As a kid of the 70s, Glory loves walking down a 70s Saturday morning memory lane and invites you to tag along!
Saturday Morning Nostalgia
Saturday mornings in the 1970s were a special time for many kids across the United States. It was when we got our cartoon fix. Unlike now, when cartoons and children's shows are accessible virtually constantly, we youngsters of the 1970s had to wait patiently for Saturday morning to arrive.
Despite the fact that the 1970s supplied us with an abundance of fun and memorable Saturday morning television programming, there were also plenty of less memorable shows.
Below is a list of 10 shows that might have passed under your viewing radar back then.
I admit that I don't recall Here Comes The Grump, The Houndcats and The Red Hand Gang. My favorite show on this list is The Kids From C.A.P.E.R.
Do You Remember These 10 Shows?
- Here Comes the Grump (1969–70)
- The Houndcats (1972)
- Devlin (1974)
- Run, Joe, Run (1974–75)
- The Kids From C.A.P.E.R. (1976)
- The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty (1975)
- Wacko (1977)
- Baggy Pants and the Nit Wits (1977)
- The Red Hand Gang (1977)
- The New Shmoo (1979–80)
1. Here Comes the Grump (1969–70)
The Grump is a short-tempered wizard who puts a spell of gloom over the land ruled by Princess Dawn. She and her friend from Earth, Terry Dexter, would travel in his vehicle that was supported by a huge balloon as they searched for the Cave of the Whispering Orchids that had a glass key that would break The Grump's spell.
As they traveled, they were chased by The Grump as he rode his dragon, Dingo, and they would meet all kinds of interesting characters and see strange places. One of the running gags was that each time The Grump caught up to Princess Dawn, his dragon would sneeze and burn him.
- Voices: Rip Taylor, Jay North and Stefanianna Christopherson.
- Produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.
- Some sources state it aired in rerun form until December 28, 1970.
- The series had a wrap-up episode before leaving the air.
2. The Houndcats (1972)
A blending of two prime-time shows: the popular Mission: Impossible and the short-lived Bearcats! were the inspiration for this cartoon series. The Houndcats were comprised of three dogs and two cats, and each was a highly skilled agent.
The houndcats were led by Stutz (Michael Bell), who was always calm, cool, and collected. His right-hand man was Dingdog (Stu Gilliam), a Briard, who was dressed in a blue Civil War uniform. He was known for always doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Mussel Mutt (Aldo Ray) was an Old English Sheepdog. He was big, and his eyes were usually covered by his hat, and he was always hungry.
Putty Puss (Joe Besser) was a small cat who was a master of disguise. Rhubarb (Arte Johnson) was a scientist and a dog, and usually only his nose showed because he wore a big sombrero and a long coat, which was filled with all kinds of things.
In each episode, they received their mission instructions from the Chief (Daws Butler) on a recorded message that always exploded after being listened to. They rode around in a vehicle they named Sparkplug
- Produced by DePatie–Freleng Enterprises.
- Aired on NBC from September 9 to December 2, 1972.
- 13 half-hour episodes (22 minutes without commercials).
- Available on DVD as of October 20, 2015, Film Chest Media Group released The Barkleys and The Houndcats on a 2-DVD Set (Region 1).
3. Devlin (1974)
Inspired by the popular real-life daredevil and stunt rider Evel Knievel this show featured Ernie Devlin, the oldest of three orphaned teens who worked at a traveling circus. Ernie was the dare devil stunt rider for the circus with Todd acting as his mechanic.
- Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
- A rare cartoon in that it was a drama.
- Originally going to be called Wild Wheels, with Devlin's character instead named Dare. Network executives changed the name fearing they would be blamed for promoting dangerous activities.
4. Run, Joe, Run (1974–75)
Run, Joe, Run was a live-action show that centered on the story of Joe, a German Shepherd who served in the K-9 Corps of the military.
Joe's handler was Sergeant Will Cory (Arch Whiting), who had been attacked by a dog that the authorities thought had been Joe. He was ordered to be destroyed but managed to escape. With a bounty on his head, the dog went from place to place.
Will spent the first season trying to find him, but by the time the second season rolled around, Cory had been sent back on active duty and the new character, hiker, Josh McCoy (Chad States), befriended Joe and they traveled together, getting involved in the lives and problems of the people they met.
- Show aired on NBC from September 7, 1974 to November 30, 1975.
- Notable guest stars: Sid Haig, Kristy McNichol, Robbie Rist, Ralph Meeker.
- Joe was played by producer William P. D'Angelo's own dog, Heinrich, who was 18 months old and trained by Karl Miller.
- Whiting and Joe/Heinrich had to train at the March Air Force Base to get a better understanding of how a dog is trained for the K-9 Corps.
- Created by Richard H. Landau, who tried to sell the story as a prime-time show for several years, but networks weren't interested.
- The show was praised by many critics for being non-violent television entertainment for children.
- Each script was examined by child psychologist Dr. Barbara Mills, who made sure there was nothing that could damage young psyches.
- Narrated by Paul Frees.
5. The Kids From C.A.P.E.R. (1976)
Four teenaged boys made up the Civilian Authority for the Protection of Everybody Regardless (C.A.P.E.R.) headquartered in the 927th Police Precinct in the fictitious city of "Northeast Southweston". They helped the police solve unusual cases.
