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Posted by tom on January 5, 2016 in Uncategorized with No Comments


Hey party people,

Thought I’d post a ‘just for fun’ post this week. And being the start of the new year, here’s a list! I did this a while back (before this blog) but I thought I’d bring it back now. So here is my list of TOP 10 CARTOONS from the 1960’s.

The 60’s was pretty much the birth of television cartoon. Granted the so-called first one, CRUSADER RABBIT, dates back to 1949 and Hanna-Barbera had a few shows in the very late 50’s. But the medium didn’t really take until the 1960’s. Aided by the invention of Anime and Saturday Morning cartoons, which created more companies than just Hanna-Barbera to specifically create animated programs for television. Also most early television cartoons were crudely made, for cheap tv budgets and based on the theatrical shorts. Meaning you got two or more stories in a single ½ hour show. In the 1960’s two things changed, stories were expanded to the full ½ hour and four got produced for Prime Time (THE FLINTSONS, THE JETSONS, TOP CAT and JOHNNY QUEST). So this is why I kick off with the 1960’s and basically claim it was the first decade of television cartoons.

First off, you will notice a few shows missing from my list. This is because while a show maybe important and successful, it doesn’t mean I found it worth while to watch. The biggest example is THE FLINTSTONE, I’m sorry but no matter what my age, I never enjoyed the show. It was basically a sitcom from the 1960’s and just like most sitcoms from the 1960’s they were more cute than funny. Even with all the dinosaurs, as a kid I still found the show to be boring- same with the THE JETSONS. I’m also not listing SUPERMAN, arguable the first Saturday Morning cartoon show. A massive hit, written by the Superman comicbook writers. But again, even as a kid I found the stories to be boring, and the artwork not that exciting either. Mind you, as a kid I still watched these shows, and I even have SUPERMAN on dvd today. I’m just not putting them on my top ten list, all of which I think you can still watch today and find something worth while in. Ok, now here is the list:

10- SPACE GHOST & DINOBOY (1966-67)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXx9yRCSt5Y

Let’s be real, no one turned in to watch Dinoboy, we were all there for Space Ghost. With reasonable, if predictable stories, Hanna-Barbera’s first action cartoon is winner. Having animation legend Alex Toth doing the bulk of the design work really helped make this show a classic for the ages.

9- JOHNNY QUEST (1964)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0kg_tzQvf4

This was Hanna-Barbera’s first adventure show, and for Prime Time no less! It’s pain stacking details made it a hit, and caused it’s down fall, because it was just too expensive to produce. Those details now give it great 1960’s kitsch value today. Basically created by Doug Wildey, Johnny Quest was a spot on adventure show for 1960’s television. Which is probably why I had to get a little older to appreciate it.

8- TENNESSEE TUXEDO AND HIS TALES (1963-1965)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHfmT_-DvEY

Featuring the voice talent of Don Adams (who would go on to play Maxwell Small and Inspector Gadget), Tennessee Tuxedo had more snap and wit than most of the comedies. While Jay Ward Productions’ ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE gets most of the fanfare, Tennessee and his mad schemes made for much better material. Plus he was aided by ridiculous THE WORLD OF COMMANDER MCBRAGG shorts.

7- THE ALVIN SHOW (1961)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SdMTK1Brr8

Ross Bagdasarian Senior’s high speed voice creations Alvin, Simon and Theodore, the Chipmunks from record fame became a cartoon show. Packed with the bounce originals and covers by the Chipmunk (you’re a fan or not I guess) and the simple premise of how can they (mostly Alvin) screw with their producer David Seville. Every episode is the same, David is just trying to get through his day, and they just mess with him every step of the way, like a good YouTube video.

6- THE BEATLES (1965-68)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSAJaHatUDQ

What could be better than the Chipmunks? The Beatles, the then and still undisputed kings of popular music. Each episode had animated music videos and the boys living it up in a cartoon version of the movie, A HARD DAYS NIGHT. It was just about as fun as the Beatles themselves, or as least as fun as we hoped they all were. Only people who don’t like the Beatles would find nothing to like here.

5- PRINCE PLANET (1965)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhn_wfgPyzI

Now this one might sound like sacrilege, as it is actually a knock-off show of the more well known ASTROBOY. As a kid I never got to watch Astroboy, but I did see Prince Planet, and it was one of my all time favorites. Maybe Astroboy is just as good or better. I still haven’t seen much, but what I have seen seems to fall short of the imagination and excitement packed into this spaceboy superhero show. I don’t think any little boy could turn down watching Prince Planet.

4- KIMBA THE WHITE (1965)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytqAS-tgGKg

Another Anime, this one created by the creator of Astroboy, Osamu Tezuka, the father of comics and animation in Japan. This is a show that has it all, adventure and heart. As a ween boy who was crazy about superheroes, I still picked Kimba over Prince Planet as my favorite tv show. It just has that quality few shows have, making it better than it probably should have been. Case in point, originally called Jungle Emperor, Disney all but ripped it off for their movie the LION KING, their most successful animated movie.

3- SPIDER-MAN (1967-69)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF2FPmX3zrI

Marvel comics hit big in the 1960’s with everything that’s becoming a hit movie today. In the late 60’s they hit television, mostly thanks to cheap animation producer Grantray-Lawrence. Not sure how, but Marvel’s crown jewel, Spider-Man got the best treatment, with original stories and well made animation cycles, event though they were played over and over again. Ralph Bakshi was put in charge of seasons 2 and 3, to cut the budget. But while animation quality dropped, he made up for it with the best soundtrack a television cartoon ever had.

2- SCOOBY DOO, WHERE ARE YOU (1969-70)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTq6nwO4oJU

One of the greatest animation icons just made it into the 1960’s, with arguable his best show. With restrictions starting to hamper action shows, Hanna-Barbera turned to mystery and kicked off a major cartoon fad. Scooby Doo is still, in some form or another, in production today! But his first show, especially for the time, did a great job of selling monsters, mystery and humor. It’s no wonder kids and adults still love Scooby Doo.

1- SPEED RACER (1967)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suCm1w_KTiY

The best Saturday Morning cartoon took 2nd place and the best Anime takes 1st, Tatsuo Yoshida’s Mach GoGoGo. As a Manga, Speed Racer was a reasonable hit, as a cartoon it was a mega hit. Yoshida tailored his racing car hero after Elvis and his adventures off of James Bond. Seriously, how could it not be a hit. The style, music, adventure and reasonable animation for the 1960’s was the first clue that Japan was going dominate in animation.

If you can watch just one show for the 1960’s, it should be SPEED RACER! Feel free to disagree, but you’ll never convince me otherwise. Until next time.

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