Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Animation Congregation: The Openings You Couldn't Resist...

Redartz:  Hello everyone! I know it's been trying times for many of us these days, what with that irritating pandemic and all. So how about a big dose of Saturday morning goodness to lift the spirits a bit? 

For this overgrown kid, the opening sequences and themes for the cartoons were almost as much fun as the shows themselves. Hearing the first notes of the music, seeing the action on the screen; you just KNEW you were in for some great animated escapism. And seeing these today still gets me excited. So for your enjoyment, here are a bunch of my favorite openings, culled from the 60's to the 90's. Of course as an older Bronze Age baby (with apologies to Doug and Karen), my choices are weighted a bit to late 60's and early 70's shows. But the 1967 Spider-man and Fantastic Four cartoons, and certainly Jonny Quest, are classics that were shown for years after their debuts. So grab a bowl of cereal and  meet me in front of the tv...

King Kong (1967)

Spider-Man (1967)

Jonny Quest (1964)

Fantastic Four (1967)

Adventures of Superman (1966)

Batman: The Animated Series (1992)

Scooby Doo (1969)

Bugs Bunny Show (1962)

Drak Pack (1980)

 Josie and the Pussycats (1970)

Valley of the Dinosaurs (1974)

 Emergency Plus 4 (1973)

Now you've had a taste of my tastes; so let's hear about your favorites. What did you think of these intros, and what ones should I have included that got skipped this time?


Anonymous said...

I always have problems downloading BiTBA - the little wheel in the top left corner of the screen takes around 4-5 minutes to stop turning - but this week is particularly bad and those YouTube links keep disappearing so I can't watch any of them. Anyway, my favourite of the ones shown is Scooby Doo which I absolutely loved when I was around 5 or 6 years old (and I still do but don't mention Scrappy bloody Doo!)

I'll need to think about it but some other cartoon intros that come to mind are:

Stop The Pigeon
The Hair Bear Bunch
Hong Kong Phooey
Wait Till Your Father Gets Home
Top Cat (re-named Boss Cat over here)

By the way, on British TV cartoons weren't broadcast on Saturday mornings - they were usually shown in the early evening between 4-6 pm.

Redartz said...

Colin- sorry you're having trouble viewing. Apparently YouTube has reduced the streaming resolution, and internet providers are slowing speeds to accommodate the greatly increased demand during this period. Don't know that is part of the issue, but there it is...

You named some great intros! "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home " was actually broadcast during prime time over here. Still remember it fondly. And "Boss Cat"? So did they change the lyrics in your opening as well?

Redartz said...

Oh, and Colin- don't know if this will help, but sometimes I too have difficulty loading BitBA. This happens when I'm using Google Chrome. When I use a different browser it seems to help...

Anonymous said...

Red, I always use Google Chrome!

No, the lyrics to Boss Cat didn't change and he was still TC in the cartoon.

Humanbelly said...

"Scrappy-bloody-Doo"-- Colin, I think you won the thread right out of the gate, there-- ha!

Dangerous topic-- it could turn into a wasteland of "How is it possible for HB to rattle on even MORE than he USUALLY does??!!?".

Not surprisingly, Red, you posted a few of my own first-choices already: JONNY QUEST (a fantastic arrangement and inspired gig by the studio orchestra), SCOOBY-DOO (the vastly superior first-season pop-jingle), SPIDER-MAN, BUGS BUNNY HOUR (generally the 8:00 start of the "good" network cartoons-- reliable as a bowl of King Vitamin), and JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS ('cause, wow, the vocals--!).

Everybody should go to Wikipedia right-quick and look up Hoyt Curtin. He wrote at least four the themes you cited, Red. And at least three of yours, Colin. If it was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, it was pretty much gonna be a Hoyt Curtin theme from the late 50's through the mid-70's (ish).

Other favorites, though, where I really loved the theme?

UNDERDOG-- Far and away HBWife's favorite. She loves to comically lay into that high, descant vocal line that adds further spooky "atmosphere" (which I betcha $$$ is a male vocalist in high falsetto--). And the fact that it commits 100% to a scary, minor-key theme in the generally arc-light-bright landscape of kids' cartoon themes makes it a huge standout.

BANANA SPLITS theme-- one of my carpool pals and I know this by heart, in its entirety. This has been hard on our other carpool pals. . .

HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS-- the cartoon was okay (Scatman Crothers as Meadowlark was a great bit of voice casting), but the whistling/clapping/singing intro that still had echoes of "Sweet Georgia Brown" in it was a strong hook.

ANIMANIACS-- so smart, so catchy, so delightfully snarky w/out being precious about it.

THE TICK (animated series)-- I mean, I LOVE that series anyhoo. . . but that whole oddball what-the-heck-is-it? intro ("Dot-dweeeee-dotdotdot-dwee-DOW!") is pure joy and perfectly suits the nature of that cartoon.

Also-- a shout-out to the march theme from Disney's RECESS-- tho I only ever saw it in syndication. I'm not sure it was ever technically a Saturday morning show, in fact? Or was it?

See? I could go on like this all day. . . except there are trees in the yard I need to. . . chop up. . . with an axe. . . (STAY AT HOME order instituted in MD/DC/VA last night. A whole 'NOTHER conversation. . . )


Humanbelly said...

Hey, and OT (but we're a relatively small group of pals, and I imagine we can sustain/honor separate threads a bit?)-- but Edo, you out there, pal? Can you give us an update on your earthquake-complicated status?

