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.
As we are in the midst of a long July 4th weekend, I thought it would be a good time to talk about a cartoon that combined an animated singing group with a bit of American history. I speak about The U.S. of Archie. Premiering during the 1974-75 season, this Saturday morning cartoon not only continued the long-running Archie franchise on television, but it also grabbed onto the coattails of the upcoming American Bicentennial.
U.S. of Archie featured Archie Andrews, Reggie, Jughead, Betty Veronica, and the rest of the kids from Riverdale High as they re-enacted many famous events from American history. Some of the topics covered during the series were the Underground Railroad, the Gold Rush, the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, and the invention of the telephone, Plenty of historical figures were featured, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Teddy Roosevelt.
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