Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
Best known as the permanent voice of Minnie Mouse since 1986
as well as Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie since 1987. Along with their portrayal
in various media, she played Minnie in Mickey Mouse Works, House of Mouse and
Mickey Mouse (2103) and Huey, Dewey and Louie in DuckTales (1987),
Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue and Mickey Mouse (2013).
She also had a long career on Saturday mornings. Her various
roles included Pebbles Flintstone and Cavemouse in The Flintstone Comedy
Show;Barbie Winslow in Heathcliff (1981); Pac-Baby in Pac-Man;
Hasty and Leota in episodes of ABC Weekend Specials;Gonzo, Robin
and Captain Blackwig the Blue Pirette in Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies;Rex’s
owner in the “Chocolate Fever” episode of CBS Storybreak;Hilda
Brewski in an episode of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo;Amber the
Fairie Dragon in an episode of Dungeons & Dragons;Grover’s Mommy
in Five Sesame Street Stories;Beehonie and Donna in an episode
of Kissyfur;Ralphie in Little Clowns of Happytown;Melissa,
Candy and Chinook Puppy in episodes of Pound Puppies (1986); a girl in an
episode of Yogi’s Treasure Hunt;Lana Lang in an episode of Superman
(1988); Laura in an episode of The Smurfs;Webby Vanderquack in
DuckTales and in an episode of Raw Toonage;a Louisiana
Boy in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987); Ethalyn,
Emmadryl and Madame Placebo in episodes of Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi
Bears; a woman in an episode of Disney’s Aladdin;a fairy and
a puppet in an episode of The Lion King’s Timon & Pumbaa;kids
and voices in The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat;a tour guide in
an episode of The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries;Beck and an old
lady in episodes of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command;Clara Cluck
in Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse, where she also played
Fairy Godmother and Fauna; Fauna and Winifred in episodes of Sofia the First;Lorbs, Florina and Lorb Guard in episodes of Tangled: The Series;andYoung Donald in an episode of DuckTales (2017).
She also provided additional voices in The Little Rascals,
Laverne & Shirley with Special Guest Star the Fonz, The Littles, Saturday
Supercade, Jim Henson’s Little Muppet Monsters, The Smurfs, Dink the Little Dinosaur,
Rick Moranis in Gravedale High, TaleSpin, Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, What
a Mess and Star vs. the Forces of Evil.
Taylor made a rare live cameo appearance in the 1984 CBS
Saturday morning preview special Saturday’s The Place in a recording
booth with some of her Muppet Babies co-stars.
and Brawn was an NBC game show adapted
from a similar European game show created by Pierre Bellemare.
Hosted by Fred
Davis and Jack
Lescoulie, the game pitted two teams against each other comprised of an
expert (representing the “brains”) and a professional athlete (representing the
“brawn”) for a chance to win prizes worth up to $30,000. The “brains” would
answer questions on various topics while the “brawn” engaged in a variety of
physical challenges for a total of five rounds. The concept didn’t really catch
on with audiences and the show only ran from September13 to December 27 in
A mere 35
years later, NBC
Productions decided to try it again with the revival Brains & Brawn.
This time around, the teams were comprised of three teenagers led by a celebrity
captain. The game was broken up into six different rounds. The first round was
always the “2-Minute Drill”, where each contestant had to answer as many multiple-choice
questions correctly as possible within two minutes by entering their choices
into a computer at a podium where they stood. The final round was an obstacle
course where the team with the most points was given a head start. Both teams
had to traverse one member at a time through several different obstacles to get
to the finish line first. They included a tire run, a fire escape ladder on a
building façade, sliding down to an air cushion, using an overhead bar to cross
over a pit, shoot up a balance beam to a zip line, and riding in a three-seat
pedal-driven buggy for a one-lap race.
were a variety of physical and mental games. Amongst them was “Hockey”, which
saw players trying to score goals against their opponents’ goalie from a
stationary position within 30 seconds; “Match-Up”, where both teams attempted
to correctly match up a list of items to a list down the center of a magnetic
board (such as matching a star’s name to their TV show title); “Shoot to Kill”,
where a team tries to score as many baskets as possible in 30 seconds while a
member of the opposing team attempts to block each shot; “Volleyball”, a
standard 3-minute volleyball game where teammates were connected together with
a bungee cord and played blind over a covered net; “Oddity”, where the teams
had to select what item did not belong in a row with the other items presented;
and “Swing Shot”, where a team had to shoot their balls through as many holes as
possible in 30 second while a member of the opposing team swung on a pendulum
in front of them to attempt to block. The team who earned the most points from
every challenge earned a one-second head start in the Obstacle Course for every
10 points they led by.