HB (again)

Redartz said...

HB- you weren't kidding about Hoyt Curtin. Without him, there really wouldn't be a Hanna Barbera. Certainly posts like this one would be lacking a lot of material.

You also brought up a passel (pardon my Hoosierism) of excellent intros. Love Underdog; I almost included it today. And yes, it has that cool element of impending doom (which you explain more technically than I ever could; the nuts and bolts of musical theory escape me- but I know what I like).
Forgot about the "Harlem Globetrotters" show. You're right again, that was a great one. And "Animaniacs" was terrific too; as was another Speilberg 90's winner: "Tiny Toon Adventures" ("We're tiny, we're toony, we're all a little loony").

As for your OT- we're all pretty easygoing here, always plenty of room for expanded chat! So you're under "stay at home" now too? I've been hiding here at home for a week now. It has been helpful for yardwork and other projects; so far I've ripped about 20 more cd's onto the tablet, and scanned several hundred photos (have you tackled any of your pics, HB?). Amazing how much that you can get done when you can neither go to work, nor go anywhere else really...

And yes, hope you are doing ok Edo!

Edo Bosnar said...

Hey everyone, thanks for the well wishes. Like I think I mentioned last week (or on fb, don't remember), we weathered the quake pretty well, given the amount of damage sustained elsewhere. Our house made it through intact (as far as we can tell), with just a bunch of stuff falling off of shelves - mainly vases, potted plants and books, as well as an old TV set (one of those big, heavy ones, not a flatscreen) that we were thinking of throwing out anyway.
The worst part now, besides the self-quarantining that we're all doing, is that we're only about 2 miles from the epicenter, so we've been feeling aftershocks constantly - last one a few hours ago. Most of them are pretty mild, usually less than a magnitude of 2 on the Richter scale, but they're quite unsettling. Since I lived in California for six years before moving here (which including experiencing the big 1989 Loma Prieta quake), I'm dealing with it a bit better, but it's really fraying my partner's nerves.

Edo Bosnar said...

Crap, forgot to answer the question: for me, there's not doubt as to the absolute best, not only because it got, and still gets, me jazzed up to watch the actual show, but also because it's just a fantastic piece of art on its own, is the Jonny Quest title sequence. Nothing beats it.

Another one that got me all excited when I was a kid is the Super Friends opening. Loved that bombastic orchestrated music, Ted Knight's voiceover and the scenes of our various heroes doing their stuff. Usually the actual show didn't live up to the promise of that opening.

Humanbelly said...

I tell ya, fellows, there could be a whole post JUST on the JONNY QUEST opening theme--!

There's a behind-the-scenes story that Curtin wrote the piece in the Key of . . . either F# or C#, I believe?. . . Because both those keys are REALLY tough for trombone players, AND gave them a WICKED fast series of dominant licks that set up the whole piece. Because the studio 'bonists were an amiably cocky bunch (as trombone players see as a plus, naturally-- ha!), and were all, "Yeah, bring it, Hoyt!"--- so Hoyt happily brought it. They obviously kill it-- and it's even more impressive when you KNOW how difficult it is to play. The sense of danger is palpable, 'cause those phrases are right up against the guard rails the whole time. . .


Mike Wilson said...

Hmmm, I don't even remember most of these! I do have fond memories of the Spider-Man theme, and Scooby Doo has had some classic openings over the years. The Flintstones come to mind too ...

Anonymous said...

JONNY QUEST and SPIDER-MAN are on my All Time Best short list.

I also have a fondness for the themes from those cheap-ass Marvel Superheroes cartoons. The Iron Man theme is probably my favorite of the bunch — just ‘hearing’ it in my head zaps me right back to September ‘66, watching the Marvel cartoons on the ‘Shrimpenstein’ show. In the first Iron Man movie, they played a really cool ‘lounge-y’ arrangement of the cartoon theme when he was flirting with that lady reporter — clever and spot-on. The Hulk theme is hilarious, so inappropriately up-beat and jaunty : ‘Wreckin’ the town with the power of the Hulk...’

I know the words to the ‘King Kong’ theme by heart, but weirdly I have almost no memory of the show itself! Maybe I always turned it off right after the title sequence...

‘Gigantor’, of course. ‘George of the Jungle’, ‘Tom Slick’ — there are so many...

- b,t.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red - what a marvelous question!

HB - you done stole my thunder with Banana Splits! (Oh ohhh Chongo!!!)

B.T. - Gigantor! (Do you have the DVD collection?) Let's not forget Tobor the 8th Man! These two were back-to-back in B&W on WGN TV around 1967 or so. (HB - you remember?)

And let me add this, o mighty Red!

Tennessee Tuxedo

Fat Albert

HR Puff-n-Stuff (Me and me siblings would smoke a few while watching! Just kidding!!!)

The Mighty Heroes (mid 60s) with Roe Man, Cuckoo Man, Tornado Man, Diaper Man (LOL) Well, the theme song ain’t much but the intro sure grabbed this 6 year old by the short hairs!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And let me add this, o mighty Red!

The Monkees’ theme song! Not the intro but the closing! It’s often referred to as “For Pete’s Sake” since it was written by Tork. I actually seek that song out and play it from time to time. (Could we use the advice in that song?)

