We all know about the Green movement that has pushed its way into every facet of our lives. And though its been around for a few years, some folks believe this thinking of greener living, which equals the lack of oceanfront property in the middle of Iowa, is a brand new concept. This couldn't be further from the truth!
The fact is, there have been surges of environmentally-conscious thought in every decade since Earth Day was conceived back in 1970. The biggest surge came in the early '70s when Woodsy Owl told us to "Give a hoot -- don't pollute' and a crying Native American lamented over the trash thrown out of moving cars. This thinking even permeated the safe haven of Saturday morning cartoons during this time, thanks in no part to a bunch of washed-up Hanna-Barbera characters in a flying, wooden ark.
With childhood animated icons such as Transformers and G.I.Joe getting the movie treatment (sadly done by Michael Bay), Atom Films put together an animated montage of hypothetical '80s characters (cartoon and otherwise) if they were redone by current directors. I think the sketch would have a little more impact if they did it live-action for each segment rather than animated, but I could be in the minority opinion.
I'm not sure which one is my favorite. The Smurfs done by Peter Jackson is certainly up there. Teddy Ruxpin by Wes Anderson is also a hoot. There are a few that aren't mentioned in the video that I think should have been mentioned:
Which franchises have I forgotten? And which directors do you think can cover these franchises? Which directors would piss on the memory of them and utterly obliterate them?
Video is after the jump.
Even before the days of cable, Wonderful World ran on all three major networks at one time or another, racking up records as one of the longest running shows in TV history. While also featuring live action material, most episodes included short form animations that were once tacked onto Disney animated features in previous decades.
If not for that weekly television exposure, these older cartoons could have disappeared into vaults. Apart from Pixar, studios don't offer you animated short subjects before the opening credits roll.
Now, Disney made the smart move in using a comprehensive DVD line to keep these classic nursery rhymes and fables fresh in kids' minds.
At the midpoint of the 1970s the Saturday morning schedule was remarkably different from what it was a mere five years before. Instead of featuring animated rock n' roll bands, animated mystery-solving teenagers and animated versions of Jerry Lewis, the 1975-76 schedule was filled with live-action series. Lots of live-action series.
In fact, about half of the new series to premiere this year were live action shows. Add those to existing series making return appearances and half of the 1975 Saturday morning schedule featured live actors and actresses. It would be a trend that would continue until the end of the decade and would give animated fare a run for their money.
I have to get something off my chest, and I'm not talking about my man boobs. It has to do with Will Ferrell. See, I like Will as an actor. He had some fine roles on Saturday Night Live and has proven himself a qualified movie actor. Some of his roles have even revolved around television show remakes. Unfortunately, those remakes tend to, um, not make fans of the original shows very happy.Okay, they don't make me very happy. Sure, his redo of Bewitched was okay, but it really didn't have the "magic" and quirkiness of the old series. Now, he's remaking the classic Saturday morning show Land of the Lost. From the most recent trailer, it seems that Ferrell is going to go the action comedy route (heavy on the comedy) to draw in the audiences. For fans of the old Sid & Marty Kroftt series, this is not good news.
The 1980s was the beginning of the end for Filmation Studios ... sort of. For, while their Saturday morning fortunes began to fade and eventually disappear, their successes turned to the burgeoning syndication market. It was there, starting in the early 1980s, that the studio introduced us to a sword-wielding warrior who became an animated legend.
Unfortunately, the studio's success in syndication would be a small, but powerful, blip for the two-decade old company. By the end of the 1980s the studio would fade into memory as the company was broken up and its talent moved onto bigger and better things.
If the 1960s was a decade of birth for Filmation, the 1970s was a time where it skipped childhood and moved straight into the role of responsible adult. With somewhere in the area of 30 programs airing during that decade, the team of Lou Scheimer, Hal Sutherland and Norm Prescott became big players on Saturday mornings. Not only that, but the trio helped usher in a number of genres that would become staples for both their own productions and those of the other studios as well.
If that weren't enough, the 1970s saw Filmation dabble into something that had come and gone on the Saturday morning schedule since the 1960s: live-action series. Combining comedy, drama and special effects, the studio produced an number of shows that provided a lot less cheese than the live-action series of, say, Sid & Marty Kroftt.
In the glory days of the Saturday morning cartoon, translated to be from about 1966 to sometime in the 80s, a handful of studios dominated the network schedules from year to year. Eventually, names like Hanna-Barbera, Sid & Marty Kroftt, DePatie-Freeleng and Rankin-Bass became as common to see on the screen as the characters they created. Add to that list an animation and live-action studio that presented two faces: one of quality storytelling, characters and imagination, and another of mass-produced, limited animation.
I speak of Filmation Studios. From 1966 to 1988, this studio produced dozens of cartoons and live action series and paved the way for a number of genres that are still remembered to this day. It also gave us a number of talented artists and writers that went on to bigger and better things. Today, we take a look at this studio, which gave us The Archies, Jason of Star Command and He-Man.
Last time on "Saturday Morning" we reviewed the busy 1974-75 schedule of CBS. In this installment we take a look at the lineups for ABC and NBC.
