Thursday, January 14, 2016

When I was watching cartoons

It's pretty much a fact that kids grow up much faster today than they did in the '70s. And even in the '70s, I grew up slower than most.

I didn't have older siblings. I was the oldest. We didn't have cable. In fact, I don't know if my folks ever have had cable. And, most of all, I loved cartoons far too much to be interested in what was on "grown-up TV."

Other friends, even my own brother, were in a hurry to grow up and they gravitated toward early '70s sitcoms or movies. Me? I liked my PBS kids shows and I loved my cartoons.

Saturday morning was the highlight of the week and like any kid from the '70s, I can recite the cartoons that aired at that time: The Bugs Bunny Show, The Jetsons, Fat Albert, The Pink Panther, Scooby Doo Where Are You, Josie and the Pussy Cats, Josie and the Pussy Cats in Outer Space, Speed Buggy, The Harlem Globetrotters, The Underdog Show, Super Friends, you get the gist.

The only shows that I saw that involved actual people were on PBS or kids shows that also appeared on Saturday morning, like Land Of the Lost and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.

Because of this, I missed the entire first half of the groovy '70s on the tube, shows like the Mod Squad and the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

Plus, I didn't watch sports at all. I've gotten plenty familiar with early '70s baseball because of my love for the diamond. But competition on other fields of play between 1970-75 is still pretty hazy.

Mark Hoyle recently sent me some cards from that very hazy period that include wonderful items from both sports and pop culture.

Let's take a look.

Here is a 1974 Topps football card of Ahmad Rashad. I don't know Rashad as a Bill at all (he played just one season for the Bills and was injured for an entire year while with Buffalo in 1975). I know Rashad as a Viking and a TV commentator for NBC and ABC. And the former husband of the TV wife of Bill Cosby. He was also O.J. Simpson's roommate. Wow, a lot of ugly people in that paragraph.

Spike Jones!  I had no idea that the Bills had a punter named Spike Jones. See, this is what I missed while watching cartoons. Spike punted in the NFL for eight years while I was watching the Hair Bear Bunch.

A couple of Sabres off of the 1974-75 Topps hockey set. These were two key guys on the team that went to the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals. My wife, who watched hockey as a kid like I watched baseball, introduced me to who these people are. I was too wrapped up in the Funky Phantom (yet another rip-off of Scooby Doo).

1975-76 Topps basketball is a very nice-looking set. In fact, several of the NBA sets from the '70s dribble circles around the designs of other major sports. It's too bad I've never paid much attention to the NBA.

The pride-and-joy of the Buffalo Braves, Bob McAdoo, beat out more well-known guys like Barry and Jabbar for the scoring title in 74-75. I couldn't be more happy for someone who was watching H.R. Pufnstuf at the time.

Now we're transitioning from sports to pseudo sports. I don't do wrestling, but this is an awesome card that I will not turn down. Jake "the Snake" Roberts was from the time period when I paid the most attention to wrestling (albeit in a drunken stupor). And you can't argue with a guy who brings a python into the ring.

Onto the nonsports cards. Obviously this is Planet Of The Apes -- a movie that came out before my time, but spawned many different offshoots including a mid-1970s TV show. That's what these cards reference. They came out in 1975, even though the copyright on the back says 1967!

I remember my brother and a friend of mine being into the Apes. My brother even had some of the action figures.

Another early '70s TV craze. Kung Fu was hugely popular among people who didn't watch cartoons in the early '70s. When the song says "Everybody was Kung Fu fighting," everybody WAS Kung Fu fighting. Even me. Except instead of watching David Carradine, I was watching Hong Kong Phooey.

The Fonz! Mark Hoyle is trying to get a card into my '70s TV/movie binder, and I believe he has succeeded with this card.

Happy Days was around long enough that I watched it after I shed my cartoon ways. I even remember these cards, which came out in 1976. This card is from the episode where Fonzie arranges to get into Richie's band so he can play a bongo solo.


I don't really feel deprived that I was watching cartoons when all of those other things were going on. I saw plenty of shows and movies once I became too old to get up on Saturday mornings.

And I got to see what happens when Pebbles and Bam Bam grow up, too.


  1. Thanks for that great trip down memory lane. That brought back some great memories of those Saturday morning classics, sitting in the floor in my PJs while having my bowl of cereal without a care in the world. Something about that shag carpet, the glow of the TV, and those sugary cereals that made Saturdays the best day of the week. I can also remember watching episodes of Kung-Fu with my dad and him always calling me grasshopper. Thanks for posting this nostalgia trip!

  2. Jake The Snake Roberts was for some inexplicable reason my favorite wrestler for a time. I tended to cheer for the heels outwardly -- because that was cool to me at that age. Before that, I was watching the World Class Championship Wrestling from Texas with the Von Erichs...and I again gravitated to the heels like Chris Adams.

    Ahmad Rashad, with all those ugly ties, has to be the second shooter on the grassy knoll, doesn't he? Even if he was like 5 years old or something?

  3. Man oh man, I watched those same cartoons, and the "people" shows mentioned too! great stuff all around. Love the vintage non sports cards.

  4. Sigmund the Sea Monster was awesome. Thanks for the reminder of so many of my favorite shows.

  5. Quite the nostalgia trip, even for a relative youngling like me. Familiar with/at least occasionally saw everything in this post but that Planet of the Apes show, and I will never not drop whatever I'm doing at any given moment to watch anything Scooby-Doo, or any of it's clones/knockoffs, for that matter. I guess I've never really stopped watching wrestling or cartoons, though my tolerance for crap is extremely low at this point.

    PS: Jake was probably often in a drunken/drug-induced stupor right along with you.

  6. When I saw your 70s movie binder my first though was you were going to end up with a Virdon in it. But you don't like Planet of the Apes so I guess not.

    (Yeah, I know it's a different Virdon)

    1. I didn't say I didn't like Planet of the Apes. It's just a little before my time. The binder is for shows I watched.

  7. I tired of cartoons early. Superman (with George Reeves) was my show. Saturday mornings was "Davey & Goliath", curling (yes, we had curling on TV every week, Roller Derby, and wrestling (Big Cat Ernie Ladd, Haystacks Calhoun, Dick The Bulldog Brower era), followed by Abbott & Costello movies. I did watch Scooby Doo, but that was about it for the 'toons for me. And we had some syndicated show in the very early 70s that was essentially like MTV, but decades earlier (the video for George Baker's "Little Green Bag" is stuck firmly in my mind to this day, even though--or perhaps because--it was so completely stupid. A girl in one of those 60s hippy blouses, walking along the railroad tracks, and, yes, on the tracks she finds...a little bag--not even green. That was the whole video).

  8. Wow, we were just discussing the old Krofft shows here at work last week. Saw where they are/were coming out with an updated Elecra Woman and Dyna Girl series...
    My fondest memories of cartoons are more the weekday regimen of Speed Racer, the Adam West Batman show, Kimba the white lion, and Johnny Quest. Space Ghost came later (the original, not the talk show), and then way later was the epic Star Blazers. Was just on Amazon looking at DVDs of the second and third seasons of that.

  9. Wow, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. I remember that show, but never would have remembered the name.

  10. Great trip down memory lane . Your Saturday mornings sound similar to mine . I'm glad the Fonz made the cut

  11. Great post. Definitely took me back to my childhood. I would have been a Land of the Lost super collector had they made trading cards for that show.

  12. Liddsville and Pufnstuf, drug-inspired television for young people. I feel fortunate to have been a part of those old days. My 70s binder is growing leaps n bounds. Do you need an Angel or two? I may have dupes. ;) Thanks for the "trip"!!