Saturday, September 03, 2005

ABC's Super Saturday Club


1969 may have been the year of Woodstock but if you were 10 like I was, it was actually the year of the SUPER SATURDAY CLUB on ABC TV! Heavily advertised in the comics and on TV , the network seemed to genuinely have big plans for the club beyond just getting a mailing list of kids who would get their parents to buy more merchandise. Kids were instructed in how to form local clubs at school with others who had ordered the official membership kit. The network offered lots of ideas for activities also and many of them didn't even involve watching TV at all!I'm not sure what happened but they gave up the ghost pretty quickly. It may have been when one of the flagship series--I think it was SKYHAWKS-- was cancelled.
The full page comics ads came first. I'm pretty sure I'd already sent in my hard-earned (or more likely begged for) 50 cents by the time ABC aired THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR PRESENT ABC'S SUPER SATURDAY, a Friday night special in which the cast of that sitcom (itself a new transplant from NBC) introduced the cartoons and the club to viewers.
What you recieved was the usual membership card and poster as well as a nifty little booklet that served as both a PR piece and a club handbook. Somewhere in the Library, we still have the membership card but the poster is long lost to the mists of time, existing only in this very faded photo of your Librarian with his friend, the Incredible Hulk, taken, apparently, around Halloween of 1969.
The booklet, however, is still extant and offered here for your amusement and edification. Hey, I've even erased the crossword puzzle and the connect the dots so you can get the full experience yourself!
At some point, all of the Super Saturday Club members recieved a letter (probably in early 1970)informing them that the club was being eliminated. We were offered a full refund or one of several other prizes including the one I took, an LP album capsulizing ABC News coverage of the previous summer's moon landing. Entitled FOOTSTEPS ON THE MOON, the album still has a prominent place here in the history section of the Library.
Oh, one more thing. Did I mention that every single one of the new cartoon shows touted by the club was virtually unwatchable? Despite the obvious Alex Toth designwork on some of the characters, they were slow, dull, unfunny and barely animated. I was already longing instead for the hilarious, action-packed cartoons of just a few seasons before like SPACE GHOST and WACKY RACES. THE CATANOOGA CATS had some okay pop songs but even that, when viewed more recently on Boomerang, was pretty bad. Sigh. Who said "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."?

10 comments:

Rachel Newstead said...

Hey, great site! The 1969 Saturday morning cartoon schedule was the first I had vivid memories of (that season started on my eighth birthday, by the way) but for some strange reason I have no recollection of the Super Saturday Club. Then again, I don't remember most of the cartoons touted by ABC, save for Smokey The Bear (which I really liked at the time). I must have had the TV tuned to H.R. Pufnstuf on NBC and Scooby-Doo o CBS, both new shows at the time. I didn't even get to see them in color, yet--my parents had control of the color set downstairs while I watched on an old 1957 RCA Victor set, complete with "rabbit ears."

I seem to remember my first impression of Scooby-Doo was that they must be trapped in some kind of alternate "horror world" from which they had to find their way home. Much like Jimmy from H.R. Pufnstuf kept trying to get off Living Island. (I was far more clever as an eight-year-old than I am now, it seems.)

Alina Chau said...

Really cool stuffs!!

greg said...

Very cool and rings some distant bells.

Do you recall a cartoon about a league of wacky racer-like superheros? One was a hippy surfer that flew on his board. No one remembers ...

Bob Strock said...

Great to see the Super Saturday Club information on your website. A little history on why it ended. I was president of Marketing 70/Inc. that created the Super Saturday Club here in Los Angeles for ABC. The club was really growing. However, a consumer advocate group in either Philadelphia or Pittsburgh as I remember, told ABC that charging for club membership was discriminatory against low income kids...and therefore they would have to provide club membership free of charge to all kids in the country that wanted to join. ABC could not afford that cost so cancelled the club and refunded the monies. Bob Strock, Los Angeles

Ken Kloke said...

How Coo! Someone else remembers The Super Saturday Club besides me!! I remember getting up bright and early and going to my friends house to watch what turned out to be some pretty lame cartoons. I also STILL have the record album of the moon landing!

Tim_Kangaroo said...

Great article--thanks for those scans. I've been a fan of CATTANOOGA CATS ever since I "re-discovered" them on Cartoon Network about 10 years ago.

And, believe it or not, I remember watching that GHOST AND MRS. MUIR Saturday Morning preview special. Do you know if someone, somewhere, has that on tape or DVD?

Anonymous said...

Lest it be forgot: the assortment of membership items also included a Super Saturday Club PENDANT which I've still got...it's printed in red on some fuzzy faux-felt material. I've got the moonlanding album too but never realized where I'd aquired it! Hey, does anyone remember the theme song? Only the first bars remain in my memory, where they've repeated themselves idiotically for forty years: "Super Saturday on ABC, Casper the Ghost is ON T-V...". As for the quality--I thought Fantastic Voyage was HOT! The model kit based on the cartoon's version of the "innerspacecraft" has just been reissued. You can go home again...

Anonymous said...

I too was member of the ABC super Saturday club. I was 11 and thought it'd be a great source for posters to decorate the walls of my room. When the club dissolved and I got my letter from ABC, I too, selected the ABC News Album that documented the moon landing. We really were blessed to have grown up in a very wonderful and magical time. Thanks for shaing wit this site.

Mr. Whippet said...

I still have my Super Saturday stuff. Including some "premium" stamps, a couple of stamp cards, a Dastardly Wants You poster, the official club handbook, Vulture Squadron Flight Book, a Dog House medal (stamp), a plastic membership card guaranteeing me all the privileges of the club, Super Saturday Club poster, Yankee Doodle Pigeon Decoder, felt pennant and the envelope it came in saying Top Secret for the eyes of Vulture Squadron Member Flight Members Only. I think that is the envelope. I don't remember being offered any consolation prize for the club mysteriously ending. Thank you to Bob Strock for posting here explaining what happened. I can now get on with my life LOL : - ) Best wishes it all my fellow club members.

marty said...

That is great stuff, brings back memories of a great time. everybody on the block was in the club. I too got the footsteps on the moon album