October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!

So my flight got into Toronto at about 7:00 p.m. local time and it was a half hour later when the driver dropped me off at my new residence.  I had just stepped out onto the sidewalk with my four pieces of luggage when some passing pedestrian stopped and pointed at me, eyes wide, mouth agape, like Donald Sutherland in that last scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  “Is that guy pointing at me?”I wondered and, since he obviously was, my next question was: “Who is that guy?”.  It was dark and he was wearing a baseball cap but there was something familiar about him.  And, as I stared back, the wheels turning, I realized: “Hey! That’s the star of Saving Hope!”  And then: “And Stargate: SG-1!”  And finally: “Michael Shanks!  I KNOW him!”

What a surprise!

As it turns out, he was on his way back to his place and happened to spot me. What are the chances? Despite an early call tomorrow morning, he helped me roll my luggage over to my new (temporary) digs, then walked back with me to meet up with my writing partner, Paul, for a brief catch-up session before he called it a night.

Chances are we’ll be crossing paths a lot in the coming months.

It was great to see Michael, great to see he’s doing well, and even greater to know we have a prospective dog sitter for our next Japan trip.  Maybe he can keep them busy by getting them guest spots on his show?

Hey, according to this article –


This marked the first weekend in America with no network Saturday morning cartoons.  Several reasons are cited, from the FCC’s politically correct strong-arm tactics to the fact that, nowadays, cartoons are accessible 24/7 through a variety of alternate sources.

But the sad fact remains: this is the end of an era.

I remember waking up early every Saturday morning and racing downstairs with my sister to mainline a septuple feature of animated programming.

At the risk of dating myself, these were my favorite cartoons growing up…

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


I had a love-hate relationship with this show.  I enjoyed it enough, but really hated that smug panther.  I always thought he was an incredible jerk and tuned in every weekend in the hopes that he would finally get his comeuppance.  No such luck.  I much preferred The Ant & the Aardvark.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


There was something quaintly endearing about this cheap-as-hell production whose use and re-use of static images made Ralph Bakshi’s Spiderman look like an elaborate Disney movie by comparison.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


Endless Saturday morning viewings prepared me for a career in science fiction.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


I mainly checked it out for Melody.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


To be perfectly honest, I came for the Sherman and Mr. Peabody but stayed for the squirrel and moose.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


I always enjoyed the show up to the point where the gang would play a song at Bill’s behest.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


Its comforting, paint-by-numbers plotting would pre-date shows like House by some forty years, yet prove even more durable.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


Okay, full disclosure.  If I was stranded on a deserted island and could have only one incarnation of Spiderman to watch, from his humble t.v. beginnings to his recent big screen forays, I’d pick this version who I always felt was closer to the original comic book representation of the nebbish Peter Parker/quippy Spiderman.


October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


A cartoon for grown-ups that kids could enjoy as well.   I own the entire Looney Tunes collection and I still find them equally hilarious today.  It’s sad that, nowadays, kids can only watch censored versions of these brilliant animated shorts.

October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo!  Saturday Mornings Without Cartoons?!  Say It Aint So!


Another clever animated series, written for an adult audience but enjoyed by children as well.  Nothing takes me back to my youth like that theme song or those trademark sound effects.

34 thoughts on “October 5, 2014: A Toronto Cameo! Saturday mornings without cartoons?! Say it aint so!

  1. Two amazing things — your running into Mr. Shanks, and your taking the time to write about your fav cartoons after flying all day. Both items are awesome! I’m still waiting for Saving Hope to return to the states — it’s impossible to see it legally on any platform here, and I hear it’s so good now!

    I love all the cartoons you mention. My earliest cartoon memory is of Casper the Friendly Ghost, which my mom loved. I never missed The Jetsons, The Flintstones, or Pink Panther.

    Good luck with your week!

  2. That is so awesome to be greeted by a familiar face! A good omen!

    I never got into Saturday morning cartoons. Sleeping! But my brothers would be in there wishing they were Johnny Quest.

