It's a '70s Saturday Morning All Over Again!
It is time to take a fond look back at just a few of the cartoons and live-action shows that aired on Saturday mornings in the 1970s.
Some shows have become classics, still as popular today with fans as they were when they first aired. Other shows simply vanished after their initial run, never to be seen again, except perhaps as a video on a YouTube channel.
What you will find on this page are plotlines, trivia, photos and videos. Of course, not every cartoon can be listed on a page this size.
1. The Addams Family (1973–75)
This 30-minute, 16-episode cartoon series ran on NBC from September 8, 1973, to August 30, 1975, via Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Our favorite mysterious and spooky family was traveling across the country in their Victorian RV and found themselves involved in “hair raising” adventure. Honestly, this is the Addams Family, what other kind of adventures would they have?
While all of the familiar characters were included in this series, only Ted Cassidy (Lurch) and Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester) voiced their characters.
This series is available on DVD.
2. ARK II (1976)
This live-action series was produced by Filmation and aired on CBS from September 11, 1976, to December 18, 1976. Set in the 25th century, we saw an Earth that had been devastated by war, pollution, and waste.
Three young scientists—Jonah (Terry Lester), Ruth (Jean Marie Hon), and Samuel (Jose Flores), along with their pet chimp, Adam—traveled the barren countryside in their high-tech RV, searching for survivors. Their intention was to help them get back on their feet and to heal the planet.
It is also a popular and persistent story that Dean Jeffries, who created the RV-like vehicle used in the 1977 feature film Damnation Alley, created the RV for this series. He didn’t.
3. Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977–78)
Most likely inspired by the prime time series Charlie’s Angels, this Hanna-Barbera venture gave us Captain Caveman, a prehistoric caveman who had been frozen for millions of years in a block of ice, and who was set free by three cute teenagers, Brenda, Taffy, and Dee Dee. Together, this foursome solves mysteries.
Each of the episodes in this series were actually segments from Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics (September 10, 1977 – September 2, 1978) and The Scooby All-Stars (September 9, 1978 – September 8, 1979), both on ABC. The network used the series as a replacement for the canceled Spider Woman cartoon.
Captain Caveman disappointed TV Guide, who had done a study on 27 different cartoon shows to determine their educational value. The experts on their panel couldn't think of anything good about the series.
4. Casper and the Angels (1979–80)
Hanna-Barbera produced this show, which aired on NBC for 13 episodes from September 22, 1979, to May 3, 1980.
Casper was assisted in crime-solving by two female motorcycle cops, Minnie and Maxie, most likely inspired by two prime time shows, Charlie's Angels and C.H.i.P.S. Also helping Casper was fellow ghost Hairy Scary, who scared troublemakers and villains.
Casper and the Angels has to be one of the most forgotten 70's Saturday morning cartoons ever made. It has never been released on DVD, but there are a few VHS tapes floating around.
5. Devlin (1974)
Devlin is one of the great forgotten cartoons of the 70’s. I think you either liked it or hated it. There didn’t seem to be an in-between kind of reaction.
This was a Hanna-Barbera production that aired on ABC from September 7, 1974, to December 21, 1974, and got its inspiration from '70s daredevil, Evel Knievel.
Devlin wasn't funny. It was a family drama centered on 22-year-old Ernie Devlin, a stunt rider for a traveling circus who looked after his two siblings, brother Tod and sister Sandy.
The show focused on realistic topics like adopting a stray dog, being blamed for things you didn’t do, overcoming your fears, and so on. Ernie usually had to use his skills as a stunt rider to bring about a satisfactory conclusion to each episode.
If you missed it the first time around, it was released on DVD on May 24, 2016. It typically isn’t that expensive on Amazon, unlike some other 70's releases, which can get pretty pricey.
6. The Funky Phantom (1971–72)
This was a Hanna-Barbera series that ran on ABC from September 11, 1971, to September 2, 1972, for a total of 17 episodes. The Funky Phantom featured the ghost of Jonathan Wellington Muddlemore, a coward during the American Revolutionary War, who took refuge from British troops in the old grandfather clock in Muddlemore Mansion. Of course he couldn't get out and died there.
Fast forward to modern day, when teenagers Skip, Augie, April, and their dog, Elmo, take refuge from a rainstorm in Mudsy's house. When they set the time on the old clock, out pops The Funky Phantom himself!
