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Back in the early-80s, on Saturday mornings, if my dad didn't drag me off to work with him (he was a plumber and electrician) -- I would stay home and watch the Weekend Specials on ABC. I had many favorites: "Land of Og" (about those little green guys who lived under ground); "Zack and the Magic Factory (the beginning was so intriguing -- the boy arriving by taxi at night at the front of this ominous-looking building, and the creepy monster and gadgetry guarding the inside of entranceway -- scared the be-Jesus out of the boy, riveted me to the sofa); and "The Haunted Mansion Mystery" (where the boy and girl are trapped under an old mansion in a secret room, which they think is haunted by the spirit of a rich old man -- who one day, miserly, hauled his money home from the bank in a wheelbarrow and died there, leaving his skeleton to entertain the boy and girl in the secret room). They just don't make programs for children of that quality anymore. I could mention many other shows, but I don't think there is space enough here.
I had almost completely forgotten about the Captain and his friends and all the mornings I had actually woken up on time to watch them until my friend and I were talking on the phone one night. She says "What is this on Channel 99?" I turn on the TV and there's Cap't Readmore talking about Jack and the Beanstalk. I think I nearly went into shock. This was a little celebrated piece of the 80's and a memory of ABC before the Disney takeover (when they used to play good Saturday Cartoons).
The Weekend Specials were sometimes good, sometimes crap, and I rarely watched regularly. Generally I'd stick around long enough to see what this week's story would be, and then, washed out and headachey from four or more straight hours of watching jumpy animation on a black and white TV, I'd go off to have breakfast. So the distinctive theme music and animation were my signal that Saturday morning was over...but oh, what great music and animation it was! Like a flourishing coda to a Bach concerto, in fact. Even though it wasn't one of the shows that I stayed around to watch, it was nevertheless probably more ingrained in my memories of Saturday mornings than anything else, except for maybe the Bugs/Roadrunner Show, In The News, and ABC's various between-show thingies (Schoolhouse Rock, the "Bod Squad" segments...)
Yeah, I remember them, I also remember the old intro showing a girl with a baseball cap blowing a big gum bubble and then all these different images would come out of the book that opened. I was just telling my children about how Saturday's were really for the kids with us having our own news show in between cartoons called "In The News" with a globe being the trade mark of the show. I even told them how they used a lot of the commercials to inform us about how to take care of ourselves. Anyone remembers "Yuk Mouth"?, I even remember all the school house rock segments that kept us on our toes as to not remember what we learned in school. I told them that I was going to write ABC and recommend that they bring a lot of those things back. of course in restored condition. I honestly do feel sorry for the young generation, we really did get a break on Saturday's.
This was one of the best shows from the retro-Saturdays as I like to call them. I always looked forward to seeing them. I liked them so much I even watched them as a teen. My favorite was "Adventures of a Two Minute Werewolf". I read the book in 5th grade and even taped the show from ABC. Unfortunately, I accidentally taped over it. Stupid me. They should bring this show back on. And bring Willie and Lester back. They were the bests hosts of the show.
I feel obligated to comment on this. Up until the Disney takeover of ABC, every Saturday morning for many, many years, this show was on. Every week a different children's TV movie was presented, and sometimes the story was about Capt. O.G. Readmore and his friends. (The official mascot for the show for the later years.) This was a refugee from the 80's that must have firmly planted itself into everyone's minds as being a Saturday morning standard. I don't know how many times I saw "Ralph S. Mouse" on it... It's too bad that no kids will be able to watch decades old hour long cartoon sagas anymore. For many of us, I am sure it's been cemented in our minds.
This was almost a decade before my time. When I did catch this, I would
watch it rarely. In fact, the only one I vividly remember seeing well
is Jirimpimbira: An African Folk Tale. I couldn't even recall the first
part of that special's title, but I knew it began with a "j" and I had
to look for it. I don't even remember any of the specials ever being
released individually on VHS, but evidently they really were from the
pictures of the VHS covers to some of them displayed on this site. How
did I or could I have missed those? My now defunct, local Blockbuster
probably had them at the time of their release or they might not had
ever been available there. I would have loved to rent them, so I can
catch up on the majority of what I missed. Earlier this month, I
watched a couple of them on Youtube (The Bunjee Venture and The Bollo
Caper) and neither of those seemed familiar to me.
Anyway, this series is similar to CBS Storybreak, in that it featured televised adaptations of kids' books. But the difference is while CBS Storybreak (aside from the live action openings and closings of each episode with a host) featured animated adaptations of those stories only, the ABC Weekend specials featured both live-action and animated adaptations of certain stories. From the research I've done, the latter has had a variety of hosts before eventually settling on the nautical outfit-wearing cat, O.G. Readmore, who appeared in both puppet and cartoon form. Both of these programs encouraged kids to read and develop a love for literature. Of the two aforementioned shows, CBS Storybreak has always been the more familiar one to me, as it's the one I saw more often. I always thought it could be because it aired more often whereas ABC Weekend Specials aired less frequently and were done so more sporadically, or I just wasn't able to catch that if and whenever I tried, I don't know for sure. I can't or don't even recall if any episodes were ever even repeated. They probably may not have been, I think, because otherwise I would've been able to catch and remember more. Another thing of interest about this show is that some of the characters are recurring ones and some, particular specials received sequels, and holiday specials. But I don't favor one show over the other, as I like them both equally, from the ones I viewed so far online.
The only thing left I have to say is this is high quality, television entertainment and how more shows like this should be done: Memorable story lines, characters, etc. None of the mindlessness that's unfortunately plaguing the majority of the airwaves today. Definitely one of the best. It hasn't been nominated for nor won any Emmy or Annie awards, but it should have. Very commendable.
Does anyone here remember a weekend special cartoon based on saving dragons from extinction? I have been going out of my mind trying to remember the title. I know it was played in the mid to late eighties because I used to watch it all of the time as a child. The mini movie was about a boy who was training to protect the dragons. I believe that they were also in charge of the last dragon egg. My memory is sketchy at best. I have done many searches on the internet but have had no luck. I even went to popular 80s cartoon sites and e-mailed ABC(with no answer.) Again any ideas would be helpful because once I find the title I plan on purchasing it.
wow , married now and going on 34. Iv'e recently married someone younger than me.remembering one thing to another i stumbled upon recalling a Saturday morning special show . I couldn't remember the name something og the land of. I just remembered the story was great for television for that era. My wife looks at me like I'm crazy she being 26 and me in my thirties she never heard the show. i was amazed the someone still remembers the good o,l days when you could get up and watch T'V till one o;clock. what about the other special they would show with the guy that had the perfect fly back hair do. and i think he had special powers or something , i do recall a cat. oh well i could ramble all day about then.but life goes on oh tho I hope that someone will bring back those shows. TY SC native here
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