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.
It's September, so that means new television season! However, in the 1950s, things started in October. But, for the sake of what we're doing here, we're giving them to you today. So these are the Saturday Morning schedules that debuted in 1952.
The result was the second incarnation of The Archie Show, The Archie Comedy Hour. Along with reruns from The Archie Show, Comedy Hour incorporated new segments that were mostly one-off gags rather than story driven, such as “Dilton Doiley’s Inventions”. “The Funhouse” joke segment in the middle of the hour was modeled after Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Additionally, there were music segments designed to showcase the new music from The Archies.
Advertising mock-up introducing Sabrina.
Comedy Hour also gave
Filmation a chance to fulfill an itch. For a long time, producer Lou Scheimer had been trying to secure the rights to
adapt the sitcom Bewitchedinto an animated series;
continuing Filmation’s trend of banking on established properties and their
audiences. While perusing some Archie comics on vacation, CBS head daytime
Silverman discovered that Archie
themselves had their own witch character, and alerted Scheimer to the
fact. After securing the rights from publisher John Goldwater, Scheimer immediately set Jack Mendelsohn to develop Sabrina, the Teenage Witch for
inclusion within the Comedy Hour.
Archie and the gang getting to know the new girl in school.
Unlike the comics where Sabrina (Jane Webb) was a half-mortal sent to live with her witch aunts, the series’ intro stated that Sabrina was created accidentally when said aunts Hilda and Zelda (both also Webb) mixed the wrong ingredients into their brew. So, instead of gaining a fellow wicked witch, they found themselves with a groovy teen who liked hanging out with her friends at Riverdale High as much as using her magic to help them (in secret, of course). Much like the comics, however, Sabrina’s efforts often ended up making situations worse. Sabrina’s adventures often featured as much of the Archie cast as her own, which included her magical cat, Salem (Dallas McKennon); oblivious boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle (Don Messick); best friend, Ophelia (created for the show, voiced by Treva Frazee); and warlock cousin, Ambrose (John Erwin). Occasionally, Sabrina even had to put up with head witch Della (Webb) and her bratty nephew, Hexter (Erwin). Sabrina’s segments bookended the hour with an additional short segment of her demonstrating magic tricks to the audience.
Reggie is certain there's something peculiar about Sabrina.
The Archie Comedy Hour debuted on CBS on September 13, 1969. However, canonically, it was preceded by a prime-time special that aired the following night: Archie and His New Pals. The special saw Sabrina coming to Riverdale High just as Reggie (Erwin) and Big Moose (Howard Morris) were set to run against each other for class president. While Sabrina was technically the only “new pal” introduced in the special, its title was actually based on the special’s sponsor: Pals Vitamins. Unlike The Archie Show, this time around one of the Archie writers was employed in George Gladir, co-creator of Sabrina. Additional writers included Bob Ogle, Jim Ryan, Bill Danch and Mendelsohn. Legendary animator Don Bluth, still early in his career, worked as a designer. While The Archies’ music was written by Jeff Barry, Ritchie Adams and Mark Barkan and performed by studio musicians Gary Chester on drums, Dave Appell on guitars, Joey Macho on bass, and Ron Frangipane on keyboards with Ron Dante and Toni Wine on vocals, Ray Ellis composed the rest of the music.
Hilda, Zelda and Salem.
Sabrina proved popular right out of the gate, prompting Filmation to produce more episodes with her and spin her off into her own series the following year. She was combined with the original concept, The Groovie Goolies, to make the new hour-long program Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies (sometimes known as The Sabrina Comedy Hour). The Archie format was adjusted again to feature more music and more comedy routines rather than typical stories in Archie’s Fun House featuring the Giant Juke Box. That same year, “Jingle Jangle” was featured on The Ed Sullivan show in January while the special was rerun on March 22nd as The Archie Sugar, Sugar, Jingle Jangle Show with different opening and closing songs.
Sabrina grooving with Harvey.