Also, though not quite the intent of Red’s most worthy question, the Beatles cartoon intro “Can’t Buy Me Love” was a super hit even if "For Pete's Sake" wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chollie —

The only part of the TOBOR THE 8TH MAN theme that I remember is the part where they sing those four words. Looked it up on the YouTube just now and the rest of the song is utterly unfamiliar to me. IIRC, in the L.A. area, it was only shown on one of those UHF stations, with the kind of lousy reception that made it nigh unwatchable. So I think I only ever saw it once or twice — the fact that I can remember even THAT much of the theme song is pretty amazing.

There was another Japanese cartoon from around that time, or maybe a year or two later. The hero had to chew a special gum that allowed him to breathe underwater — who the heck was that? Or did I just dream it....

- b.t.

Anonymous said...

What, no Rhubarb and Custard?
(I assume at least Colin knows what that means ;)


Warren JB said...

Batman: The Animated Series was more my generation, in the 90's. I have fuzzier memories of great 80's intros that came before it*, but the sheer mood and atmosphere dripping off Bruce Timm's intro, and the show it headed, hit me between the eyes at just the right age.

Tiny Toons did the same, but with a slightly different effect. That led into Animaniacs too, naturally.

'My' Spider-Man intro was obviously the 90's version too, and I'm still fond of that rock-out, though the first '67 intro has grown on me. (Too many nerd culture references to 'spinning a web any size' NOT to check it out)

* Thundercats and The Real Ghostbusters, mostly. He-Man and Bravestarr too. I was too young to remember anything that actually happened in the shows, but those intros have a way of lodging in your head.

On that note, Top Cat was always Top Cat to me, in whatever reruns we got here in the UK. I can't remember any 'Boss Cat' references in my time, though that's not any indication that there weren't any. Definitely remember that we got 'Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles', though!

Redartz said...

Edo- so you were there for the '89 Loma Prieta quake? Wow, now that must have been an experience. Still remember watching (or starting to watch) that World Series game between the Giants and A's.

b.t.- You brought up some more winners! Tom Slick (and, incidentally, Super Chicken) and their host, George of the Jungle: great stuff from the brilliant Jay Ward studios. I may hear George's theme, complete with his 'Tarzan yell', to my dying day.

Charlie- Yes! The Mighty Heroes! Those were a blast, such bizarre episodes ("The Rubberizer", "The Monster Maker"). And actually, it really did have a cool theme and intro...

Sean- ok, you stumped me. I presume Rhubarb and Custard doesn't refer to your Grandmother's special dessert recipe?

Warren JB- yes, Bruce Timm deserves praise eternal for his work on that show. And I must admit that the 90's had some pretty cool animation; loved watching some of those shows with my own young sons at the time. Among those with memorable themes: "Bobby's World", "Fairly Odd Parents", and "Powerpuff Girls". Just to start...

Anonymous said...

Redartz, Rhubarb and Custard was a mid-70s British tv cartoon about a dog and cat called, respectively, ...uh Rhubarb and Custard.
Actually, it was pretty annoying - or at least it doesn't seem to be recalled too fondly - possibly because it was intended for a pretty young audience despite being shown in the early evening. And probably because the animation was pretty basic.

But I was fascinated by that basic quality. To a kid it actually looked like a series of cartoon drawings - much more so than, say, even the cheapest Filmation import - so you could easily make sense of what animation was and imagine doing it at some point...
The theme music was seriously annoying though.

And not that I'm recommending it, but if you're curious -
Thats five minutes of your life you won't get back, eh?
(Oh, and I see its actually Roobarb...)


Anonymous said...

Oh no, after looking for that link I've fallen into a Youtube wormhole and I'm now watching the Pink Panther, the rinky-dink panther, and apparently I may also like the Road Runner or a Popeye spinach compilation.
Perhaps the time has come to surrender to the virus...


Humanbelly said...

Warren JB-- would Ren & Stimpy have been part of your viewing stable? I've never seen the show, but have the theme on a CD of "Toon Tunes", and that is a FIRST-rate foot-tapper-!

Hmm- does anyone remember EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES. . . the Avengers (extraordinarily good) animated series from 10 years ago? That theme song- "We Fight As One"- always kinda perked me up, even though it was about as "commercial pop/rock" as something could be---

One other one from the late 70's: THE KIDS FROM C.A.P.E.R.-- a live-action boy-band-ish, spy-spoof romp that only lasted for the first-run of its single season. The show was an utter hoot, but didn't find any kid-audience at all-- and the theme song was plenty upbeat & fun musically.


Humanbelly said...

Edo-- glad to hear things are relatively safe there for ya. (If not 100% stationary, exactly. . . . heh. . . ) What's you guys' social-distancing status right now? Hmm-- how 'bout you Canadian folks and Great Britannicans?


Anonymous said...

HB, seeing as you asked, the British govt dropped its crazy "herd immunity" strategy and is currently operating a lock down.
On the plus, side Boris Johnson is still in isolation. Unfortunately, he is due out on Friday, to go back to failing to provide tests, and make sure health workers aren't adequately protected.
Apparently blackouts are possible in the near future.

Fun times!


Redartz said...

Sean- thanks for illuminating me regarding Roobarb and Custard. I too just climbed out of a YouTube wormhole, now I must climb back in to check out your link.

