Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #36: Recording Artists Who Appeared On Saturday Morning TV

Thirteen Recording Acts Who Appeared On Saturday Morning TV

While rock and roll started in the 1950s, it took awhile for Saturday morning TV to jump on the bandwagon. With the enormous success of a certain mop topped quartet from Liverpool, the networks realized that kids wanted a little rock and roll to go along with their favorite sugar coated cereal. By the early 1970s, the trend of marrying popular music with kiddie TV was at an all-time high. Although some of the entries below weren't traditional recording acts, every one of them had songs that hit the Billboard Hot 100.

1. The Archies- Based on the popular comics, the Riverdale gang first came to Saturday morning TV in 1968 and lasted in various formats for the next 10 years. Although they are often thought of as a one-hit wonder, The Archies had 4 Top 40 singles from 1968-1970. In addition to their 1969 #1 "Sugar, Sugar", their other three Top 40 entries were "Bang-Shang-A-Lang", "Jingle Jangle", and "Who's Your Baby?". When it comes to the great tambourine players, I still say that Betty Cooper ranks among the best.

2. The Banana Splits- Airing on NBC from 1968-1970, this series mixed live action with animation. The Banana Splits consisted of Fleegle, a beagle; Bingo, a gorilla; Drooper, a lion, and Snorky (called "Snork" in the theme song lyrics), an elephant. Along with performing songs and comedy skits, the quartet introduced a number of individual segments. These included the cartoons "Atom Ant", "The Three Musketeers", "The Hillbilly Bears", and the live action serial "Danger Island" (starring a young Jan-Michael Vincent).

3. The Bay City Rollers- The Scottish group (who had such hits as "Saturday Night" and "You Made Me Believe In Magic") were the hosts of "The Krofft Superstar Hour" (later titled "The Bay City Rollers Show") on NBC from 1978-1979.

4. The Beatles- The first cartoon show to ever feature a rock group, "The Beatles" was part of ABC's Saturday morning lineup from 1965-1968 (it moved to Sundays from 1968-1969). One of the highlights of each episode was the "singalong" where the lyrics to one of their tunes would appear on the screen. Although the original songs of the Fab Four were used, their voices were supplied by American actor Paul Frees (John and George) and British performer Lance Percival (Paul and Ringo).

5. The California Raisins- Airing on CBS from 1989-1990, this spinoff from the popular commercials featured the four raisins—singer A.C., drummer Beebop, bassist Stretch and pianist Red—sparring constantly with their manager, while either on tour or hanging out in the extravagant penthouse above their recording studio. Although the commercials were done in Claymation, the Saturday morning series was hand drawn.

6. The Jackson 5ive- The animated adventures of the Motown group aired on ABC from 1971-1973. Due to scheduling conflicts, the Jackson Five were unable to provide their voices (although their original songs were used). Just like the real Michael, the animated one was also an animal lover because the cartoon featured his pet mice (Ray and Charles) and snake (Rosie).

7. Kid 'n' Play- The "House Party" guys had their own animated cartoon series on NBC from 1990-1991. The real Kid 'n Play appeared in live-action wraparounds of the cartoons, but voice actors took over for the animated versions of the rap duo. Martin Lawrence, Cree Summer (Freddie from "A Different World", Tommy Davidson ("In Living Color"), and Dawnn Lewis (Jaleesa from "A Different World") are some of the performers who did voices for the cartoon.

8. MC Hammer- Airing on ABC from 1991-1992, the animated cartoon "Hammerman" told the story of youth center worker Stanley Burrell (Hammer's real name). Burrell owns a pair of magical dancing shoes (which were alive and could speak), which when worn cause Burrell to transform into the superhero Hammerman. The show was hosted by the real MC Hammer, who also sang the show's catchy ass theme song (seriously, it was playing in my head for most of the afternoon at work today).

9. The Monkees- Although it originally aired in primetime on NBC from 1966-1968, the Emmy-winning series was later part of the Saturday lineups of both CBS (1969-1972) and ABC (1972-1973).

10. New Kids On the Block- Along with scores of merchandise, the New Kids also got their own animated cartoon (which aired from 1990-1991 on ABC). Although the group appeared in live action clips, their animated likenesses were voiced by other actors.

