As a kid of the 70s, Glory has lots of cool 70s television memories to share and this fuels her love of writing at Hubpages.
On September 8, 1973, a brand new season of Saturday morning cartoons began on ABC. I was really excited because this season had Rick Springfield starring in his own cartoon series called Mission: Magic! Springfield was an up-and-coming teen idol here in the US at the time; I was familiar with him from his many write-ups in teen magazines of the day. My second reason for excitement was that the Super Friends was debuting and it would feature two of my all-time favorite superheroes, Batman and Wonder Woman.
Of course, there were eight other shows as well. Two of them, The Brady Kids and The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie, would be starting their second (and last) seasons on the air. Oh, and one couldn't forget that an American classic, the popular American Bandstand, with host Dick Clark, would be starting its 17th season.
A season for Saturday mornings usually ran from September to at least March when the networks would then put the cartoons in rerun mode. If a show didn't perform to expected standards, it was removed from the schedule and another show was put on in its place.
So, let's get on with our look, shall we?
The Bugs Bunny Show
This 30-minute that show featured classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety, the Road Runner, and more provided the entertainment for this show.
This show actually began in 1960 as a prime time series on ABC where it ran for two years. It was then moved to Saturday mornings, first on ABC (from 62-68), then onto CBS (71-73), then back to ABC from September 8, 1973 to August 30, 1975. During its long TV run of 40 years, it aired under a variety of titles and was shown on different television networks.
Yogi Bear and his friend Boo Boo Bear traveled with their friends like Wally Gator, Huckleberry Hound, Augie Doggie, Pixie and Dixie, Peter Potomus, Quick Draw McGraw, and more in a flying ark battling villains with names like Mr. Pollution, Mr. Prankster, Mr. Fibber, Mr. Waste, Gossipy Witch, and more who were bent on destroying the environment.
The show premiered on ABC September 8, 1973 and aired until August 30, 1975. It was rebroadcasted the following season. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera with 17 30-minute episodes.
The pilot for this series actually aired in 1972 as an installment on the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie titled Yogi's Ark Lark.
This classic piece of cartoon history is available on DVD.
This hour-long show was produced by Hanna-Barbera and aired on ABC September 8, 1973 to August 30, 1975.
The super heroes featured were Aquaman, Batman and Robin, Superman, and Wonder Woman along with teen detectives in training Wendy, the brains of the trio, Marvin, who was a wee bit clumsy, and their dog, Wonder Dog. This trio had no super powers to speak of, but they did fight a variety of nasty villains in this series.
The show was canceled after one season, but ABC did use it as a mid-season replacement series, paring it down to 30 minutes per episode.
While going through a number of cast changes, both hero and villain and name changes too, the Superfriends would remain on the air until 1986.
The series, in all of its incarnations, is available on DVD.
Lassie's Rescue Rangers
Lassie, along with Ben Turner and his wife, Susan, and their two children, Jackie and Ben Jr, called the Forest Force called Thunder Mountain home. They worked together to protect the woodland from the many dangers posed by humankind.
Filmation and Rankin-Bass teamed up to present this Saturday morning gem which premiered on ABC September 8, 1973 and ran until August 31, 1974. Reruns aired from September 8, 1974 to August 31, 1975.
The Forest Force was made up of a variety of animals including an owl, a raccoon, a mountain lion, and a skunk.
The show was inspired by the 1972 cartoon movie Lassie and the Spirit of Thunder Mountain, which aired on the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.
Additional voices included Ted Knight as Ben Turner, Jane Webb as Laura Turner, Lane Scheimer and Keith Sutherland as Jackie Turner, Erika Scheimer as Susan Turner, and Hal Harvey as Ben Turner Jr and Gene Fox.
Goober and the Ghost Chasers
Reporters Tina, Ted, and Gillie, along with their dog Goober, investigated haunted houses and reported their findings in Ghost Chasers magazine. Goober, a rather fraidy-cat of a dog, would turn invisible when frightened by the various ghosts and ghoulies.
This show aired on ABC from September 8, 1973 to August 32, 1975. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera. It was a Scooby Doo clone of sorts, but at least the ghosts and ghoulies were real in many cases.
The show featured guest stars throughout the series run, with the most common being The Partridge Family in cartoon form.
The voice cast includes Paul Winchell as Goober, Ronnie Schell as Gillie, Jerry Dexter as Ted, and Jo Anne Harris as Tina.
The Partridge Family Voices: Susan Dey as Laura, Brian Foster as Chris, Suzanne Crough as Tracy, Danny Bonaduce as Danny.
The complete series is available on DVD.