Archie Comics continued their staunch support of Filmation and their programs. Along with blurbs about the shows on their covers, “Sugar, Sugar” was woven into practically any story that featured music or The Archies playing; starting with Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals #57 (1970). Further, Archie began publication of a new title called Archie’s TV Laugh-Out(a play on Laugh-In) that primarily showcased their television characters (although, really, it wasn’t any different than any other Archie title besides the combination of all the characters into one book). It ran for 106 issues, ending in 1986, and some stories were collected into a digital trade for Archie's 75th anniversary. Comedy Hour and TV Laugh-Out simultaneously introduced the characters of Ambrose and Harvey; both created for the show that became permanent additions to the Sabrina mythos. While cover-dated for that December, Laugh-Out’s first issueactually went on sale just two weeks afterComedy Hour’s debut.
“The Fairy Godmother / Hiccups” (9/13/69) – Sabrina uses magic to get Spencer to take Ophelia to the school dance. / Sabrina’s hiccups causes her magic to go out of control.
“Which Witch is Which? / The Basketball Game” (9/20/69) – A magical mishap causes Hilda to get Sabrina’s face. / Sabrina attempts to use magic to stifle the opposing team’s cheating during a basketball game.
“Will the Real Weatherbee Stand Up? / Caveman” (9/27/69) – When the school ends up short-staffed, Sabrina duplicates Mr. Weatherbee to help out. / Attempting to help Sabrina with her history homework causes Ambrose to bring a caveman into the present.
“Paint Story / Aunt Zelda’s Broom” (10/4/69) – Sabrina joins the others in painting Mr. Weatherbee’s house. / Sabrina tries to get Zelda her broom for a race in the other world.
“Cinderella Story / What the Hex is Going On?” (10/11/69) – Sabrina’s magic goes wild during the costume ball. / Hilda hexes Jughead after he speaks ill about witches.
“Wishbone / Babysitter” (10/18/69) – Hot Dog Jr. and Chili Dog find a magic soup bone that grants wishes. / Sabrina has to babysit Della’s wicked nephew, Hexter.
“Carnival / Stage Fright” (10/25/69) – A comet passes by overhead that causes everything a witch does to be backwards. / Hilda lands the role of a witch in a play.
“Pet Show / Funny Bunny” (11/1/69) – Sabrina enters Salem in a pet show just as a cosmic constellation occurs that causes witches’ cats to be rambunctious. / Sabrina tries to help Jughead be successful, but instead turns him into a rabbit.
“Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow / A Witch in Time” (11/8/69) – Sabrina tries to change Mr. Weatherbee’s mind about people with long hair. / Della decides Hilda and Zelda aren’t witch enough to watch over Sabrina and assigns her a new guardian.
“When the Cat’s Away / Costume Party” (11/15/69) – Sabrina and Salem trade places. / Sabrina realizes the gang is holding their costume party at the home of the Witches’ Convention.
“Let’s Have a Hand for Jughead / The New Freeway” (11/22/69) – Sabrina tries to help Big Ethel attract Jughead. / The Spellmans must save their house from the construction of a new freeway.
“Blue Whale / Football Game” (11/29/69) – At the aquarium, Hexter decides to help out a homesick whale. / Hilda attends the school football game and unwittingly helps the opposing team win.
“Town Beautiful / Horse’s Mouth” (12/6/69) – A pair of bikers undermine the gang’s efforts at beautifying the town. / Sabrina grants a horse the gift of speech to help get a law changed.
“Birdman of Riverdale / Hoedown Showdown” (12/13/69) – Sabrina learns some secrets about a grumpy old man. / The gang helps Moose’s uncle with his harvest so he won’t lose the farm.
“Spooky Spokes / You Oughta Be in Pictures” (12/20/69) – Sabrina accidentally gives away Ambrose’s motorcycle and tries to get it back. / Sabrina helps the gang with their movie.
