Feeling a little nostalgic here. For the past week, I’ve been looking back on my childhood and the tv shows that I used to watch. Could it have started when I stumbled across a show that had clips of Bugs Bunny and Friends from the 40s and 50s? Or maybe it was learning that George Jetson was born in 2022? Whatever caused it, I even watched a 1968 film of one of my favorites.
I’m sure all my Boomers remember Saturday morning cartoons. Back in the 1960s, cartoons weren’t on one channel all day long. You had to wait until Saturday morning and then pick the channel that your favorite cartoon was on, watch that for 30 minutes, and then decide on the next cartoon channel.
Of course, the only channel changing was done by getting up and changing the channel. And with our TV, if I wanted to watch anything on NBC, I had to adjust the antenna, too. It still came in a little staticky but at least you could see it and hear it.
Who didn’t love the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour? Various combinations of it ran from 1960 to 2000 so not only did I watch it but my son, who was born in 1987 got to enjoy it as well. Then Baby Bugs Bunny started airing in 2001. But I swear, my son learned to enjoy classical music and how to use big words from the original Bugs Bunny series.
Once when he was 4 years old, his Aunt Gloria came up behind him and wrapped her arms around him declaring, “I’ve got you, Dominic!” He calmly placed his hands on top of hers and stated, “On the contrary, Auntie Gloria, I’ve got you!” She was so surprised that he not only knew the word contrary but how to use it correctly. I just winked and said, “Bugs Bunny cartoons.”
I also loved the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. It not only featured the adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle but had other mini shows within it such as Mr. Peabody’s Improbably History as well as Fractured Fairytales.
During that time there were a bunch of other cartoons like Josie and the Pussycats, the Jetson, The Magilla Gorilla Show, Tennessee Tuxedo and his pal Chumley, Johnny Quest, Scooby Doo, Where Are You, H.R. Pufnstuf, and various music groups (Beatles, Jackson 5, and the Osmonds) also had short-lived cartoon series.
Do you remember this, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1: Thunderbirds Are Go!” Then you probably remember, that The Thunderbirds wasn’t exactly a cartoon, it used a version of electronic marionette puppetry. The movie that I recently watched was Thunderbird 6. As kids, with 3 big interconnected yards to play in, we used to act out our own Thunderbird stories.
And then, I remembered Ranger Andy, not a cartoon. Not everyone will remember him. He did local Connecticut television on WTIC (now WFSB,) channel 3 out of Hartford, CT. He was on from 4:00 to 4:30 each weekday afternoon from about 1957 to 1968. WTIC was originally owned by Traveler’s Insurance Corporation and was broadcast from Constitution Plaza in Hartford. It was one of those shows that every kid wanted to be on, including me, but I never was.
Each day, 30 kids, mostly affiliated with Cub Scout or Brownie troops would single-file enter the studio and line up on three rows of benches in his studio log cabin. The show would tape live and each child would stand up and state their name. Novelist Wally Lamb once recalled how excited he was to be on the show. His Cub Scout troop traveled by bus from Norwich, CT to Hartford.
Ranger Andy would then sing songs with them, show movie clips, tell jokes, and play Simon Says and other games. I enjoyed the show until 1968 when it changed to the Ranger Station with someone else playing the ranger. What I didn’t know was that Orville Andrews, who created the character of Ranger Andy, had died after a brief illness. It was never the same.
I hope you enjoyed my little stroll down memory lane. What cartoons or TV shows do you remember from your childhood?