|Ad for an RCA color television.|
Televisions were now in the majority of American households and people were watching; supplanting radios as the main source of entertainment. TV also replaced newspapers as the main source of news; with events like the first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon, the civil rights movement, Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam War, and man’s first landing on the moon. Westerns and sitcoms dominated the airwaves, but science-fiction was gradually carving out a niche for itself. Although the DuMont Network didn’t survive the 1950s, ABC, CBS and NBC were still going strong and were soon to be joined by PBS. While destruction of recorded programs still happened, it began decreasing in frequency as a greater thought was given to archiving as the costs of materials lessened. Animation, once regarded as a serious risk, became the preferred format for kids’ shows when it was realized that a cartoon episode could be produced much cheaper than a live-action one (a circumstance that would repeatedly flip-flop over the years). Networks decided to stop hemming and hawing over the concept and finally began broadcasting in full-color, allowing these cartoons to be seen as their creators intended. And, most importantly to us, Saturday mornings began to be taken more seriously.
|Comic book ad for CBS' new action-oriented Saturday morning line-up.|
|Ad for ABC's 1977 preview special.|
|Hanna-Barbera becomes a dominating force on Saturday mornings.|
Of course, this decade marked the births of some long-running franchises. Hanna-Barbera created their flagship program, The Flintstones, which became a prime-time success and spawned a spin-off Saturday morning franchise in the decades to follow. They also introduced the ever-enduring Scooby-Doo franchise, which continues to this day with new shows, new direct-to-video movies, and the occasional theatrical release. Filmation would begin their Archie franchise based on the comic book characters, as well as introduce the first African American animated character on Saturday mornings in The Hardy Boys. Warner Bros. packaged their theatrical shorts into The Bugs Bunny Show, which would find itself running for the next 40 years under various names.
|Peggy Charren in front of her group's logo.|