& Brawn debuted on NBC on July 10, 1993 as part of their Teen NBC line-up. Hosting duties
were given to Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who had starred in the show that inspired
NBC to focus their weekend programming on teens, Saved
by the Bell. His original co-host for the first half of the
show’s run was Roseanne’sDanielle Harris until she was replaced by The Fresh Prince of
Bel-Air’s Tatyana M. Ali for the remainder. Ali had appeared previously
as a team captain during Harris’ tenure, and was at the time also hosting Name
Your Adventure with another Bell alum, Mario Lopez. It was filmed
outdoors on the Universal
Studios backlot; specifically, in Courthouse
Square (best known from the Back to the Futuretrilogy).
The challenge sets were designed by Josee
Lemonnier and Ron Olsen,
with music composed by Scott
Gale and Rich Eames. The
show fared about as well as its 1950s counterpart and was cancelled after only
Up Sides was a children’s game show created by the game show powerhouse
team of Mark
Goodson and Bill
Todman and was the only show of theirs made specifically for that demographic.
It was largely based on their earlier 1950 show, Beat
the Clock, where contestants would try to perform a crazy stunt (like
trying to get a bag off of their person without laying down or using their
hands, or stacking paper cups with their mouths); however, instead of racing
against a clock they were competing against other contestants. Clock stunt-designers
Frank Wayne and Bob Howard were retained to do
the same for Choose.
The CBS set.
two versions of the show. Initially, Goodson-Todman Productions pitched the
show to CBS with a pilot that had Bob Kennedy
hosting. CBS picked it up with Dean Miller taking over the hosting duties and
Bob Pfeiffer announcing but decided not to broadcast it nationally. Instead, it
was aired locally in New York City from November 2-12, 1953. In 1956 NBC acquired a retooled version of the show
hosted by Gene Rayburn and announced by Don Pardo.
Host Gene Rayburn with a player from the Bronco Busters.
versions, the audience of children was divided up into two groups: “Space
Cadets” and “Bronco Busters” (“Space Rangers” and “Cowboys” on the CBS version),
with a team of four players in front (usually three boys and a girl).On the CBS version, one kid from each team
would compete in a stunt and the winner would get to toss two rings at a
ring-toss board while the loser would only toss one. Each toss would net them a
marked score, with a bonus ten points awarded to the team hit one of three “magic
numbers” in their scoring. The kid who threw the “magic number” ring would also
win a special prize. This pattern would continue until the show ran out of
time. All the kids were given a “sportsmanship prize” while the winning team
and several home viewers selected from a pool of write-ins were given a grand
version had adult team captains (Tommy Tompkins & Roger Peterson) dressed
up in outfits corresponding to their team names who aided setting up for the
stunts. Before each stunt, one of the players would pull out a random postcard
from a kid at home that would win a prize along with the winning team. Stunts
included any number of silly competitions including putting on an entire pile
of clothing first, moving a bop bag clown around the stage with their head, or
blowing sheets of paper into a basket. The winner of a stunt won 100 points for
their team. The losing player was introduced to Mr. Mischief (Pardo doing a
falsetto), a giant limited-movement wall puppet that would supply a timed stunt
in which the player could earn 50 points for their team. Originally a whistle
would signal the end of Mr. Mischief’s stunt, but it was later replaced by a balloon
that would inflate in his mouth until it burst. Mr. Mischief also initiated a
“Super Duper Doo” stunt where an audience member chosen by whose birthday was
closest to an announced date would perform a stunt for a chance to win a grand
prize at the end of a four-week period. Like the CBS version, the losing team
was given a “sportsmanship award”.
The captain of the Space Cadets team.
Up Sides debuted on NBC on January 7, 1956 and ran for 13 weeks until March
31 when it was ultimately cancelled. Rayburn would go on to have a long
association with Goodson-Todman, most notably helming their Match Gameprogram from the
60s through the 80s. Pardo would become a prolific announcer, most well-known
for his tenure on Saturday
Night Livefrom its debut in 1975 until his death in 2014. Because of
network practices of wiping at the time—deleting content from expensive
recording media for reuse to save money and storage space—the status of the full
show is currently unknown even though Goodson-Todman did keep an archive of all
their programs which is currently owned by Freemantle
Media. At least five episodes of the NBC run and the CBS pilot have aired
on Game Show Network, the first NBC episode
on Buzzr, and several are available for
2000, also known as Wheel of Fortune 2000, was a children’s spin-off
of the primetime game show Wheel of Fortune.
Chuck Woolery in front of a vertical wheel on the set of Shopper's Bazaar.