11. The Osmonds- Following on the heels of their soulful counterparts The Jackson Five, the boys from Ogden, Utah had their own animated cartoon on ABC from 1972-1974. The Osmonds did their own voices for the cartoon, with Paul Frees voicing their dog Fugi.

12. The Partridge Family- The sitcom pop group traded in their psychedelic bus for more futuristic transportation for "The Partridge Family 2200 A.D.", which ran on CBS from 1974-1975. Along with the Partridges and manager Reuben Kincaid, the cartoon also featured the family's robot dog Orbit, Veenie (Keith's Venusian friend), and Marion Moonglow (Laurie's Martian classmate). Of the original show's cast, only Danny Bonaduce, Brian Forster, and Suzanne Crough did their own voices for the entire run of the animated series. Susan Dey did the voice of Laurie for two episodes, but left to start work on a film.

13. Rick Springfield- Almost 10 years before joining "General Hospital" and scoring hits like "Jessie's Girl", Rick Springfield appeared in animated form on the ABC cartoon "Mission: Magic!". Airing from 1973-1974, the series followed the exploits of a teacher (Miss Tickle) and six of her students. Each adventure began when Miss Tickle would draw a magic door on a chalkboard through which she and her students would enter. Once on the other side of the chalkboard, they would meet up with Rick, a cat named Tut Tut and Rick's pet owl Ptolemy, and then go on to travel to mythical lands and throughout various centuries. Rick would perform a song at the end of each show.

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Chelle Y. said...

That just brought back a lot of memories from Saturday mornings as a kid!

Holly Smith said...

That really brought back some memories. But I was disappointed to learn that a lot of the voices were supplied by different people. Oh well, I still loved my cartoons anyway!

SusieJ said...

OK... This was MY Saturday morning!!! I loved the Archies, never liked the Osmonds... but OHHh, I loved the monkeys.

anthonynorth said...

Now that was pure nostalgia :-)

Chuck said...

Wow - that was a thrill a second. I have a Bay City Rollers album and didn't know the Archies was a show. How fun.

Happy TT :)

pussreboots said...

I really liked the Monkees when I was younger. Happy TT.

Nicholas said...

We didn't have Saturday morning TV in England. But I do remember the Monkees on Saturday early evenings. I never knew about Lance Perceval doing Beatle voices!

Open Grove Claudia said...

I'm a little frightened at how many of these I've seen.... well... a lot frightened... Especially since we weren't "allowed" to watch TV on Saturday mornings. That's an uncomfortable trip down memory lane.

Sorry Dad.

Happy TT! :)

Adelle said...

We used to love these shows when Dad was at work. They weren't allowed when he was home. Thanks for the memories. Happy T13!

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I've got the Banana Splits theme stuck in my head now and it's all your fault! I watched a lot of those. The Beatles cartoons were a favorite of mine :) Our local station at the time WPGH played the Monkees at 4 p.m. when I was 5 ...hence my huge crush on Davy :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Sigmund and the Sea Monster! Man, I loved that guy.

I don't remember any of the stuff from circa 1990; In fact, I didn't even know they'd been made. Oops. Some student of pop culture I am.

Where would I be without you, Malcolm?

SandyCarlson said...

Rick Springfield's hair is toooo much!

My Saturday a.m. TV viewing was all the culture I needed. No wonder! I still love the Monkees, the Partridge Family, and the Osmonds.

Mama Kelly said...

I hadn't thought about those shows in years!!!!

What fun!

Happy Th13

mama kelly

Lori said...

I remember all of those! Happy TT.

Jay said...

Now I'm gonna spend the night on YouTube looking for these shows. Wow! What a blast from the past.

My sister was the biggest flunkies .. er .. MONkees fan ever! ;-)

Journeywoman said...

Wow. Trip down memory lane. Especially the Bay City Roller and Bannana splits.

SJ Reidhead said...

Very good!

If I admit I saw the Beatles cartoon first run....?

The Pink Flamingo

Malcolm said...

Chelle Y.: Thanks for visiting

Holly: Watching the Beatles cartoon now is somewhat disappointing because the guy doing the voices for John and George didn't come close.

Susie J: I can tell that we grew up around the same time.

