Was it Beaver Cleaver who said “Saturdays are just about the only good day in the week for a kid”?
It’s a good point, especially if you were growing up in the 1960s and ’70s.
Back in the day children’s television viewing was full of totally wild and wonderful characters and it was hard not to get sucked into the magic of the small screen.
Saturday morning television was a sacred part of the day that belonged just to kids, and while it is still a part of the culture of television today, what is on offer now is somewhat lack lustre when compared to the glory of programs from the ’60s and ’70s.
Though we can’t turn back the hands of time, Starts at 60 can bring you a trip down memory lane.
Here are some of the children’s television shows from when you were growing up (unfortunately it is nowhere near exhaustive).
Launched in 1965 the Thunderbirds centred on the Tracy family who operated a unique and private emergency response service. It was created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the latter of which also voiced the character Lady Penelope in the show, and was produced using a form of electronic marionette puppetry and scale model special effects sequences.
The Atom Ant Show
Atom Ant was a cartoon ant and superhero created by Hanna-Barbera in the mid-’60s. You might recall Atom aired alongside Secret Squirrel and Precious Pup. The pint-sized hero had the ability to fly, superspeed, use incredible strength. Who could forget his catchphrase ‘Up and at ’em, Atom Ant!”
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
Created by comedian Bill Cosby, who also voiced a number of the show’s characters include Fat Albert himself, the show centred on a gang of Afro-American kids and their adventures. It was widely hailed because in amongst all the fun and frivolity there was often an educational lesson to be learned. It ran from 1972 until 1985.
The Dick Van Dyke Show
An American television sitcom that ran from 1960 to 1966 the show is considered to be a ‘television classic’. Focussing on the life of Rob Petrie, played by Dick Van Dyke, the show gave viewers and inside look into how a television show (albeit fictitious) is written and produced.
This television series from 1965 centres around the inmates of a German World War II prisoner of war camp. The inmates, led by Colonel Robert E Hogan (played by Bob Crane) would conduct espionage and sabotage campaigns right under the noses of their warders.
Sing along to the theme song if you remember it. “Roger Ramjet and his Eagles fighting for our freedom. Fly through and in outer space, not to join him but to beat him…” The bumbling daredevil Roger Ramjet was aided by his crew of do-gooders Yank, Doodle, Dan and Dee in fighting crooks like Noodles Romanoff and Henry Cabbage Patch.
A satirical look at the secret agent genre featuring Don Adams as the lead character Maxwell Smart (aka Agent 86) working for CONTROL and battling the evil forces of KAOS. You’d have to wonder how things would have ended for ol’ Max had it not been for his capable sidekick Agent 99.