Fortune was created by television personality Merv Griffin through his
production company Merv Griffin
Enterprises. The show was inspired by two things: long car trips in his
childhood where he would pass the time with his sister playing hangman, and
being drawn to roulette wheels in casinos. Griffin pitched the show to Lin Bolen, then-head of NBC’s daytime programming, who greenlit the idea
so long as Griffin added a shopping element. In 1973, Griffin created the pilot
for Shopper’s Bazaar with Chuck
Woolery as host. Two more pilots tweaking the gameplay were filmed under
the name Wheel of Fortune, hosted by Edd Byrnes, until the show was
finally picked up in 1974 with Woolery again hosting and Susan Stafford as hostess. A
few years in they would be replaced by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, respectively.
Publicity shot of Woolery and Stafford on the Wheel of Fortune set.
Wheel debuted on NBC on January
6, 1975. Itfeatured three contestants competing against each other to
solve a themed word puzzle (person, place, thing, phrase, etc.) by gradually
filling in letters and calling out the solution once they knew it. They each
took turns spinning a wheel carved up into 24 sections comprised of different
money amounts or prizes (some changed each round), a “lose a turn” and two
“bankrupt” spaces. A correct letter guess netted the contestant whatever prize
the wheel landed on, with money amounts being multiplied by however many of the
letter appeared in the puzzle. Vowels had to be purchased from their
accumulated dollar amount during their turn. A contestant’s turn was over once
they landed on one of the bad spaces or made an incorrect guess.
Pat Sajak and contestants on a themed dressing of the Wheel set.
Initially, winners of a round were
allowed to spend their winnings on various prizes displayed on the stage, but
that was dropped by the end of the 80s. The ultimate winner would play a bonus
round where they blindly selected a prize, were spotted the letters R-S-T-L-N
and E, and had to provide three more consonants and a vowel. If they were able
to successfully guess the puzzle, they won the prize they had selected. While
the rules, format, set and even its broadcast network may have changed over the
years, the basic gameplay of the show has remained the same and the show has
become a worldwide franchise with over forty international adaptations.
The Wheel 2000 set.
In 1997, Scott Sternberg developed a
kid’s version of the show for American Saturday morning television (a German
aired in 1992). The basic format remained the same, where kids aged 10-15
years would spin a wheel and guess a letter. However, instead of money, they
played purely for points and prizes (won on either the wheel or awarded to the
winner of the round). Each round, one of the contestants in succession would
get to choose the puzzle’s category from an option of three. The categories
were similar to the adult version, but used “hipper” designations like
“Globetrotter” (geography), “Lab Test” (science), “Book Soup” (literature),
“Above & Below” (stuff found above and below the Earth), and “Space Case”
(outer space), amongst others.
Publicity shot of David Sidoni.
Along with a more manic and
“kid-friendly” set, “lose a turn” was renamed the “Loser” spot (which netted
the player that landed on it a “Big L” gesture from the hosts) and “bankrupt”
became “The Creature”. “The Creature” caused the wheel to rise, belch smoke,
and an unseen creature would “eat” that player’s points (in the first two pilot
recordings, the Creature actually “ate” the player out of the remainder of the
round). There was also a spot marked “www.wheel2000.com”,
which allowed a player at home who registered on the site to win a prize, and a
special spot which allowed a player to play a stunt (like sending balls down a
tube system and guessing what color of a roulette wheel they’d land on) to earn
three extra letters to fill in the puzzle. The stunts were only included in the
first round; for the remainder of the game, they were replaced with large
250-point spots. The bonus round was the same as in the adult version, except
with only two prizes to choose from instead of five.
Cyber Lucy with the category choices.
Wheel 2000 debuted on CBS on September 13, 1997, and then aired a month
later on Game Show Network. David Sidoni
served as the show’s host. However, the hostess was decidedly different than
the adult version. Instead of an actual person, a real-time computer-generated
character known as Cyber Lucy (voiced and controlled by Tanika Ray) appeared on
the game board where the puzzle would appear and interacted with the players in
real-time. She would handle the category selections, tell players if they
selected a correct letter, and engage in some playful trash talk along with
Sidoni. Lucy was designed by Don Shank
and her animation provided by Modern
Cartoons. To meet FCC educational
requirements, Lucy would provide some kind of educational fact related to a
solved puzzle, and Eileen
McMahon served as the show’s educational consultant. Dan Sawyer was the show’s
Cyber Lucy with the puzzle in play.