Anthony: Thanks

Chuck: I wish that the Cartoon Network would pick up the rights to The Archies because I haven't seen it in years!

Pussreboots: I am tempted to pull out my Monkee DVDs. Maybe I will this weekend.

Nicholas: Damn, no Saturday morning TV in England... that sucks! I wish that they had hired a Brit to do the voices of John and George because Paul Frees didn't quite make it.

Claudia: You may not have to apologize to your dad because some of these came on weekday afternoons, lol.

Adelle: It sounds like you and Claudia had the same dad.

The Mistress of the D: Anytime you need to get a mindless TV theme stuck in your head, you know who to call. In addition to watching them on Saturday mornings, I later watched "The Monkees" on WKBD out of Detroit. I also watched "The Beatles" on WXON out of Detroit. Those were two of the best independent stations around!

Susan: I'm trying to remember what I was doing on Saturday mornings in the early 90s because I didn't watch "Hammerman", "New Kids On the Block", or "Kid 'n' Play". If I can't remember, that must mean I was having a good time.

Sandy: Yeah, Rick had quite the mop going in the early 70s.

Jay: Ah, You Tube (or as I call it, cyber crack).

Hey! Was that a shot against The Monkees? Blasphemy, lol.

Journeywoman: I had a younger relative who used to watch The Bay City Rollers show. I'm guessing that I was watching The Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Show over on CBS at the time.

SJ: Thanks! If you watched "The Beatles" first run, that means you must be...

Bethany said...

What a fun TT!! I used to LOVE the California Raisins, my sister had a sleeping bag with them on it and I thought it was the coolest thing ;) Happy TT!

Lara Angelina said...

I knew all of these except Rick Springfield!! I had no idea he had a Saturday morning show! Unbelievable! And I just adored the Banana Splits -- the picture was great! Thanks for the memories!
Happy TT!

Dane Bramage said...

wow I remember all of those shows (that were pre 1980 anyway.) Mission Magic was a favorite of mine for some reason. No it wasn't Rick Springfield either.
This week it's 13 Things to
, My 71st Thursdat thirteen. Stop by if you get a chance.

Angie said...

I didn't watch most of those (before I was born), but I watched re-runs of the Beatles cartoon and loved it. LOL I agree -- my favorite part was the sing along.

Nap Warden said...

OMG...Mission Magic! Totally forgot about that one:)

Winter said...

OMG! Sugar Sugar is stuck in my head now! LOL Way cool TT!

marcia said...

what a walk down memory lane Iusedt o love the Monkees

The Gal Herself said...

The Monkees have resurfaced on a nostalgia TV station here in Chicago and I'm impressed by how entertaining and progressive it still is. However I wonder if Davy could stand up to Betty Cooper as a tambourine player. (Thanks for visiting my TT -- and before I could get to yours!)

FRIGGA said...

Wow. So many comments running through my head from that one... I'll be nice and just say Happy TT :-)

Anonymous said...

Man, so many memories, some of them for HORRIBLE shows! So, did the junkyard gang from Fat Albert never get a recording contract? I remember so pretty good funky tunes from that show!

Kat said...

WOW!! I watched all of them! Happy TT Mine is up at

Holly said...

I haven't watched Saturday morning tv in decades - but I remember some of the TV shows that spawned some of these. (original Monkees, Partridge Family, etc.)



Xakara said...

I flashbacked so hard I had to sit down. I may have been a toddler for most of the '70s but I definitely remember nearly all of these in reruns if nothing else.

Thanks for the memories, *grin*

~Xakara <-----Please use this link

Chris said...

Great list, brought back lots of memories. Happy TT!

Cindy Swanson said...

As your TT's so often do, Malcolm, this brought back some great memories! Hands down, my favorite on the list would have to be the Monkees. I still love watching re-runs--the quirky humor actually stands up quite well--and my 21-year-old daughter even loves them. She was just watching them yesterday!

Pamela said...

OK - I knew all of those except Rick Springfield. I had no idea! And yes I really think that is a wig under there. Bret never takes off that silly bandanna. Gene Simmons and his son look so much alike. That show just cracks me up. I can't help it. LOL - See you next week.

Calliope said...

What? No Kidd Video? :)
Yay for the Monkees, though. ...And the Banana Splits.

