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The magic of Saturday Morning Cartoons and did Cartoon Network really kill them


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I don't know about you, but when I was a kid Saturday mornings were what I lived for.  Living in Hawaii we did not get a lot of the cartoons that were on the mainland, but what we did get was great.  Also because of the time zones, my Saturday morning ritual would begin at 5am. 

I would wake up, sleepy-eyed and excited about what type of new adventures would be in store for me today.  I was ready and even had a schedule of what to turn my TV to so I would not miss my selected shows.

But there were a couple things that happened to get me to this ever prepared state.  The first thing would be the TV Guide.  Yes we were subscribers, TV Guide was the greatest because they usually had a special section that talked about the new cartoons. 

The second thing that really got me excited was the network specials that would air the Friday before.  These campy and borderline cheesy half-hour specials would showcase new and old cartoons, giving kids a brief preview of what these cartoons were like.  One year the special was called "Laugh-Busters", which was about a scientist that tried to prevent the airing of all these cartoons in order to stop kids from laughing.  He hired two guys and the guys were trying everything from blowing up the Snorks to capturing Spiderman to stop the cartoons from airing. 

But Saturday morning cartoons would usually start with classics like Planet of the Apes or even Fantastic Voyage.  As the sun slowly rose the newer cartoons started showing up, then eventually the more well known cartoons like Smurfs would come in late in the morning, till finally more "grown-up" cartoons and shows like Kid Video, Kids Incorporated and Land of the Lost would start around noon or afternoon.  Sadly it was this point that I would realize my day was over and I would have to wait for next week to do the whole routine again.  Please take note that these times were for us in Hawaii.

When looking back on these times they are bittersweet and I often look around to see what type of cartoons are around now.  Now there are adult shows and even sports playing during these sacred Saturday Morning time slots.  Gone are the day of waking up early to catch a glimpse of possibly a new favorite show to tell your friends about when you go back to school on Monday.  Gone are also the days when if something was incredibly popular, there was automatically a cartoon made about it (does anyone remember "Rubik: The Amazing Cube" or "Karate Kid"?), which I feel is sad because these shows might have been cheesy and God-awful, but it was a sign that you have made it to the glorious land of pop-culture. 

So where do newer cartoons go if not on basic cable?  To their own network of course, Cartoon Network was a dream come true for me.  However because of this there are little, if not any cartoons on the other networks.  While the coming of Cartoon Network was evolution (starting from classic Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel, I'm really starting to show my age) I still long for the days of networks putting down money to see if the newest and greatest fad, would pay-off in animated form. 

Check out Kamu's film reviews at http://www.examiner.com/x-4882-Honolulu-Film-Examiner

Contact Kamu at kamuhiro@gmail.com.

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