Those halcyon days of my youth.

For no reason whatsoever today I found myself singing the theme song to My Pet Monster. A show I haven’t seen in nearly 2 decades. This put into my mind writing about all the awesome cartoon shows/toy advertisements that were on when I was a kid. Also I’m going to talk a little about the world as it is today versus how it was then.

The big thing I notice is that today, there are practically no Saturday morning or after school cartoons! When I was growing up this is how television worked: On weekday mornings, between 6:30am and 8:30am was the cartoon block. The shows meant for kids to watch before they went to school. The after school cartoon block generally started at 3pm and ran until 5 or 6pm depending on the station. Saturday mornings from 5am till about noon were dedicated to cartoons on most channels. It was a glorious time to be a kid, lemme tell ya. Today that all seems to be over.

These days, aside from specialty channels like Family or Teletoon or YTV, I just don’t see any cartoons on anymore. Granted I don’t have TV and haven’t for ages, but even when I did have access to it, I’d noticed that since about 2000 there has been a distinct drop in the number of cartoons and channels carrying them. What are the kids doing these days?

Lemme take you through a typical week of my childhood. I generally got up around 6am when I was growing up because I was totally OCD about showering before school. This is likely linked to my lack of self esteem and my thought that since I wasn’t terribly attractive to begin with, there was no reason to exacerbate the problem by not being clean. So, by 6:30am I was always downstairs with my cereal, ready to chill with my toons before school.

First on the agenda was usually Dennis the Menace, which I absolutely loved, and still do to this day. The comic strip is terrible (although in its early days it was pretty great) but the cartoon really worked for me. In later years, after the live action flick, this show reappeared on CBS with new voice actors. It just wasn’t the same.

Another staple of my weekday mornings, and also my Saturdays was Muppet Babies. I was crazy for this show. So much so that I had several tapes just loaded with like 8 hours of muppet babies. The show was so popular that it ran both before and after school, and on Saturday it was on for a couple of hours. That was fine by me. Alas, like Dennis the menace, it’s not yet available on dvd.

Another staple of my before and after school viewing was G.I. Joe. One of the greatest toy lines of all time and certainly one of the best animated series of the 80s. Before it got Taken over by Dic animation that is. Unlike many animated series of the 80s, GI Joe still holds up today, which is a pleasant surprise. I’ve been burned so many times watching shows from my childhood today.

Possibly the most influential of all the shows I watched as a child was The Real Ghostbusters. I’ll write a more in depth entry on my love of Ghostbusters another time, but suffice it to say that The Real Ghostbusters remains my all time number one favourite animated series of all time. In later years it got bogged down with too much Slimer, but in it’s initial run it was super wicked.

What list like this would be complete without mention of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? I used to race home after school with my friend Tyler in order to watch TMNT. We would then retire to his Nanna’s back yard where we would pretend to BE ninja turtles for an hour or two. Good days.

Transformers. More than meets the eye. sacrilege though it may be, I ws never the biggest transformers fan. Oh I still dug it a lot, and Optimus Prime was my hero, but I never truly got into the show or the toys the way I did with GI Joe. Still, what’s not to love about giant transforming robots?

Finally, before I move into the clumping of the lesser known shows, I want to mention MASK. That was one fucking crazy show. I used to love the opening theme song, and should I decide to visit Canadian Idol, it will certainly be one of the songs I sing, along with the GI Joe theme song, or possibly the Gummi Bears. MASK stood for Mobile Armoured Strike Kommand. Yeah, I know, and the bad guys were VENOM, the Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem. Best evil organization name EVER. Transforming vehicles and super powered masks, awesome.

Some of the other highly kick ass cartoons of my childhood were The Centurions, Thundercats, Silver Hawks, Conan the Adventurer, COPS, Captain N, Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Alvin and the Chipmunks, He-Man, The Smurfs, Ducktales, Gummi Bears, Tale Spin, Gargoyles, Droids, Batman, Superman, Reboot, Spider-Man, Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Teen Wolf, Beverly Hills Teens, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Freakazoid, Defenders of the Earth and Exo Squad.

I’m sure there’s more and I’ll be kicking myself for forgetting them, but I think that’s pretty decent list. Compared to the crap that runs today, I lived in the golden age of cartoons.

~ by Pagz on January 22, 2008.

One Response to “Those halcyon days of my youth.”

  1. gargoyles and spider-man were my youth

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