I recently saw a Facebook post in which someone tried to redraw various real rock and roll bands as the equivalent of Saturday morning cartoon bands. Here’s one of the images.
Okay, that’s kinda cute. But what you young kids might not realize is that back in the day, when you get up on a Saturday morning, pour yourself a big bowl of Cocoa Krispies and dump half a carton of milk and seven spoonfuls of sugar in the bowl … Saturday morning was FULL of animated rock and roll. Well, mostly bubblegum pop and sunshine pop and the occasional watered-down funk.
So on today’s blog post, I’ll introduce you to several examples of rock and roll that were layered into the Saturday morning television vibe. Brought to you by Hanna-Barbera, Rankin-Bass, DePatie-Freleng, Filmation and Sid & Marty Krofft.
Fun stuff here.
Because you have to start with the most famous of all the Saturday morning rock bands … The Archies.
And then you follow it with what was essentially a spinoff show, featuring the all-female rock trio Josie and the Pussycats.
Hey, even Fat Albert had a musical interlude on his Saturday morning cartoon show. Yep, he and the rest of the gang – Bill, Russell, Weird Harold, Mushmouth, Dumb Donald, Bucky and Rudy (the fact that I still know all their names is both amazing and frightening) created their instruments out of whatever junkyard scraps they found. That’s right, old Weird Harold plays the mattress springs as if they were a harp.
There was also a Saturday morning rock band based on the Hardy Boys. Yes, the Franklin W. Dixon Hardy Boys. Frank and Joe Hardy. Seriously. Well, about the only thing this cartoon show had in common with those old books is that there were two characters named Frank and Joe Hardy. Almost wondering if one of the girls in the band was named Nancy Drew, but I guess that might be asking too much. But, damn, they went full on with the psychedelia and epilepsy-inducing strobes here.
And if you’re thinking there was a Saturday morning cartoon series that featured the relationship between Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – well, actually what we got was a show called “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids.” Yeesh.
Not to be outdone, the Krofft production team had several musical bands in their broadcast schedule. Listen, if you can get an up-and-coming songwriter-arranger named Barry White to produce music for the Banana Splits TV series … then you’re golden, man.
We now follow this up with the obligatory Bugaloos musical clip, at which time I’m transported back to 1970 and six-year-old me is discovering that Caroline Ellis is a smokeshow.
There was also a subgenre of Saturday morning cartoon rock bands – those who were real Top 40 bands that also had cartoons about their fictional lives. And, of course, that meant musical interludes. Such as this one with the Jackson Five. Oh, wait – on the TV show it was re-staylized as Jackson 5ive.
And if the Jackson 5ive were not your cup of tea, there was also the Osmonds cartoon show. Both programs were produced by Rankin-Bass, and you can see that the bands have similar, shall we say, dancing styles. And big flared bell-bottoms and kitten-heel boots. Yikes.
There was also a Beatles cartoon series at one point in time; in trying to link a video to this blog post, I discovered that most of the Beatles ABC cartoons had the Beatles music wiped off it to avoid copyright strikes; however, I did find this collection of Beatles “we’ll be right back after this commercial message” videos, so at least you can enjoy those.
There’s a ton of other Saturday morning cartoon rock bands out there … and maybe at some point I’ll feature them in another blog post. But for now, I need to get a second bowl of Cocoa Krispies and enjoy that time back in the day when adult me fulfilled my six-year-old me’s dream and actually interviewed Caroline Ellis for a toy magazine article. Yeah, that was fun. 😀
I watched the Beatles cartoon. If I recall correctly, one of the last songs they “played” was Strawberry Fields Forever, which faded out at about three minutes.
That was awesome. I loved the Hardy Boys one! I actually have all the Beatles cartoons. They’re pretty fun.
If Filmation had gotten the license for Josie & The Pussycats, then it’d be a proper spin-off, but nope. Hanna-Barbera got the license, and made some hay. Remember, too, that future star Cheryl Ladd was the singing voice for Melody.
Filmation foisted the musical Hardys on us, predating Shaun Cassidy and the live-action Hardys series by a few years. Most of the men’s voices were done by no less than Dallas McKennon, also the voice of Archie!
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kids boasted ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz in their cast, so there was a little cred there.
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