In early 1998, Wheel 2000 went
on a 12-city tour sponsored by Discover
and coordinated by DVC Group. The show was set up in shopping malls where kids
could play the game live. Winners in each market were invited to appear as
contestants on the televised version for a grand finale. Unfortunately, the
show didn’t last beyond a single season of 24 episodes, ending that February. Reruns
continued to air on GSN until 2001 and later on Discovery
Kids Canada. The show’s website began to redirect to GSN in 2000 before
being disabled altogether in the following years. Two more attempts at an
international version of the concept were made: Cark 2000in
Turkey in 2000, and Chiếc
nón kỳ diệu 2000in Vietnam from 2007-2008. Both were as
short-lived as the other versions.
Video Village was an American television game show produced by Heatter-Quigley
Productions, coming out hot on the heels of the quiz show
scandals that revealed many game shows had been rigging their results. The
show was designed as a “living board game”, where two contestants were the
pieces that moved around a game board as dictated by large six-sided die in a
cage rolled by their partner (usually a spouse).
Temporary host Red Rowe by the dice cage with the contestants.
The “game board” was designed to look like a small town, of which the
host, Jack Narz,
was called The Mayor, and his female assistant, Joanne Copeland,
was called the Assistant Mayor. There were three sections called streets: Money
Street, which had spaces that awarded the players small cash prizes; Bridge
Street, which ended in a bridge where a certain number had to be rolled for
them to cross; and Magic Mile, which ran by five “storefronts” that awarded
prizes to the player who acquired those stores’ keys. The winner was the first
player to reach the “Finish” space and was allowed to play the next game. Both
contestants got to keep their earnings.
A view of the "streets" and jail.
There were several special spaces on the board, which changed throughout
the show’s run. Amongst them were “Bus Stop”, “Do it Yourself” and “Take a
Chance” which had the player who landed on them draw a card and follow the
instructions on it, or to pass the card on to their opponent in the hopes that
it would be something to hinder them. “Ask the Council” saw the player being
asked a humorous question, winning cash if the audience, acting as the council,
was inclined to agree with their answer. “Intuition” saw the player having to
determine four facts about an audience member whose voice was heard from
off-stage, winning money for every right answer or the person winning money for
every wrong answer. “Finders Keepers” gave the player a random prize. “1-2-3-Go”
caused a player to remain stranded on that spot until the die read 1, 2 or 3.
“Exchange Place” forced the player to trade places with their opponent.
“U-Turn” had the player spin a version of the die that allowed their opponent
to move the number of spaces shown. “Safety Zone” meant a player was safe from
any kind of penalty their opponent could impose on them (like via the
aforementioned cards). “$25 or Free Turn” gave the player a chance to get a
cash prize or another roll of the die. “Jail” was a cage made of soft bars at
the end of Money Street that the player had to go into until they accurately
guessed whether their next roll was an odd or even number.
Forced to move back a space.
Video Village debuted on CBS in primetime on July 1,
1960 and daytime on July 11, running concurrently until the nighttime version
was cancelled on September 16. Narz departed the show for personal reasons and
was replaced by Red
Rowe for a week until Monty Hall took over permanently on September
19. A short while later, Heatter-Quigley
moved production of the show from New York City to CBS Television City in Hollywood, California
where the die was replaced by an electric randomizer. Eileen Barton also replaced
Copeland as the Assistant Mayor, however Kenny Williams stayed on as the Town
Crier (aka the show’s announcer). Because both Hall and Barton could sing, a
“Village Bus” (a golf cart) was added where Hall and Barton would take the
players at the end of a match back over to the start while singing “The Village Bus Song”. All
other music was provided by a band led by Sid Wayne.
Hall with Barton and Williams.
The following year, the Video Village franchise was expanded with
a spin-off: Video Village Junior (sometimes known as Kideo Village).
The gameplay was exactly the same as the original version, except the
contestants were kids and their partners were one of their parents. Williams
also doubled as the town Constable. Video Village Junior debuted on
September 30, 1961, airing on Saturday mornings. However, both versions of Video
Village would end up cancelled halfway through 1962; with Junior ending
one day after the adult version on June 16. A similar show, Shenanigans, also
produced by Heatter-Quigley, began airing on ABC
Saturdays in 1964.
The "Village Bus" ending a match of the Australian version.
Junior had a longer lifespan overseas. An Australian version was made by Crawford Productions and ran from 1962
through 1966. A similar concept would later be used in Canada for The Mad Dashfrom
1978-85. Unfortunately, it’s believed that almost the entirety of both Video
Village runs have been destroyed due to the studio practices of wiping. Because
recording materials were so expensive and costly to store, and there was a
belief that nobody would ever want to see them again after their initial
broadcasts, studios were more inclined to erase them and reuse them on future
productions. The only known surviving episodes are the second and final nighttime
episodes, the 500th
daytime episode, and the third-to-last episode of Junior.