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.
The operative word to describe the 1968-69 Saturday morning schedule was 'change'. After two years of superhero and action/adventure cartoons the networks and the animation studios decided to shake things up a bit. When you take a look at the world-altering events that occurred forty years ago, moving away from action and into some more amusing and less dangerous fare was not a surprising move.
That doesn't mean that Saturday mornings were totally void of any type of heroic action in 1968. In addition to shows like Spider-Man, The Herculoids, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, all entering their second seasons, three of the seven new series premiered that featured a hard-action bent. The rest focused more on humor and slapstick then on flying beings who could shoot beams out of their hands. And, out of the seven, five of the shows were the cornerstones of trends that would continue well into the 1970s.
So, if you have your Thing Maker in front of you, let's journey back in time to 1968.