December 2, 2013

3 Reasons Cartoons of the 1980s Rocked

There was once a time when a kid could see Gargamel create a Smurfette and fall in love with her one day; but be creeped out by all girls the next day after witnessing the Baroness kiss Destro on "G.I. Joe." Cartoons of the 1980s were leaps-and-bound ahead of their time, and make animated television today look like amateur hour. Some will look at this solely as opinion, but the facts back it up as well.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

The Generation X bias aside, it's difficult to argue the greatness of a Saturday morning TV lineup that included "The Snorks," "Gummy Bears," "Smurfs," "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "Galaxy High." "Hulk Hogan's Rock-N-Wrestling," "The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Show" and "Saturday Supercade" forced kids to get up and turn that bulky knob to the other channel during commercials (it's true...remote controls didn't always exist). But even the commercials were classic in those days.

Saturday morning cartoons had been an American staple since the 1960s. They would keep kids occupied from 7 a.m. until around 11:30 when dad or big brother took over the TV to watch college football. It was 1990 when the FCC issued a mandate known as E/I, which was part of the Children's Television Act of 1990. The law forced commercial networks to play at least three hours of "educational and informational" programming every week.

The new statute also outlawed tie-in advertising (e.g. showing "Care Bears" toy ads during the "Care Bears" show) and spots featuring 900-numbers. The financial implications caused CBS and NBC to drop most of their Saturday morning lineups in favor of talk shows. Since cable and DirecTV are exempt from FCC regulations, channels like Nickelodeon benefited, while Saturday morning cartoons died.

Formerly Adult Shows

All those Flintstones, Pepe Le Pew and Foghorn Leghorn cartoons sometimes seemed a bit too racy for kids is because they weren't originally meant for kids. Cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s (that still have a shelf life even today) were aired in an age when there were only four or five channels on the dial. Advertisers could not afford to make television shows solely for kids as opportunities weren't near as abundant as they are today. The subliminal love and sex, along with cartoon "violence" made animated television universal for everyone.

Catchy Musical Scores

"Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you, we got some work to do now..." Now try not to sing that all day the rest of the day. Cartoons of the 1980s were great from the very second they came on because of the intro music on virtually all of them. "We are the Chipmunks, C-H-I-P-M-U-N-K...we are the Chipmunks, guaranteed to brighten your day!" "Let's have a party with Charlie Brown and Snoopy, we can go dancing with Linus and Lucy..." Ok, that's enough.