The 1970s was the decade when Saturday-morning cartoons became a major phenomenon, with kids tuning in to watch a plethora of syndicated animated shows every Saturday morning. While Hanna-Barbera Productions made many of these shows, there were also some notable 70s cartoons made by other animation studios, such as Filmation. For those looking to take a step back to their childhood, revisiting any of these classic Saturday-morning cartoons could prove the perfect escape! Join Facts Verse as we explore the best 70s cartoons to remind you of your childhood.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was an animated mystery comedy that was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for the CBS network. Though the series premiered on September 13, 1969, it went on to become a defining part of both the 1970s and the early Saturday-morning cartoon phenomenon. The original series only lasted for two seasons, ending on October 31, 1970.
After the end of the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the titular character was used further in the spin-off shows Scooby’s All-Stars and The Scooby-Doo Show. Later in the 1970s, these spin-off series were repackaged back under the name of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! when they were reran on the ABC network. In the days since, all episodes of Scooby’s All-Stars and The Scooby-Doo Show were released on DVD as the third season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, which helped clear things up for the fans.
Since the 1970s, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! has snowballed into a full-blown media franchise, with multiple theatrical motion pictures, direct-to-video features, made-for-television features, and subsequent series iterations. The character is arguably more popular than ever, which only makes it that much more lucrative of a nostalgic prospect to go back and revisit the show that started it all!
The Pink Panther Show
Originating in 1969, The Pink Panther Show was a series made up of various shorts featuring the character of the Pink Panther, who had previously been popularized in the animated opening-credit sequences featured in the series of live-actions films of the same name, starring Peter Sellers. As the films became more and more popular, the cartoon character started to take on a life of his own, which is how he eventually was able to get his own television series!
After premiering in 1969, The Pink Panther Show aired new episodes until 1978. The show was produced by the duo of David H. Depatie and Friz Freleng, who were known for their work on some of the most classic Looney Tunes shorts. The Looney Tunes shorts ended their original production run the same year that The Pink Panther Show began airing, and it proved a fine use of Depatie and Freleng’s immense talents!
Fred Flintstone and Friends
The original run of The Flintstones had been over for several years by the time the 1970s rolled around, but Hanna-Barbera wasn’t going to let one of their most prestigious intellectual properties sit around and do nothing during the boom of Saturday-morning cartoons. Since new episodes weren’t exactly an option at the time, the studio decided to create an anthology series made up of various less-successful cartoons, with Fred Flintstone as the host tying it all together. The end result was Fred Flintstone and Friends, which was offered up for syndication in 1978.
The series featured new wraparound segments starring Fred Flintstone. The original voice of Fred Flintstone had died in 1977, meaning that Hanna-Barbera Productions had to find a new voice for the character. When choosing a new voice, they went with someone who already had a little bit of experience with the property. They chose Henry Corden, who had previously performed Fred’s singing voice in the 1966 feature film The Man Called Flintstone. Henry proved perfect for Fred’s new speaking voice, and continued voicing the character in different capacities until his death in 2005.
The Tom and Jerry Show
Like Fred Flintstone and Friends, The Tom and Jerry Show was an attempt to take advantage of a popular intellectual property that wasn’t seeing much use during the time period. The series began airing in 1975, and a total of 16 episodes were produced. The series marked the first time that the characters of Tom and Jerry had been featured in animations that were made specifically for television, in contrast to their previous theatrical shorts. Sadly, increased media scrutiny of the 1970s made it so much of the slapstick violence that defined the characters had to be toned down. Because of this, the series is rarely brought up when people talk about Tom and Jerry, but it could still prove ideal nostalgic viewing for those who watched it back in the day!
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While Schoolhouse Rock! wasn’t a traditional animated series, it was certainly a memorable part of Saturday-morning traditions for children during the 1970s! Schoolhouse Rock! was a series of uniquely-animated educational shorts that aired between traditional Saturday-morning programming on the ABC network. The shorts not only covered such topics as grammar, science, history, and mathematics, but also covered more groundbreaking topics for the time, such as civil rights and economics.
Since the original run of Schoolhouse Rock!, the shorts have maintained popularity both for their educational appeal and their unique nostalgic charm. Much of the animation and educational material still holds up today, and the series was even revived for new episodes twice, once in 1993 and another time in 2009. Although the new shorts didn’t make as much of an impact as the classics, little else beats the original Schoolhouse Rock! when it comes to nostalgia.
As we’ve already briefly discussed, Looney Tunes wasn’t an animated series but a series of theatrical animated shorts that began in the year 1930 and continued to be produced until 1969. The series has come to be associated strongly with the golden age of American animation, alongside the early works of Walt Disney. Although the shorts stopped being produced in 1969, they began being syndicated on television in the 1970s. Because of this, Saturday-morning cartoon viewers have grown to have a strong attachment to the Looney Tunes shorts. The shorts popularized characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Tweety, and Sylvester, in addition to several other animated icons!
Hong Kong Phooey
Hong Kong Phooey was one of Hanna-Barbera Productions’ original 1970s series, running from 1974 until 1976 on the ABC network. The series followed the exploits of it’s titular pooch, who gets into all sorts of comedic crime-fighting exploits with his much more capable sidekick, Spot.
Super Friends is another Hanna-Barbera production that first got it’s start in the 1970s, with it’s very first episode airing in 1973. As compared to the original characters that featured in Hong Kong Phooey, much of the cast of Super Friends was made up of various popular superheroes taken from DC Comics. Of course, these popular characters included such icons as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. The series was subsequently revived in 1980.
Josie and the Pussycats
Josie and the Pussycats was another cartoon from Hanna-Barbera Productions that took it’s inspiration from an already-established intellectual property. Like Super Friends, Josie and the Pussycats was based on characters from a comic book series, this time the Josie and the Pussycats series, which was published by Archie Comics. When adapting the comic book series to animated form, Hanna-Barbera Productions opted to give the show a mystery-solving format, similar to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Josie and the Pussycats’ original run consisted of 16 episodes, which aired form 1970 to 1971. In 1972, the series was re-conceptualized as Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, which warranted 16 additional animated episodes for the classic characters. Both iterations of the series continued to be aired in reruns over the course of the 1970s. In 2001, the series was adapted into a live-action film of the same name, which has since attained the status of a cult classic.
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
Finally, let’s take a look at Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids! Although it’s certainly a good deal harder to enjoy the work of Bill Cosby now than it was back in the day, the original series still holds up as one of the most nostalgic animated series of it’s time, thanks to both it’s incredibly dated aesthetic and it’s cheap animation. The series was created and produced by comedian Bill Cosby, who was a much more family-friendly figure back then than he is now. Bill’s own early years inspired the series, which depicted his time growing up in Philadelphia with his childhood gang of friends.
This series is one of the few on this list that wasn’t produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, with it instead having been produced by Filmation. The series made it’s premiere in the year of 1972, and new episodes of the series were produced sporadically all the way up until 1985. Despite this incredibly long production run, new episodes were produced so sporadically that there were only a little over 100 episodes by the time that things were all said and done.
While the primary purpose of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was to entertain, the show also had some educational attributes that made it stand out to parents a little more than the average Saturday-morning cartoon. The series featured live-action segments hosted by Bill himself, with the comedian always coming on to preach whatever lesson the episode was supposed to espouse. At the end of each episode, all of the characters would take to the junkyard to play a song on instruments assembled from garbage.
The Saturday-morning cartoons featured in this video certainly weren’t the only ones that were popular during the 1970s! Comment down below to share if we left out any of your favorite nostalgic cartoons from the time period, or if you were thankful to be reminded of any of these classic animated gems from back in the day! As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!