Top Ten Best Classic Cartoons

Suggested by SMS

There was a time not long ago when Saturday mornings meant getting up early, grabbing a mixing bowl of Captain Crunch and settling in front of the television for a marathon of cartoons. This was a time before 24 hour/day cable toon networks when three or four stations were competing for the interest of a generation of children. Some of the classics were timeless and spawned decades while others were only around for a short time. Regardless, the creation of this list made me want to get a big box of cereal – the really sweet stuff – and melt in front of some quality cartoon entertainment.

10. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe


A simple man named Prince Adam became He-man and his weak cat Cringer became a battlecat when Adam used his powers to harness all the strength of the universe. When he took that sword and pointed to the sky shouting “By the Power of Greyskull, I have the Power,” you knew the bad guys were in for it. He fought the evil Skelator with his allies and gave the impression that the meek can become strong and defeat evil, a sound notion for young children to be taught. After each show, we all did our best to harness the universe’s strength and little brothers and sisters everywhere felt the brunt of our wrath.

9. The Adventures of the Little Prince


While many of the great classic cartoons involved heros that fight bad guys with their super powers, the Little Prince was a simple character who traveled to earth to meet new friends. In a way, there was a certain sadness to the character. He lived on a tiny little planet, Asteroid B612, and had to catch a comet with his net in order to explore the universe. He was also a little inspiring though, in his devotion to his true home. He always returned to be with his best friends, Swiftee the Space Bird and the Little Rose Girl who sprouted from a tiny seed.

8. Spiderman and his Amazing Friends


In 1981, Marvel Comics revitalized their original Spiderman, which debuted in the late 60s, as a way to draw more attention to their wide range of comic book characters and shortly after, another series was born called Spiderman and his Amazing Friends. It’s a blur to this writer as to what differentiated each series, but I do remember how Peter Parker inspired me to believe that a geek could hold super powers and save the day, every time. To crawl up walls and fly through the air on strings of webs was the dream of many kids during those days. Spiderman would continue his updating over the years, but the shows of the early 80s remain some of the classics.

7. The Yogi Bear Show


After being introduced on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, Yogi Bear became a cartoon celebrity and in 1961, The Yogi Bear Show hit small screens. There was something special about a carefree bear who would do everything he could to outwit the Ranger, much to the despair of his sidekick Boo Boo. Every once in a while Yogi’s lovely girlfriend, Cindy, would come around and she most often disapproved of his attempts to steal food from the campers in Jellystone Park. She always came back, though, which allowed us to believe that a little mischief never really hurt anyone.

6. The Mighty Hercules

The Mighty Hercules

The opening song of The Mighty Hercules speaks of a hero of song and story with the strength of 10 ordinary men, softness in his eyes and iron in his thighs, who battled for the virtue of the good people and creatures of ancient Greece. Along with Newton, the Centaur and Tewt, the mute satyr who communicated with a flute, Hercules battled evil hydras and minotarus and worst of all, the evil Daedalius and his cat Dydo. It was campy, to say the least, but from atop Mt. Olympus, Hercules embodied the power that all kids aspired to. It didn’t hurt that the beautiful Helena held affection for the mighy Herc and it’s quite probable that at some point, any kid who watched this show stood atop a small hill with a band of tinfoil around their finger, vying to capture a little of Herc’s might for themselves.

5. The Jetsons


There was magic in the concept of a family that lived in this remarkable world known as “the future”. Even though the year might have been 1983 when a child sat wide-eyed as George climbed into his bubble-topped flying car, the Jetsons made us believe that by the time the 21st century hit, we would all be dressed by robots and highways would make way for the open skies. When the show was over for the week, more than a few kids were whisked into imagining that their closets were teleporting booths that could take them anywhere on the planet in the flash of an instant.

4. The Flintstones


The opposite of the Jetsons were the Flintstones, and their neighbors, Barney and Betty Rubble. As kids we loved the idea of eating brontosaurus burgers and cruising around barefoot. The Flintstones existed long before political correctness took hold and parents felt the need to shelter their children from unwholesome images. When Fred got angry, the world knew it and when he and Barney hatched a plan to head to the lodge against their wives wishes, it was considered funny, especially when their plan went awry, as they often did. Bam Bam Rubble was a bruiser of a kid – a real boy’s boy – and little Pebbles was the cutest little red-headed baby around. One of the greatest aspects of the life of the Flintstones was the fact that their pet, Dino, was a dinosaur. Who didn’t dream of that as a young kid?

3. Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles

The concept of a group of four mutated, pizza-scarfing vigilante ninjas, who happened to be turtles that lived in the sewers of New York City and were taught by a rat with a Japanese accent was so far fetched it made the ideal cartoon. The fight scenes against mutant rhinos and the black-clad foot soldiers were the best and you could always count on a few one liners. The turtles’ ally, Casey Jones, wore a hockey mask and fought with hockey sticks and golf clubs and the reporter the turtle’s befriended, April, made all young boys aspire to be heroes if for no other reason that to attract the attention of a girl like her. And for those who feel that no child could ever learn culture from a cartoon, ask any man under the age of 34 to name any of the greats from the illustrious world of art history and you’re likely to get at least four names in response: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michaelangelo.

2. Looney Tunes

Looney Tunes

There was a time when a crazed man with a Texan accent could run around brandishing a six-shooter at the same time as a befuddled old man could stalk the woods with a shotgun in search of a wabbit, and this was seen as good fun. A wiley coyote could build bombs from the Acme company to search for one type of prey while a sheep dog keeping watch over a flock could pound the living crap out of the same coyote after he punched the clock. In the glory days of the Looney Tunes era, Bugs could dress in drag if it was deemed necessary and the crooning French skunk, Pepe Le Pugh, could do anything in his power to try and swoon an unfortunate cat with a stripe accidentally painted on her back. Those days are gone it seems, for many of those classic episodes are deemed to be unfit for the children of today. For the lucky ones who remember the simplicity of a chicken teasing a dog until it choked on its chain, we think fondly of those good old days.

1. Scooby Doo, Where are You

Scooby Doo

Daphne was hot and Fred was dashing. Scooby and Shaggy could foil the bad guys despite their fears and Velma Dinkly made it cool to be a little nerdy. The gang toured the country in a pimped out van in search of a good concert, but all they ever found was a mystery that needed solving. They were just teenagers but they could outwit the worst villains and all they ever got out of it was maybe a pizza or a few sodas at the malt shop. To watch each show was exciting – you felt a little of the same fear as Shaggy and Scooby, despite the fact that you knew the ghost or monster was really just a bad guy in disguise. Scooby Doo almost always dressed up in some strange costume and the music was fantastic. In later years, Scrappy Doo was introduced and today, there’s a new take on the old classic, but nothing can compare to the glory days of the early episodes.