Top TV Cartoon Characters From The 1950's and 1960's
'The Jetsons' The Jetson family wave as they fly past buildings in space in their spaceship in a still from the animated television series, 'The Jetsons,' circa 1962. (Photo by Warner Bros./Courtesy of Getty Images)
Saturday morning cartoons are something I remember fondly from my childhood. When I was a kid, television was a novelty and somewhat of a treat. My family had one television; black and white, mind you. It was state of the art at the time, with the VHF dial and rabbit ears, but it still only got 3 channels at any given time (even with aluminum foil). Unlike today, there was no such thing as recording your favorite shows if you weren’t available when they came on. If you missed it… sorry about your luck!
During the 50’s and 60’s, most programming was geared toward adults. Sorry, kids! No worries though, because at some point, Saturday mornings became known for cartoons! And, who loves cartoons more than kids? NOBODY!
Mr. Magoo was a billed as a wealthy, short, old man. His near-sightedness continuously led to him finding himself in many compromising situations. It was no secret that he had horrible vision, but that in unison with his eccentric and stubborn personality only added to his never-ending tribulations. Mr. Magoo, however, was a loveable character, thus earning the show 2 Academy Awards.
Foghorn Leghorn was an iconic cartoon character not necessarily exclusive to the 50’s and 60’s. This iconic, outspoken rooster has actually proven to be timeless. He has been portrayed as being hard of hearing, but that only served to make his point!
Porky Pig was not a new (cartoon) kid on the block in the 50’s and 60’s but no less visible. The iconic Porky Pig was one of the pioneer cartoon characters of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies brand. This loveable cartoon character was definitely a huge part of the cartoon experience of countless children from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and so on… Porky Pig was a cartoon star in his own right with his signature stutter. Porky was and is well recognized for the catch phrase, "Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th... That's all, folks!"
Here he comes to save the day!
Mighty Mouse was known for his superpowers including his super strength and ability to be in the right place at just the right time! Along with being super strong, he had the ability to fly through the air and turn back time. Oh, if only….
Huckleberry Hound was a lovable, blue dog with a BIG personality. He was well-intentioned, low key and spoke with a southern drawl. This cartoon dog was a gentleman’s dog!
Meet George Jetson!
George Jetson was a super, futuristic, cartoon husband and father. He embodied the very concept of the all-American (space) guy. His main mission in life was to make his family’s life easier; as if they had it so HARD! Never mind, though, because who could fault a guy that loved his (space) dog, Astro?
Tom and Jerry never did resolve their differences!
Tom and Jerry were a cat and mouse duo. As you probably remember, Tom was the cat and Jerry was the mouse. As expected, Tom was forever trying to “get” Jerry but never really succeeded. The couple were to have been natural enemies and that being the case, they were always at odds. Truth be told, though, it seemed as though they had a secret, although unlikely, affection for each other.
Ruff and Reddy were a lovable dog and cat duo. Ruff was a good natured, but not overly intelligent, canine and Reddy was the stereotypical, sly feline. Unlike Tom and Jerry, they were not adversaries but rather steadfast friends and partners in crime.
Jonny Quest was a cartoon character that was inspired by early radio programs. The concept of the popular cartoon was, by far, ahead of its time. Jonny Quest was the cartoon introduction to the concept of the science fiction genre, not to mention that there was an ethnicity other than America had known on television programming. There was even a pet, dog on the show, which was a huge draw for viewers. Hanna-Barbara had seemingly just sealed the deal on the (cartoon) concept.
There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!
Underdog was a cartoon crime fighting hero. To the general and unassuming public he was a humble and lowly shoeshine boy. Most of the Underdog episodes included scenarios that involved his one and only true love, Polly Purebred, being in distress. He never failed to come to her rescue, which made him a hero to all!
YABBA DABBA DOO!
Fred Flintstone was the patriarch and boss of the, “modern stone age family,” or so he thought! He was a well-meaning, lug nut of a guy that only wanted to do right by his beautiful wife, Wilma, and their daughter, Pebbles. He often undermined his own efforts. No worries, though, because Wilma was always there to pick up the pieces. The Flintstones made such an impression in the theatrical world that the show was revisited in films.
Augie Doggie’s dad, only ever wanted to impart meaningful, parental guidance to his pup. He aspired to be the best doggie daddy, ever. Unfortunately, in Augie’s eyes, his doggie daddy always fell just short of his expectations. Augie was forever overdramatizing any situation! Augie was known for his signature green shirt, as if a dog would wear clothing, while his dad wore only a dog collar. He would always say, "Oh, the shame..."
Yogi Bear was smarter than the average bear!
Yogi was originally a “BFF” of Huckleberry Hound and actually ended up outshining the lovable, blue pooch. Yogi was so charming, with his gentleman’s necktie and perfect manners, that he earned a starring role on his own show. Yogi Bear was most likely best known for his irresistible fondness for PIC-A-NIC baskets. He aspired to be the "model" bear but always found himself in trouble with Mr. Ranger.
Top Cat was a yellow cat and the leader of a gang of street cats who wore a purple hat and vest. The show only featured 30 episodes and ran on television from 1961 until 1962 on ABC.
Top Cat was a con man and the main characters of the show were his gang of street cats and a local policeman, Officer Dibble. Numerous episodes were about them trying to get food from various people and places of business since Top Cat and his gang lived on the streets.
Officer Dibble had his hands full trying to break up Top Cat's shenanigans!
Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
In the late 1950's, two foreign spies named Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale began their long feud with Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose.
The beloved characters made their debut on Rocky and His Friends which later became known as "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" on November 19, 1959. The cartoon also introduced classic characters like Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Fractured Fairy Tales, which were were comedic re-enactments of popular fairy tales.
Kids loved the witty characters, while adults enjoyed the social commentaries and satire.
Heavens to Murgatroyd!
Last, but definitely NOT least, Snagglepuss was a clever, pink mountain lion that sported an upturned collar, shirt cuffs and a string tie. He aspired to be a famous stage actor and was known for catch phrases like, “Heavens to Murgatroyd” and “Exit, stage left.”
These and other cartoon characters are definitely a huge part of the childhood memories of many. Times just seemed so much more innocent and simple back then. It is fun to look back and remember!
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