Coming this Fall, The Branded in the 80s Megafun Saturday!

By Shawn Robare

This week’s assignment from the League is a really fun one (suggested by Poe Ghostal over at PG’s Points of Articulation) that invites the members to program their own dream Saturday morning cartoon line-up.  The SMC programming block is an unfortunately extinct network tradition that was a weekly bit of bliss for kids during the 60s through to the 90s.  With the advent of dedicated 24-hour kid-vid channels like Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network it became increasingly harder and harder for the big three to compete for the cartoon and kid’s programming market share and over the past 15 years or so Saturday morning has lost its association with 5-6 solid hours of cartoons.

Luckily I’ve managed to secure copies of practically every cartoon that I remember loving as a kid, and whenever I get a chance I program my own Saturday morning cartoon line-up, so this assignment is something near and dear to me.  Sort of like with last week’s Mixtape assignment, I didn’t want to just list the shows I’d want to see.  I wanted to do something a little different.  One of the aspects that I loved about each new fall season was getting a chance to see all the advertising that the networks would put together for their SMC line-up, my favorite of which was a series of CBS, NBC, and ABC comic book ads that would mash-up all the characters from the various shows.  In fact, putting together an archive of these ads was one of the first big projects I worked on for Branded.  Taking some inspiration from these I created my own fake advertisement for my personal Branded Saturday!

I tried to pick a range of stuff that I’ve been really into lately, as well as a fun mix of fantasy, sci-fi, action, comedy, and in the case of Balki’s Stories of Mepos, imaginary shows that I wished existed.  I picture the Balki show being a cross between Pryor’s Place, Reading Rainbow and Pee Wee’s Playhouse where Bronson Pinchot would play his character from the Perfect Strangers sitcom narrating all sorts of fun stories from his imaginary homeland that could be visualized as live-action skits and animated shorts.  I also wanted to include some Nickelodeon stuff like Danger Mouse, and some more obscure stuff like Galaxy High.  Also, in my dream world Robo Force graduated from the single Sunbow pilot episode to a full blown 13-episode series.

5:30 – 7:00am – The Looney Tunes
7:00 – 7:30am – Danger Mouse
7:30 – 8:00am – the Smurfs
8:00 – 8:30am – Galaxy High
8:30 – 9:00am – Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears
9:00 – 9:30am – Balki’s Stories of Mepos
9:30 – 10:00am – The Real Ghostbusters
10:00 – 10:30am – Robo Force
10:30 – 11:00am – Thundercats
11:00 – 12:00pm – Soul Train (had to do it!)
12:00 – 2:00pm – Super Scary Saturday Movie with Grandpa Munster (featuring old horror and sci-fi flicks from the 30s-70s)

As far as the inspiration I drew on for the fake SMC ad I created, here are a few that immediately spring to mind…


Last but not least, here’s a black and white variation of my ad that would have run in the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide…

Have a second? Why not check out some of the other League members to see how they weighed in on this week’s assignment!

Jaime, Shezcrafti, keeps the action amped up all morning long!

The Goodwill Geek, Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks, picks some obscure gems from the 80s!

Jason, Rediscover the 80s, is all about themed cartoon blocks!

Dan, Of Flying Monkeys and Ewoks, Oh My, picks a lot of my favorites from the 80s!

Dex, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, put a lot of thought into his themed hours!

  • 910DoHead

    This is totally ironic that I would see you mention the Robo Force episode I originally ripped and was uploaded to YouTube (not by me) years ago. Ironic in the fact that I read this as I am currently uploading a new rip of it to YouTube. Too bad I don’t know how to stream to the internet from my harddrive, because I could make your dream list a reality minus the Perfect Strangers show.

  • Will – From your lips to the TV Studios ears! ;)

  • I am a network executive and I’d like to film a pilot for the Balki show. Kidding! In any case, that’s a brilliant idea and I would’ve watched every episode of that show. Now I’m sad that it’s not real….

  • Tommy – Yeah, Robo Force is such a short-lived toy line from the early 80s that never really got a chance to shine. I love the toys as they all had hugging (ahem) I mean crushing action by pressing a button on their back and all were equipped with suction cup bottoms so you could stick ’em to windows and junk. The cartoon episode is way more epic than the line probably deserved, but I love both…

  • Great list! I’ve never heard of Robo Force and I need to watch that pilot!

  • Christopher – Thanks man!

  • Very cool! Great idea and execution! Very fun, well done!!

  • Jaime – That would be epic! I vote for the outro so it could have that sort of goodby Super Mario Bros. Super Show/Count Duckula sort of feel. Oh and thanks!

  • Paxton – Yeah, I couldn’t help myself with the Balki show. I wanted some sort of centerpiece for the ad and a possible live action host for the “Preview Show” (like the Yummy Awards), and Pinchot just jumped into my mind and I started doing the dance of joy…

  • TS Rogers – Nice choices! Yeah, I was trying to shoehorn in Turbo Teen as well, but there’s only so much programming time available…

  • PRG – Cool! Yeah, it was tough not including the Muppet Babies, but I sacrificed it in place of the Balki show…

  • I love that you created the ad as well. Nicely done. I had to stop myself from creating shows because I would have just gone completely nuts. The article would have been 15 pages long and included lineups for the entire week.

  • I love your brain, Shawn. A Balki kids variety show?? Only you would have come up with that one! (And I’d totally watch it, obviously.) Maybe the intro or outro could even have Balk B doing his signature rap.

  • Awesome! I’ve often thought myself what a “greatest hits” of Saturday morning cartoons would be for me. Possibly this: 8am Superfriends 8:30am Muppet Babies 9am Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show 10am Pee Wee’s Playhouse 10:30am Fat Albert 11am Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends 11:30am Incredible Hulk 12pm ABC Weekend Special/CBS Storybreak 12:30pm American Bandstand 1pm Creature Double Feature (aired on Kaiser/Field owned stations in Chicago, Philly, and elsewhere) I hope to bring back my Saturday Morning Recreated feature next month, featuring your ad scans. Can’t wait!

  • Thays a very good Balki. Mine would have included the Teen Wolf cartoon and perhaps Kissyfur.