Cartoons of the 1970’s and 1980’s were the best. Even though there were no morals to the stories, no learning strategies, and most importantly no purple dinosaurs, they were awesome and a great number of people today are not warped for having watched them.
I have heard the argument that the violence of Elmer Fudd hunting was inhuman and not politically correct. I have heard that Wyle E. Coyote falling off a cliff will give kids the impressions they can walk off a cliff and stand in mid-air before falling. I have also heard that Gargamel’s persistent hatred of the Smurfs teaches children that it is okay to hate others for the color of their skin. To all of them I quote the Roadrunner “Beep Beep” you.
Generations of children had grown up on these cartoons and there was less school violence than there are today. There was less gun violence in the cities. There were less people in prison.
These cartoons were never meant to be real and any parent knew that their child was not going to take an anvil and try to drop it off a cliff to hit a bird that running down the road. Involved parents would watch the cartoons with their children or talk with them about it as needed.
Cartoons were not on all the time, like they are today. There was no cartoon network. There were some regularly scheduled cartoons on throughout the week, but Saturday was the best day of the week. I remember there was no being lazy on Saturday, because the television shows were calling and I had to see what quest Johnny was going to face, even though Johnny Quest did not make my top 10.
The cartoons of this top 10 list may not necessarily be Saturday morning cartoons, but they were some of my favorites and some of the most popular cartoons of the 70’s and 80’s. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.
10. Pac Man
Hannah-Barbera capitalized on the popularity of the Pac Man video games. The television series ran only two years (1982-1983) but was one of my favorites. Pac Man, his wife, Pepper (Mrs. Pac Man was not his wife), and Pac Baby, lived in Pac land and was pursued by their arch enemies and antagonists, the Ghost Monsters, Inky, Pinky, Blinky, Sue, and Clyde. The Ghost Monsters worked for Mezmaron and he controlled them. He wanted to control all the power pellets, which were the main source of food and power in PacLand. I think the reason why this cartoon did enjoy more success is because there were just limited ideas that revolved around the plot.
- Super Friend
Again Hanna-Barbera produced the comic from the popular Justice League and the DC Comic characters. Super Friends ran from 1973 to 1986. There were a lot of spin offs from this cartoon. There were many Super Friends. The original was Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Later episodes of Super Friends were the The Super Twins, Zan and Janya, along with their pet monkey; Wendy and Marvin (who had no super powers); and Wonder Dog (he had no super powers, except he could talk and think logically. That seems like it could be a super power in itself). Later there were even more super friends add: Flash; Green Lantern; Hawkman; Samurai; Black Vulcan; and Apache Chief. Eldorado was added later in the episodes. The Super Friends battle the Legion of Doom, which include a lot of popular villains. This series was great and could attribute its success to the popularity of the DC Comics and the promotion as well as endless supply of plots due to so many characters.
- Richie Rich
Who did not want to be Richie Rich? He was, of course, rich, but he also had great parents and lived in a house and could get everything he wanted. There was an inventor that lived there, named Professor KeanBean, who would invent everything Richie could want and use. His dog Dollar, who always seemed to lose his “dollar spots” and would get into quite a few predicaments. Cadbury, the butler, who would provide guidance to Richie. His cousin, Reggie, was the main antagonist, even though there were multiple people trying to steal the Rich Family fortune. Richie’s girlfriend, Gloria was always there to help too. This Hanna-Barbera cartoon ran from 1980-1984 and has various names.
Transformers, robots in disguise. A lot of toys are based on cartoons and movies, but this one was just the opposite. The cartoon was based on the popularity of the Transformer toys. Optimus Prime, BubbleBee, and the other Autobots were trying to save Earth from the Evil Decepticons, Megatron, Soundwave, Starscream, and others. This cartoon series ran from 1984 to 1987. More recently the movie, Transformers has come out and did quite well. The voice of Optimus Prime was inspired by John Wayne.
- Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo made his debut in 1969, when produced by Hanna-Barbera. Although there has been many names used for the cartoon, Scooby remained a constant. He and the gang, Fred Jones; Velma Dinkley; Daphne Blake, and Shaggy, whose real name was Norvile Rogers would get into the Mystery Machine and make their way across the world finding adventures. I loved this show, but who lets their kids trek across the United States like this. After they find trouble and foil the plot the crook always said “and I would have succeeded if not for these meddling kids.” Their parents would have made them come home based on all the trouble they seem to find. Scooby and Shaggy were always hungry and always found food in run down abandoned houses. I love this show.
