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Animation, Classic TV Cartoons From Way Back When


The best TV cartoons of my childhood

Born in 1952, I am from that generation that were the first to become television addicts. Our huge brown television set, with the tiny screen, was installed in our home with much excitement.

Although at that time, 1959, many television programs were made in colour, English broadcasting and our peculiar TV sets only gave us black and white viewing. Still this did not deter our fascination with the so-called goggle box and, as children, there were some great shows to watch.

Many of the cartoons which were popular when I was a child would seem basic these days. Children currently are used to CGI, computer graphics images, and more imaginative scripts.

However I like to think that those early pioneering cartoons are now classics.

Sure they were not the first cartoons to be shown but they were the first that were played to huge TV audiences around the World.

There are a few cartoons that stand out well in my memory, almost 60 years later, but it is not easy to assess why.

Here are my all time favourite cartoons from the late 1950s and the early 1960s which are as fresh in my mind today as ever.

Classic Popeye

That hunk Popeye

That hunk Popeye

Simply the Best

Popeye the Sailor-man

As our fist TV set warmed up we could hear the theme tune to Popeye the Sailor-man coming through.

We may have never seen the show before, or heard the theme tune, but we were in no doubt as to what the program was.

Popeye the sailor was a puny individual as opposed to the cartoon bully Bluto. Bluto constantly tried to steal Popeye's gal Olive Oyl. This skinny young woman played with both of their affections but usually ended up running scared of Bluto.

Poor Popeye would take a bashing until he resorted to opening a can of Spinach, by whatever means possible, and downing it in one go.

The transformation was remarkable.

Huge bulging muscles developed instantaneously and Bluto would get what he deserved whilst Popeye got the girl.

Why he bothered which such a fickle female I will never know.

However I guess Popeye helped our parents convince us to eat our greens and showed us that bullies never win. Both great achievements in children.

Popeye the Sailor-man included other quirky characters and a strange baby called Swee pea. No-one ever seemed to know whose baby this was or where he came from.

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All mighty suspicious, even to a child.

After all Swee pea did bear more than a passing resemblance to Popeye.

The TV shows we watched of Popeye were often fairly old even back then. However they had everything that we could possibly want.

Years down the road Popeye underwent changes in order to moderize the show but to my mind these inevitably spoiled this classic, children's entertainment.

About 15 years ago I visited Popeye Village on the Island of Malta which is the old set of the Robin Williams movie Popeye. As an old Popeye fan this was a fab experience and much fun.

Yogi and Boo Boo

Remember Yogi Bear? Then you most probably are ancient like me, or at least children will think that you are. Yogi and his buddy Boo Boo made Jellystone's friendly Park Ranger's life a misery.

Yogi was a bit of a smarty pants and constantly trying the patience of Ranger Smith. As he would say at least once in each episode he was " Smarter than the average bear". Now he did not really seem to be but he was smarter than the dumb ranger who always fell foul of Yogi's antics. This was a warm and friendly cartoon with likable characters. Remember the theme song?:-

Yogi Bear is smarter than the average bear,
Yogi Bear is always in the ranger's hair.
At a picnic table you will find him there
Stuffing down more goodies than the average bear.

He will sleep till noon but before it's dark,
He'll have every picnic basket that's in Jellystone Park.

Yogi has it better than a millionaire
That's because he's smarter than the average bear.

What's up Doc?

That old romantic Bugs Bunny

That old romantic Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny introduced us to other cartoon characters such as Elmer Fud, Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester and Tweety Pie and Road Runner. All were and still are excellent cartoon characters but Bugs with his toothy "What's Up Doc" was the best.

Warner Brothers Looney Tunes went onto to entertain successive generations, young and old, the world over and continue to be well received.

Flintstones and neighbours

Fred, pet Dino, Wilma, Pebbles The Flinstones. Neighbours Bambam, Betty Rubble and Barney Rubble

Fred, pet Dino, Wilma, Pebbles The Flinstones. Neighbours Bambam, Betty Rubble and Barney Rubble

The Flintstones

When the Flintstones hit our British TV screens they were an instant hit.