“The Generation Flap / School Daze” (12/27/69) – Sabrina arranges a birthday party for Archie on the same night her aunts arranged a magic seminar. / Hexter goes to Riverdale High after shrinking Sabrina down to doll size.
“Ug at the Bat / Computerized Moose” (1/3/70) – Hilda makes Sabrina take the caveman to school where he turns out to be a natural batter in baseball. / Moose becomes super-intelligent after an accident with the school’s computer.
“Archie and His New Pals” (9/14/69) – Sabrina starts at Riverdale High just as a heated election is about to begin between Reggie and Moose for class president.
1980s at the height of picture book sales, Scholastic
was getting a lot of requests from teachers who wanted to see more books based
on science. Then-vice president and senior editorial director Craig
Walker conceived of a concept that would combine science with fictional
stories by combining his love of field trips with memories of an eccentric
second grade teacher he had. He decided that a wacky teacher would take her
class to places they ordinarily couldn’t go in real life, opening the door for
those kids and the reader to learn about science in the process. He approached writer
and artist Bruce Degen
about bringing the series to life.
The world's introduction to Miss Frizzle.
accepted the task. However, at first Cole found herself struggling to find a
way to make the book funny yet informative while boiling down complicated ideas
into terms kids could understand without becoming boring. She also didn’t know
what the wild teacher, Miss Fizzle, would be like, until she finally wrote down
the first paragraph of the first book where an unnamed student of the class
(the perspective taken by all the books) conveyed her strangeness to the
reader. From there, she was able to flesh the character and her adventures out.
Degen designed the students of Frizzle’s class by thumbing through his children’s
elementary school picture books, finding a student whose look he liked, and
turning them into a caricature. From the outset, it was decided to make the
class as realistically diverse as possible; something rarely done in children’s
books at the time.
The original edition of the first book.
book, The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks, was published in 1986 by
Scholastic. The book was a hit with both readers and educators, often
attributed to the way information was delivered through ideas and questions
rather than straightforward facts. Scholastic quickly ordered the next book in
the series based on that reaction. Each book took about a year to make, between
Cole’s research and writing and Degen’s drawing. They followed the exploits of
Miss Frizzle as she taught her class of 20 students by taking them and their
class pet lizard, Liz
Ard, on field trips via a magic school bus. The Bus in question was
high-tech, sentient, and anthropomorphic, and could traverse to places like
space or inside the human body, change shape and size, or become other types of
vehicles. However, it did tend to malfunction at the worst possible moments
(usually leading to a good opportunity for the students to use what they’ve
learned to get them through). 12 books in total were published in the main
series up to 2010, , with revised editions appearing frequently and a 13th
being released in 2021 after Cole
passed away. Additionally, 20 chapter books, 33 Reader Level 2 books, and
several spin-off books were produced. The Magic School Bus was Scholastic’s
best-selling franchise, selling over 93 million copies worldwide, until
it was surpassed by Harry Potter.
Miss Frizzle, Liz and the Bus with their class: Keesha, Dorothy Ann, Arnold, Wanda, Tim, Ralphie, Carlos and Phoebe.
successful book series, it was only logical to take the next step and bring the
adventures to television. The Magic School Bus was developed by Kristin Laskas Martin, Alison Blank and Jane Startz and produced by
Scholastic Productions along with Nelvana
and South Carolina ETV. The producers sat
down with Cole and Degen to get their input on what made the books work in an
attempt to emulate that for the series. The character designs were lifted
directly from Degen’s artwork while being simplified for animation purposes.
