Saturday mornings in 2019 are a far cry from the Saturday mornings of 1985. Hell, it’s been that way since the late 1990’s when the networks started phasing out their cartoon lineups in favor of other programming on Saturdays. I’m not sure what caused the change unless it was the fact that cable television was a staple in most homes by that time. But one thing I do know, Saturday mornings in the ’80s and early ’90s were the bomb for kids. All three of the big networks stuffed their Saturday morning lineups with some of the best cartoons ever produced, and we ate them up!
We all had our favorites, and we all had the ones we weren’t fond of. Channel hopping was commonplace for us kids on Saturday mornings as our favorites were usually spread across all three networks. And back then, that took a little effort. I had to keep getting up to change the channel between shows because I don’t remember having a television with a remote control until the late ’80s. Not that it really mattered though because it was worth the effort to get to the cartoon I really wanted to watch.
Let’s take a look at the Saturday morning cartoon lineups from 1985 and talk about what our favorite offerings were!
NBC unleashed a pretty swank lineup in 1985 with a lot of cartoons that are still enjoyed to this day. It may not have been evident at the time, but The Smurfs would go on to become a powerhouse for the next 34 years, and will probably continue to be one for still a long time to come. Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears debuted in 1985 and was one of the slickest looking shows on any of the networks. Alvin and the Chipmunks went on to be another powerhouse in the pop culture world, and Mr. T was near his zenith, so his Mister T cartoon was flying high at this point as well. It’s Punky Brewster was piggy-backing off the success of the live action prime time show on NBC, and The Snorks was a Smurfs clone that went on to moderate success of its own. Kidd Video and One to Grow On were minor hits in their own right, and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends helped to capture the young comic books fans to round out the block.
Watch this short commercial where NBC is pimping some of their shows for the coming Saturday Morning: 1985 NBC Saturday Morning Cartoons Promo. Commercials like that used to get me pumped up for the coming Saturday morning.
CBS countered with a decent lineup of their own. They were banking on the mega-popularity of the World Wrestling Federation and Hulk Hogan in 1985 and made Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling the cornerstone of their 1985 lineup. Much like NBC and the Smurfs, CBS had a powerhouse in their midst with Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies cartoon, and the Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show featured iconic characters that had been bankable for years. The Berenstain Bears were well known to kids everywhere since most kids had read, or at least heard, a lot of their stories from the popular books, so this looked like it could have been a big hit for them. Dungeons and Dragons was on the tongue of most kids in this time frame due to the popularity/taboo of the game. The Wuzzles, CBS Story Break, and The Young Astronauts rounded out the lineup.