- The Jetsons
The future was said to be found in the cartoon script of the Jetsons. Flying cars, robots that do the house cleaning, and push button everything. We have seen a lot of this come true, but not like depicted in the Jetsons. However, they were depicted to be living in 2062, so who knows. They were in prime time in 1962-1963, and then went to Saturday mornings for 1963-1964. It was revived for syndication in 1985 and played until 1987. Meet George Jetson. His boy, Elroy. Daughter Judy. Jane, his wife. Were you singing the theme song? I was. His dog was Astro and seems to play a nemesis for George. Rosie was the robot housecleaner. George worked for a money hungry boss at Spacely Space Sprockets, who was always in business and personal competition with Cogwells Cog Company. George was fired more times that Donald Trump has fired people on the Apprentice.
Before the Jetson, both on television and chronologically, there was the Flintstones. Some say there would be no Jetsons, if not for the Flintstones. Are they talking about ancestrally, or because of the success of the cartoon show? It is true; the idea for the Jetsons was to reflect the opposite of the Flintstones, who used birds and dinosaurs to power everything. Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were best friends and were obviously coupled after Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and Edward Lillywhite Norton (Art Carney) from The Honeymooners. Bedrock was where the Flintstones and Rubbles lived. This cartoon, by Hanna-Barbera ran from 1960 to 1965, but stayed in syndication much longer. This was the highest grossing cartoon until the Simpson’s came along decades later.
- G.I. Joe
Knowing is half the battle and I hope you know I love this cartoon. I think this cartoon may have been the influence (along with my uncles) for joining the Army. The cartoon started as a mini series in 1983 and 1984, but went to syndication in 1985 and 1986. In 1989 the cartoon was picked up for another two seasons. In 1995 a new series G.I. Joe Extreme was picked up. Now there are some popular movies that are based on this awesome cartoon. The movies are great too. Cobra does not stand a chance against The Real American Heroes, G.I. Joe.
They were lovable and blue, but they always made me smile. The lovable smurfs made their way to the United States in 1981 and have been here ever since, even though they were only produced for 8 years. There were a total of 421 shorts comprising 256 episodes. The Smurfs came to us from Belgium, where they were known as Les Schtroumpfs from a comic strip in the country by Peyo. There were 77 featured smurfs in the cartoon series and the movie in 2011; Papa Smurf; Brainy; Smurfette; Handy; Hefty; Greedy, Clumsy, Chef, and Jokey to name a few. There was even a Passive-Aggressive Smurf from the movie in 2011. He probably did not get paid much, but griped about it a lot. Gargamel and his cat, Azrael were obsessed with the smurfs. They wanted to catch them and eat them or use them in potions to make gold. In Jewish and Muslim tradition, Azrael was the angel of death. Gargamel came from the story, Gargantua and Pantagruel. Gargamelle was the giant mother of the giant Gargantua. In the smurfs, Gargamel was masculine and probably chosen because he was a giant compared to the smurfs
- Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show
The number one cartoon on any child’s list has to be the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner show. However, I think I would have named it the Bugs Bunny/Sylvester and Tweety Show. It was known as the Bugs Bunny/Tweety Show in year 2000. I did not care for the Road Runner and Coyote cartoons very much, but that is just me. Bugs Bunny was starring in the show starting in 1948 and the first shows went until 1969. A lot of these shows were in Prime time. The move to Saturday morning came in 1962 and went to year 2000. Bugs was on CBS until 1985 and then made a move to ABC where he was asking “What’s up Doc” for another 15 years.
Many cartoon characters took part in these short cartoons, tested by the company for the attention span of the typical child. Many animals, monsters, aliens, humans, and ghosts made their acting debut on this cartoon show. Some went on to make their own shows. The characters reunited many times. One time, in particular with Michael Jordan on Space Jam.
On September 2, 2000 the show signed off for the last time. Even as an adult I was sad. This cartoon and its characters were a staple in many kids’ lives. The characters make special appearances all over the place now. Six Flags is one of the most known places to get your picture taken with them. I cannot wait to get there and see them again.
Well, that is my top 10 list of cartoons from the 1970’s and 1980’s. I know some of them were also from the 1960’s but they were around to make a great impact on this writer. I loved the cartoons of yesteryear. The cartoons today just do not have the pizzazz of the cartoons I grew up on. Take care of yourself and others. Make today and every day a great day. Oh and one more thing: