Back in the day when there were only 3 television networks, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation Studios and DePattie-Freeling were the biggest producers of Saturday morning children's programs (catering to some 18 hours of viewing between 7 o'clock in the morning and 1:00p.m). In those days, morning cartoons and live-action series formed "part of the American way of life." 

Cartoons such as 'Jonny Quest' (1964), 'Bionic Six' (1987), 'Ulysses 31' (1981), 'Partridge Family 2200AD' (1974), 'Battle of the Planets' (1978) featuring the voice of Alan Young as the hand-crafted guardian robot 7-Zark-7 of Center Neptune "protecting the galaxy from alien invaders from other worlds" were mostly "rooted in pro-social messages and educational stories." 

Live-action drama and science fiction series such as 'Ark II' (1976), 'Korg 70,000 B.C.' (1974) and 'Isis' (1975) - the goddess of ancient Egypt, the daughter of the god of earth and the goddess of the sky, made up roughly 10% of the average child's total TV viewing experience. 'Isis' ratings had been described as "very respectable" and in the show there was always "a lesson within the story".

Art Scott started in the golden era (1938) with Disney Studios. In 1957, Art said Hanna-Barbera began creating "assembly line limited animation" to solve the economic problems of mass television productions. "We do the best we can do with the cost and time allowed. If the network calls and wants a show in the next 12 weeks, we just have to make it fit. The animation fits the particular market."

About $140,000 was the conservative figure to make each 23-minute show (with 6 minutes reserved for commercials).  The estimated time from script to final product was said to be 10 weeks instead of the usual 16 weeks. "Budgets for TV don't permit more than a token effort," historian J. Michael Barrier explained in 1979. "Animation has been reduced to formulas . . . go with what's safe, tested . . . It's geared to turn out drones . . . The young animators (are) defeated by the very nature of the product."

The basic formula of animation comprised scriptwriters and layout artists first outlining the story. Then the background artists began drawing the backdrop which would follow by animators drawing the action characters. The writing should contain (though not necessarily) "wise cracks, snappy puns and double entendres." Each show would also feature sound tracks. Cartoonist Chuck Jones had said, "I call (cartoon) illustrated radio. The reason being that you build a sound track which will carry the story if the pictures don't work. Try it sometime. Turn the sound off and you can't possibly understand what's going on, but leave the sound on without the pictures and there's no problem at all."

Norman Prescott of Filmation made the comment in 1978, "We’re not saying children's shows are all they should be. We do say there isn't enough children's programing. But if parents use TV as a babysitter, then the shows aren't going to improve . . . Producers have the duty and the responsibility of leaving a child with some kind of learning experience. When you take a young, pliable mind and introduce it to any form of entertainment, it's wrong to re-enforce a lack of reality in their everyday world."

Lou Scheimer also of Filmation countered, "There's nothing wrong with showing right from wrong or where to go for help or how to solve a problem, along with entertainment. But it must be remembered that aside from our shows and Hanna-Barbera, most of the cartoons on Saturday morning were done for theaters as family entertainment long ago. Some of them go back to the '30s, '40s and '50s. What is needed is more rounded programing for children. TV should be a mixed bag of live-action as well as cartoons." 

Norman pointed out, "We’re the guys who innovated the educational content in action-adventure and comedy shows for kids." Lou added, "It began with 'Fat Albert' in 1971. We used pro-social messages through entertainment. The networks didn't think it would work. But we organized a group of educators and consultants to include worthwhile themes." Norman observed, "No one had tried to educate through commercial entertainment TV. 'Fat Albert' is about a contemporary Dead End gang of ghetto kids. We've handled subjects like divorce, alcoholism, death, drugs, junk food and even the problem of watching too much TV.

"One of the real problems in children's programing is the difference in the ages of viewers. The kid audience, estimated at 35 million, is broken down into 2 major groups, those from 2 year-olds to 6 and 7-year-olds to 11. It’s figured 50% (in 1978) are pre-school and 50% are in school. The little ones enjoy animated cartoons the most. Cartoons, because of the nature of the medium, involve action, fast cuts and very little dialog. The 2 to 6 year-olds can follow and enjoy the shows visually, but their attention span is too short to follow a storyline. The 7 to 11 year-olds like a good story and dialog as well as the visual action. Live shows don't mesmerize the younger group, which is one of the reasons comedy fails in live-action."

It was understood the networks would often rerun the Saturday morning programs because "kids love to watch the same shows over and over." One network director of children's programing clarified, "We’ve done many, many tests in the area, and children delight in retelling their favorite stories from their favorite series. Children have certain characters they love and part of this attraction is being able to recognize the plots."

Unlike most popular superheroes, Isis was a live-action character before she made her way into the comic books. After the live-action series ended, Isis became a cartoon character in 'The Freedom Force' animation.

"For many children," it was said, "their first art is the animated Saturday morning schedule." That was, until September 2014 when 'The Washington Post' announced, "Saturday morning cartoons are no more." "Cartooning of old is a lost art," cartoonist Phil Wilson believed. "Animation is the most international art form," it had been said. William Hanna reasoned, "It's just a different art form. It's a different technique – like in painting you have your masters and then you have the quick, modern form."

Chuck Jones elaborated, "Animation means to animate, to bring back to life, to bring vitality to something. There's still some hope for it, but it doesn't seem to be on Saturday morning. The way to improve animation is to provide a market where good animation and good animation directors can survive."

On reflection, one network director of children's programing argued, "There is nothing inherently wrong with animation, if it is done well. I'm troubled by super persons who have powers beyond realism. There is a message in superheroes that makes me uncomfortable. I have no trouble with 'Flash Gordon' or 'Tarzan', because they are heroes within the realm of human power."

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