Cartoons of the 1960s

The Alvin Show [1961-1962]: I was nuts over the chipmunks when I was a kid (excuse the pun!). I listened to their records incessantly and adored this show. It’s been ages since I’ve seen it but I can’t believe it wouldn’t hold up for adults as well as kids. Unfortunately, the “munks” had a makeover in the eighties and now look “cute” as opposed to “beat”, and of course, their music is contemporary, losing much of the silliness of the orchestrations of yesteryear. And Ross Bagdasarian (David Seville) is no longer with us.
Overall grade: 7

The Bugs Bunny Show [1960-1971]: There wasn’t a Saturday morning that I missed when this show was on, although I only watched about two-thirds of it because I never liked the Road Runner. How many times can you watch Wile E. Coyote get blown up or fall off a cliff? Z-zzz. But Bugs and his friends were all great, and sometimes you’d luck into seeing one of his infamous opera renditions. One of th-a-da-these days I’m going to have to have a tribute site for Mel Blanc!!
Overall grade: 7

The Bullwinkle Show [1961-1973]: Wossomotta U!! You don’t like cartoons? Think again! The Bullwinkle Show (or more popularly known as The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle) breaks all ground for what is already a format without limitations. The brand of humour by the “cast” of Jay Ward’s universe is geared far more to adults than to kids, but kids will also be thrilled by all the characters in Moosylvania. The characters/plots of course include Bullwinkle and Rocky, Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale and “The Fearless Leader” (all from Pottsylvannia) and Captain Peachfuzz – all doing their bit to save or destroy the world. Then there’s Dudley Do-Right and Nell, Dudley’s Horse, and Snidely Whiplash – straight from the cinematic legends created by The Perils of Pauline and Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.
Next up is: Fractured Fairy Tales, which gives us a humourously jaundiced view of the beloved tales of our youth (wonderfully narrated by Edward Everett Horton). Also Aesop and Son, our favourite moral tales, skewered just a tad. And last but not least, Sherman and Mr. Peabody: the boy and his genius dog who travel through time.
I kid you not when I say how much even a few minutes of Mr. Peabody and Aesop and Son inspired me to learn about history and myths when I was a kid. I enjoyed Dudley Do-Right the most, having also seen some of the silent Perils of Pauline shorts when I was a tot, and I just loved his horse, who of course was much smarter than Dudley. The narration on all of these cartoons was always humourous too, and there was something about the energy that sprang from the pacing of the dialogue, sometimes to the point where voices overlapped. It made you sit at the edge of your seat. The jokes would slide by so fast sometimes, that you’d find yourself laughing about thirty seconds later, and probably the rest of the day! I remember one joke in particular {see below} that almost made me fall off my chair and spend countless weeks wondering how they got it past the censors, but people were naïve once upon a time.
Finding the full-length versions of this series is very hard since various networks have chopped them up to stuff them in their allotted slots between commercials, but there are a number of the full series sets that are available on video.

Overall grade: 9

The Flintstones [1960-1966]: One of my first traumatic clashes with reality was when I learned that dinosaurs and humans did not roam the planet at the same time. Despite the fact that I knew that The Flintstones was just a cartoon, the imagination that that show inspired in me, in terms of how little prehistoric beasties could be made to do one’s household chores, was sadly depleted! The show was brilliantly innovative in its depiction of everyday suburban (!) life several thousand years ago (did cavemen have suburbs?). It’s inventiveness never ceased to amaze me. Unfortunately, the main characters were very much like the cast of The Honeymooners, with all their sour moods and doltish ways played for laughs. They just weren’t very likable (Fred was okay). But the animation was cool.
Overall grade: 6

The Jetsons [1962-1976]: I’m not sure if it was ever specified in what century this show is supposed to take place. I will now have another traumatic clash with reality if it was supposed to depict the early 21st century! This show was great because of all the innovative concepts it had about life in the future. Machines and gadgets brought instant results, though I don’t recall them ever coming up with anything as audacious as the internet! The family part of this show was a little easier to accept than The Flintstones, since the show also picked fun at square families with teens.
Overall grade: 7

Mister Magoo [1964-1965]: I don’t really remember much about this show except that I know I enjoyed it. The fact that I’m somewhat disabled without my glasses makes Magoo a soul mate, so I’d like to watch some of those old toons again.
Overall grade: 6

The Pink Panther [1969]: I always enjoyed the ultra-cool ways of the Pink Panther, which is not to be confused with the Peter Sellers movies (although one of the segments of the “Panther” series was an animated version of Inspector Clouseau). The score by Henry Mancini was neat too. The Pink Panther cartoons themselves often ran before movies in the seventies and early eighties. I sort of miss those days.
Overall grade: 6

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? [1969-1972]: My love for dogs and mysteries made me tune in to this a few times, and Scooby-Doo was an adorable doggie with an adorable voice (he didn’t talk, just made funny dog sounds), but animated people, especially teens, are a real turn-off for me. The show didn’t really have anything else going for it.
Overall grade: 2

There was an interesting trend of cartons that featured animal superheroes, although I unfortunately don’t remember them very well.

Felix the Cat [1960], Mighty Mouse [1955-1966] and especially Underdog [1964-1973] we’re all very entertaining. There was also a human hero named George of the Jungle [1967-1970] who as I recall, had a distinguished sidekick that was an ape.
Other cartoons that I recall were
Tom and Jerry [1965 -1972], which I seem to remember enjoying a lot, The New Casper Cartoon Show [1963], which I think I liked, and The Yogi Bear Show [1960], which despite the name, I didn’t like.

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