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11 Far Out 1970s Children’s TV Shows

The number of channels may have been limited during the Disco Decade, but that doesn’t mean kids got left out. In fact, if you grew up during that era, just the mention of these 1970s children’s tv shows probably make you long for the “good old days” for three channels and static.

The Banana Splits Adventure Hour

Barely breaking into the decade, this show aired on Saturday mornings from 1968 to 1970. It starred a quartet of animal characters: Fleegle the dog, Bingo the gorilla (voiced by Frank Welker), Drooper the lion and Snorky the elephant. The adventures were set in some kind of weird jungle land called Tiki Island, and there’s plenty of songs between each adventure segment including their most famous one “Tra La La Song.”

Sesame Street

The PBS show that started in 1969 and continues today. It featured a bunch of Muppet characters with an educational curriculum, including Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Elmo. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop created many of them, although it was originally supposed to feature human actors who wore animal masks but they looked too real so they were scrapped.

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

The show that started in 1968 and ended in 2001. It used songs, stories and conversation to teach kids about many topics including feelings, family life, cultural diversity and the environment. Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister who had been interested in television since he first watched one as a child so when it became available for educational purposes his talents were quickly recognized.

The Electric Company

Starring Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, and others. They were all grown-ups acting as onscreen teachers who taught reading skills to kids using games and stories from 1971 through 1977.

The Jackson Five Show

A 1970s musical variety show starring the five members of the hit Motown family act The Jackson Five as well as other guests such as Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie, both also from Motown Records.

The Muppet Show

A nighttime variety show with puppets, hosted by the Muppets. Among the regulars were the grumpy old men, who frequently harrassed the show’s cast and crew.

Family Affair

This show follows bachelor Bill French, a successful engineer who is left to care for his brother’s three children after the death of their parents in a car accident. Starring Brian Keith, John Fielder, and Anissa Jones. The show also features Sebastian Cabot as the housekeeper Mr. French, and includes his daughter Penny as a regular character for several seasons until she was replaced by the Keith children’s cousin Cissy in 1970.

Scooby-Doo, Where are You?

This show features four teenagers and their talking dog. The teens solve mysteries involving local hauntings and often catch the culprits in the end, usually with a well-placed punch to stun them long enough for capture. Since the original show aired in 1969, there have been several other renditions, including an animated series, a Saturday morning cartoon and several movies.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids

This show, based on Bill Cosby’s stand-up comedy routines and cartoon short films he once made with a cast of neighborhood kids, was originally broadcast in 1972. The main character is Fat Albert, who lives as an overweight adolescent struggling with his weight while undertaking various adventures in their Philadelphia neighborhood.

The Partridge Family

This show, which debuted in 1970, starred Shirley Jones as the matriarch of a family who has to relocate following their music careers. The group eventually finds themselves stranded in California and decides to become an actual band with help from David Cassidy (who is also one of its stars).

ZOOM

Debuting in 1972, ZOOM featured a classroom with a bunch of children as the protagonists. It was designed to teach children about geography, astronomy, and other sciences through use of animation that goes beyond what even many adults might know.

(Like 1970’s Children’s TV Shows? Then you might like our article on 1960s Children’s TV Shows, click here. Or our article on 1980s Kids TV Shows, click here.)

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