For most kids who grew up in the second half of the 20th century, watching Saturday morning cartoons was a rite of passage.
Millions of kids would wake up and eat a bowl of their favorite sugary breakfast cereal as they plopped themselves in front of the TV for a few hours of animated merriment. The practice of major television networks featuring cartoons on Saturday mornings began in earnest in the 1960s and thrived for the next few decades. But in the ’90s, competition from a glut of cable networks and new FCC regulations requiring “educational and informational” children’s programs signaled the decline of the Saturday morning tradition. In 2004, ABC was the last of the “big three” networks to stop the weekend animation blocks.
In the 1980s, the most popular Saturday morning cartoons included old standbys like Looney Tunes (with Bugs Bunny and his pals) and Super Friends, featuring DC superheroes like Superman, Batman and Aquaman, along with reboots from franchises like Peanuts and The Muppets and fresher material like the wildly successful Smurfs.
The Saturday morning lineups were also littered with the networks’ sometimes flailing attempts to capitalize on current fads, popular movies and primetime TV shows, resulting in some truly bizarre programming. Here are the 20 weirdest Saturday morning cartoons of the 1980s.