Each of guys wore a brown belt that had the letter "C" emblazoned on it. They often traveled in their mobile crime lab, a former hot dog vendor wagon called the Big Bologna as it still had the giant hot dog attached to its roof.
- Aired on NBC from September 11, 1976, to November 20, 1976, when the show was put on hiatus, leaving two episodes unaired. NBC aired the two remaining episodes, one on May 21, 1977, and the last on November 13, 1977.
- Cast members included Steve Bonino as P.T. The founder of the group, with such a superhuman sense of smell that he named his nose "Seymour".
- Cosie Costa played Bugs. He had super human strength and speed and could make things appear by looking at his hands. He also had a habit of going into a rage whenever anyone said the word "banana".
- Biff Warren played Doomsday. He was a sweet and gentle soul who had the ability to communicate with animals. He was always eating or thinking about food.
- John Lansing played Doc. He was tall, dark and handsome and unaware of the power he had over girls, who found him irresistible.
- The team was also a rock group, and each week a song was incorporated into the episode. An album was released in 1976, but for some reason they neglected to include the theme song, which was very catchy. The theme was written by Jack Holmes and Ron Dante, the singer of "Sugar, Sugar", a hit in 1969 for The Archies.
6. The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty (1975)
A mixture of live-action and animation, the show featured Walter Kitty, a shy and somewhat cowardly cat who spent lots of time daydreaming about being a super hero and helping those in trouble.
A bulldog named Tyrone was his biggest enemy, and each episode began with a live action scene of Waldo and his girlfriend, Felicity, being harassed by Tyrone.
- The series was based on the short story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," written in 1939 by James Thurber.
- Produced by Filmation, which was sued by the Thurber estate for not seeking permission to use the short story theme.
- After being sued, Filmation had to change the name of the cartoon to The Adventures of Waldo Kitty.
- Voice talents: Howard Morris, Jane Webb and Allan Melvin.
7. Wacko (1977)
A 30-minute variety show that featured music and comedy skits. It was hosted by Bo Kapral, Julie McWhirter and Charles Fleisher. Three of the reoccurring segments were The Clown Doctor, The Animal Game Show, which featured cast members dressed up as animals and Mystery Submarine.
- Created by Chris Bearde.
- Produced by Nephi Productions.
- Aired on CBS from September 10, 1977, to November 12, 1977, with just 10 episodes shown.
- In one of the episodes that featured the Dwight Twilley Band, a young and virtually unknown singer by the name of Tom Petty played bass guitar.
8. Baggy Pants and the Nit Wits (1977)
A 30-minute cartoon series that had two segments, one featuring Baggy Pants, a Charlie Chaplin-like cat who found himself in humorous situations, and like Chaplin never spoke a word.
The second segment featured the Nitwits, two aged superheroes, Tyrone (voiced by Arte Johnson) and his wife Gladys (voice by Ruth Buzzi). He had a cane named Elmo which helped the duo to fly.
- Johnson and Buzzi reprised their roles in the cartoon having originally performed them in the classic series, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
- Aired on NBC from September 10, 1977, to December 3, 1977, with a total of 13 episodes.
- Produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.
- Never released on DVD.
9. The Red Hand Gang (1977)
This live action show featured five preteens who formed the club "The Red Hand Gang" and went about solving mysteries. They left a red hand print to show every place they had been.
- Aired on NBC from September 10, 1977, to November 26, 1977.
- Produced by D'Angelo-Bullock-Allen Productions.
- The network and producers of the show envisioned it to be a modern-day version of The Little Rascals, which were a series of short comedy films made between 1922 and 1944 that chronicled the adventures of a group of children.
- Cast: Matthew Laborteaux as Frankie, James Bond III as Doc, Jolie Newman as Joanne, Johnny Brogna as Lil Bill, J.R. Miller as J.R and Boomer, their dog.
- The time slot chosen to air the show (12:30 P.M.) was blamed for the poor ratings, as many affiliate stations would pre-empt the show for their own programming and sports shows.
The Red Hand Gang, Do You Remember It?
10. The New Shmoo (1979–80)
Mickey, Nita, and Billy Joe were three teenagers who worked for Mighty Mysteries Comics. They solved mysteries with help from their friend Shmoo, a blob that could change its shape.
- Aired on NBC from September 22, 1979, to November 15, 1980.
- Produced by Hanna-Barbera.
- Beginning on December 8, 1979, the remaining five episodes were combined into a new 90-minute show titled, Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo.
- The Shmoo was a creation of comic strip artist Al Capp and was featured in his Li'l Abner comic strip.
- The plotline was very similar to that of Scooby Doo, and indeed this show was considered just another Scooby clone.
- Voice talents: Frank Welker, Dolores Cantuas Primo, Bill Idelson and Chuck McCann.
Other Reel Rundown Pages You Might Enjoy
- Classic 1970s Weekly TV Variety Series
A look at classic TV variety series of the 70s. Tim Conway, Glen Campbell, Jim Nabors, and more. Features photos, trivia, and more! Relive the 70s, the decade of the variety series!
- Short-Lived and Easily Forgotten TV Shows From the '70s
Here are 45 short-lived and easily forgotten television series from the 1970s. Plotlines, actors, trivia, photos, videos, and more. Take a walk down memory lane, and see how many of these shows you remember!
- Filmation's Live-Action Saturday Morning Shows of the 1970s
A brief look at the 1970s live-action Saturday morning shows produced by Filmation.
© 2022 Glory Miller