HB- you also have the "Toon Tunes" cd? Why am I not surprised! Love that disc. Really comprehensive with all that Hoyt Curtin / Hanna Barbera goodness...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

HB - I am just dying (sort of, not really) to know if you watched Gigantor and Tobor the 8th Man on WGN out of Chicago in the 60s?

As I recall they were early on Saturday morning. Perhaps as early as 6:30 AM? I seem to recall channel surfing and finding them and still getting that "pattern" on like ABC, NBC, or CBS, indicating that TV was not being broadcast yet! There was a term for that "pattern" as I recall.

Man... did we have it tough back then? The TV was actually shut down and there was nothing to watch like between 1 AM and 6:30 AM or something?

Redartz said...

Charlie- don't know about HB, but I saw Gigantor (and the 1967 Spider-Man show) on WGN when they were a "superstation " on cable. And the "patterns" you mentioned were called, appropriately, test patterns. It seems they were used to calibrate the cameras and broadcasting equipment during those off hours. They creeped me out as a kid: late at night, everyone is asleep but you. You turn on the tv and all there is : a big thing, kind of like a giant eye, staring at you, accompanied by this chilling "oooooooooooooooooooooo" tone. Actually, it still creeps me out...

mark said...

What, no Rocket Robin Hood?

Craziest cartoon ever...

Edo Bosnar said...

Red: yep, I was in Berkeley when the Loma Prieta quake hit. That was a pretty intense, but I have to admit, this one was scarier, maybe because we're so close to the epicenter.

HB: the response by the authorities here, after some initial dithering, has been pretty decisive and effective. The prime minister and president have pretty much stepped aside and let a specially appointed crisis management team handle the day-to-day problems and only its members speak to the press. People have been mostly good about following instructions and adhering to social distancing requirements - one exception is some geniuses on this one Adriatic island who decided to have a party in a bar a few days after the lockdown measures were announced. Sure enough, there were one or two people there who were Covid-positive (I think they had been traveling in Italy before that) and passed it on; the entire island had to be quarantined, no one can come or go.

Anonymous said...

Super Chicken! Yes! Another theme song I know all the words to!

There is something you should learn
If there is no one else to turn to
caaaaAAAALL for Super Chicken

I can’t remember the names of half of my co-workers at the office, but I remember THAT.

Rocket Robin Hood, oh my. Watched it religiously as a tyke. In practically every episode, to illustrate Friar Tuck’s gluttony, there’s an animation cycle of him eating one chicken leg after another — actually, he just takes a SINGLE BITE out of each leg and tosses it over his shoulder, Chomp, toss, Chomp, toss, Chomp, toss, Chomp, toss, Chomp, toss! I used to get so anxious when that scene played : didn’t he know people were starving in Korea?? To this day, I think of Friar Tuck whenever I bite into a chicken or turkey leg. God, the crap that gets imbedded in one’s brain....

- b.t.

Anonymous said...

Sinbad the Sailor
Sailing the ocean blue
With Salty the Parrot by his side
They are a fearless crew

Sinbad the Sailor
Ready for a fight
Whatever is there
They’ll be there
Turning wrong to right!

Sinbad the Sailor
A magic belt has he
He pulls it tight with all his might
A mighty sailor he’ll be
A mighty sailor is he!

(I only remembered the first two lines, had to Google the rest)


Humanbelly said...

Oh, right, right-- back to the Gigantor question, there, C-Horse---

So-- WGN was just outside of our range in the SW corner of Michigan. Chicago was about 100 miles away, and the closest VHF stations we got were within about 70 miles (Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids). For most of my childhood we really only had 3 stations, period. All very local UHF beams out of Elkhart, Mishawaka, and South Bend respectively (and WNDU out of South Bend could even be dicey at that).

HOWEVER-- we had three cousins our age from Chicago that visited dozens of times a year, and they LOVED Gigantor, which sounded like the most (unattainably) cool show in the world to me. In fact, one of our favored games was this simple, inane Tag game, except the person "it" was Gigantor, chasing the other two boys around. Would race around for hours on that very scant premise (ultimately climbing up on my grandma's roof on several occasions, but that's another tale---).

Naturally, I managed to catch the program a few times over the years, but by that point it couldn't hope to live up to the mystique I'd built up in my imagination. It never, ever grabbed me because of that.

On the subject of test patterns and the start of the "Broadcast Day" early on Saturday mornings--- man, I was such a television-addicted child that I would be up 6:00 (if not before), just CHOMPIN' at the bit for cartoons to start. Here's what you could expect--

a) A lot of the time, the test pattern wouldn't be broadcast at all-- the station would be literally off, so you only had the soft rush of static.

b) Test pattern might start 15-30 minutes before programming in those instances.

c) National Anthem; then often a brief religious message (!!!). One had a lovely hymn called "In Times Like These" as its theme, which has a wonderful, ear-worm of a melody. I could sing it right now, if you asked.

d) Different stations had some different ultra-early fare-- there was usually a Farm Report; One of those local high school quiz programs; an FFA (agricultural) quiz program; and one or two other dull-as-paint-drying offerings.

e) By 7:00 a.m. at least one station would crank out cartoons on its local feed before the network took over at 8:00. This could be Heckle & Jeckle; Klondike Kat; Tennesee Tuxedo; some of the earlier Jay Ward or Hanna-Barbera titles-- stuff that would have had nearly no fees. But to a cartoon junky, it was like finally being able to breathe for the first time that morning. And as often as not, the entirety of Saturday morning would disappear down that sinkhole. . .


mark said...

