The Great Saturday Morning Experience

What might you have been watching on Saturday morning in 1969?

The 1969-1970 Saturday morning schedule brought us not one, not two, but three iconic shows that many people of all ages still enjoy in one form or another today.

Note: Due to overlapping information on some shows as well as possible differences between affiliate programming, and mid-season lineup changes, your exact schedule may differ in some ways. I try to make them as accurate as possible for the general national audiences.

Starting with ABC:

The Hardy Boys/The Cattanooga Cats/The Smokey Bear Show/Skyhawks/Hot Wheels

8:00 – The New Casper Cartoon Show
Reruns with Casper and all his ghostly pals.

8:30 – The Smokey Bear Show
This new Rankin/Bass production brought Smokey and his friends to animated life based on the Dell Comics. Jackson Weaver was the voice of Smokey and the show had segments of Smokey as a cub (years before Muppet Babies) where he was voiced by Billie Mae Richards (of Rudolph fame). Other characters were Bessie the pig, Mayor Owl, Benny the rabbit, Floyd the fox, and Hiram the snake.

9:00 – The Cattanooga Cats Show
This new Hanna-Barbera show featured a rock group made up of mod dressed rural cats. They were named Country, Kitty Jo, Scoots, and Groove. They were often chased around by a groupie. Mike Curb co-wrote and performed the songs animated in an op art style. Besides the cats there were three other segments on this hour long show. “Around the World in 79 Days” had Phinneas Fogg Jr. with teenage reporters Jenny and Hoppy on globetrotting adventures.  “It’s the Wolf!” featured Mildew Wolf trying to catch Lambsy who is guarded by Sheepdog Bristlehound. Motormouse and Autocat, which was popular enough to later spin off on its own, took the old cat and mouse theme and souped it up with a lot of horse power.

10:00 – Hot Wheels
Primarily sponsored by Mattel Toys, this new animated half hour show featured the racing adventures of teenager Jack “Rabbit” Wheeler and his Hot Wheels Racing Club.

10:30 – The Hardy Boys
This new show from Filmation jumped on the bubble gum trend by turning the famous teenage detective brothers into a rock band. The show was animated but had a live action opening featuring the band. Rounding out the band with Tom and Frank Hardy, and joining them on their adventures, were Wanda Kay Breckenridge, Pete Jones, and Chubby Morton.

11:00 – Skyhawks
ABC really upped their games on new shows this year. Another Mattel sponsored show, Skyhawks focused on the animated adventures of a family run transport and rescue service in Southern California. The main character was Mike “Cap” Wilson who was a WWII vet. His father, known as Pappy, was a WWI ace. Also part of the group were Cap’s teen twins, Carolyn and Steve. Along with mechanic Joe Conway, Cap’s girlfriend, Maggie, and foster kids Red and Cindy, the crew carried freight, saved charter planes, and even went on secret missions for the government.

11:30 – The Adventures of Gulliver
The second year of this Hanna-Barbera show about the animated adventures of a young hip Gulliver.

12:00 – Fantastic Voyage
The second year of this Filmation show based on the movie.

And next, CBS:

The Perils of Penelope Pitstop/Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines/The Archie Comedy Hour/Scooby-Doo Where Are You?

8:00 – The Jetsons
Reruns of Hanna Barbera’s futuristic family.

8:30 – The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour
The continuing anthology series showing old Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons from the late 40s to the late 60s.

9:30 – Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines
A new Hanna-Barbera show spun off from Wacky Races featuring Dick Dastardly and Muttley who are now WWI era flying aces. Teamed with cowardly Zilly and wacky inventor Klunk, they form the Vulture Squadron, and are constantly trying to stop Yankee Doodle Pigeon from delivering his top secret messages.

10:00 – The Perils of Penelope Pitstop
Another Hanna-Barbera show spun off from Wacky Races, this one features the title character who is being attacked by the Hooded Claw which is really her guardian, Sylvester Sneekly, trying to get her inheritance. Instead of bad guys, the Ant Hill Mob are heroic characters in this show and do what they can to rescue Penelope.