When looking at the respective schedules you can see a few patterns that were prevalent in Saturday morning programming of the 1970s. As mentioned last time, one of these themes was the increasing amount of live-action shows on the air. Six new live-action programs came out during this year, with three premiering on ABC and NBC combined. Another pattern was the use of prehistoric locations for shows. Each network had at least one show that took place during the time of the dinosaurs. The third pattern was the continuing decrease in quality of the Saturday morning animated fare. Nothing much could be done on that front since the networks were asking for more of this material faster than the studios could produce it and for less money than they needed.
Still and all, 1974 was a good time for Saturday morning programming as it produced a number of programs viewers remember even today. Two such programs are featured in this installment. Now, if the Way-Back Machine is ready, step on in and let's journey back 34 years in the past.
Children's television is the ultimate pacifier. Where else in the world can a terrible, horrific monster that destroys both life and property with nary a whiff of sympathy be turned into a soft, cuddly character who has his own line of soft, cuddly dolls being sold at the local Wal-Mart? It's only later in life, after they've adjusted to these de-fanged monsters, do they realize that their beliefs were so wrong. Aaaannnddd, that's where the therapy comes in.
But, we're not here to talk about the emotional problems that are paralyzing you today. We're here to talk about those vampires, ghosts and mummies that were stripped down and made to be funny, clumsy and even musically oriented. After the jump you'll see a few examples of what I mean. Don't worry, they won't scare you...they've been homogenized for your nightmare-free pleasure.
1974 -- the start of the second revolution of live-action, Saturday morning programming. There's no clear reason why, after nearly a decade-and-a-half, the networks decided to infuse their schedules with more live-action fare. Perhaps, after 10 years of non-stop animation, they decided to mix the formula up. Perhaps they were looking to further model the Saturday morning schedule like their primetime partners. Or, perhaps they realized that ordering live-action programs was cheaper than ordering new cartoons.
IIIIII'mmmm going with 'cheap' as the main reason.
Of the fourteen shows that premiered in the 1974-75 season nearly a third of them were live-action programs. Only one of them came from the Sid and Marty Kroftt factory. The others came from two studios that hadn't had much experience with 30-minute, live-action fare...Filmation and Hanna-Barbera. The rest of the schedules were filled with animated retoolings of primetime programs, talking motorcycles, and dogs who performed karate. As we've done of the last few installments the 1974-75 season will be split into two parts. This time we'll look at CBS's schedule. So, if your Schwinn is in the garage, let's journey back to a far simpler time.
Last time on 'Saturday Morning' we took at look at the ambitious NBC schedule of the 1973-74 television season. This time we will examine the lineups for ABC and CBS during that time period.
At a quick glance, both networks maintained the 'primetime' look that was established by ABC the season before by adding a number of shows that featured animated versions of nighttime television characters. This was in addition to the shows that already existed, which made this one of the first seasons where real-life characters nearly outnumbered imaginary ones. This was also the first year for the 'all-star' genre of cartoons. ABC featured two of these types of programs, both featuring characters well-known to a previous generation of Saturday morning viewers.
It continues to look as if the movie industry has totally run out of ideas for new concepts to bring the $10 a ticket crowd into the theaters. Dipping its foot into the television pool once again, it was announced that Universal has cut a deal to promote Sid & Marty Kroftt's Sigmund and the Sea Monsters to the big screen. This will be the second Kroftt movie for Universal (another property, H.R. Pufnstuf, is with Sony). The first, Land of the Lost starring Will Ferrell, has completed filming and is set for release in June of 2009.
For those uninitiated to the golden age of Saturday morning programming, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters premiered on the NBC schedule during the 1973-74 season. It featured a friendly sea monster (played by Billy Barty) who was befriended by two human boys (one of them being Family Affair's Johnny Whitaker). The typical sitcomy plot usually involved Sigmund getting into some sort of trouble that alerted his sea monster brothers and mother (who lived in a nearby sea cave), and his human friends making sure he wasn't found out. It became the first Sid & Marty Kroftt production up to that time to be renewed for a second season.
Seventeen. That is the number of premieres that aired during the 1973-74 Saturday morning schedule. It marked the largest number of premieres since original fare began to be offered during the 1965-66 season. It also marked an official shift in the what the networks decided was rating-getting Saturday morning fare.
Taking an example from ABC's successful Saturday morning schedule during the 1972-73 season, the other networks loaded up their time slots with animated versions of its primetime related fare. There was also a lack of animated rock bands. With The Osmonds, Jackson 5ive and Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan off the schedule only one band (and one solo performer) joined the fray this time around.
The 1973-74 season also marked the return of some old Saturday morning favorites: Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Batman, Superman and Aquaman. After a bit of a vacation these characters returned to the airwaves in new formats. For all, it would be the beginning of a long-running Saturday morning relationship that would last well into the 80s.
Last time on Saturday Morning we took a look at the ABC schedule for the 1972-73 season. This time around, we are looking at the lineups for CBS and NBC.
As mentioned in the previous post, the way that the Saturday morning schedule shaped-up during 1972 was due, in part, to the way that then Saturday Morning programmer for ABC, Michael Eisner, decided to infuse it with a bit of primetime philosophy. The result for the other two networks was a schedule that featured more movie-like and variety-based cartoons as well as animated fare that emulated the primetime hits of that day. In addition, some primetime talent was brought onto Saturday mornings to help jumpstart the educational fare that had slogged along during the last two years. By combining primetime personality with animated programming the networks introduce a new genre of program into the mix.
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