Saturday Morning Cartoons: NBC in 1978

While ABC had Challenge of the Super-Friends and CBS had Batman in '78, NBC was deep into Marvel Comics with both the Fantastic Four and Godzilla! I watched both of these, though because I was a 7-year-old French-Canadian with a very limited understanding of English, my memories are mostly of the '79 line-up that also contained these two properties. Still, this was the first year I had access to English-language TV, so I would have seen them. In black and white! In fact, I have a vivid memory of wondering who the hell this Human Torch character was the first time I saw a Fantastic Four comic, and wondering where H.E.R.B.I.E. was. But you can't have kids setting themselves on fire! Godzilla is similarly kid-friendly thanks to Godzuki, and a maddeningly catchy theme song. I have absolutely no memory of Yogi's Space Race (was it anything like the Laff-a-lympics?) and very little of Jana of the Jungle beyond the fact that she had an origin not unlike Tarzan's and threw her necklace around like a proper Warrior Princess.

But you guys probably have clearer memories of these shows than I do...

17 comments:

Zundian said...

Yogi's Space Race is a re-working of Wacky Races to cash in on the Star Wars behemoth. It was about as good as any Yogi Bear show (not very)

Anthony Durso/The Toyroom said...

What a revoltin' development for the Thing! Being a part of a Fantastic Three and a Quarter is just one step above being part of a team with Fred, Barney and the Shmoo! Thing Ring do your thing and get me the hell outta here!

Siskoid said...

I'm saving the Thing-Ring for a later post, I can guarantee!

DAVID WALSTON said...

Loved Godzilla!
Don't remember Yogi in space.
Thanks for the memories!

Michael May said...

We still watch Godzilla around here thanks to Netflix and an 11-year-old in the house. Still as fun as it was.

No idea why I don't recall Jana of the Jungle being a part of the Godzilla Hour. That's something I'd expect to remember.

Delta said...

It's pretty rich that you've got the Fantastic-Four-With-Torch-Removed-Because-We-Don't-Want-Any-Fire, followed immediately by a GODZILLA show.

Siskoid said...

Michael: Yes, I would have expected you to remember this too! Do you remember Jana though? You're the expert in jungle girl action around these parts.

Delta: I guess kids couldn't harm themselves stepping on buildings.

d said...

Think Yogi's Space Race had him and Huck dancing at a space disco before a mission would drag them away. Also- Scare Bear!

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Just noting that the reason Johnny wasn't on that version of FF was due to licensing, not because they thought kids would burn themselves.

And here I thought I was the only person to even remember Jana of the Jungle. Godzilla is also on Hulu, but I wish they'd release season 2 already. That had some good episodes.

Siskoid said...

I stand corrected!

What kind of strange-ass licensing problem was that?!

jdh417 said...

Actually it was the Galaxy Goof-Ups show where Yogi and the guys hung out at the disco.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy_Goof-Ups

The show was essentially a Saturday morning animated acid trip as I seem to recall. Maybe it's on Youtube somewhere.

Doug Wildey, of Jonny Quest fame, worked on the Jana and Godzilla shows, by the way.

As per Wikipedia again, the Human Torch was licensed for an unproduced tv pilot at the time of the cartoon. He was also aced out of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Mary Jane was reworked as Firestar.

Siskoid said...

Oh yeah, I'd forgotten he got nixed from Amazing Friends as well! Thanks for all the Saturday Morning Trivia!

Rex Kidd said...

In its early years, Cartoon Network was basically the Hanna-Barbera rerun channel, as Turner Broadcasting simply had all that crap in their library and not a lot else.

So even as a kid growing up in the early 90s I saw a ton of this stuff, and a little more once the older material moved to the Boomerang network.

Forget the FF with HERBIE, the worst FF cartoon ever was the one where the Thing was a scrawny teenager who turned into a rock giant with a magic ring. That was practically Wonderwheels stuff.

I had no idea Space Race was a Star Wars thing, or that it was contemporary to Star Wars at all; in general my memory always gets cartoons wrong visually, though.

Bill Doughty said...

I remember seeing Yogi's Space Race and Galaxy Goof-Ups in the later years of the USA Cartoon Express. Space Race was the better of the two, but in terms of the attempts to replicate the success of Wacky Races but with more recognizable characters, they did a better job of it with the Fenderbender 500 segments on "Wake, Rattle, and Roll".

Jana showed up on USA Cartoon Express, too, and that one was a pretty decent show as I remember. She ran around the jungle with her native sidekick and an American doctor, looking for her long-lost father. She had this boomerang necklace that made a cool sound effect. The native guy had a similarly cool-sounding throwing staff.

I never watched the FF show as it aired, but saw a bunch of 'em years later as part of that Marvel Comics Video Library that Prism Home Video put out. It's not great, but Jack Kirby did design work for it and it really shows, so there's that. Also, the guy who voiced Race Bannon was the voice of Reed Richards, which felt oddly appropriate.

I don't think the Godzilla cartoon has aged particularly well, but damn did I love it as a kid. Who wouldn't want a signal device that could call Godzilla to your aid with the touch of a button. Even putting up with Godzooky would be worth that. Memorable theme song, too... "GODZILLA! GODZILLA! GODZILLA! And Godzoooooooooooky!"

Michael May said...

That boomerang necklace rings a bell. Maybe I DID watch Jana.

Anonymous said...

With no CGI existing in 1978, could you imagine how awful a Human Torch show would have been? And yes, I liked the Hulk tv show back then but at ten years old, I wondered where the hell The Leader and The Abomination were. I was too young to realize it was a ripoff of The Fugitive! And the producer of the show hated comic books and wanted to distance the show from the Hulk comic

Siskoid said...

It still gave us some iconic stuff for the Hulk that's often better remembered than the truth of the comics.

 

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