Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Saturday Mornings

I was a Saturday morning cartoon fanatic in the 1970’s. I couldn’t wait to plop down in front of the boob tube, tune into Bugs, Scooby, Tarzan, and soak 'em up until my mom pulled the plug, so to speak.

Though I loved all the cartoons, probably my favorite excursions were the live action dramas that came on after the animations. Does anybody else remember Ark II?

The Ark II is a futuristic, high-tech RV that carried the crew of Jonah (the leader), Ruth and Samuel (a sister and brother team), and Adam (a talking chimpanzee) across the country. The crew's mission was to right the wrongs and promote peace in a post apocalyptic world. The Ark Roamer, a jeep like vehicle, and jet packs allowed the crew to go where the Ark II couldn't take them.

The ever-expanding YouTube had a clip from the show:

After all these years, I have one question, why Jonah and not Noah?

Of course, YouTube is brilliant because one memory leads to another. Here's Isis and Shazam.

When it came to animation, Tarzan was a favorite of mine. Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (36 episodes from 1976–77) was rather intelligent entertainment for Saturday morning and, in many ways, it is the most faithful adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s creation. This Tarzan is smart and well-spoken. His sidekick is N’kima the monkey (Cheeta is from the movies). The animation is based upon the work of Burrough's favorite Tarzan artist, Burne Hogarth, and the series featured many of the lost cities from the novels. Ok, I just read all that from Wikipedia, but from my continued "research" for this post, I watched Tarzan ‘The City of Gold’ and it was as good as I remembered it.

Yeah, it’s dated for today’s audiences but not for this big kid looking through 1970's spectacles.



I remember this TARZAN - we used to get it on weekdays evenings. I think around 4.30 on BBC1

Charles Gramlich said...

I do remember Ark II with fondness. And Isis. Man was she gorgeous to a young fellow. Shazam I could never handle. I did like Thundercats for the cartoons, and Johnny Quest.

David Cranmer said...

Archavist, It was a good show for a kid to watch. Lots of adventure with a moral attached to each story. Do they even make those anymore?

Charles, I am so glad someone else remembers Ark II. Johnny Quest remains a classic and I'm sure will be updated one day for another generation.

Scott Parker said...

As always, my favorite Sat. morning cartoon was Batman on CBS. Later, it was teamed with Tarzan for the Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour. Loved Scooby Doo with the guest stars but started not liking it when Scrappy Doo showed up. I appreciated the Laff-O-Lympics on ABC b/c of the cross-show team-ups. Don't remember Ark II but loved the Shazam/Isis hour. Seeing the circular logo at the end of the Ark II video brought back memories.

Here's a question for everybody: do y'all remember the night before the new season of cartoons premiered the three nets would have a 30-minute preview program on Friday night? And they all aired at the same time so I'd have to channel-flip during commercials? Or how about the two-page ads in the comic books about the new shows. Those, in many respects, really were the days.

David Cranmer said...

Scott, you shot some memories back for me too. I had forgotten about the preview programs and flipping channels during commercials. If only we had Tivo back then! I also remember those comics ads. I'd be looking forward to the new characters and at the same time disappointed the old shows had been dropped.

Georgie B said...

Isis and Shazam....

Used to wake up early on Saturday to watch that show and all the other cheesy 70's shows (like "Big John and Little John").

Johnny Quest was updated for another generation...however, it wasn't too good, at least in my opinion.

David Cranmer said...

I must have missed the newer Johnny Quest. Has there ever been a live action version? I may have to check for the old Hanna-Barbera show on dvd.

Barrie said...

I don't think I ever saw Ark II. But your post made me think of this Diana-myth-something to do with apples? cartoon I loved. I hadn't thought of it in years!

RReynolds said...

I grew up on the Hanna-Barbera shows like Yogi Bear Show, The Jetsons, and Jonny Quest. Even though I enjoyed Quest it was obviously ripped from the Rick Brant science adventures that I read a few years before.

Georgie B said...

I don't believe there was a live action version done.

I do know that I saw an updated cartoon movie version of it, where they made Race Bannon a father and introduced his daughter to the show.

This came out either in the late 90's or early '00's, because I remember watching parts of it on t.v. with my kids.

David Cranmer said...

Barrie, I forgot some of these shows myself. There was another one where a group of teens and their robot were on an island with an evil scientist. Each week he tried to kill them for one reason or another. I couldn't wait to watch that one and now it escapes me the name of it.

RReynolds, If you get a chance scroll Mr. Reasoner's Rough Edges. He did a forgotten book of Brant a few months back. He offers a lot of info on the series. You seem to be right about the similarity.

Georgie B, serves me right for not having kids yet. Children are a nice way to enjoy one's youth all over again.

The Evil DM said...

Man did I have a pre-teen crush on Ruth from Ark II. I also had a thing for Electra woman (from Electra woman and Dynagirl).

My Brother and I lived for the Friday night previews of the new cartoons. In many ways DVD & VCR's ruined a bit of magic for my kids. When i was a tyke the Christmas cartoons were an event to be savored. now theyre just another DVD on the shelf.

I just got a hold of all the filmation Tarzan episodes. Having a great time watching them.

David Cranmer said...

The Evil DM, I'm really glad I'm not the only one who remembers Ark II fondly. I had forgotten about the super gorgeous Deidre Hall as Electra Woman. Not only is the magic lost for those Christmas shows but with the Cartoon Network every day is Saturday morning. It used to be quite special after a week of school, getting up early to catch the shows.