|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
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.