Without a doubt, this was a Scooby Doo rip-off as the kids solved mysteries and Augie sort of looked a bit like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
This series inspired a 13-issue comic book series by Gold Key Comics (at least 5 of those issues, 2, 7, 10, 11, and 12 were also released simultaneously under the Whitman brand.)
7. The Ghost Busters (1975)
Nine years before ghostbusting became a worldwide phenomenon, The Ghost Busters was live-action, Filmation-produced series that aired on ABC from September 6, 1975, to December 13, 1975, for a total of 15 episodes.
Starring Larry Storch as Spenser and Forrest Tucker as Kong—yes, you might remember this duo from the '60s sitcom F-Troop—the two men were bumbling detectives whose cases usually featured ghosts and haunted houses, much to their displeasure.
They were assisted in their ghost busting by Tracey, a gorilla who drove their beat-up old jalopy of a car. Bob Burns wore the gorilla suit, and I honestly have no idea why this character was even included in the series.
The Ghost Busters was released on DVD in 2007 and contains the entire series, a photo album, interviews with cast and crew, television bumpers, and an episode of the cartoon version of the show that Filmation also produced.
8. The Groovie Goolies Show (1970–71)
The Groovie Goolies Show was a fun spoof of the Universal monsters. Produced by Filmation, it aired on CBS from September 12, 1970, to September 4, 1971 as Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies.
In 1971, the popular Goolies got their own show. Each episode featured at least two musical numbers and had humor much like Laugh-In, but of course, written for kids. Much of the comedy came from the voices of Howard Morris (Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show) and the aforementioned Larry Storch (F-Troop and The Ghost Busters).
The song "Chick-Boom" was used in a Goolies episode and became an unlikely hit for Richard Mondo (aka Daddy Dewdrop).
The series is available on DVD and can be a bit pricey. There is also a five-episode DVD which might be a better choice if you have never seen the show and want to check it out before buying the complete series.
9. Harlem Globetrotters (1970–72)
Harlem Globetrotters was a Hanna-Barbera production that aired on CBS from September 12, 1970, to September 2, 1972, for a total of 22 episodes. Players like Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, Geese Ausbie, and Gip Gipson traveled the world and used their skills at basketball as a way to defeat evil.
The show moved to NBC, which aired reruns in 1978 under the title of The Go-Go Globetrotters. This version of the Globetrotters featured other Hanna-Barbera favorites like The Herculoids and the C.B. Bears.
The Super Globetrotters (1979)
The Super Globetrotters was a spinoff of the original Globetrotters that aired on NBC in 1979. This time, our favorite funny basketballers took on superhero identities, including Multi-Man, Sphere Man, Gismo Man, Spaghetti Man, and Fluid Man. They fought villains all over the world!
The series lasted three months before NBC combined it with Godzilla, thus creating The Godzilla/Globetrotters Adventure Hour, which lasted until September 20, 1980.
10. Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch! (1971–72)
The Hair Bear Bunch was produced by Hanna-Barbera and ran on CBS from September 11, 1971, to January 8, 1972, with a total of sixteen 30-minute episodes.
Three bears—Square, Bubi, and Hair—reside at Wonderland Zoo and are always looking for ways to trick zoo director, Eustace P. Peevly, into improving their living conditions.
A story goes that producers wanted actor Joe Flynn (McHale's Navy) to be the voice actor for Peevly, but he didn't get the job because, "Joe Flynn didn't sound enough like Joe Flynn." Go figure that one out!
In 1972, Golden Key Comics adapted the cartoon into a 13-issue comic book series using the title, The Hair Bears.
11. The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show (1974)
This live-action musical comedy series aired on CBS from September 7, 1974, to December 21, 1974, with 16 episodes produced. It featured real-life brothers, Mark, Brett, and Bill Hudson, who were given this Saturday morning venture thanks to a successful primetime replacement show the previous summer.
The network liked what they saw and felt that the brothers would do better on Saturday morning. Thus, The Razzle Dazzle Show was born. It featured the brothers singing, dancing, and doing comedy skits.
Rod Hull, an English actor and writer, appeared with his Emu puppet, who often attacked him or those around him. It made for some entertaining moments.
I think it's a shame that the brothers didn’t have a more successful career in music, as they were very talented and had a nice sound. I think that many folks possibly saw them more as a novelty act than serious musicians.