Friar Tuck? As he gorged on the drumsticks the narrator said, "Some, like the wicked Sheriff of Nott think him fat... foolish... not worth worrying about. But don't you believe it!" (and then the bad guys are literally bounced off his giant belly)

And as for Sindbad, another line at the theme's end said "so shiver me timbers, hoist the sails, the greatest ship to rock ('rawwkk!' said Salty), over the bounding main!"

Killraven said...

Great question Red!

A perfect topic to get my mind off of things, even if just for a few minutes. Thanks!

Josie and the Pussycats
Hog Kong Phooey
Grape Ape
Jonny Quest

Since we're talking about Saturday Morning Cartoons, remember Sealab 2020?
Why aren't we doing that yet?

Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of Roobarb (his nemesis Custard wasn't actually included in the title) but I didn't mention any British kids' shows because I naturally assumed nobody would know them. We had three kinds of entertainment - American cartoons, our own home-grown kids' shows and stuff from Europe such as children's dramas dubbed into English and weird surreal cartoons from Czechoslovakia.

Nobody has mentioned the intros to The Simpsons and Family Guy. The comedy series All In The Family was never shown in the UK (maybe because it was based on the BBC series Till Death Us Do Part) but a couple of years ago I watched a few episodes on YouTube and I finally understood the intro to Family Guy - I'd been completely unaware that Peter and Lois singing about "those old-fashioned values" around a piano was a parody of the intro to All In The Family.

Red, have you heard of the haunted Whispers Estate in Indiana? I've been reading about it in the latest issue of Fortean Times magazine which I buy every month. And the same magazine includes an article about a fossilized forest discovered in New York State which is 386 million years old and once stretched from New York to Pennsylvania.

Killraven said...

Colin, nobody probably mentioned The Simpsons and Family Guy because they are shown during "prime time" in the states.

Anonymous said...

Drat, now I'm confused about All In The Family - I just watched the intro on YouTube and Archie Bunker and his wife didn't mention old-fashioned values but I could swear they did on the couple of episodes I watched. But the Family Guy intro is still meant to be a parody, isn't it?

Killraven thanks for that but I knew The Simpsons and Family Guy are prime-time in the USA. I mentioned them because Redartz said Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was also a prime-time show (as I recall it was shown on Sunday lunchtimes on British TV).

Redartz said...

Sean- I checked out "Roobarb and Custard". I like the animtion; like a continuing sequence of line drawings. Which, granted, is sort of the definition of animation anyway.
And, the theme was done by Johnny Hawksworth! A name that might not mean anything to many, but he was one of the geniuses who worked on the music for the classic 1967 Spiderman cartoon! A show generally known for it's incredible soundtrack. Much of that music was produced by a group known as the KPM artists. Perhaps some of you from the UK can expound on these fellows for us at some point.

b.t. and Mark - not familiar with Sindbad the Sailor, but those lyrics are a kick!

HB- you nailed the early morning tv schedule. The anthem, the sleepy farm report, everything. Of course, at night it was mostly the same, but in reverse order. Ending with that sinister test pattern, which eventually disapperaed leaving only the static you mentioned. It felt kind of like you witnessed the end of civilization...

Killraven- ah yes, Sealab...perhaps we are doing that, and the public just hasn't heard about it yet...

Colin J- yes, I have heard of the Whispers estate. Not terribly familiar with the story, but many Hoosiers grew up hearing of the tale. As for the fossilized forest- have not heard about that, but it sounds fascinating. I did see where they found evidence of a rain forest and swamps in Antarctica. Incredible times in the field of paleontology!

Programming note for everyone: obviously there is a serious thirst for some animated diversion during this challenging period in world history. So, be sure to stop by on Tuesday, for Themes part 2! I'm assembling another group of clips for your assessment and enjoyment, so if you have a special request, by all means...

Redartz said...

Colin J- regarding prime time animation: the US has a long history of that phenomenon. There is a lot of overlap between nighttime programming and Saturday mornings in that area. Some other examples of shows that originated over here at night: Jonny Quest, Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Magilla Goriila and Top Cat...

mark said...

Sindbad Jr wasn't a Saturday morning cartoon, it was a series of shorter five or ten-minute cartoons from the mid-sixties that was shown regularly as part of an after-school show, along with others like Popeye, Casper, and the assorted Hanna-Barbara critters like Augie Doggie and Snagglepuss.

Here in Vancouver there was a one-hour after-school cartoon compliation called Funarama, and a half-hour early morning mix called Frisky Frolics. Don't know if those were a national or local thing.

Another great cartoon theme that hasn't been mentioned was the "overture, hit the heights" theme from the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour.
I also really liked Spaaace Ghost and Secret ("ssshhh!") Squirrel.

But yes, in case there's any doubt, the absolute best intro was definitely Jonny Quest.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Wow Red! You ARE a historian too! I had completely forgotten that Johnny Quest and Flintstones were not Saturday Morning cartoons originally.

Colin - I guess in a way we had different "time slots" for seeing cartoons. ANd what folks saw, not on National Channels, probably varied greatly here.

- We had Saturday morning cartoons which generally were new creations every year on the National Channels ABC, NBC, CBS. IF you were to buy an American comic, in the 1960s and early 1970s, around summer time, you would see adverts by the 3 channels promoting their cartoon lineup for the new years starting in September!