Additionally, the class size was reduced from 20 to 8 children to reduce the
number of characters that would need to be animated and allow greater focus on
Character model sheet.
eccentric and unusual Miss Fizzle (Lily Tomlin) and Liz were Arnold Perlstein
(Amos Crawley, replaced by Danny Tamberelli when his voice changed), a
seemingly cowardly and brilliant boy who typically hated the field trips but
enjoyed having Miss Frizzle as a teacher; Timothy Wright (Max Beckford, also
replaced by Andre Ottley-Lorant), the most observant and artistic in the class
that usually served as the class’s unofficial documenter; Carlos Ramon (Daniel
DeSanto), the class clown who preferred to learn by doing and loved inventing
unique devices; Dorothy Ann Hudson (Tara Meyer), the class bookworm whose bag
was usually filled with a book on just about any topic; Keesha Franklin (Erica
Luttrell), the most level-headed and realistic of the class who often dealt in
sarcasm; Ralphie Tennelli (Stuart Stone), the class athlete whose tendency to
get lost in his daydreams often put him at odds with Keesha; Wanda Li (Lisa
Yamanaka), a tomboy with an adventurous spirit who loved to face her problems
head-on; and Phoebe Terese (Maia Filar), a transfer student that often spoke
about her old school, gentle, kind and a little bit shy. Occasionally the class
was joined by Arnold’s know-it-all, conceited cousin Janet (Renessa Blitz), who enjoyed
being cruel to others and acting in her own self-interests. Like the books, the
series was set in the fictional city of Walkerville
(named after Walker) at Walkerville
Just a little field trip through the blood stream. No big.
Miss Frizzle in live-action and disguise to deliver a frightful Halloween lesson.
ran for four seasons and one Halloween special, which repackaged the episodes
“In the Haunted House” and “Going Batty” between new live-action material
featuring Tomlin and Tamberelli. During its run, it was nominated for several
awards including multiple Daytime Emmys,
of which Tomlin won one; two Environmental
Media Awards, winning both; a NCLR Bravo Award; and a Television Critics Association Award.
Despite this, high ratings and the continued popularity of the franchise, PBS
ultimately decided not to continue the show and instead shift their focus
towards programming for a younger demographic.
Magic School Bus became a tool to allow networks to fulfill their
educational requirements. Shortly after ending its run, it was acquired by FOX to air as part of the weekday Fox Kids block until its end
in 2002. Afterwards, it aired on TLC and Discovery Kids from
2003-09. In 2010, it was picked up by Qubo until 2011. In a lot of
these airings, the “Producer Says” segment was cut out to make room for more
commercials. The series became available to stream on Netflix from 2013 until 2021; with season 1
returning in 2022. It’s was also available to stream on Hoopla and for purchase
Play and Vudu.
In 2017, a sequel
series debuted called The Magic School Bus Rides Again. It was produced
by 9 Story Media Group and aired on Netflix,
with Lin-Manuel Miranda singing the
theme. The series saw Miss Frizzle (full name revealed to be Valerie Felicity
Frizzle), again voiced by Tomlin, get her Ph.D and retire from teaching. In
doing so, she handed over her class, comprised of mostly the same kids with new
actors (Phoebe was said to have gone back to her old school and she was
replaced with a new character), and the Bus’s keys to her younger sister, Miss
Fiona Felicity Frizzle (Kate
McKinnon). The younger Frizzle continued her sister’s eccentric means of
teaching the class via fanciful field trips courtesy of the Bus. Stuart Stone
returned to the series as a producer and provided additional voices, as did
Yamanaka and Crawley. Like the original series, it was a dual United States/Canadian
production and original voice director Blu also returned to handle the Los
Angeles-based talent while Alyson
Court handled the ones in Toronto. The series ran for two seasons and three
specials. As of 2020, a live-action film adaptation has
been announced with Elizabeth
Banks set to star and produce.
“Gets Lost in Space” (9/10/94) – When the planetarium is
closed, Miss Frizzle takes the class to space where she ends up separated from
them and they end up lost.
“For Lunch” (9/17/94) – Arnold gets left behind from the
class field trip in order to break a school record, unaware that the field trip
is into his digestive system.
“Inside Ralphie” (9/24/94) – With Ralphie home sick and
unable to deliver his idea for Broadcast Day, Miss Fizzle decides they should
take a trip inside him to see his immune system at work.
