Assembling the Dream Saturday Morning Cartoon Lineup

by Lamar The Revenger

Earlier this month, the last broadcast television network ended its Saturday Morning Cartoon line-up. CW’s Vortex was great, even though it was a dumping ground for older cartoons from other networks. I was amazed with them replaying DragonBall Z. It was heavily edited, but at least it was something.

Then, suddenly, they ended it and replaced it with less expensive educational programming destined to put kids asleep with boredom. We could lay the blame on a whole bunch of things, but my disdain for Saved By The Bell is not the purpose of this article. This is an assembly of what in my opinion would be the BEST DANG SATURDAY CARTOON LINE-UP EVER.

I was sent a link from a friend that listed the big three networks Saturday morning tv schedules from 1979 to 1991. Reading these listings brought back memories of Saturdays spent in front of the TV. I’d fight with my brother over what we watched. Of course, my dad would settle that and we’d have to watch what he wanted. This list also brought a weird realization, like some shows I thought went on for years (example: Pole Position) but only lasted one year. Regardless, I got to thinking: what would be my dream Saturday morning watch list?

This list is based on a 4 hour Saturday morning schedule from 8:00am to 12:00pm. Each show gets one half hour that corresponds to the EXACT TIME it aired on either CBS, NBC, or ABC.  The site I pulled my listing info from is New England region specific, so if you were from another part of the country these shows may have aired at a different hour.

NOTE: This list only features cartoons that aired on Saturday morning. GI Joe, Transformers, Voltron, He-Man, etc. aired in syndication and not Saturday mornings, so these could not be on this list. I challenge everyone to make up your own list, unless of course, mine is perfect to you. Ok, here we go:


8:00am- Superfriends (ABC)

Hanna Barbera had a Justice League show in different forms from 1973 to 1985. The original was meh because of Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog. They were the comic relief to the adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Robin, and the underrated Aquaman.

The version in my line up would not feature them, but the later versions. Definitely The Challenge of the Superfriends (which was essentially 13 supervillians versus the JLA) and The World’s Greatest Superfriends. Yes, the latter had Zan, Jayna and Gleek, but the stories were awesome. The episode I want to find someday is the JLA versus their evil counterparts.

BEST MOMENT: Kaze no Yo Hayaku! and Eh-neeek-chock!

WORST MOMENT: Wendy, Marvin & Wonder Dog.


8:30am- Thundarr The Barbarian (ABC)

“The year is 1994. A runaway planet comes between the earth and the moon unleashing cosmic destruction.” That opening had me waiting to see if it would happen in real life. And that was just the beginning.

Thundarr, Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok would ride to a different adventure every week. Ookla reminded me of Chewie from Star Wars and Ariel was always the voice of reason to Thundarr. Added plus, in later years I found out that comics legendJack “The King” Kirby did the character designs.

BEST MOMENT: The guy in the opening with the rotating head.

WORST MOMENT: ’94 came and went. Where’s the cosmic destruction?


9:00am- The Mighty Orbots (ABC)

The Orbots were based on the Japanese anime robot series God Mars. Six robots formed Mighty Orbots to battle the super computer planet Umbra. I can hear the roll call in the theme in my head of them. Ohno! Tor! Bort! Bo! Boo! Crunch!

Back in 97, my friend mentioned them to me. I couldn’t remember them. It sounded familiar, but my brain drew a blank. I was shown a picture, then the memories of them forming Mighty Orbots flooded my mind. I would love to see a reboot of this series.

BEST MOMENT: Bo & Boo.. They were cute.

WORST MOMENT: It lasted one season.


9:30am- Muppet Babies (CBS)

Spun off a short musical number from Muppets Take Manhattan, Jim Henson took some of the cast of the Muppet Show and made them toddlers with extremely overactive imagination. The first season of this show was the best.

Seriously, though, their caregiver, Nanny, really had some lapses in parental control. One episode had Kermy and the gang imagining themselves waking up on the Sulaco from the movie Aliens. Hope Child Services never hear about this.

BEST MOMENT: The Star Wars Episode. Stormtroopers fall like bowling pins.

WORST MOMENT: Skeeter. WHAT IN THE FLAMIN’ HELL? Skeeter.. twin to Scooter. What? Janice wasn’t good enough? Ugh. I won’t get started..


10:00am- Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (CBS)

Insane. Crazy. Over the top. All these could describe Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. That first season (again) was the best. Pee-Wee Herman brought the live action children playhouse format back from the 50s & 60s and gave it a shot of espresso.

It wasn’t all morals and lessons. It was taping your face.. Ice Cream Soup. Lawrence FIshburne as Cowboy Curtis. Phil Hartman as cranky but lovable Capt. Carl. I could go on and on.


WORST MOMENT: Season 2 and later cast changes made the Playhouse feel diminished. Dixie, Mrs. Steve, Capt. Carl, heck even the original Playhouse Gang were gone. By the last season, it felt empty.


10:30am- Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends (NBC)

I love this show. It aired at 11:00am in my area and was followed by The Hulk. You never knew what super villian was gonna show up. Matter of fact, you never knew what superhero was gonna show up either! Whether it be the X-Men (one episode had Wolverine, the other didn’t) or Captain America, it was a surprise until you saw that episode title.

I’m gonna add this. I liked Miss Lion. If it wasn’t for her, the Spider-Man, Ice Man, Firestar, Namor, Dr. Strange, Capt America or Shanna the Jungle Queen would’ve died on The Chameleon’s island in “7 Little Superheroes”.

BEST MOMENT: The origins of all three heroes and how they became a team. Plus, Stan Lee’s narration.

WORST MOMENT: Not bringing Video Man into the comics.


11:00am- Space Stars (NBC)

Hanna-Barbera not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, brought 60s properties Space Ghost & The Herculoids back after the success of Star Wars. They added 2 new teams to this show, Teen Force ( a group of kids riding space cycles and that could turn into comets) and Astro & the Space Mutts ( the Jetsons dog joining with other space dogs.

While I don’t remember Astro’s cartoon, the other three I did. I loved The Herculoids. Their animal companions were so cool.

BEST MOMENT: The opening gave me chills with how cool it was.

WORST MOMENT: Those 2 little alien midgets on the Teen Force short. Annoying.


11:30am- The Incredible Hulk (NBC)

The Hulk cartoon was wild. The best telling of his origin out of all the interpretations of his time on the big screen or tv. It followed the comic pretty closely. again like Spider-Man, you never knew who was gonna show up.

The episode with the Puppetmaster sadly, was the only time you saw Wolverine in the series, and then he was a statue.

BEST MOMENT: Changing into the Hulk.

WORST MOMENT: General Ross & Talbot were douchebags.

And there you have it, my Saturday morning dream line up. So much time was spent in front of that tube watching these shows so long ago. I’ve started watching some on YouTube trying to see what I remember. It makes me feel young again. I’d love to hear what would be on your list, so grab a bowl of Lucky Charms and comment below. Catch you on the flipside!

Previous post:

Next post: