Monday, October 21, 2013

Saturday Morning Horror - 1966

Weird World of Television 
 COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN 2013
The Spookiest Saturday Morning Cartoons of 1966
SATURDAY MORNING HORROR


Last year, I did a series of posts for the Countdown to Halloween about horror movies and Halloween themed music from 1966, which I tagged as "Halloween 1966."  This post was originally supposed to be part of that, but I ran out of time on the countdown last year, and never finished it.  So I decided to dust it off, finish it up, and post it now, for this years countdown.

1966 was a good year to be a monster kid.  Classic monster movies, like Frankenstein and Dracula, were popular again due to their being shown to a new generation of fans on TV.  Monster themed toys, like Marx Toys' Cinema Creatures, and Aurora Monster Model Kits, were on the toy shelves.  Television had the premieres of Dark Shadows, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Star Trek and Batman.  Other shows that aired in 1966 included Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, and The Addams Family.

Even the Saturday Morning Cartoons were not immune to monster-mania.  I'm going to count down the top 6 spooky, scary, or monster-filled cartoons that were available to kids on 1966 Saturday mornings, starting with the least scary, and working my way up to the most horrifying!

6. FRANKENSTEIN JR.

Frankenstein Jr. was one of the co-stars of the cartoon show Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles, which paired Frankenstein Jr cartoons with cartoons about The Impossibles, a combination rock band/superhero team.  Frankenstein Jr. was giant robot that looked like Frankenstein, who was controlled by a young boy and his scientist father.  Together they would fight crime and disasters.  Basically, it was an American version of the Japanese cartoon Gigantor.  This was really more of a superhero show than a horror one, but any show that features a giant Frankenstein robot has got to be on the list.


5. SPACE GHOST

Like Frankenstein Jr., this is really a superhero show, not a horror one.  But, heck, it's got "ghost" right in the title, right?  Plus, Space Ghost did fight a variety of scary aliens, so the show did have it's share of monsters!

I think the closest thing to straight up horror it did was the episode "The Creature King," featuring a Doctor Moreau style mad scientist alien.  Check it out:



 4.  KING KONG

Here's another show that's more of an adventure show, and not really scary.  It's sort of like a poorly animated version of Jonny Quest.  But any show that stars King Kong, one of the greatest movie monsters of all time, has got to go on this list!  Plus, this show had a great theme song:




3. WINSOME WITCH

Winsome Witch was a cartoon segment of The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show.  It followed the misadventures of a friendly witch who flies around on her broom getting into weird adventures.  It's a bit like I Dream of Jeannie crossed with Casper the Friendly Ghost.  Like most Saturday Morning Cartoons, it's not actually scary, but at least this one does have elements of the supernatural in it, so we're on the right track.  Here's the cartoon's intro:




2. MILTON THE MONSTER

Milton the Monster was a friendly Frankenstein-type monster, who lived in the Haunted House on Horror Hill with his mad scientist father Professor Montgomery Weirdo, and Weirdo's gay husband (or maybe just his lab assistant?) Count Kook.  This show is full on comedy horror along the lines of the Addams Family or The Munsters, and is chock full of weird monsters, skulls, bats, and Gothic imagery.  This was the perfect show to warp the impressionable minds of the kiddies on Saturday mornings.

Check out the show's creeptastic theme song:




AND NOW, CLICK BELOW TO REVEAL THE SCARIEST SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON ON THE AIR IN 1966!



1. THE BEATLES

That's right!  The Beatles cartoon was the scariest cartoon on 1966 Saturday mornings.  Maybe because the producers of the show had no idea what to do with these guys when they weren't singing songs, but they constantly stuck them in weird and spooky situations.  In fact the very first episode of this cartoon features the Fab Four in a haunted house in Transylvania.

Check out some of these spooky episodes of the Beatles cartoon that were on the air in 1966:
  • A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles visit a haunted house in Transylvania, and have to deal with host of vampires, skeletons, werewolves, ghosts, and other monsters.
  • If I Fell - A mad scientist, Dr. Dora Florahide, sends her assistant Igor, to get the brain of a beetle (the insect), for one of her experiments.  Igor instead returns with John Lennon, "the brains of the Beatles."
  • Devil in Her Heart - Ringo meets a witch while wandering around the woods in Transylvania.
  • Baby's in Black - Paul McCartney is kidnapped by Professor Psycho, who wants to force him to marry a female vampire.
  • Misery - The Beatles encounter a vampire at a wax museum.
  • Long Tall Sally - John and Ringo get stuck in cursed suits of armor when staying in a spooky castle.
  • When I Get Home - The Beatles meet Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Anna - Paul falls victim to a Japanese ghost ship.
  • I'm Looking Through You - Ringo is possessed by the spirit of a mummy while exploring an Egyptian pyramid.
  • Tell Me What You See - In Hollywood, the Beatles visit a horror movie star known as "The Man of a Thousand Faces," and get transformed into various weird characters.
  • Day Tripper - The Beatles are kidnapped by a scary alien disguised as a beautiful woman.


Pretty much all of the Beatles cartoons are available on YouTube!  Here's one for you to sample:


The Beatles Cartoon - Baby's in Black










2 comments:

  1. Some of these are before my time by just a few years. But I remember Space Ghost and Winsome Witch well, in afternoon or Saturday morning reruns, I am sure.

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    1. These were all before my time, too, but most of them were rerun when I was a kid. The exception was "Milton the Monster" which I first found on the internet. Which is kind of a bummer, because I was a big fan of stuff like Groovie Ghoulies and The Munsters, so I know I would have dug that show when I was a kid.

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