For the first time in 50-plus years, you won’t find a block of animation on broadcast this morning. Saturday morning cartoons are over. It’s the end of an era.
I’m a little sad.
Saturday morning cartoons were a staple for me growing up. Shows like Super Friends and The Smurfs kept me entertained for hours.
It was also one of my only opportunities to see commercials for products like sugary cereals and new toy lines. With parents hell bent on store brand Cheerios and hand-me-down Gobots, just watching commercials for Sugar Smacks and Transformers was thrilling.
Just as important, Saturday morning cartoons taught me patience.
If I wanted to watch a new cartoon, I had to wait one full week. Immediate gratification was not possible to children of my generation like it is for my own children today.
My favorite Saturday morning cartoon of all time was Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears. It’s a little odd since the show first aired in 1985, when I was fourteen years old, but I was apparently still watching Saturday morning cartoons at the time. And I fell in love with this show.
The Gummi Bears became an even more important part of my life two years later when I went to work for McDonald’s. I met my best friend of the last 27 years while working the drive-thru, handing Egg McMuffins and coffee to customers through the window. It was on a Saturday morning shift that Bengi and I admitted our mutual love for the show and discovered that we both knew the theme song to the show by heart.
We were likely to eventually become friends anyway. Though he and I see each other as very different people today, a person who has known Bengi for a long time and recently got to know me said that she has never met two people more alike.
It makes sense. After 27 years, we tend to see our differences more clearly than the similarities which probably drew us together in the first place.
Still, for a couple of teenage boys, discovering that we had something in common as odd and eclectic as Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears probably helped cement the friendship quite a bit.
I can still remember singing that song together in the drive-thru like it was yesterday.
I can still sing the song by heart today.