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Saturday Mornings

Mar 4, 2024

Watching Saturday morning television was one of my favorite things to do as a kid. The 1960s were the golden years for cartoons and most of them were shown on Saturday mornings. Now, kids can see cartoons anytime they wish with Cartoon Network, numerous on-demand streaming options or YouTube, but we could only see cartoons on Saturday mornings.

The cartoons in the early 60s were great. There was Mighty Mouse who was there to “Save the Day.” Every week, a young female mouse was kidnapped by different bad people, and Mighty Mouse would save her and she would show her appreciation.

Another mouse-themed cartoon was Tom and Jerry. Tom was a house cat who was always trying to catch Jerry and eat him. At times, the two would team up to save a child in trouble. But afterward, they would get back to cat and mouse games. Tom and Jerry was a very violent cartoon with Tom invoking all kinds of machines and weapons to capture or kill Jerry. Jerry survived every attempt by his own cleverness or Tom’s ineptness.

Yogi Bear was a favorite as he and his sidekick, Boo-Boo Bear, schemed weekly to steal picnic baskets from unsuspecting tourists in the fictional Jellystone National Park. Ranger Smith had to be on constant alert to keep Yogi and Boo-Boo in line, although Boo-Boo regularly had very insightful perspectives on the bears’ situation.

One of the oddest cartoons of the period was The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. It was developed as an evening or Saturday afternoon show but also aired on Saturday mornings. Its animation was pretty crude, but its plots and storylines were interesting and funny. Rocky the Flying Squirrel and his sidekick, Bullwinkle the Moose, weekly had to foil the attempts of Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale who were spies working for the Fearless Leader, the dictator of Pottsylvania, and his evil minions. Also, Sherman and Mr. Peabody and their time machine would be on the show and go back in time for Mr. Peabody to describe some important historical event in history that Sherman would invariably come close to changing, but Mr. Peabody would always save the day. Fractured Fairy Tales, Dudley DooRight, and Mr. Know-It-All were also regular features on the show.

We also enjoyed Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Huckleberry Hound, The Jetsons, Casper the Friendly Ghost, George of the Jungle, The Hunter, Porky Pig, Woody Woodpecker, and last but not least Secret Squirrel.

I am sure there are others I have forgotten. Some of these cartoons contained violent plots. In addition to Tom the cat constantly trying to eat Jerry the mouse, Wile E. Coyote was always using complicated methods to kill or catch the Road Runner to eat him. Of course, Wile E. would always fall off a cliff or get mashed by a larger rock and the Road Runner would ‘beep-beep’ and run away.

Otherwise, the common theme of all of these cartoons was “Good” would prevail over “Evil” and no matter how bad things were, there was hope, if not an expectation, that the good guys would win in the end.

I watch cartoons now with my grandkids. Their favorites seem to be Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol. Peppa explores different activities with her family and friends. The Paw Patrol deploys to solve different problems like relocating bunnies to save the carrot crop.

However, the Saturday before Christmas I experienced a different kid’s cartoon. I sat down with two of my grandchildren who were watching a cartoon with typical cartoon characters. However, in this particular cartoon the mother was standing in the kitchen talking to her children about the dangers of climate change. As she explains how driving cars, flying airplanes, burning fossil fuels (or doing other things that heat up the earth and cause all types of problems, like storms and flooding) — flood waters begin to rise in her kitchen.  Her words turn into gurgles and her hair floats up as the water rises.

The cartoon wasn’t as interesting as Paw Patrol, and my grandkids weren’t paying very good attention, so I let the moment and the message pass. Whether you are concerned about climate change or, like me, not nearly as concerned, we can all agree that regardless of the effects of climate change on sea levels, mothers will not drown in their kitchens. After all, the seas are rising about one inch per decade, not feet per second. Even a cartoon tortoise can outrun an inch a decade.

I guess the climate change movement and its supporters have moved far beyond science and logic and now have resorted to scaring children into unjustified fears with Saturday morning cartoons. Maybe they think the means justify the end and anything goes to win the climate change debate. Maybe they think they are modern day Rocky’s and Bullwinkle’s fighting to defeat the evil of Boris, Natasha, and the Fearless Leader.

The climate lobby and its climate change messaging have dropped to new lows. It is no longer about the science and logic, it is now about scaring children. I hope they sleep well thinking of other ways to convince kids to be terrified of climate change. 

I hope you have a good month. As for them…

Gary Smith, President & CEO

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