Anyway, Saturdays I'd be up at 8 am or oftentimes even 7 am, way before my parents were awake, and I could tiptoe downstairs and fire up the teevee and raid the refrigerator and generally have the house to myself for a couple hours. Looking back I think that might have been the biggest fun abt it, having the joint to myself. I definitely wasn't ready to live on my own at say, nine years old, but I enjoyed not having my 'rents around making their noises, my dad smoking and my mom banging dishes in the kitchen and me generally feeling jumpy like they (esp Mom) might barge in and order me to do something any minute.
I have been thinking lately that parental routine sounds are a huge part of why I am so noise-sensitive today. I figured out that the busted spring on the boxspring when Ted rolls over sounds almost exactly like that mechanism on my dad's recliner when he used to sit in it all day and smoke after he was forced to retire, and having to hear that meccano noise jolt me four or five times in a day takes me back to a place and time I don't wanna relive. We need to buy new mattresses, yep. I know I'm not the only one who thinks abt incidents with their Parents as explaining things in their adult life, d was always popping off out of the blue with stuff like "I was thinking abt how I was five and my mom did suchandsuch blahblah," some mundane thing but it had and has an Effect, yanno?
Ahh, where was I? Oh yeh, The cArtoons.
Well like I said it was the Only time I got to see Cartoons all week or at least the "good" kind. On the few channels we got (my family didn't acquire a UHF TV till I was about 11, didn't get a color set for years after that, and didn't get cable till I was in college) you could see these cheezy old things like Ruff n' Reddy sometimes real early on weekdays, but I was usually on my way off to skewel, unless I was sick, but in any event I'd already seen stuff like Ruff n' Reddy 18645 times as a preschooler and in summertime, so it wasn't anything special. The Saturday shows were different, they were modern and bright-colored, they were heavily advertised. I would get really eggzcited every fall when the new shows were announced, and sit down with the TV guide and figure out what I wanted to watch in what time slot. Sometimes two good shows were on against each other on different networks and it was an agonizing decision which to pick. Sometimes there was a whole hour of "dead time" with nothing inspiring on for a whole hour, like say the Archie show (boring) on against the Superfriends (I wasn't big on stuporhero shows ever, except Underdog. They were so formulaic). That would bum me out cuz it was a whole hour of blahhhh to get thru before the sked picked up again.
Of course there were toy ads and snack food ads on during the whole morning cartoonapalooza, and some of them were as much fun as the shows themselves if not moar. The one thing I don't like abt my era was the surprising lack of toy product tie-ins for the shows. I remember writing to the TV company that produced "Josie and the Pussycats" and telling them I wanted to buy a Melanie doll, 11 1/2 inches high like Barbies, and would they please make one? They never answered me, and the only Melanie doll I ever got was a pencil eraser torso of her from a cereal box, that I had to browbeat one of my classmates into giving me :( I was always amazed at how exciting the toys, which in person were often fairly uninspiring hunks of colored plastic (I knew this from seeing not only my own toys but the stuff that the neighbor kids got, put it all together you got a good cross-section of everything), were made to look on the ads. Even toys that I KNEW I didn't want because they just weren't my thang from the get-go, like the giant disembodied Barbie head whose hair you could style, or dumb games like "Connect Four!" (Which oddly I ended up playing a lot at Oxford in the Trinity College pub of all places) were portrayed so desirably that you could start wanting one after seeing the advert enuf times. On this basis I rejected my father's rejection of Galbraith and his theory of created demand. Dad grew up in the depression where adverts were few and there was no point wanting anything because you weren't gonna get it. Once a year or so he would snap and call me selfish because my wants, to him, were so huge. They still are, unfortunately, but the plus side to that is if you want the moon sometimes you'll be motivated to do something wit yr life so as to go Get it. Apparently Dad's older bro Max-who-died-at-Midway was the "wanty" one in his family; he painted pictures and brought home stray dogs that the family couldn't afford to feed. I think Dad was afraid to want things like he was afraid of a lot of stuff in life, but that's getting off topic.
