began broadcasting their Saturday morning kid fare at an earlier hour,
8:00am, thanks to a growing baby boomer audience looking for cheap thrills.
other networks followed suit soon after.
had been hot on Saturdays for a few years, Superman scored
big numbers for CBS in 1967, so this year he was tag teamed with the
animated adventures of Batman. ABC's Batman live-action
primetime series was still running, so Batman had two shows on two networks.
and a few other smaller animation studios pumped out an amazing array
of comic book inspired mind candy for 1968-69, some of it actually good.
Hanna-Barbera produced shows dominated the morning on all three networks,
The Archies made Filmation a force to be reckoned with for
the next two decades.
Go-Go Gophers / CBS
Genuinely fun cartoon featuring
characters from the creators of Underdog. Voices
by Sandy Becker, George S. Irving and
Pepsi released Go-Go Gophers collector's
glasses in 1968.
8:30 Bugs Bunny
/ Road Runner / CBS
This new hour-long format on CBS
ran until 1973. Bugs Bunny starred in a solo Saturday series on
ABC from 1962-1967 before moving to Sunday mornings in 1967-68.
On CBS, Bugs shared the spotlight
with Road Runner cartoons - that pairing remained popular for
CBS began the morning an hour
earlier than the NBC and ABC. By slotting an hour of Warner Bros.
cartoons at 8:30, they locked in the audience, making them less
likely to switch channels in the middle of a program to sample
Wacky Races / CBS
Hanna-Barbera scored another long-lasting hit that led to two
spin-offs in 1969 that were essentially the same show with the
same plotlines and characters.
Featured the immortal voices of
Paul Winchell (Dastardly and Mutley), Janet Waldo (Penelope Pitstop),
Don Messick (Peter Perfect) and Mel Blanc (The Ant Hill Mob).
In order to avoid violent situations,
the racing cartoon was born.
This was one of the
most popular cartoons of the era, the number one Saturday show
for 1968-69. Thanks to the success of this and other CBS Saturday
hits, programming exec Fred Silverman was given the job of prime-time
Howard Morris (Ernest T. Bass on
'The Andy Griffith Show') provided the voices of Moose, Hot Dog
and Jughead. Jane Webb voiced Betty, Veronica, Sabrina and Miss
The Archie's tunes hit the pop
charts in 1969 ('Sugar, Sugar' made it to number one) and inspired
a multitude of other music-themed cartoons on Saturdays for years
to come. Ron Dante sang the songs as Archie.
Moby Dick & Mighty Mightor /
Second year for the Hanna-Barbera adventures of
caveboy Tor becomes Mighty Mightor when he raises his club and
curses the heavens. If only it were that easy!
in separate segments - Tom, Tub and their
pet whale Moby. Swimming with whales is now illegal.
CBS was getting huge ratings on
Saturday mornings, so they extended their kidvid schedule by an
hour on either end of the morning.
1:30 Lone Ranger / CBS
Reruns from last year, from
Format Films. The Lone Ranger and Tonto were embroiled in bizarre
adventures with a random array of robots, aliens and villains
like The Black Widow voiced by Agnes Moorehead.
Often pre-empted by local stations.
Aquaman could be
seen on CBS Sunday
on Saturday mornings in 1968: Mattel's Major Matt Mason, The Strange
Change Machine, Space Food Sticks and Funny Face Drink mix.
Ginny Tyler was the voice of
Casper, the friendliest ghost in town.
Adventures of Gulliver / ABC (debut)
Ginny Tyler also provided the voice Flirtacia in this cartoon
based on the Jonathan Swift novel. 17 episodes ran for two years.
Spiderman / ABC
A rare second season of new episodes, leading
off with the 'Origin of Spiderman'. Stories for 1968-69 were
now 30 minutes in length, last season there were two 15 minute
episodes per show.
A third season was produced
for syndication - the series had the same theme song, but the
show took on a darker look and attitude with surrealistic watercolor
backgrounds (by DC artist Gray Morrow) and a new guy playing
Spidey's voice. Ralph Bakshi produced the third season.
Spidey reruns joined the 'Fantastic
Four' in the Sunday morning boneyard in 1970. Spiderman has
been revived on Saturdays several times since - and served a
stint on PBS' 'The Electric Company'.
Fantastic Voyage / ABC
(debut) Cartoon voiced by Ted
Knight ('Mary Tyler Moore Show') and Jane Webb, they also provided
lead voices for the show that followed.
Journey To The Center of the Earth
Season 2 with the voices
of Pat Harrington, Jr. ('One Day At A Time'), Ted Knight and
Produced by Lou Scheimer and
Fantastic Four / ABC
Second season, reruns from the year before. This show moved
to Sundays in 1969.
Most of the stories were based
closely on the early Stan Lee / Jack Kirby comic book adventures,
that made this arguably one of the best of the TV comic book
adaptations to date even if the standardized Hanna-Barbera animation
was fair at best.