The script alone was wacky enough back then to attract huge audiences. Set in prehistoric times the show follows the Flintstone family as they go about their everyday life, but everyday it never is.

With prehistoric animals able to carry out chores, cars that work on pedal foot power and more it was fresh, new and imaginative.

The Flintstones included Fred and his work, his colleagues. friends and hometown. The Rubbles who lived next door were The Flintstones best buddies despite many fall outs. The theme song become one of the most popular and familiar of all time. To this day most people can sing you at least a little of it.

In recent years a couple of Flintstone movies hit the big screen with some success. They were not as successful though as they could have been and I am not sure why. Certainly the idea seemed to be a winning one.


Many other classic, television cartoon spring to mind but the ones mentioned here were, and still are, my all time favourites. All of these cartoons came from the USA. With time UK television began creating their own cartoon classics. However those early memories, from my childhood, of classic TV cartoons all involve characters with American accents.

All I can say about that is:-


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2009 Ethel Smith


Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 29, 2018:

I well remember all of those early cartoons being watched on those black and white television sets. Those were the good old days!

Robert Sacchi on June 20, 2018:

Thank you for the trip down memory lane. Hanna Barbera made many classic cartoons in the 1960s. The other side of The Flintstones was The Jetsons, the 21st century family. I'm still waiting for my flying car.

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on January 15, 2014:

Nothing better than a can of spinach. Nice job.

luv-iggy on January 08, 2012:

The flintstones? Bugs bunny? Popeye the sailorman? These shows are way better than anything they have on tv now!

ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on May 16, 2011:

I never like the road runner coyote show. The stories and background never changed so I never knew if I'd seen it before.

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on March 06, 2011:

I still love Flintstones, Popeye and Tom and Jerry. My 3 year old and 7 year old love T&J and like Popeye, but won't tolerate Fred and Barney. Though all of the sudden, they love the Power Rangers. Go figure.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on July 23, 2010:

That's interesting Stephen. cartoons pre-date Tom and Jerry being shown in the UK. Boy I am so old. These type of hubs always remind me of that fact lol

Stephen Rhodes Treadwell on July 23, 2010:

I found on google a list of theme songs for cartoons, at least most of them were for cartoons as opposed to other shows, & they left out the best cartoon theme song there is; the theme song for the Tom and Jerry Show; the version of Tom and Jerry where they're friends!

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 20, 2010:

You might be right. Of course we did not realise they would be classics so perhaps they will one day. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for the visit.

Springboard from Wisconsin on June 19, 2010:

I think the ones you mentioned here will forever be timeless classics. The cartoons of today, and even many of the newer ones that came around when I was growing up, will never have the lasting greatness that did the Flinstones, or Woody Woodpecker, or Merrie Melodies. Or even Popeye.

These were just great and will be great always. I don't see them as ever being irrelevant.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 23, 2010:

You are welcome Dan. I am hoping to walk down your memory lane with your cartoon hub?

dangerousdan on May 22, 2010:

Yes, I do suppose that I am somewhat younger than yourself, as well as my wife. However, I did grow up watching Terrytoons, with the likes of Deputy Dawg, Hector Heathcoate, Mighty Mouse, The Mighty Heroes, and Heckle & Jeckle. I also grew up watching Popeye, Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, The Road Runner, along with Jay Ward Cartoons, such as George of the Jungle, Tom Slick, Super Chicken, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody, and Dudley Do-Right. Plus I also managed to get in many other shows with characters such as Felix the Cat, Woody Woodpecker, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Wally Gator, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Snagglepuss, Tom & Jerry, Beanie and Cecil, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Sky Hawks, and so many others. So although, we did grow up in different places, during different times, I too, share the wonderful memories, of being lucky enough to have seen the same cartoons, and shows, as you obviously have seen yourself. Let's just hope that future generations, will also have a chance to view them, and preserve them, for all succeeding generations yet to come, for it would be a travesty, if these magnificent characters, who helped to bring joy and comfort, to so many youngsters, were lost forever. Cheers to you Ms. Ethel, for allowing us to take a grand walk with you, down memory lane.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 22, 2010:

