Cue in the Nostalgia: 17 Best 70’s Cartoons
Grandpas and grandmas everywhere: it’s time for your daily dose of nostalgia followed by 20 minutes of sitting and recounting your life. This will be good for the baby-boomers and the Gen-Z’ers too. A list of iconic 70’s cartoons that dominated the Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons. Cue the nostalgia!
The Iconic 70’s Cartoons
Cattanooga Cats (1970)
Totalling 2 seasons with 17 episodes made, the initial run of the snazzy felines was not met with the kind of bang that Warner Brothers expected. Nevertheless, it has grown on people most recently and is now a cult classic. Cattanooga Cats follows four anthropomorphic hillbilly cats: Lead singer Country, dancer Kitty Jo, bassist Scoots and drummer Groove. The cats drove around the country in a van, where a myriad of situations would make up the premise of each episode. It was cancelled in 1971 but still lives on in YouTube.
Motor Mouse and Autocat (1970)
Tom and Jerry meets Need for Speed. Motormouse and Autocat is essentially the classic cat-and-mouse chase but with the inclusion of weird, 70’s-looking cars. Really funky cars that Autocat makes to catch Motormouse and run races against him. In the classic formulae that is a cat-and-mouse cartoon, the episode ends with usually one of them victorious and the other one comically beat out of the entire episode. It was popular with kids, especially with kids interested in vehicles and motor-racing. It was also phased out alongside Cattanooga Cats.
Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (1970)
While running for a good number of other segments, this particular series follows a pilot and his dog (Dastardly and Muttley, respectively) and their attempts to thwart a messenger pigeon Yankee Doodle Pigeon from delivering a message to the opposing army. This cartoon was conceived in the post-WWII era in the Americas and was built from a concept of the carrier pigeon working for the Allied forces; this would explain why all the episodes saw the duo failing to bring in the pigeon or stop him from delivering the message.
Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies (1970)
Initially two separate series, Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies came to fruition when Groovie Goolies and Sabrina the Teenage Witch made a crossover series, which resulted in a series that garnered great acclaim over its runtime. Although only limited to eight episodes, the series was very well-received and pushed the studio into releasing a VHS copy for home entertainment including all the shorts for the Groovie Goolies series. The episodes followed the Groovie Goolies as they helped Sabrina the Teenage Witch in her adventures for the day.
The Funky Phantom (1971)
The Funky Phantom was essentially a heavily-reworked version of Scooby-Doo, which followed three kids; Skip Gilroy, April Stewart and Augie Anderson who went around in their ‘Looney Duney’ dune buggy solving crimes and riddles. They are met by ghosts Mudsy (a Revolutionary War veteran) and his cat ‘Boo’ during on of their adventures. The five then go on and solve a bunch of other mysteries and crimes across the countries, with the Funky Ghost giving them an invisible helping hand in every episode. It was especially popular in Australia.
Help!… It’s the Hair Bear Bunch (1971)
The hit series follows the Hair Bear Bunch, a group of three bear cousins who live at the local Wonderland Zoo. They also serve as the ‘wacky heroes’ of the show. The three bears would occasionally escape their luxurious cage to ride on their ‘invisible motorcycles’; however, they would always return to the cage before Mr. Peevly or Lionel Botch were able to catch them. The bears had several motives for pranking and fooling Mr. Peevly and Mr. Botch, including trying to ‘improve their living conditions’ and wanting to ‘embark on get-rich-quick schemes’. Well-received, it was cancelled after just a year of runtime in 1972.
The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show (1972)
Remember Pebbles and Bamm Bamm from the Flintstones? Yeah, this is where they went to in the 1970s. Hugely popular (since The Flintstones were pretty popular and this was essentially a spin-off), the series followed the titular characters as they grew up in the town of Bedrock and faced all the problems a growing teenager might face. In the episodes, they are seen attending Bedrock High School and are also seen trying out with music, forming a band called Bedrock Rockers. It ran only for a year.
The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan (1972)
Detective comics, meet early 70’s humorous racism aimed at the Asians. This was a show which depicted the titular Mr Chan and his ten children as they solved cases and mysteries. All ten had fully fleshed out personalities and character traits and each would help, according to their capacity, their father in solving a case. Despite its weird undertones and storylines, the cartoon series was eventually picked up to be a full-fledge show and even got its own comic book. The comic book lasted four issues; the cartoon 16 episodes.