The Brady Kids
With the popularity of the prime time sitcom The Brady Bunch, The Brady Kids (Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marcia, Jan, and Cindy) came to Saturday mornings in animated form. The cartoon had storylines similar to what you found in their prime time show. The cast also included two Chinese-speaking Pandas, Ping and Pong, as well as a talking mynah bird named Marlon.
The show aired on ABC September 16, 1972 to August 31, 1974. This was actually the second and final season for the series. It was produced by Filmation with a total of 22 30-minute episodes.
The series pilot Jungle Bungle aired as an episode on the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie under the title of The Brady Kids on Mysterious Island.
The cast included, Maureen McCormick as Marcia Brady, Barry Williams as Greg Brady, Eve Plumb as Jan Brady, Chris Knight as Peter Brady, Mike Lookinland as Bobby Brady, Larry Stoch as Marlon the magical Mynah Bird/Ping/Pong.
For this second season, McCormick, Williams, and Knight did not participate in the series. Their voices were provided by Lane Scheimer as Greg, Keith Allen as Peter, and Erika Scheimer as Marcia.
Rick Springfield's Mission: Magic!
Miss Tickle, a high school teacher, was able to draw a magic door on her classroom's chalk board which opened a portal into an alternate universe where Rick Springfield lived. (Yes, the same Rick Springfield who would bemoan his unrequited love for Jesse's Girl in 1980.) She and six of her students, Carol, Socks, Vinnie, Harvey, Kim, and Franklin, made up the Adventurer's Club. They would help Rick solve mysteries in his world beyond the chalkboard. Springfield would sing one sing per episode that usually tied in with the moral of the story.
The show aired on ABC September 1973 to August 31, 1974 with 16 30-minute episodes. A soundtrack album was released in 1974, with a CD version being released in 2004.
Years later, Rick would state that he didn't enjoy the entire Mission: Magic! experience. (If you ever see this Rick, I loved the series and it is still one of my favorite 70s Saturday morning shows ever!)
The voice cast includes Lola Fisher as Miss Tickle, Howard Morris as Socks, Vinnie, Mr. Samuels, Erika Scheimer as Kim, Carol, Lane Scheimer as Harvey and Franklin, and Rick Springfield as himself.
The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie
A movie of the week for kids is the best way to describe this series. Each animated episode was one hour in length and used many already popular characters from cartoons and live action shows. ABC used it much the same way they did their prime-time movie of the week ventures, to test view cartoons to see if any were suitable for series material.
This show actually premiered one season earlier on September 9, 1972, but it was renewed for a second season on September 8, 1973. The first season had 17 episodes with the second season only managing 3 before it ended on November 17, 1973.
The second season was retitled The New ABC Saturday Superstar Movie. It is interesting to note that the theme simply calls it The Saturday Superstar Movie, where as TV Guide ads list is as The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.
Various production companies produced the episodes; Hanna-Barbera, Rankin-Bass, Filmation, and Fred Calvert Productions among others.
Several of the episodes from season one served as pilot's for cartoon series: The Brady Kids on Mysterious Island served as the pilot for the cartoon series The Bradys; Yogi's Ark Lark was the pilot for Yogi's Gang and Lassie and the Spirit of Thunder Mountain was the pilot episode for Lassie's Rescue Rangers.
This music and dance show was back for its 17th season with host Dick Clark. The show had a long history which dated back to 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Bob Horn as the host.
By 1952, the show morphed into the now iconic dance and music format that we so well remember. In 1956, Dick Clark would take over the hosting duties.
A few guests for the 1973 season included The DeFranco Family, Andy Kim, Billy Preston, Kool and the Gang, Lobo, Aerosmith, Maureen McGovern, Terry Jacks, and Jim Stafford.
Did the 1973-74 cartoon season on ABC provide us with some classic cartoons? Well, I suppose it all depends on your personal taste. I loved, as mentioned above, Mission: Magic and the Super Friends, and I kind of liked the Goober and the Ghost Chasers because it had ghosts and ghoulies. Thanks to Scooby Doo, I loved shows like that. I admit that I was not too taken by the other shows on the schedule.
Anyway, did you have an ABC favorite from that season? What did you think of Rick Springfield as a cartoon character? Did Goober ever stand a chance of dethroning Scooby Doo as the biggest chicken when it came to chasing ghosts? All kinds of questions to ponder, eh?
Provided below is a guest book in which you can leave comments or ask questions about the shows, which I will attempt to answer to the best of my ability. Please keep comments and questions on topic. All comments and questions are moderated before they appear in an attempt to keep this page as reader friendly as possible. Thanks for understanding.
© 2021 Glory Miller