Now I have an urge to go find some Josie and the Pussycats to watch. Happy TT!


scooper said...

I've seen most of those. I loved NKOTB in the worst way as a preteen. I just knew that I'd marry Joey one day.

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

Oh, wow!! That was a blast from the past!! I do remember watching a few of these. Saturday morning cartoon time was the best!

Malcolm said...

Bethany: I had some California Raisins figurines from my days working at Hardee's in the late 1980s (we were running some sort of promo). I believe I gave those figurines to one of my little nieces.

Lara: It's funny because when Rick Springfield hit it big in the early 80s I said to myself, "That's the guy from Mission: Magic!"

Dane: Aw come on, you can admit to liking Rick Springfield, lol. Personally, I liked the adventures that they went on each week.

Angie: I used to like it when Paul would be doing the intro to the sing along segment and he would call out "Prop man, prop man" and Ringo would come out and do a silly little bit.

Nap Warden: Ah, another "Mission: Magic!" watcher from back in the day. One of these days I might get the complete series set on DVD.

Winter: I am glad you enjoyed the T13. As good as "Sugar Sugar" is, I like their other top 40 hits even better. If you are interested in hearing them, let me know and I can send them to you via email.

Marcia: You can hardly go wrong with Mike, Micky, Davy, and Peter.

The Gal Herself: Any serious list of great tambourine players has to include Mr. Jones. However, I have to give the edge to Betty for one reason. During the recording of the Monkees' 3rd album (and 1st one where they were the main musicians) "Headquarters", Davy sometimes complained about being tired of banging the tambourine. Even though he had his parts down early, he still had to do retakes when the other band members would make mistakes. Since Betty is a cartoon character, she could bang and shake her tambourine like she was the Energizer Bunny.

Frigga: Wow! I wish you had let those thoughts flow out of your head and shared them with the rest of us.

Michael T: Amazingly, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids never made any recordings. Given that they had some of the best and most memorable songs on Saturday morning TV, you would think that Bill Cosby would have jumped all over the opportunity to commit their music to vinyl.

Holly: I am surprised that the live action version of "The Partridge Family" didn't move to Saturday morning TV after it was cancelled by ABC in 1974.

Xakara: Are you still sitting down from this flashback attack? I wish that TV Land, The Cartoon Network, or somebody would dust some of these shows off and put them back on the air.

Cindy: I think you know how I love conjuring up memories from way back when. :-)

If I have time this week, I may pull out my first season DVD set of "The Monkees" and watch a few episodes. It's funny what you said about your daughter enjoying the show. I say this because back when MTV/Nickelodeon/Nick At Nite started showing the reruns in the mid 1980s, I had to convince one of my nieces (who was about 9 at the time) that "The Monkees" came out in the 1960s.

Calliope: "Kidd Video" came close to making this list. About a year after it was cancelled, I used to drive my then girlfriend crazy because I used to sometimes sing "From my video to my radio"... that's the only line I remembered from the theme song.

Scooper: I had a niece who was also a big Joey Mac fan. She tried to get me to order her a New Kids On the Block album through Columbia House. I politely told her "I don't think so".

Mrs. Brownstone: Even though it was one of my favorites, watching a show like "Fat Albert" was kind of bittersweet because I knew that meant that Saturday morning TV was officially coming to an end.

X. Dell said...

The Bugaloos didn't make it, huh.

what's a donzer said...

Wow, Malcolm. This was awesome. I have to say, I had a huuuuuge Peter Tork crush when I was 9-ish.

Also, I was a pretty big fan of the much less cool Archie spinoff, the Little Archies. Why am I always into the dorkier-than-the- original versions? Hmmm.

Malcolm said...

X. Dell: Along with being in the air, the Bugaloos are normally everywhere... just not on this list I'm afraid.

What's A Donzer: Your comments about Peter remind me of an episode of "The Monkees" from the 2nd season called "Card Carrying Red Shoes". The plot involves a Russian ballerina who falls for Peter. Wondering why the ballerina didn't fall for him, Davy (referring to his own face) says, "What is this chopped liver?" Peter then says, "It can't be you every week Davy."

I had forgotten all about The Little Archies. I kinda liked that one too. Did you also prefer "Muppet Babies" and "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" to their original counterparts?

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