Saturday Morning TV

While this post isn’t specifically about Duluth, I am hoping that posting will bring some Duluth stories out of the woodwork.

Below are lists of Saturday-morning cartoons as they ran in my childhood. I remember many of them (Scooby-Doo, of course; repackaged cinema cartoons like Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes; originals like the animated Star Trek).

I remember little of the way this TV was shaped locally when I was a kid, other than at 11 a.m., in the mid 1980s, cartoons were pre-empted by a locally produced music video show. That felt to me like the beginning of the end of children’s programming on Saturday morning — adult programming, or maybe just live-action programming, like Saved by the Bell, would be cheaper for what would likely be the same revenue.

(Heck, well into the 1990s, in Milwaukee, you could dial a phone number, pay a fee, and request a specific music video be broadcast on a low-power station, W08BY.)

What was Saturday Morning TV like in Duluth?


Paul Lundgren

about 4 months ago

My top memory of Saturday mornings in the early 1980s is that I would often wake up before the stations signed on for the day. Of course, that was earlier than I would have to get up on a school day. On a school day it was hell to get out of bed, but somehow my sleeping brain understood that it was almost cartoon time and woke me up early on Saturdays.

I was awake before anyone else in the house. I'd turn on the TV and wait for the test pattern to cease, which I think was at 6 a.m. Then there was some kind of music and footage of the Statue of Liberty to announce the start of the broadcast day, if I remember correctly. I want to say Superfriends was the first thing on and Looney Tunes came later in the morning. There might have been a cartoon I didn't like much that was in the middle and I half paid attention to it while playing with Matchbox cars or something.

Although I watched many different cartoons, I think Looney Tunes was really the only one I truly enjoyed. Some of the others were OK, but Looney Tunes was easily the best. (They might have called it Bugs Bunny and Friends or something else instead of Looney Tunes, but whatever.)

In the non-animated category I liked Land of the Lost and just a few days ago I had a dream I was out in Downtown Duluth with a friend and we went to a bar on First Street that was actually more like a cave. All of the other patrons were Sleestaks, and we stayed and had drinks with them. It was a fantastic dream ... and was kind of similar to real-life experiences at the Shish Ka Bar back in the day.

Whenever Space Giants would get aired on WTBS I locked in on it, but that was kind of rare and not a Saturday morning thing. But it falls roughly into the same genre as Land of the Lost.


about 4 months ago

Not Duluth but close enough...
Yeah, Land of the Lost was cool. That was probably early and didn't seem to last that long. Vaguely remember some of the other ones listed above - Harlem Globetrotters, Grape Ape. If there was a Godzilla cartoon, I can't believe that I didn't watch it. 

I agree with Paul with Looney Tunes or Bugs Bunny was probably my favorite. Have to mention Dungeons and Dragons. That was badass.

David Beard

about 4 months ago

I remember how much live action shows seemed magical -- Land of the Lost was so cool, Sleestaks were terrifying, but the idea that the uncle followed them into the same mysterious land was the kind of thing that only made sense in the 1970s.

I mean, back then, it was likely reasonable to assume that missing people weren't findable -- we didn't have cameras everywhere and computers to track when we use a credit card.  And it felt like more skeptical times -- harder to convince people that what seemed like a mystery worth pursuing really was worth pursuing.  

Electrawoman and Dynagirl had, obvi, the same energy that Batman had, in syndicated TV.


I remember Superfriends, I remember Herculoids and Thundarr (which I think included design work by Alex Toth and Jack Kirby).  I remember Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  I remember the Looney Tunes and Laff A Lympics as my gateway drug to the Hanna Barbera Universe.

I remember Scrappy Doo.  I remember thinking I was too old for cartoons when I realized that Scrappy Doo was not meant for me.

T. Heinonen

about 4 months ago

Some of my favorite Saturday morning viewing was on an old black-and-white tube TV. Waiting for it to "warm" up before the screen would light up. Favorites then were Fireball XL5 and Johnny Quest ... couldn't watch too long as mom would shove us out of the house to play, telling us we'd ruin our eyes if we watched too much TV.

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