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Cartoons in 1980: What Kids Were Watching to Start the Decade

As the 1980s dawned, kids didn’t have access to hundreds of TV channels like they do today, but they did have at least one shining moment each week — Saturday morning cartoons. The transition to a new decade represented something of a golden age for full-blown animated series on television, with these shows representing the best cartoons in 1980.

Superfriends

The Superfriends is a long-running animated series about the adventures of Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and various other DC Comics superheroes.

Plastic Man

The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show is a television series based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Plastic Man could change his shape to anything he wanted and was a part of the Superfriends team.

Scooby and Scrappy-Doo

In this iteration of the long-running and super popular Scooby-Doo series, the mystery-solving Great Dane is joined by Scrappy-Doo, a pup who is Scooby’s nephew.

Kids World

Kids World is a long-running animated series of short cartoons.

Mighty Mouse/Heckle and Jeckle

Mighty Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1942 by the Terrytoons studio. He was one of the first animated characters from any media to be marketed primarily towards children and has had many appearances over his near-70 year history. Heckle and Jeckle were two ravens who would heckle their archenemy, Mighty Mouse.

Bugs Bunny/Road Runner

Bugs Bunny is a cartoon character, created by the Warner Bros. studio for theatrical release in 1940, that has appeared in numerous cartoons and associated products as an anthropomorphic hare or rabbit since then. Bugs was later joined by his friends Daffy Duck and Porky Pig.

Road Runner is a speedy bird who stars alongside Wile E. Coyote in the long-running and much loved “Road Runner/Coyote” cartoons, created by Warner Bros.

Popeye

Popeye the Sailor is a fictional character created by Elzie C. Segar in 1929 that appears in comic strips and animated cartoons as an anthropomorphic sailor with a speech impediment, who can manfully consume any amount of spinach to boost his strength.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is an American animated sitcom that originally aired on Saturday mornings in 1972. It offered a positive image of African Americans to counter stereotypes prevalent at the time, as well as children’s programming with live action TV stars playing their precursors.

Super Globetrotters

The Super Globetrotters casts the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters as superheroes who must use their superior athletic skills to thwart evil schemes around the world.

Casper and the Angels

Casper and the Angels is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera for ABC. It first aired on September 12, 1979 as a half hour show at Fridays at 11:00 am Eastern/Central (heavily sponsored by Kellogg’s) before moving to Saturdays at noon in 1980.

Fred and Barney Meet the Schmoo

In this takeoff on The Flintstones, buddies Fred and Barney join forces with the Schmoo, a ghosty sort of cuddly creature who can nonetheless help figure out mysteries.

Daffy Duck

In this show, Daffy Duck finally got the solo treatment and top billing he always wanted toiling in the shadow of Bugs Bunny.

Get Off Your Block News

This kids-based news program provided a more light-hearted look at events of the day.

Thundarr the Barbarian

This animated television series aired on Saturdays at 11:00 am Eastern/Central (heavily sponsored by Kellogg’s) before moving to Sundays at 11:30. It was about a barbarian man in the distant future who protects his world with help from Princess Ariel, Ookla and Aku.

Candlepin Bowling

A Canadian-produced show about two teenagers, one the daughter of a Candlepin Bowling champion and the other with dreams to become a professional bowler.

Tom and Jerry

The classic cat-and-mouse duo found a home on Saturday mornings in 1980, entertaining a new generation of kids with their antics.

Drak Pack

A Saturday morning spin-off of the 1978 show, Laff-a-Lympics. The series was about a group of kids called “The Draks” who played crazy games and competed against other teams to win prizes.

Godzilla

A cartoon version of the classic movie monster, Godzilla, was created for American audiences in 1980 and would go on to be a popular series.

Dynomutt, Dog Wonder

The superhero dog, Dynomutt, and his human sidekick, Blue Falcon, battled crime in Saturday morning cartoons of the early 1980s.

Batman & the Super 7

In 1980, Adam West and Burt Ward reprised their roles as Batman & Robin from the 1960s TV show to lead a team-up of other superheroes.

(Like Cartoons in 1980? Then you might like our article on Sunday Morning Cartoons, click here. Or how about 80s Disney Cartoons, click here.)

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Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980s, Vol. 1

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Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980s, Vol. 1

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