Today in History: ABC begins "Saturday Morning Cartoons"
The year was 1950 and ABC was about to invent something that was really important for anyone that is around my age. If you were born after 1990 or so, there is a good chance that you never experienced the glory that was Saturday Morning Cartoons but let me tell you, it was something that everyone looked forward to every week.
The original programming that ABC chose wasn't actually cartoons, but it would later evolve into that. The original shows were entitles "Animal Clinic" and "Acrobat Ranch" (two separate shows)and they featured live action and puppets, so of which would go on to be quite famous such as Howdy Doody.
This trend would continue in popularity until the Saturday Morning Cartoons would later become some of the most valuable advertising space on the market. This of course came with some controversy as it was kind of seen as bad to advertise so heavily to children. I think my parents were just happy that all of us shut the hell up and got out of their hair for a full 4 hours in a row.
It wasn't until the late 80's that interest in Cartoon Saturdays had run their course, and in 1992 ABC and NBC both abandoned the concept. ABC later tried to reintroduce the idea in the early 2000's but at that point it all seemed kind of dumb since everyone had cartoons on demand 24 hours a day.
I never knew this until recently, but in the United States networks were required to have 3 hours of educational programming per week and even though the popularity of Saturday mornings were long over, the networks continued to cram these 3 hours of programming into the Saturday morning slot because it was now the LEAST valuable airtime. Once that regulation was lifted, they pulled the plug on the programming altogether.
It was a big part of my, and anyone else around my age's childhood. I have very fond memories of it. They had a 50 year run but with the ease of access to pretty much whatever on demand, it is not at all likely that something like this will ever exist again.