- We had Saturday morning cartoons on the local channel. In this case I am referring to WGN which originates in Chicago. This is how HB, Mike, et al. saw Gigantor since we lived around Chicago.

- We had the nighttime cartoons which Red mentioned which were during the weekdays, like any other TV program (Man - I had totally forgot about that. This time slot would also include things like the original Batman and Green Hornet TV shows.)

- The local Chicago channels also ran cartoons in the morning and afternoon (before and after school basically) during the week days. The original time slots of these cartoons is beyond me! E.g., there were Speed Racer and Astro Boy which just suddenly started showing weekdays around 3 PM on the new UHF stations in the early 1970s. Another program showed things like Magilla Gorilla, Deputy Dawg, etc. which are like 10 minutes each. Where they originally started... no idea.

And the kick is that I have no idea if others got to see this... living around the 2nd biggest city in the USA had some perks. Would someone in Wichita have seen the stuff we saw on the local channels? No idea.

Killraven said...

Being in the Detroit market we had 3 UHF local channels that ran cartoons before school- Battle of the Planets, Casper, Woody Woodpecker, Chilly Willy. During lunch (I lived a block away from my elementary school so I walked home for lunch)- Underdog, Quick Draw McGraw. After school- Kimba, Speed Racer, Popeye, Tom & Jerry.

I haven't watched Kimba in over 40 years, yet the theme song will pop into my head randomly.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Kill raven! I forgot about the weekday afternoon time slots! In fact, when I think about it, there really was no cross-pollination of strips across the time slots!

While it was sort of a given kids could see cartoons on Saturday afternoon...

I ONLY saw Underdog very occasionally at lunch hour during weekdays, if we were not in school! And that was on the "new" UHF channel.

I ONLY saw Speed Racer after school during weekdays. And that was on the "new" UHF channel.

Before school, the UHFs were only showing snow and test patterns, LOL.

Anonymous said...

OMG, speaking of cartoons in prime-time, here’s a memory I’ve been repressing for over 50 years...

My oldest brother always wanted to watch The Wild Wild West on Friday nights, but my other brothers and I wanted to watch The Flinstones. Our parents said we were supposed to take turns, but do you think we did? NOPE. Jim and Artie, week after week after week.

Mark: We had an afternoon cartoon show that ran the Sinbad Jr. shorts and also Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello cartoons. I think they were all 5 minutes long and they’d run 3 shorts in a half-hour time slot. Funny thing we noticed about the Sinbad cartoons: whenever he pulled his belt REALLY tight to activate his Super-Sinbad powers, they would always cut to a close-up of his ridiculously cinched-in waist. Sometimes thé close-up shot was a simple, flat ‘held cel’ , but other times it would be a realistically rendered PAINTING. We could never figure out why that one stock shot would vary so much from short to short. Turns out a completely different studio made the first season of shorts (theirs had the ‘realistic’ wasp-waist shot). Hanna-Barbera bought the show from them and made the second season. So glad I have Wikipedia to fill in these gaps in my Childhood Cartoon knowledge!

Also, you mentioned some alternate Sinbad lyrics. It reminded me of ANOTHER set of alternate lyrics:

So shiver me timbers, he will be
As strong as a hurricane
Over the bounding Main

For some reason, I think these may have been the lyrics for the ‘outro’.

Killraven : this is the only part of the Kimba thème I remember:

When we get in trouble and we’re in a fight (in a fight!)
Who’s the one who just won’t turn and run?
Who believes in doing good and doing right (doing right!)
Kimba the white lion is the one

Anyone remember Roger Ramjet?

- b.t.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I remember those ads for Saturday morning cartoons on the US networks - but I saw them in Marvel comics from the late '70s and early '80s.

mark said...

No memory of Roger Ramjet, but I do still remember hurting myself as I pulled too hard on my belt playing Sindbad. My waist just would not go in like his.
My cousin hated playing Sindbad, she was younger and smaller so of course I insisted she had to be Salty the parrot.

Warren JB said...

Humanbelly - funny thing you mention Ren and Stimpy. For the first couple of days of isolation, I did a deep dive into the life of series creator John Kricfalusi. I came out of it needing a shower. But I do remember a bit about the theme tune being penned by a garage band that one of the show's animators was a part of.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

b.t., et al.!

Wow... Roger Ramjet! You are really hitting my frazzled memory between the eyeballs big time!

And, if you see my musings on cartoon "time slots" above, Roger is in a really, really weird one!

I wrote that before school, on weekdays, only the local WGN (now nationwide) showed cartoons from like 7 - 8:30 AM.

BUT! BUT! BUT! ABC (nationwide broadcaster) DID have Roger Ramjet on, weekdays, before school, like at 7:00 - 7:30 or so. It was probably a show with other cartoons besides Roger? But again, like my experience with Underdog, Roger was NOT part of our daily routine!

And (dare I say this???) my grandmother also had, of all things, a Roger Ramjet coloring book we'd diddle with, for a couple years, concurrent with the TV show. So, that probably reenforced the memory!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

RED! You marvelous hunk of pop trivia! You seem to have hit a sweet spot with this question!

Hope everyone keeps posting this weekend! I love it!

Below is Roger Ramjets first episode on Youtube. Man... I do NOT remember that theme song, LOL, but man I was definitely laughing the first few minutes. Clearly this "dry humor" had to be targeted for adults! It's worth 5 minutes of y'alls time!