  3. This is sad indeed. From what I remember, my favorite Saturday morning cartoons were TMNT and X-Men. (I seem to recall a Spider-Man as well … I think.) I know that I watched cartoons then, I just can’t remember much more of what I watched.

  4. Please give Michael Shanks best regards from San Antonio. He’ll remember me from Barcelona, ten (!) years ago.

  5. I’ll get back to you on favorite cartoons (Scooby Doo comes out on top, no matter what). I was a Banana Splits fan, so many of my favorites were on that show. And of course Bugs. I watched The Jetsons, Flintstones, and all the rest, but not sure they ranked as ‘favorites’. Also, not sure I actually watched many cartoons on Saturday mornings, but rather on weekday afternoons after school. I know Scooby Doo was a Saturday thing, though, and I also remember Dad not letting us sit and watch tv all morning, so that was one of the few we got to see.

    Okay…maybe I will do my list now…

    10. Wacky Races (and spin-offs)

    9. Mighty Heroes

    8. Spider-Man

    7. George of the Jungle

    6. Josie and the Pussycats

    5. Fat Albert

    4. Quick Draw McGraw

    3. Speed Racer

    2. Loony Tunes/Merrie Melodies (Wile E. Coyote, Sam the sheepdog, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Taz – all favorites more so than Bugs, Daffy, & Elmer.)

    1. Scooby Doo (original)

    And honorable mention to Danger Island, one of my top favorites but it doesn’t make the list because it’s live action. “Uh-oh, Chongo!” 😀

    There are many others, from Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers (which I watched in my late teens, early 20s), to Aquaman, Yogi Bear, Tarzan, and Kimba the White Lion. And there are many more. I just realized I watched a LOT of cartoons as a kid/teen/adult. 😛


  6. P.S. Many of my favorites were in ‘variety shows’ (like the Banana Splits) that featured several short cartoons each week, some serialized. I was going to list some, but discovered there were just too many.

    Also, there was a new Inspector Lewis on tonight, so had a healthy dose of Hathaway this evening! Only…he’s not a sergeant anymore…but an inspector! My how he’s grown up. 🙂


  7. When I was a teenager my mom’s cousin had come over to the house while I was watching Rocky and Bullwinkle. My mom tried to convince Sonny to persuade me that I was too old to be watching cartoons. Unfortunately he didn’t hear her because he was too engrossed in Bullwinkle – he was in his mid 40s at the time. He’s always been my favorite relative.

  8. I had just stepped out onto the sidewalk with my four pieces of luggage when some passing pedestrian stopped and pointed at me…there was something familiar about him…”I KNOW him!”…As it turns out, he was on his way back to his place and happened to spot me. What are the chances? …he helped me roll my luggage over to my new (temporary) digs…

    What are the chances? You even had to ask? That would be like me walking into Pier 1 and bumping into Johnny Depp. Sorry, but this story has ‘stalker’ written all over it. Stalker, or dude hoping to get a role in your new show. Either way, it smells like trouble. Sure, sure…it’s just Shanks, but I’d still get an extra lock or two for your door, and maybe sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight…

    Whoopsie, slipped into a bit of Metallica for a sec there…sorry ’bout that. 😛


  9. I hated The Pink Panther and refused to watch it. I’ve never heard of Rocket Robin Hood. Apart from that your top eight pretty much matches my own Saturday mornings in Australia!

    Except that I’d have Looney Tunes at number one. I, too, have the full collection. If I were ever to own my own cinema I’d be playing one of those before each film, like what they were originally made for.

    I’d also have to add Battle Of The Planets to the list. I loved that show! I’ll have to track it down again.

    A very good omen bumping into a friendly face upon your arrival. Are you sure he’s not stalking you?