Speed Buggy (1973)
An essential predecessor to Herbie and Pixar’s Cars, Speed Buggy followed a sentient dune buggy of the titular name and three teenagers Mark, Debbie and Tinker and their quest to gather winner’s trophies by winning car races in the dune buggy. In the usual setting, this also included defeating any villains that might’ve fallen through the cracks of the plot. Known as the “Speed Buggs”, the group of three teenagers is able to activate Speed Buggy through the use of a portable walkie-talkie.
Inch High, Private Eye (1973)
The most hilarious of the lot (atleast for the 6ft above gang). The show follows a miniature detective who’s ingested a secret shrinking potion that brings his height down to a literal inch (thus the show’s name). The detective, in help with his niece Lori, her friend Gator and their dog Braveheart solves crime and cases across the town. They also have a car, called the Hushmobile, which is aptly named because the car does not make noise while being driven, which contributes to the stealthy persona of the detective himself. This cartoon, unfortunately, had a small run of just over two months.
Bailey’s Comets (1973)
Different roller-skating teams compete in a worldwide race to different locations searching for clues that will lead them to a million-dollar prize at the end of the race. Besides the teams interfering with each other, there are also outside forces and subplots that would step in to hinder the teams’ progress. Bailey’s Comets itself is a team containing six people: Barnaby Bailey, Candy, Sarge, Wheelie, Bunny and Pudge. There are a myriad of teams that compete with them; notables being The Texas Black Hats and The Jekyll-Hydes.
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Hong-Kong Phooey (1974)
Hong Kong Phooeys follows Penry, a janitor working at a police station. He fights crime relying on his copy of The Hong Kong Kung Fu Book of Tricks, a correspondence-course martial-arts instruction handbook. However, his successes are only either thanks to Spot, who provides a solution to the challenges, or the direct result of a comically unintended side effect of his conscious efforts. The humour of incompetence of Hong Kong Phooey is a recurring theme of each episode. Penry disguises himself as Hong Kong Phooey by jumping into a filing cabinet despite always getting stuck – and unstuck by his pet cat Spot – and once disguised, gets equipped with the “Phooeymobile” vehicle.
Valley of the Dinosaurs (1974)
The series follows a modern scientist’s family, who is sucked into a vortex and finds itself in a prehistoric time; complete with dinosaurs, pre-evolved creatures and of course, their exact Neanderthal versions. The series was supposed to be educational and entertaining; demonstrating the early human uses of fire, clothing, weapons and cooking. It was broadcast from September to December of 1974, and then in syndication from 1977 to 1983. Only running for 16 episodes, the series was well-received and was considered an important piece in the medium of teaching children history.
Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch (1974)
The show follows an anthropomorphic car named Wheelie and a trouble-making motorcycle gang called the “Chopper Bunch”. The series takes place in a world of anthropomorphic vehicles and centres on Wheelie, his girlfriend Rota Ree, and a motorcycle gang known as the Chopper Bunch. Nearly every episode of the series focused on the Chopper Bunch attempting to outsmart Wheelie, despite their continual failed attempts. The show negatively depicted motorcycles and motorcyclists, and the Chopper Bunch typically received consequences for their actions, which sometimes involved the police.
The Great Grape Ape Show (1975)
The title character is a 40-foot purple gorilla with the mind of a child. His catch phrase is saying his name twice (‘Grape Ape, Grape Ape’) after anything anyone says, usually as a form of agreement or acknowledgement of what was said. He travels the countryside with his canine pal Beegle Beagle, whom he calls ‘Beegly Beagly’. Grape Ape’s immense size tends to initially shock and frighten those unfamiliar with him, and his presence alone has often terrified people and animals, causing them to run off screaming invariably: ‘YEOW! A gorill-ill-ill-ill-la!’.
Yogi’s Gang (1973)
Yogi the infamous brown bear with a green hat, Quick Draw, Huck and the rest of the gang encounter a variety of villains such as Captain Swashbuckle Swipe, Smokestack Smog, Lotta Litter, the Envy Brothers, Mr. Hothead, and the Greedy Genie, who act as their friends, hosts and/or guests, but embody some of the most common human faults and vices. Yogi and crew would often put up with them which ends with the villains either being repelled or outdone by their actions.
Harlem Globetrotters (1970)
The show team members featured Meadowlark Lemon, Freddie “Curly” Neal, Hubert ‘Geese’ Ausbie and others, all in animated form, alongside their fictional bus driver and manager Granny and their dog mascot Dribbles. The series worked to a formula where the team travels somewhere and typically get involved in a local conflict that leads to one of the Globetrotters proposing a basketball game to settle the issue. To ensure their defeat, the villains rig the contest; however, before the second half of the contest, the team always finds a way to even the odds, become all but invincible, and win the game.