Comic book plotlines included
The Red Ghost, Invasion Of The Super Skrulls, Galactus, It Started
On Yancy Street and more.
Voices: Gerald Mohr (Mister
Fantastic), Jo Ann Pflug (Sue Storm), Jack Flounders (Johnny
Storm) and Paul Frees (the Thing).
of the Jungle / ABC
Second season of reruns, George joined the Sunday
morning line-up in 1969, then returned to Saturdays in early
Also seen - 'Super Chicken'
and 'Tom Slick'.
Truly excellent, timeless Jay
Ward series that showed up again on Saturday mornings in 1992
American Bandstand / ABC
Guests this season
included Freddy Weller, The Four Seasons, Johnny Nash, The Association
and Sandy Nelson.
Space Food Sticks:
Happening / ABC
Also known as 'It's
Happening' 'Happening '68' and 'Happening '69,' similar to a
1965 series, "Where the Action Is."
Beginning in January, 1968 this
music show (produced by Dick Clark) followed 'American Bandstand'
on Saturdays. That meant this program was seen six days a week
in the summer of '68 - a rocking half-hour of bands and bikinis.
Hosted by Paul Revere and Mark
Lindsay, guests included Paul Revere's Raiders, The Monkees,
Don Adams, Don Rickles, Linda Ronstadt, Todd Rundgren and Bobby
Local bands were also seen in
weekly competitions with celebrity guest judges. There has never
been another national music show like 'Happening,' a TV bright
spot in 1968.
Peter Max inspired ad for 7-Up:
Major Matt Mason was a popular toy in
8:00 Local Programming
(Local stations aired 'Sunrise
Semester,' sci-fi and horror movies and the Farm Report early
on Saturday mornings.)
8:30 Local Programming / NBC
Super 6 / NBC
Year two, ran for three years - well-liked adventures
of six super-powered do-gooders available for hire from Super
Top Cat / NBC
Another season of repeats
from the 1961-62 primetime Hanna-Barbera series. Popular sitcom
character 'Sgt. Bilko' was the inspiration. Arnold Stang (shown)
was the voice of Top Cat.
This was one of three former
primetime H-B series being rerun on Saturdays - can you spot
the other two?
Banana Splits /NBC
Hour-long variety show
hosted by costumed theme park characters voiced by Paul Winchell,
Allan Melvin, Daws Butler, and Don Messick.
Naturally, they made up a bubble
gum rock band with songs that included "Wait till Tomorrow"
and "I Enjoy Being a Boy."
Cartoon segments ran between
the Banana Splits' antics - The Three Musketeers, The Hillbilly
Bears, Arabian Nights and Micro Venture.
'Danger Island' (a live
action series) was also seen, starring Frank Alletter
('It's About Time') and teen idol Jan Michael Vincent ('Airwolf')
who had a career as a kid actor in the sixties with a string
of hit Disney movies.
This was the most expensive
Saturday morning show to date. Produced by Hanna-Barbera, it
was their first live action attempt and the only bright spot
on NBC's losing Saturday schedule.
Costumes for 'The Banana Splits'
were created by Sid and Marty Krofft, who went on to start their
own entertainment factory beginning with H R Pufnstuff in 1969.
Underdog / NBC
"When Polly's in trouble, I am
not slow - it's Hip, Hip, Hip and away I go!"
Underdog ran from 1964-1973,
most of those years on NBC.
Also seen: The World of Commander
McBragg and Klondike Kat featuring Savoir Faire, a French mouse
pursued by Klondike. "Savoir Faire is every-waire!"
Birdman / NBC
Hanna-Barbera's Birdman was seen in repeats from 1967. This
show was originally conceived as a primetime entry.
Replaced mid-season by...
Storybook Squares / NBC
A junior version of the popular
NBC daytime game show 'Hollywood Squares' with children as contestants.
In this variation, celebrity
guests in the giant ticktacktoe board dressed as storybook characters.
They included Paul Lynde (who dressed once as the evil Queen
in Snow White), Marty Allen (as Tarzan), Rip Taylor (as Custer),
Kaye Ballard, Paul Winchell, Nanette Fabray, Wally Cox, Abby
Dalton, Charley Weaver, Jim Backus, Judy Carne, Ted Cassidy,
Jo Anne Worley, Carolyn Jones, Arte Johnson, Michael Landon
and Barbara Eden.
'Storybook Squares' lasted from
January, 1969 - August 1969.
Saturday Morning Commercials:
Super President / NBC
Super President's second
term was cut short - he was impeached mid-season and replaced
Untamed World / NBC
A nature program narrated
by Phillip Carey.
One episode featured a colorful
look under the sea, especially impressive since many people
were buying color TVs for the first time in 1969.
After this first season, the
show went into syndication and aired until 1975.