I was reading the wikipedia article on Bob Stewart and it sent be back in time again.
Saturdays were days you look forward to as a grade schooler back then. Yup, no classes of course and it’s an entire day of uninterrupted cartoons on Channel 7. It was known then as RBS or Republic Broadcasting System and it was owned and ran and manned by a guy named Bob Stewart or Uncle Bob. He was really hands-on. He’d handle the news, the commercials, and he even had a children’s show, that I just learned took then president Macapagal head on. And Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 club won.
Back then, we only had one TV, as most households did. Having more than one was unheard of. It was an all-tube Radiowealth that took minutes before a picture came out. And minutes before that small dot disappeared when you turn it off. Well, saturdays, the TV was mine.
My favorite cartoon then was “Beany and Cecil.” The Bob Clampett creation was simply way cooler than other cartoons. The wildman of Wildsville, that shark that sings like Bobby Darin, the Dinah Shore dinosaur that Cecil had a crush on, and of course, Dishonest John or DJ. He was the hip version of Dick Dastardly. Nya-ah-ah! Man, I love those characters. The show did spoofs, satire, and had a knack for playing with words. Catch some episodes in YouTube and you’ll know what I mean.
Popeye. Of course. From the early 30′s episodes to the King Features of the 60′s, Channel 7 showed them all. There are some Popeye episodes from the 30′s that creeped me out like that ghost ship episode. What I like though was when Popeye did that famous scat of his. Some episodes that stuck with me? The new year’s eve party with Olive’s grandma. The Olive for president episode, the one with the catchy tune. And the one when Swee’ Pea got lost in the foundry. And you know what? I’ve always felt sorry for Bluto. He wasn’t really a bad guy. He just craved for attention. He just needed to see a shrink to help him resolve his issues. Har-har. Well, Popeye had other ideas.
Let’s see now, other cartoons. Oh yeah, Gumby. The one with the blob monster scared the hell out of me. Then there are the Harvey Comics cartoons: Casper, Little Audrey, Baby Huey. I also love the ones where you “just follow the bouncing ball” and sing along. I learned how to spell “Mississippi” with that one. Then there’s this “Sinbad” cartoon where Sinbad tightens his belt which then gives him superhuman strength. Now, even for a kid, that was corny. Another corny cartoon was the animated 3 Stooges. There were live portions before and after the cartoons that featured Larry, Moe and Curly Joe that were OK though.
If I remember right, it was the same for Sundays. Channel 7 aired cartoons all day but stopped at 3 pm. That’s when “Eskuwelahang Munti” with Tino Lapuz came in. When you drive by the RBS studios in Highway 54 (EDSA) then, you can even see the wooden hut structure where the show was shot. Probably the only show in Tagalog that Channel 7 had.