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October 27, 2007


Brian Disco Snell

One of my favorite memories is taking all the 2-page ad spreads from fall comics, touting each network's Saturday monrning line-up, and working with my sister to make a grid planning out what we would watch each half-hour...

As to Scooby Doo, I think in retrospect it taught me a valuable lesson. Unlike the modern version, IT WAS NEVER A GHOST!! Scooby Doo, intentionally or not, embraced a healthy skepticism, an attitude that if you investigated hard enough, you could find the human machinations behind any "supernatural" phenomenon; that superstition and fear were merely ways for bad people to exploit the gullible. Plus, of course, Scooby taught us to "follow the money" decades before Oliver Stone thought he was so clever...

Of course, the modern Scooby Doo has real ghosts and witches and monsters, so never mind...

Mark Engblom

LOL! Great points, Brian! I hadn't looked at Scooby Doo as an incubator for healthy skepticism before...but it's definitely there (maybe it was a natural side effect of the general questioning of assumptions hatched during the 1960's?).

Your account of the "scheduling grid" you and your sister created brought back some fond memories. I don't know if I ever took it to the grid stage, but I'm sure I targeted a few of my favorites and made a point of watching them. Remember the horror of finding out two favorites would be on at the same time? In the pre-DVR and pre-VCR days of TV watching, that was a true dilemma.

Besides the comic book ads, are you old enough to remember the Friday night "sneak preview" shows that buit the anticipation to a fever pitch? "Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for the premiere of (fill in the blank)!"


Scooby-Doo has always had somewhat of a mixed message, though. On the one hand, in its world, the ghosts and werewolves are never real... but the mutant (and occasionally hat-wearing) talking dogs and orange ascots *are* real... and a Great Dane can successfully impersonate an Italian pizza chef simply by wearing a hat and smock....

Mark Engblom

LOL! Man, you people are killing me here.

"On the one hand, in its world, the ghosts and werewolves are never real... but the mutant (and occasionally hat-wearing) talking dogs and orange ascots *are* real... and a Great Dane can successfully impersonate an Italian pizza chef simply by wearing a hat and smock...."

Suzanne, I think you've encapsulated the entire Scooby Doo experience into a single sentence.


Brian Disco Snell

Oh, yeah...those preview shows were the highlight of the new TV season for me! As I recall, they were usually hosted by stars (well, at least, actors) from the networks' prime time lineup, trying to pretend to be interested and excited in The Wacky Races or The partridge Family 2020....

My sister and I had to "grid," because our tastes were too divergent, and there were frequently 1/2 hours where our choices were irreconcilable. Complex schedule anal;ysis and bargaining were essential. Very early lesson on negotiating and compromise there, thanks to network Saturday morning TV!!

Greg Walter

The horrors of double-booked cartoons! So long as your tastes didn't extend beyond the Hanna-Barbera universe, Laff-Olympics was always a way to see them all at once. It was the only place I ever got to see the Grape Ape in action. Not to mention other members of the "Really Rottens."

Mark Engblom

I have to admit always being a sucker for "Laff-Olympics" type shows, if only because I loved big group "team-ups", regardless of whatever fictional universe they occupied (with the glaring exception of "Battle of the Network Stars").

You're right, Snell...those were valuable early life lessons right there. So what does the DVR do for modern-day kids...reinforce that, yes, they CAN have it all...just at a different time?


Heck, I even liked "Battle of the Network Stars!"

And, so help me Jeebus, even had a rooting interest, supporting the ABC team, invariably led by Gabe Kaplan.

And praise be to the Intarwebs, the team rosters (though, shockingly, not the all-important *results!*) show up here:

Mark Engblom

Yes, Gabe really got into it, didn't he? I still remember him struggling mightily during the epic network tug-o-war challenge...his gritted teeth and grimmacing face framed by his sweaty mustache and man-perm.

sir jorge

a great clip, youtube never fails to amuse me with classic clips

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