Killraven said...

I have no memory of watching Roger Ramjet, though he does look vaguely familiar.

I was thinking of other toon themes or phrases that have stuck with me over the millenia; For whatever reason the Felix The Cat theme ingrained itself into my head at childhood and surfaces now and again with out provocation. Actually it's a bit annoying.
When my kids were younger I used to wake them up with "Up and at 'em Atom Ant!"
I'm not sure if I ever explained to them the reference or they just thought Dad was weird.

Keep 'em coming guys!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that Felix theme song is another one etched into my memory cells, front to back. I don’t even remember watching the cartoon that often, but I guess I must have. I’ll spare you all the complete lyrics this time :)

But here’s a little something you lot might remember (not a theme song) — just because...

It’s STAY ALIVE, the survival game.

Let’s play!

Last one with their marbles on the board wins.

Your turn, move a lever.

I’m gonna block THAT strategy...

I’m out.

Me too...

I win!


Guess our UK cousins didn’t get that commercial, but man, it was in HEAVY rotation on all our Children’s Programming in the early 70s. ‘I’m gonna block THAT strategy’ was a popular non sequitur catchphrase that ALL my friends tossed around willy-nilly. To do it right, you have to say with a kind of nasal sneer.

- b.t.

Anonymous said...

And of course, there’s this classic...

It’s OPÉRATION — the electric game for dopey doctors.

Here’s your patient. YOU decide...

‘Remove funny bone.’

CAREFUL — if you touch the side —


You blew it, Charlie. Next!

‘Take out wrenched ankle.’

A winner.


- b.t.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

b.t. I was playing Connect Four over Xmas with my younger nephews, though in their teens. I kept saying "Block that Strategy!"

My brother proceeded to let me know that 4 months later they still keep saying that! He thanks me profusely... not, LOL.


Killraven said...

Yes, b.t. and Charley Horse, those game commercial catch phrases stuck like super glue!

Remember: "Hey! You knocked my block off!"

Anonymous said...

Mystery Date....
Are you ready for your
Mystery Date....

Will he be a dreamboat...

....or a DUD ?


Anonymous said...

Pop-O-Matic pops the dice
Pop a six and you move twice
Race your men around the track
And try to send the others back

Sorry gang — it’s like all these rhymes and lyrics were boiling up inside all these many years, and now they’re just bursting forth uncontrollably like a never-ending zit...


Humanbelly said...

. . . Not a game, but---

"Dese cards are MARKED--"

"Dey uh MESS-- "

"Yeah. . . a CHOCOLATE mess. . . " *click*

"Easy fellas-- ! The dirty dealer MEANT no harm--!"


"Y'got any t'rees?"

"Go FISH. . ."


mark said...

It's been stuck in my head for about fifty years........

"Have you got trouble? Wait, don't run,
This kind of Trouble is lots of fun!
You pop the dice in the plastic bubble
it pops you in and out of trouble.
Here comes sister, look out Jack!
You got trouble, you move back!
The game is fun for Dad and Mother
and sis can trouble her mean old brother.
Trouble trouble, that's pop o matic Trouble!"

This thread may never end......

Anonymous said...

Kool-Aid’s here, bringing you fun
Kool-Aid’s got thirst on the run
Get a big wide happy ear-to-ear Kool-Aid smi-i-ile

The hits just keep on comin’ :)


Humanbelly said...

LOVED that Kool-Aid jingle, b.t.!
Even as a kid I marveled at how the singer effortlessly ran that fourth phrase from his bass range up into a high Lou Christie-like falsetto-- and stayed in-key and on-pitch. That is no small vocal trick, teammates!

Hey, how's about a shout out to Oscar Mayer for coming up with TWO jingles (for two different products) that I have no doubt live in most of our memories to this day? Yeah? Yeah?


Charlie Horse 47 said...

“Once upon a time there was an engineer,

Choo-Choo Charlie was his name we hear.

He had an engine and it sure was fun,

He used Good & Plenty candy, to make his train run.

Charlie says, ‘Love my Good & Plenty!’

Charlie says, ‘Really rings the bell!’

Charlie says, ‘Love my Good & Plenty!’

Don’t know any other candy, that I love so well!’”

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And the other one, besides Choo Choo Charlie's Good N Pleanty, which is stuck in me and me brother's heads from the mid=60s, is for Chaquita Bananas!

This commercial ran b/c apparently bananas were quite new to most americans, they were eating the green ones, and getting quite sick! We always were walking around singing the first line!


I'm Chiquita banana and I've come to say
Bananas have to ripen in a certain way
When they are fleck'd with brown and have a golden hue Bananas
Taste the best and are best for you
You can put them in a salad
You can put them in a pie-aye
Any way you want to eat them

Anonymous said...

Well, there’s this one...

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner
That is what I’d truly like to be
Cuz if I were an Oscar Mayer weiner
Everyone would be in love with me

Drawing a blank on the other one...

The Good n Plenty song! Hadn’t thought of that in forever. Just now triggered a memory of watching cartoons at my Aunt Shug’s house. Thanks! And the first line of the Chiquita Banana song was the only part I remembered — had no idea the rest of it was about letting em get yucky before you eat em (I like em before they get all mushy and spotty). I think we may have made up our own goofy lyrics for the rest of it.