I can see dangerousdan that you are younger than me. At last your selection indicates that you are. I would love to read a hub about your favourites. I shall leave you a question I think.

dangerousdan on May 21, 2010:

Thank you so much for bringing back such wonderful memories for my wife and I. As youngsters we used both used to watch cartoons ans did every child back then, especially on Saturday mornings. Unfortunately these days kids grow up with so many adult oriented shows with graphic language, sexual overtones, and gruesome violence, and all for pure shock value, and nothing more. Thankfully for my wife and I, we still retain a bit of our childhood within us both, and were so appreciative offinding this site. Our list of favorites will be a two-parter if that is okay, starting with hers first, and then mine.

Her favorites:

1)The Perils of Penelope Pitstop

2)Josie and The Pussycats

3)Little Audrey

4)Betty Boop

5)Laverne & Shirley in The Army

6)Little Lulu

7)Private Olive Oyl

8)Goldie Gold and Action Jack





1)The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show

2)Wait Till Your Father Gets Home

3)Emergency + 4

4)Sea-lab 2020

5)Popeye (Any of Popeye series)

6)The Pink Panther & Friends

7)Valley of The Dinosaurs

8)The Groovie Goolies and Friends

9)Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids

10)The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 11, 2010:

Lol Brandy. Maybe we should start a petition?

brandyBachmann on May 11, 2010:

@eric: yes i do agree with you too

great hub ethel, I miss the old cartoons they were a lot funnier and have more morals. thanks for sharing this with us. feeling nostalgic alreay lol =)

"I'm Popeye the sailorman, toot-toot"

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on April 07, 2010:

I know what you mean Eric

eric on April 06, 2010:

i really do wish there was some way to put old cartoons back on tv. instead of these new ones

Kimberly Brooks on February 19, 2010:

I remember all those great cartoons too. i remember i use to stay up all night watching cartoons when i was a little girl, but im 16 now.they need to take off all that mess they call cartoons and bring the real cartoons back.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on January 04, 2010:

THey sure were Habee. They don't make like that anymore all that CGI nonsense lol

Holle Abee from Georgia on January 04, 2010:

Oh, those were the days! Bugs Bunny was my favorite. I liked how they often played classical music on the 'toons, like Bugs dressed as a Viking maiden singing to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries." Great stuff!

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 20, 2009:

Thanks Connies-me too Boo Boo,

Yabba Dabba to you also k@ri lol

Connie Smith from Tampa Bay, Florida on June 20, 2009:

I still love the Flintstones! It was my favorite cartoon, especially those few episodes that combined my favorite show along with it -- Bewitched. I also loved Huckleberry Hound and all those. I still sometimes QUOTE Yogi, lol. After all, like Yogi, I am smarter than the average bear.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on June 20, 2009:

These are great cartoons! I also grew up watching Popeye, Yogi and the Flintstones! Yabba Dabba Doo to you too! :D

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 20, 2009:

I know girls but where to draw the line? I went for my most favourite from my very young days. I loved Dangermouse but that was when I was older. Wacky Races was in my teen years. Ah memories.

Julie-Ann Amos from Gloucestershire, UK on June 20, 2009:

What great memories but you have omitted the classic DANGERMOUSE! And Wacky Races... and.. and...

well, I guess you can't do them all.

Iðunn on June 20, 2009:

I admit to The Simpsons and Southpark. Also to a fondness for Scooby Do. I do see the old cartoons a fair amount with my grandchildren. Since they are boys, though, mostly they are now on Dragonball Z videos.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 20, 2009:

I know what you mean although there were problems them it was different. Yes I too like documentaries and politics etc. I adore the Simpsons though and these old cartoons as they are just good fin.

Iðunn on June 20, 2009:

When I can be pulled away from documentaries, news and foreign film... on occasion. :) I'm right behind you, you know. 1960. I think the society was much easier/safer/nicer for you and I than it is for children today.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 20, 2009:

Thanks Iounn. I still enjoy to watch them now and then lol. Do you?

Iðunn on June 20, 2009:

I remember these too, great memories.

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