Speaking of wanting things, as I'm sure I have mentioned before on this journal, one of the other attractions of Saturday cartoons was the fact that I would eat my way straight through them, consuming whatever desserts and junk food there were in the house. I normally wasn't really "allowed" to eat between meals and had to ask permission to have stuff like cookies, which were rationed out - a certain number and only after dinner. Desserts and pop were special treats. Sometimes I would get lectured not to eat all the ice cream or pie or whatever, save some for my father. One time I ate all the frosting off the cake and he got mad at me. My mom would get mad at us both for eating all the ice cream and not leaving her any, esp since dad would deny eating any when he'd clearly had some. In hindsight I can't believe it was that big of a deal to just go to the frickin' Lawsons and buy another half gallon of cheap ice cream, but I guess we were on a food budget like a lot of other families, plus my mom was the type who'd find stuff to bicker abt. Plus you know how mothers who don't have anything better to do get obsessed with their kids' nutrition and bitch them out for eating ice cream instead of dinner, like that really matters in the grand scheme of things. Whatever. The ways in which this sort of thing messed me up would require a whole book to describe. Actually I think Geneen Roth already wrote it two or three times. It's no wonder that I spent abt five years living on junk food, that my idea of lunch at age 21 was a diet pop and several Three Musketeers bars and then no food for the rest of the day. (Ugh, sez the me who is now sitting here eating cold tofu n' veg, but it took That Me 35 years to emerge.) I think the joy of eating - or should I say, getting away with eating - 2/3 of a storebought blueberry pie made with icky canned filling, or finishing the bag of cheeze puffs that Mom was up till two AM eating half of (because she didn't eat much "actual food" herself), far outweighed the joy of seeing some Scooby-Doo episode for the ninth time. That was another reason I didn't want my 'rents to get up, cuz Mom would start futzing abt what I was eating or had et and nagging on me to eat a bowl of cereal like I did every other morning. Saturday was NOT every other morning, thank God for that.
Along abt 1 or 1:30 pm, the last cartoons would peter out and be replaced by some adult show - a talk show, or "Wide World of Sports". And I'd be bummed out because Saturday morning was over, and now what was I gonna do for the rest of the day? It was a similar feeling of letdown to what I'd get walking out of a Disney movie - a rare annual treat back then, to go to a movie that you couldn't see anywhere else, no TV releases, no DVDs then - and that cost a whole (gasp) dollar and a half, plus the cost of popcorn and maybe even nonpareils or raisinettes, though the candy usually cost too much and mom would say No. Usually on Saturday afternoon I'd wander out in the backyard and look for something to do. Sometimes I'd act out my favorite shows that I'd just seen. I had this awesome huge fake gold medallion pendant I'd gotten at the church rummage sale that I used to put on and hold up to the sun and play I was "Oh Mighty Isis!" Never mind that the medal had a Norse Valkyrie on it instead of anything remotely Egyptian, heh. Most of all I used to like to play-pretend and think abt any of the episodes to shows that featured bondage, injury, rescue. I was into that stuff for years when I still had a sexual pulse. The funny part is, as an adult in my early 20s, I began to identify it so strongly with being a powerless, stuck child that it started turning me off and now I only like it a little, particularly as applied to dolls, which are "kid" things.
I started growing out of cartoons when they started getting Boring, which was about the time I got more interested in whether my figure was as good as Electra-Woman's and Dyna-Girl's and how cute the actors in "Captain Kool and the Kongs" were. My whole generation aged out and then you could get cartoons round the clock on lots o' cable networks or on prime time, and eventually on VHS tapes or DVDs or the Net, so Saturday morning is hardly what it used to be. It exists in the Playground in my Mind, probably next door to some senior citizen's memories of the Saturday matinee movie back when those cost a nickel.