...

Hoyt: My Schoolhouse Rock DVD set is one of my most most prized posessions. Funny thing too, my children seem to like it too.

7tenths said...

The Carebears weren't too bad.. Being part of a completely different demographic I guess it's implied I have no idea what you're talking about; but we (well I'm assuming you got whiff of these too) can all fail to suppress an inner chuckle whenever we hear that familiar 'Beep Beep!' or feel the urge to say 'What's up Doc?' everytime we're chewing on a carrot; yep WB really painted my childhood with fond memories. Sadly, these days cartoons really lost alot of their (at the risk of sounding clichéd) 'magic'; aside from Dexter & The Powerpuff Girls, it's only animé for me!

Cara said...

I enjoyed Scooby Doo, the Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake.

jedi jawa said...

The FOX show "The Family Guy" did a spoof on "Conjunction Junction" when Peter took over the planning of the local school curriculum. The non-sequitur cut to the sex ed. class where the familiar engineer was singing "Vagina junction, what's your function? Takin' in sperm and puttin' out babies." It was a knee slapping moment (I love that show..."Robot Chicken" on Cartoon Network has also been good by the same writers). :)

primalscreamx said...

I miss Johnny Quest. Race Bannon killed more guys than Cancer with his rifle and nobody thought anything of it... or Bannon and Quest's curious relationship. Where exactly was Johnny's mother?
Anyway, I know what you mean about how cartoons went from being clever to only commercial -I like to refer to that period of time as the eighties...

jedi jawa said...

Good point about the eighties as being the nexus of cartoons and commercialism. Do you remember all of those gay video game inspired cartoons? I'm not sure which was worse "The Pac-Man Show" or "Q*bert". Don't even get me started on the various Mario cartoons and movies. I suppose that I did watch Transformers and GI Joe fairly religiously though.

One of the best cartoons that I think that I've seen on tv was a space-based cartoon that I used to watch in college. These guys flew around in these exo-suits and main characters died or were killed on a regular basis. It was the only cartoon that I really remember being like that. I can't think of what it was called though.

Off Route 75 said...

Was it Robotech? I bet it was.

Stitching Barbie Girl said...

Personally I enjoyed Pee-Wee's Playhouse but I guess that doesn't count as a cartoon.

Jackie Lantern said...

Excellent post Film Geek!

Timer?!? I had completely forgottten about him! Was that him chastising the fat kid in "The Munchies"?

Myself I was all about Thundarr the Barbarian and Challenge of the Superfriends followed by a healthy dose of Kung-Fu Theater. Now those were the salad days!

Anonymous said...

He really did tell the waitress he was hankering for a hunk of, a slab, a slice, a chunk of, cheese. Help me.

The Film Geek said...

Hey Jackie, thanks. Not sure about The Munchies, but Time Out For Timer was sort of a 2 minute short between feature cartoons. In the cheese one, Timer dressed up like a cowboy and sang about a Cheese Wagon Wheel...lol

Off Route 75 said...

hmmm....I think we all know who "anonymous" is. No one else would cry out for help unless she lived with him! That's awesome. I'm glad my wife isn't on here! LOL

Ian C. said...

The waitress should've given you a button or something, just for rattling that off. Unless that was, say, the 27th time she'd heard it that day.

Side note: Robotech was an awesome cartoon. Those have to be on DVD somewhere. Someday, they will be mine.

jedi jawa said...

I think that my 90's cartoon where characters were routinely killed off may have been called "Exosquad". I looked it up in the wikipedia and that seems right. It reminded me of the Heinlein vision of future combat in "Starship Troopers" that was so lacking in the movie by the same name.

On the topic of those little PSA buffers...I still remember the one about chewing your food or "you can gain pounds from all that haste" and occasionally I'll find that song rolling around in my head for some reason.

Off Route 75 said...

"Watch out for the Munchies!"

Man, the way those Munchies made fun of the kid when he got fat was just wrong.

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Jeff said...

I remember the little yellow at the top of this post. Where is he from? I believe it was from a commercial about pen pals. I've been looking for info on him for a long time, but never find anything. PLEASE TELL ME WHO HE IS!!! :)

The Film Geek said...

He's Tmer, from a series of educational spots called Time For Timer. Google the Wikipedia "Time For Timer," to read about the shows.