Friday, September 05, 2008

Saturday Morning Preview Shows

I know I babbled on about this last year, but I can't help but start to feel nostalgic when we reach the first Friday after Labor Day. I'm speaking about those Saturday Morning Preview shows each network (there were only three back then) would air on the first Friday evening after Labor Day. The shows were designed to promote the new Saturday morning line up premiering the next day and would usually feature stars popular with the kiddie/pre-teen crowd. In our 24/7 cartoon world of today, where kids can watch cartoons or youth-oriented programs whenever they get near a TV, such programs are alien concepts. The few cartoons shown on Saturday morning now are merely reruns of programs already aired on cable channels like Nickelodeon or Disney. Back in the 70s, though, the only new programming kids had available to them was on Saturday morning, and the Saturday after Labor Day was always the launch date for the new season. Since I went back to school that week, it was always nice to know that I had the Friday night preview show to look forward to after those stomach churning first few days of new teachers, new classmates, and new classes.

When I made my post last year, I couldn't find any video examples of the preview shows I watched when I was a kid. There are a few examples of the shows from the 80s when VCRs became available, but I wasn't watching cartoons any longer by that time, so I get no nostalgic kick from them. Today, though, I found a clip from the 1978 ABC preview show featuring Kristy and Jimmy MacNichol. The clip showcases Donny Osmond mostly, but it gives you an idea of what these Friday preview shows were like:

I know, it seems pretty lame now, but to a kid in the 70s, it was fun to see the networks put this much effort into kids shows. I remember this episode in particular because, afterward, ABC aired At the Earth's Core. This is one of my guilty pleasures and at the time, I was reading every Edgar Rice Burroughs book I could get my hands on, so I was in hog heaven that night. Here's a little taste of the movie:

Come to think of it, if I had to watch these two programs in one night now, I'd probably consider it torture. Ah, to be young and without taste!

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