“Gets Eaten” (10/1/94) – Arnold and Keesha forget to bring
the items they needed for their assignment and scramble to find whatever’s
“Hops Home” (10/8/94) – The class helps Bella try to find
the pet frog she brought in for pet day.
“Meets the Rot Squad” (10/15/94) – The class is shrunken
down to study the effects of rotting on a log up close.
“All Dried Up” (10/22/94) – Phoebe decides to head to the
desert to ensure all the animals living there will survive.
“In the Haunted House” (10/29/94) – When the bus breaks down
the class is forced to spend the night in the creepy old sound museum.
“Gets Ready, Set, Dough” (11/5/94) – The class wants to
throw Miss Frizzle a surprise birthday party, but the bus malfunctions and
shrinks them on the way to the bakery for a cake.
“Plays Ball” (11/12/94) – Miss Frizzle backtracks to retrieve
Dorothy Ann’s physics book that was used for home plate and the class ends up
trapped on a frictionless field within it.
“Goes to Seed” (11/19/94) – The class heads to Phoebe’s old
school to pick up her plant there, but she’s worried that Miss Frizzle will
embarrass her and her old teacher.
“Gets Ants in its Pants” (11/26/94) – Keesha is directing
the class movie about ants but ends up frustrated when she can’t find one to be
the movie’s star.
“Kicks Up a Storm” (12/3/94) – When Keesha refuses to
acknowledge Ralphie as Weatherman, in his anger he creates a thunderstorm that
goes out of control.
“Blows Its Top” (9/9/95) – Carlos and Dorothy Ann have
conflicting notions about naming a new island that Miss Frizzle claims has yet
to be discovered.
“Flexes its Muscles” (9/16/95) – When Miss Frizzle takes the
bus to a body shop for some work, the class decides to use items they find
their to build their own robot.
“The Busasaurus” (9/23/95) – Arnold ends up taking a
fossilized egg he was shown at an archaeological dig back in time with the
class and its stolen by an Ornithomimus.
“Going Batty” (9/30/95) – Ralphie is convinced Miss Frizzle
is a vampire and plans to do something terrible to their parents when she takes
them on a field trip.
“Butterfly and the Bog Beast” (10/7/95) – The class decides
they need a new soccer mascot which prompts a trip to the swamp to investigate
a proposed “Bog Beast”.
“Wet All Over” (10/14/95) – When Arnold leaves the bus’ key
and Liz in a bathroom he forgets to turn the water off in, Miss Fizzle’s spare
key turns the bus and the class into water.
“In a Pickle” (10/21/95) – Miss Fizzle is put on trial for
allowing Keesha’s prize cucumber to be replaced by a pickle, but Miss Fizzle
takes them on a trip to prove it was really a group of microbes.
“Revving Up” (10/28/95) – The class heads inside the bus’s
engine after a vehicle maintenance inspector decides it needs to be destroyed.
“Taking Flight” (11/4/95) – Tim, Phoebe and Liz are left to
control the model airplane the class shrinks to ride inside, but end up
accidentally destroying its remote.
“Getting Energized” (11/11/95) – The class is in charge of
running the Ferris wheel at a carnival, but need to find a way to run it
“Out of this World” (11/18/95) – The class sets out to stop
a meteor that Dorothy Ann has discovered heading for Earth in order to prevent
her nightmare of it destroying the school.
“Cold Feet” (11/25/95) – The class goes out in search of a
missing Liz and discover Liz has ended up at a spa for reptiles.
“Ups and Downs” (12/2/95) – The class investigates reports
of a monster in the lake when the bus’s sink and float function is acting up.
“In a Beehive” (9/14/96) – A series of mishaps causes Wanda
and Tim to ruin a honey delivery from Tim’s grandfather’s farm and lead a bear
to the beehives.
“In the Arctic” (9/21/96) – Miss Frizzle takes the class on
a trip to the arctic where the bus’s engine freezes and it gets trapped on a
flow with Phoebe, Ralphie and Liz.
