Is anything more nostalgic than the memory of getting up before everyone in the house, fixing yourself a big bowl of sugary cereal with a prize at the bottom of the box, and adjusting the TV’s rabbit ears before settling down for some Saturday morning cartoons? Whether you saw these classic cartoon tv shows during their original runs or in tv series reruns on a channels like Disney or Cartoon Network, you’re due for a stroll down retro toon memory lane.
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Meet George Jetson! His boy Elroy! Daughter Judy! Jane, his wife! The Jetsons were one of many hits from the Hanna-Barbera animation studio and made it seem like the future was going to be all flying cars, robot housekeepers, jet packs, and moving sidewalks. And didn’t telephones with screens on which you can see the person you’re talking to seem so much better than the reality of Zoom turned out to be?
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Think of all the crimes the bad guy cartoon characters in ghost costumes and monster masks would have gotten away with if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and of course the ever-nervous Great Dane with absolutely no chill, Scooby Dooby Doo! Let’s not even dignify the eventual introduction of Scrappy Doo with a comment.
The Flintstones, like The Jetsons, actually started out as a prime time cartoon before becoming a beloved staple of Saturday morning TV. The Flintstones made the Stone Age look as cool as the Jetsons’ Space Age. Who among us didn’t wish we had a bird record player or a brontosaurus to ride to the drive-in theater?
The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show
A slightly more obscure offering from the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon universe, Atom Ant had an anthill akin to Batman’s Batcave, complete with massive computer and fancy exercise equipment, and would yell “Up and at ‘em, Atom Ant!” when flying at superspeed to another crime-fighting mission. Secret Squirrel was, of course, a spy—Agent 000 of the International Sneaky Service, to be exact. He fought crime and enemy agents with the help of his sidekick, Morocco Mole.
The Pink Panther Show
The Pink Panther started out as a character in the animated openings to the live action Pink Panther movie series, which featured the inept Inspector Clouseau attempting to solve crimes, including the disappearance of an enormous pink diamond nicknamed “The Pink Panther.” The Pink Panther Show featured the adventures of a literal animated Pink Panther and in a reverse of the movies, had a live action opening.
The Bugs Bunny Show
Warner Bros.’ The Bugs Bunny Show was another cartoon that premiered in prime time on CBS before moving over to Saturday morning. Other Looney Tunes got in on the act, too—Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck sang the opening theme song together and the show eventually became The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour.
Another Hanna-Barbera favorite that started in prime time before becoming a Saturday morning cartoons favorite, Top Cat was an extremely dapper alley cat who was forever coming up with get rich quick schemes while leading a gang of fellow alley cats living in the excellently named Hoagie’s Alley in New York City. Top Cat is another contender for Catchiest Cartoon Theme Song.
The Huckleberry Hound Show
At the opposite end of the anthropomorphic cartoon animals spectrum was Huckleberry Hound, an extremely laid back coonhound with a slow Southern drawl and a seemingly endless array of jobs, including cowboy, chef, lion tamer, police officer, and farmer. Fun fact: Yogi Bear started out as a character on supporting segments of The Huckleberry Hound Show and ended up with his own spin off, The Yogi Bear Show.
The Archie Show
Before the ridiculous live action show antics of Archie and the gang on Riverdale, Archie and the gang were a Saturday morning cartoon adaptation of the iconic Archie comic books. Archie has been trying to choose between Betty and Veronica for many, many decades and Jughead has been really into hamburgers for just as long. The Archie Show had its own rocking spin off when Josie and the Pussycats got their own show and their own memorable theme song. Long tails and ears for hats!
The Quick Draw McGraw Show
Another Hanna-Barbera masterwork, this one featuring a horse who is the bumbling sheriff in the Old West who occasionally rides…a horse or travels via horse drawn carriage. The relationship between Quick Draw McGraw and other horses was never fully explained, but it didn’t really matter, as we were all engrossed by the antics of Quick Draw, Baba Looey, the burro who served as his deputy, and the dog biscuit-crazy bloodhound Snuffles.
Did we miss any of your favorite animated series? Space Ghost? Dino Boy? The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends? The Impossibles? The Porky Pig Show? The New Adventures of Superman? Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales? Wacky Races? Shazzan? Jonny Quest? The Herculoids? The Magilla Gorilla Show? Underdog? Tom and Jerry? So many memories, so little time.