September 27, 2008

These Are the Days

How strange it is someone at ABC thought a Saturday morning cartoon modeled after the hugely successful TV program The Waltons would appeal to the same audience (kids) that was into Super Friends. These Are the Days, from Hanna-Barbera, was originally broadcast on ABC from September 7, 1974, to September 27, 1975. I have a very faint recollection of its existence, primarily because I would have been watching the animated Star Trek on NBC at the same time. It was one of the few dramatic series done by Hanna-Barbera, along with the cartoon Devlin. Like Devlin, These Are the Days featured the vocal talents of Monkee Mickey Dolenz. I just don't know how someone thinking clearly could have believed this would appeal to children. Most kids aren't exactly into nostalgia:

The audience for this would have been beaten up on the playground and bullied incessantly.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Amy for reminding me of two things I, as a boy, would have tried to ignore back in '74 - Holly Hobbie (which looks to have been remade as one of the Bratz dolls) and Little House on the Prairie. The existence of both certainly could have allowed ABC executives to believe These Are the Days would have an audience.

6 comments:

Michael Suzich said...

Hi Chris!

I vaguely remember this show, or perhaps turning the TV off (and watching the dot) when "Days" came on. I was 11 at the time, and a devout follower of all things Sid and Marty Krofft. I think Sigmund was on earlier in the morning that year.

Off topic, but now that I'm thinking of Krofft, I recently watched a few episodes of Lidsville (on DVD), and its amazing how technologically advanced it was for its time. Groovy and timeless, in a bizarre kind of way. :)

Chris said...

Sigmund was late enough in the morning that it was the last thing I watched every Saturday. Lidsville was another one I watched regularly. Like most Krofft stuff, it was extremely bizarre!

Amy said...

I was about three so I don't recall this cartoon, but my guess as to why ABC thought this might appeal is that in '74, the Little House on the Prairie series began, and then also in '74, Knickerbocker Toys licensed the Holly Hobbie character for rag dolls which became very popular (I had one and loved it!) - the doll had a large bonnet, braids and a calico-type dress. The old fashioned long fake-calico patchwork dresses for little girls and preteens were a huge fashion trend too.

Doesn't really explain why an animated Waltons would be popular with young kids, but the theme sort of fits in with with fads around 1974-75.

There's a current show on Noggin (i have young kids) that reminds me of the Krofft stuff - Yo Gabba Gabba...it's weird and freaky too. Every time it comes on I have a flashback to being five and six.

Chris said...

Thanks, amy. I think you have cleared up the reasoning behind this odd cartoon. I forgot how popular that whole "Holly Hobbie aesthetic" was back in the mid-70s.

gilligan said...

There was a phase where many live action shows got the animated treatment: Dukes of Hazzard, Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, etc., etc... all got the Saturday Morning treatment.

I agree that The Waltons seems to translate horribly to a cartoon format. They may as well have made a Rockford Files cartoon.

Micky Dolenz was also the voice of the "Shaggy" type character on the cartoon The Funky Phantom.

Great post. This sort of thing is right up my alley.

Chris said...

gillian-

It felt a little bit like a Retrospace post as I did it! Rockford Files cartoon - LOL.

I figured Mickey Dolenz did a lot of vocal acting in the desperate, dark days after the Monkees.