Here are some ad snippets that will probably ring a few bells:

Let’s get Mikey! (Yeah!)
He won’t eat it, he hates everything...
He likes it! Hey Mikey!

Let’s find out.
Eh, one...two-HOO...three...(CHOMP)


Charlie Horse 47 said...

b.t. Same here! The whole school walked around singing the first line only. It wasn't til a few years ago when, god knows why I was singing it, that my dad told me the story behind it.

We made up lyrics to the Big Mac song and Winston cigarettes.

Winston tastes good like a cigarette should... no filter, no ????, it tastes like toilet paper.

McDonalds is made of...
Greasy, grimey gopher butts
Insulated monkey butts
Itty bitty birdie feet
French fried eyeballs sitting in a pool of sh!t
That's what McDonalds is made of!

Humanbelly said...

C'mon guys-- C'mon, you can do it?
What's that other Oscar Mayer product that became immortal--? I mean, heck, it would be an overused meme at this point if it were part of modern-day media!


Anonymous said...

Sorry, still can’t think of another Oscar Mayer ditty — resisting they urge to google it...

I DO remember this clever variation on the old BRANDED theme song:

Stranded on the bathroom bowl!
What do you do when you’re stranded
and there’s not another roll
You can prove you’re a man
If you wipe it with your hand

WAIT!! Is it this one:
My baloney has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R

(ROCKY theme plays as b.t. spins around like an idiot, fists in the air)


Charlie Horse 47 said...

My baloney has a 2nd name it's M E Y E R

Yea baby! We did it!

Anonymous said...

O i love to eat it every day
and if you ask me why I’ll SAAAAAAAAAYYYYY
cuzoscarmayerhasawayawith B-O-L-O-G-N-A


I think we’ve scared off all the Brits :(

- b.t.

Redartz said...

Holy cow, you all know how to keep on a roll!

When it comes to commercial jingles that were ever linked with cartoons and such: candy commercials.
Tootsie Roll:
"Chewy,chewy Tootsie roll, lasts a long time"
Bar candy is gone in a few bites.
Bag candy is gone in a few gulps.
"Chewy,chewy Tootsie Roll lasts a long time "

Humanbelly said...

Ohh, you done admirably, Chosen Ones---!


Anonymous said...

Ooey gooey rich and chewy inside
Golden cake-y tender flake-y outside
Wrap the inside in the outside
Is it good? Darn tootin’!
Enjoy the big... Fig...Newton
(here’s the tricky part)
The big...Fig...Newton
(one more time!)
The big...Fig...NEWTONNNNN!

I’m gonna be a gibbering idjit by the time this lockdown is over


Killraven said...

Charlie, that Chaquita Banana jingle just hit me like a splash of cold water! I seem to remember that thing playing at every commercial break!

b.t., I can still be heard to repeat that Tootsie Pop 1..2..3 line where appropriate, of course I roll my tongue on the final 3.

"What walks downstairs alone or in pairs and makes a..."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Killraven... I really don't know why you, me, and millions of others that Chaquita banana commercial. But like others said... we all seem to only remember the first line, LOL.

FWIW - after watching the commercial on youtube, I made sure my bananas were golden with flecks of brown! Not a spot of green on them! In these times of TP shortages, I ate about to provoke a case of "Montezuma's revenge!"

Redartz said...

B.t.- you've performed a service to mankind. I never knew all the lyrics to "Big Fig Newton". Now, you've enlightened us all...

Another advertiser prominently featured on Saturday morning: McDonald's. "You deserve a break today,
So get up and get away,
To McDonald's ".

Fifty years later and all these ads still come right back. Those advertising marketers were insidiously effective...

mark said...

An unofficial variant from long long ago....

McDonalds is your kind of place
Hamburgers in your face
French fries up your nose
Filet o Fishes between your toes
And what about McDonalds' shakes?
Come from polluted lakes
McDonalds is your kind of place!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Mark... did you grow up in Gary, IN by any chance? We sang the same thing except it was "hot dogs between your toes."

mark said...

Charlie - No, I'm in Vancouver BC. The song must have really got around, with a bit of local modification. But did McD's ever actually sell hot dogs?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Mark! I always wondered about that line but then again, I was like 8 years old when it started. SO, it made sense to me b/c I could not see fitting a hamburger (or filet o fish) between your toes but I could envision a hotdog!

Humanbelly said...

Just to answer the peripheral question above:

(from McDonald's Fandom.com)

McHotDog. ... The McHotDog is a hot dog available at McDonald's in Japan. They were introduced in 1995 at some Midwestern located stores (at the option of the franchise-holder) as a summer item. UK locations sold hot dogs during the late 1990s and as a seasonal menu item in the summer of 2002.


mark said...

Annnd these hot dog comments tie so neatly back, to the Oscar Meyer weiner song...

A week-long thread, 78 comments, and it even employs a sophisticated literary device!

mark said...

But wait, HB - -

This would suggest that in the 1970s children in Gary Indiana were somehow PREDICTING that fifteen years or so later McDonalds in Japan would introduce a Mc Hot Dog?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

HB, Mark... Gary was a mess! A toxic mess! (YES! I'm borrowing from M&M commercial!)

But we didn't have any chemicals to give us premonitions. If anything the toxic brew I breathed and swam in (Lake Michigan) and drank probably would have given me Luke Cage powers! But as Red can attest, I'm a 172 pound skinny dude, LOL!

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