10:30 – Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
The debut of the iconic character that would show up in many future iterations. This Hanna-Barbera produced show was created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears and features a group of teens; Freddy Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, who along with their Great Dane pal, Scooby-Doo, tackle a different mystery each week usually ending with the kids unmasking someone dressed as some kind of a terrifying character trying to scare people away.  

11:00 – The Archie Comedy Hour
The Filmation show from the year before featuring the Archie gang was expanded to an hour this season and added the animated adventures of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and some “Laugh-In” inspired joke segments.

12:00 – The Monkees
Reruns of the NBC prime time series.

12:30 – Wacky Races
Reruns for the second season of the Hanna-Barbera racing show.

1:00 – The New Adventures of Superman
The fourth and last year of Filmation’s first show had reruns of Superman and Superboy from previous seasons.

1:30 – Jonny Quest
Reruns of the classic prime time adventure series.

Finally, NBC:

Here Comes the Grump/Underdog/H R Punfstuf/The Banana Splits Adventure Hour/The Pink Panther Show

8:00 – The Heckle and Jeckle Show
Reruns of the previous shows from the classic Terrytoons duo.

9:00 – Here Comes the Grump
This brand new show from DePatie-Freleng features a little mean wizard who chases Princess Dawn and her friend Terry Dexter. The Grump has a dragon named Dingo that sneezes fire onto its master. The princess has a little dog like creature called Bip. They get chased around to all kinds of strange places in a bizarre fantasy world.

9:30 – The Pink Panther Show
Another new show from DePatie-Freleng brings the animated character from the openings of the feature films to Saturday mornings. The half hour show would mostly feature two Pink Panther segments along with a segment featuring the Inspector.

10:00 – H R Pufnstuf
This brand new show was the first of many for brothers Sid and Marty Krofft. This show featured the adventures of the title character, the mayor of Living Island, and his friends trying to protect Jimmy and his magic flute, Freddy, from the clutches of the malicious Witchiepoo.

10:30 – The Banana Splits Adventure Hour
The second of three seasons featuring the live action animal band and their comedic sketches along with animated cartoons.

11:30 – Jambo
From Ivan Tors, the creator/producer of Daktari, comes this wildlife anthology show for kids filmed on location in Africa. Jambo is an African word meaning “hello”.

12:00 – The Flintstones
Reruns of Hanna Barbera’s prehistoric prime time family.

12:30 – The Underdog Show
Reruns of the animated adventures of the super powered dog.

The new cereals in 1969:

Kellogg’s Kombos
The Blu Gnu was the mascot for the Kombos cereals introduced by Kellogg’s in 1969. He looked pretty snazzy in his suit coat and orangey striped horns. He also looked more like a monster from Sesame Street than any actual gnu but it was the late 60s so who knows what they were thinking. These cereals were flavored corn flakes. They came in chocolate, orange, and strawberry.

General Mills Kaboom
This was a fruity oat cereal where the pieces were shaped like little smiley faces in different colors and the marshmallow bits were little pink stars. It lasted 41 years until it was discontinued in 2010. It was advertised as a vitamin cereal with the clown mascot giving it to strengthen circus performers.  The clown would say “even the candy stars are vitamin charged”.

Quaker Peanut Butter Crunch
The makers of Cap’n Crunch created a cereal with peanut butter flavored corn puffs. Add an elephant named Smedley as a mascot and you see why they had a hit with this one that is still around today. Though I don’t know what’s happened to that elephant.

Ralston Dynaman
This seems to be Ralston’s version of frosted corn flakes. The Dynaman character is a superhero mascot carrying a little kid. He sort of looks like a blonde version of Race Bannon but then some of the promo art was done by the same artist who created Jonny Quest.

Ralston Great Goodstuff
This was a hot cereal for kids with a kid magician for a mascot. According to the ad it cooks like magic right in your bowl!

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