  10. Wow now what was the chance of that happening… and good on Michael to help out…bless him…

    @astrumporta Saving Hope is going to be on ION TV in the New Year… 😀

    Here is a forum that I am running for Saving Hope if you want to come and join in…

    All Childrens programmes went from our mainstream channels a couple of years ago and went to the childrens channel… ie BBC went to BBC kiddies tv

    Kriss 🙂

  11. THE BUGS… He never gets old! I always loved the multi-“age”-layers of humour in the writing.

    Meanwhile, JOHNNY QUEST was a favourite. And, all of those UK-import “Puppet”-Action Toons! However, I still have a soft spot for POPEYE!

  12. Some great choices there. A couple of my favorites were Johnny Quest and the Jetsons.

    Glad you made it to Toronto safely and came across a friendly face right away.

  13. Yay, Michael Shanks!

    Good list, although mine includes a good bit of Quickdraw McGraw, and Beanie and Cecil. One of my early memories is turning on the TV for Saturday cartoons, and being upset there was a funeral an ALL THREE CHANNELS! I did like the horses though.

  14. Wow! What a coincidence, indeed! That’s so cool that you guys happened to meet up like that and right off the bat. And a built in dog-sitter, too. Bonus!

    I agree about the commercials, really the end of an era, but hardly unexpected I guess. I had the same feeling about the Pink Panther, that smug ass. As well, I always hoped that the Wile E. Coyote would at least ONCE get the upper hand on that uppity Road Runner.

    I remember that around here they would alternate between Rocket Robin Hood and the old Hercules cartoons, which were basically almost the same.

    I still love the old Bugs Bunny cartoons – they just don’t have anything like them anymore. I STILL sing the “On with the show, this is it!” song before any concerts that I’m in with the choir!

  15. Oh Das! I haven’t heard of “Danger Island” for ages! ‘Uh-oh, Chongo, it’s Danger Island next!!”

    Also, it’s freaking me out a bit having Joe up clearing comments on his blog so early!!

  16. See? I told you to catch up with Michael whilst he was there…didn’t expect you to do it on your first night in Toronto…..I hope you guys have many good times together whilst both out there…..and I want pictorial evidence of Michael dog sitting the pugs!! 😀

    Scooby Do remains my top favourite childrens’ cartoon ever…

    Nothing will ever come close to the antics of the gang and the Mystery Machine….

    Although Josie and her Pussycats came a close second…

  17. There was a changeover between the 80’s and 90’s where kids no longer were sure to watch the same shows and movies and be able to discuss them the next day at school unless they planned to. That might have actually been my personal changeover from living in an area with few broadcast choices to living where nearly everyone had cable TV.

    This cartoon changeover might instead be a leading indicator of a bigger, inevitable changeover. It’s not so much about what’s going on with the under-10 crowd, but the under-40 crowd, who happens to be raising the under-10 crowd. Someone out there is fine with watching 24-hour and repetitious cable news. They’re fine with being told what the programming is. And a large number of other people are getting used to deciding what and when for themselves.

    I’m at a point where I’m disturbed such a small number of people get to decide what’s news. What? The latest scare is justifying X action, which was a direct result of the last scare that justified the same thing and happened to enrich the same people? I’ve already seen that episode. There’s a lot that’s going on that could change if only the demographics consuming all that news would refrain from exercising voting power in a way that thwarts how others would rather live. They can refrain now or, if we have to wait under their boots, history will record what they are doing to the world because history is no longer what the textbook writers decided it is.

  18. For gforce –


    This would have made #2 on my list had live-action shows been included. I absolutely loved it! In fact, I have a DVD copy of the entire series somewhere around here. In other words – yes, I STILL watch this show every now and then. 🙂

    While my sister had a crush on Jan Michael-Vincent, I had a crush on Chongo, who was portrayed by stunt performer Kim Kahana. Kahana ran (still runs?) a stunt school down in Florida (wonder if Bam Bam weht there?).

    Here’s ‘Chongo’ teaching back in 2008 (he appears at min. 2:15):



  19. Maybe this is a good omen for your stay!?! Loved those cartoons you posted. They were my favorite too. I still sing the “Scooby Do” theme to myself.

