Actually, they had help from “do-gooder” parent groups, advertisers, and local stations. However, there is still some decent Saturday morning shows left, which is more than I can say for afterschool syndication.
The article in question comes courtesy of Toon Zone in the form of a three part article (part 1) about what happened to Saturday morning cartoons, as well as some of the advertisements we grew up with.
You know how the stereotyped old guy sits there complaining about how kids have it easy? “Well, in my day we didn’t have all this fancy stuff. We had to make do with…” The point is that kids have it better. As the article shows, that isn’t the case with entertainment these days. On TV, kids programming is reduced to a handful of cable stations, some of which are in the “upper tier” (and thus more expensive, which is hard to pay for in the current economy–thanks Government), so they don’t get the after school shows we grew up with. (Check out the “Saturday Supercast” over at Sugary Serials, starting at episode 19, when they changed the format. They seem to discuss afternoon shows and Christmas specials more than anything from Saturday morning fare, but those are dying off, too.)
Throw in the “death” of the family hour (what “family hour?), movie creators who would rather put out “R” rated stuff, the majority of comics and video games that target older audiences, and “kid’s entertainment” mostly regulated to “edutainment” for 5 year olds, and the older kids (maybe 8-14) tend to be left behind (except on the aforementioned cable stations, and cartoons are in trouble–see my article on Cartoon Network’s slow transformation into Nickelodeon, like the former Toon Disney).
So can kids turn to the internet? Yes and no. What few kids entertainment sites are out there tend to feature old stuff (meaning more for former kids like myself, although some of them might still appeal to today’s kids), 5 minute flash toons, or just a bunch of flash games. You also have to pick through which cartoons are kid safe and which ones aren’t. Note that the same guy who made this:
(by the way, kids should NEVER read the comic or movie this parodies, and that included the animated Tales of the Black Freighter)…also made this:
And if you thought the first one WAS kid friendly (granted, I would have watched it as a kid, without the “giving bad guys cancer bit”), I think we know Hal here isn’t. Sadly, anything targeted to young people is hardly this well animated on the internet, or the Santaman cartoon I posted last Christmas, unless it’s an old cartoon or inspired by such. If you want a look back to the days when they knew how to write kids entertainment, check out that Saturday Supercast. Also, Bully The Little Stuffed Bull has a cartoon posted every Saturday, although some of them aren’t for kids. Craig Crumpton of Voice Actors in the News is also starting a reminder of when Saturday Morning was fun on his blog by posting old cartoons.
For once, the old guy in the rocking chair actually had it better than today’s kids, and with less TV channels.