Rules to Watching Saturday-Morning Cartoons
"Saturday Mornings Cartoons" caught on in the mid-1960s, when the networks realized that they could concentrate kids' viewing on that one morning to appeal to advertisers. Most notably, children's toys and products like breakfast cereals.
When I think back to my pop culture childhood, one of my greatest memories was Saturday Morning Cartoons. This was when all of the cartoons would be broadcast and it was important to know what channel and what time each program came on. We didn't have the VHS recorder (the what?), a DVR, On Demand or any modern day recording device. This was live TV and if you missed it, you'd never see it ever in your life. At least that's the way we saw it. With that being said, catching your favorite cartoons took some skill and some hard work. If you had siblings, it also took some compromising because you only had one TV in the house. You had to check the TV Guide and list the shows in order of importance. There were only three main channels for cartoons so it could get tricky. Let me explain. You see your highest rated show for that time slot would be your "Alpha", your second would be your "Beta' and third "Gamma". Your Alpha was priority. This means you would would turn this show on and during commercials, you'd skip to your Beta and Gamma shows. The tricky part was coming back to your Alpha show right as the commercials ended so you wouldn't miss a second of it.
There were rules you had to stick to. Cartoons started at 6:00 AM. These were always the older cartoons like Speed Racer and the older Hannah Barbera characters. We viewed these cartoons as warm ups before the big game. They were good but not the prime time shows.
Getting up at 6:00 AM on a Saturday could drain you so building up your energy was important. This required a healthy and complete breakfast. Usually a salad bowl filled with Captain Crunch or a Pop Tart filled with energy jolting sugary goodness. You had to control it though. If you woke up your parents, you risk losing your TV privileges. That took great inner peace, especially when you had siblings that liked to annoy you.
Looking back at all those great memories, I'm saddened to hear kids "that must've been horrible". They'll never know that excitement of preparing and scheduling for that morning. It symbolized the first full day of the weekend and the longest time in between school days. Saturday mornings were magical and can not be put into words. It may not have been Christmas but it came every week.
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