Geektoberfest Day 29: A Retro Jukebox #1 — Epic Cartoon Theme Songs

If you were a kid in the 1970’s, there were a lot of really good cartoons for you to watch, but you were limited by the times you could watch them. Some were aired at 3 in the afternoon just as you were getting home from school, or some were aired exclusively during Saturday mornings. Much of that doesn’t translate to modern audiences who have access to every cartoon they want to watch by either online free streaming services, YouTube, or Netflix/Amazon Prime. Think of this as a stroll down memory lane. This list is not by-any-means exhaustive. They are just a few to whet your appetite and see if this can be an ongoing feature.

Josie and the Pussy Cats

This was a Saturday morning show that would air really early (8 am on a Saturday is really early) and if you overslept or slept-in, you missed it. It had a Scooby Doo vibe, kids solving mysteries. There was even a 16 episode run of the girls in space. One of the outstanding features of the show was that there was usually a chase scene and that Josie and the Pussycats would be performing their original numbers while they were pursued or doing the pursuing.

Fat Albert

Say what you will about the man, but in the 70’s, Bill Cosby seemed to have a grasp of how to talk to children, and make them understand life. Whatever the case was, and is with women, I strongly believe that good acts can come even from an evil source, and whether or not his actions were evil that is not my place to judge, Cosby’s connection to this show was good. Every episode had a lesson to be learned and it was always amplified by a musical number. Cosby would always have a live segment in which he underscored and reiterated the lesson and just had an organic way that is endemic of really good counselors.

Underdog

I watched this cartoon every weekday after getting home from school. This show ran for 124 episodes, with Shoeshine Boy transforming into the mighty Underdog whenever Polly Purebred got victimized. Among the Rogues Gallery were such memorable villains as Riff Raff and Simon Bar Sinister. Polly called out and Underdog would hear her. He would then transform into a superhero that would speak in rhyming couplets. One of his most iconic is, “Never fear; Underdog is here.” Invariably, Underdog would defeat the villain and fly him into jail. I seem to remember that his abilities were not natural. I think he had to ingest a pill to get his powers which is an interesting message. It’s probably one of the reasons it’s not aired any longer.

The Super Friends

The Super Friends is a show that ran for years on Saturday morning TV. It was constantly in a state of flux, because of its popularity. It was a Hanna-Barbera production based on the Justice League. There were 109 episodes aired over the course of 12 years. The early stories involved inane silly villains, but as the series progressed there were more comic book complexity to the plot lines. As popularity increased, the comic book rogues galleries began to be pillaged as the writers sought to engage watchers with villains they were more familiar with. I remember the episode with Lex Luthor as a highlight and hoping that their would be more. In subsequent years, there was more. Interestingly, every time the title sequences changed, there was a fresh excitement to these cartoons, but without a doubt, these incarnations were definitely a personal favorite.

Magilla Gorilla

This was another afternoon TV show that we watched religiously in the 70s. I didn’t realize that this show was a holdover from the 60s. However, I attribute its success to the theme music. It was very catchy back then and hearing it again gave me a sense of deja vu that not all of these songs carry. It reminded me of my Mami Virginia (may she rest in peace). She was babysitter / much more than babysitter to Dee, Marc, and I. She was more like a grandmother. There about the early to mid 70s, we would come home from school and watch this show while doing our homework. Mami Virginia would make us a snack with hot chocolate, and we would wait for Mom or Dad to arrive to take us home.

Spiderman

My Dad almost never watched cartoons with my brother and I. However this is one that we did watch together. It’s weird to think about, because my Dad HATES superheroes. I think that because they are an obsession for his children, he can’t wrap his head around it. He forgets that this was an obsession that he partook of when he wore a younger man’s clothes. In my estimation, this theme is so iconic that if you were a fan of the show, you could probably still sing. Who doesn’t love Peter Parker? I mean he was the lovable loser that eventually got the girl, Mary Jane Watson, to say yes to marrying him. Although the writers have frigged up the continuity so many times now that it’s virtually unrecognizable. He still gives hope to us Grey Geeks.

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