  20. So…. First Michael Shanks… Could the next meeting be with David Hewlett? I wonder how many previous-show alumni you will be meeting, accidentally of course. And you know how one thing leads to another sometimes. Might we see some familiar faces on your new show? We can only hope. We liked the characters and we liked the people, even some guest stars, as you know. it would be nice to see them again, even if it is in a new role.

  21. Oh, speaking of guest spots on shows, having Michael there right in town would be so convenient for the occasional stint on the new sci-fi show! 🙂

  22. Bugs was also my favorite but I had no idea the oldies were censored…sometimes, political correctness just sucks…Had no idea Michael Shanks had his own show…will google it in a minute…Thanks for that…And, of course, the Jetsons…and who was the fat comedian in the 1930s who said ” I love children,,,baked, broiled and fried.”…and his audience roared with laughter…today, he’d probably be shot…

  23. Aww, good ‘ol Shanksie. Comforting to see an old friend so soon, I’m sure. Hey, if nothing else, he’ll be a good resource to tap for all the nice restaurants in town!

    I miss Saving Hope. It had a real sweet side to it that was nice to see on TV again. I wish NBC had kept it. Is there a way to stream it down here in the states?

    Your list of cartoons very closely resembles mine growing up as they re-ran those for years after they originally aired(I was born in ’74). I know most of those original Looney Tunes bits by heart, I’ve seen them so many times. And don’t even get me started on the censoring of those beloved, classic cartoons, suffice it to say, that’s how I know we’re doomed as a society(when we started censoring these old gems).

    -Mike A.

  24. Well that’s a nice welcome to Toronto (seeing a friendly face)! Hopefully that is a good omen compared to the last Toronto series.

    Sad news on the Saturday morning cartoons. I sometimes wonder if all this instant gratification (streaming of entertainment), is killing any sense of anticipation in our kids. I can remember as a young child waiting for Saturday mornings (cartoons) and Sunday evenings (Wild Kingdom and the Wonderful World of Disney). Now with DVR and Netflix, the questions from my kids are “did my show record” or “does Netflix have it yet?”. If the answer is “no”, they go stream something else.

    I think this may be exacerbated by the new release schedules; network premieres aren’t just in the fall anymore, and show runs can be 12, 20, or any number of episodes. The rolling and inconsistent schedules makes it hard to be sure to tune in/setup the DVR at the right time. I guess we’ll see where this ends up taking entertainment (but I can already see some signs ahead).

    On my actual cartoon favorites, you hit my main ones. I’d also add:

    Speed Racer (Go! Go! Go!)
    Johnny Quest

    Although, those were usually after-school fare rather than Saturday morning.

    And I’m surprised that Jay Ward’s creations (Rocky and Bullwinkle) weren’t higher on your list. My fixation with them lasted well in to college. Maybe it was because it just fit my acerbic nature then…

  25. Mike, I believe that Saving Hope will be shown on the Ion channel beginning in January.

  26. Arrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh! No Saturday morning cartoons! My son is going into withdrawal. And he’s 24! However, I find it horribly depressing that some stupid FCC regulation about educational TV forced this to happen.

    Nice to see Michael Shanks!

    But I’m still bummed.

    However, das! das! Inspector Lewis!

  27. As it turns out, he was on his way back to his place and happened to spot me. What are the chances?

    if he is living in the same neighborhood as you, i’d say it’s borderline astronomical.
    BTW i love his “what are the odds?” expression.

  28. You can watch Saving Hope episodes on the CTV website for free for the first week… of course that is only Season 3 at the moment… and you will need a lovely app on your browser called Hola which allows you to watch outside the country. What you must do is put the country to the country where the website is not where you live… yep I got that part wrong! 😀

    Kriss 🙂

  29. Saving Hope isn’t a bad series, its a shame it didn’t catch on with the Nielsen viewers, however CTV are treating the series well, 18 episodes for season 3 is a good number. Shanks will probably get a Season 4 in time.

  30. Ion bought The Listener and I was thinking I wonder if I should write to Ion and then @Lynn shares that it will be on Ion starting in January. Ion is making some excellent choices!!

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