“Spins a Web” (9/28/96) – Miss Frizzle taking the class into
a movie results in the main character stealing the bus, kicking them all out
and using Liz as bait for a monster.
“Under Construction” (10/5/96) – When the class helps Wanda watch
her little brother, he accidentally shrinks them and the bus and locks them in
“Gets a Bright Idea” (10/12/96) – Janet would rather go to a
magic show than the light show, but she decides to have a ghostly good time
“Shows and Tells” (10/19/96) – Arnold brings a strange
object to the international Show and Tell show that nobody can identify.
“Makes a Rainbow” (10/26/96) – Miss Frizzle and Liz invent a
magical pinball machine that uses light and the class goes inside it to help
ensure she wins the game and gets to keep the machine.
“Goes Upstream” (11/2/96) – The class goes on a field trip
to investigate the disappearance of the salmon, but when they change their
minds they’re unable to keep the bus from migrating.
“Works Out” (11/9/96) – At the annual Teacherathalon, Miss
Fizzle is up against the impossibly buff gym teacher, Mr. Sinew.
“Gets Planted” (11/16/96) – Phoebe volunteers to make the
props for the class play of Jack and the Beanstalk but is unable to get
a good beanstalk going.
“In the Rainforest” (11/23/96) – The class heads to the
Amazon Rainforest to find out why the cocoa bean tree they got for Miss Fizzle
hasn’t produced any beans.
“Rocks and Rolls” (11/30/96) – The class is sculpting the
statute of their city’s founder via instructions he left in poem form.
“Holiday Special” (12/25/96) – When Arnold accidentally
recycles Wanda’s toy soldier, she angrily wishes recycling was never invented
and Miss Fizzle decides to grant that wish.
“Meets Molly Cule” (9/13/97) – The class gets to wash the
car of Wanda’s favorite singer however Wanda accidentally destroys the hood
ornament which was made of sugar.
“Cracks a Yolk” (9/20/97) – The class is tasked with
watching Mr. Ruhle’s pet chicken, but when he escapes they plan to replace him
with a new one by hatching one from an egg.
“Goes to Mussel Beach” (9/27/97) – The class is upset with
Ralphie’s choice of spot at the beach, which seems to be in the middle of the
most crowded area.
“Goes on Air” (10/4/97) – The class is upset when Keesha
brings a “jar of air” for the space capsule, but then need to use air to escape
it when Miss Fizzle gets them trapped inside.
“Gets Swamped” (10/11/97) – The class finds itself taking
the side of defending the swamplands from a building development.
“Goes Cellular” (10/18/97) – After exclusively eating
seaweed for a month, Arnold’s skin has turned orange just as he’s set to
receive a major award.
“Sees Stars” (10/25/97) – Dorothy Ann is stuck home sick on
her birthday and the class plans to get her a star, but Keesha is highly
suspect of the company selling them.
“Gains Weight” (11/1/97) – Miss Frizzle turns the bus into a
planet with adjustable gravity so Phoebe can practice slam dunking, but the
lever ends up getting stuck on heavy gravity.
“Makes a Stink” (11/8/97) – Janet is determined to win the
First Annual Smell Search and sabotages the unique smell the class developed.
“Gets Charged” (11/15/97) – The class overhears Miss Frizzle
reading a love letter and decide to fix her doorbell before her beau comes by.
“Gets Programmed” (11/22/97) – Carlos’ little brother sets
up the new computer that will run the school, but he accidentally sets it to
perform the school’s tasks every minute instead of every day.
“Takes a Dive” (11/29/97) – Miss Frizzle’s story about a
pirate relative has Keesha eager to explore the coral reef where he may have
left his treasure.
“In the City” (12/6/97) – Miss Frizzle turns the class into
animals on a trip to the zoo, but the bus runs off thinking it’s actually a
“A Magic School Bus Halloween” (10/31/95) – Three students
left alone in a museum get a lesson in fear from a sarcophagus-dwelling man