1. Back to Next Saturday – NBC’s 1985 Saturday Morning Preview special, while not as ambitious as the Krofft spectacular I mentioned a few weeks ago, is pretty noteworthy in and of itself.
The special stars Keshia Knight Pulliam as herself, who is put to sleep by her babysitter (Lisa Welchel from Facts of Life) and wakes up in some sort of Saturday Morning dreamzone.
As Keshia tries to get back home she teams up with what is the whole Saturday morning roster to pitch in. Well, those that were easy to work into a cheaply made special. The big draw of this year’s Saturday Morning lineup is the Punky Brewster cartoon, so the cast of the live action show is the first to team up:
The gang runs into the Snorks and the Smurfs, but those guys would be pretty expensive to animate in with them so they just show a couple of clips. They do a little better with the new Gummy Bears show, but not much:
Kidd Video gets the gang back on track, as does Spiderman – two easily filmable properties:
Up to this point Keshia’s been trying to find her way out of this weird dream world and the ever-growing gang has been trying to help her. Shestarts to get distressed that she’ll never get back home and Lisa the babysitter appears in her dream to weirdly sing her confidence back.
And then the whole gang shows up for the final number, a funky song about how they “Gotta Get Back”.
She wakes up back at home, realizing it was just a dream…. OR WAS IT?
So yeah, a cut above what they probably could have gotten away with. They put a bunch of their star power in the room and let the magic just happen. Here’s the whole special, it’s actually pretty fun in a baffling “they made this?!” sort of way:
2. Bagpuss – Here’s a charming stop-motion kids show from 1974, featuring a “store” where lost and found items were placed in the window for their owners to recover.
The titular Bagpuss was a big stuffed cat that would come to life when the people were away and explore each episode’s lost item with the other non-human residents of the shop.
Although it only lasted 13 episodes, the show remains fondly remembered. For good reason – it’s cute! Here’s an episode.
3. Walt Disney World 1992 In-Room Video – If you happened to turn your TV to channel 5 during your stay at a Walt Disney World resort in 1992, this is the video you’d see. These are the things that excite me.
So ’90s! This video’s basically an extended commercial about what to do at each park – more informational than sell-y, since you’ve already made it down there. I just like seeing Journey Into Imagination before Eric Idle got involved and Universe of Energy before it got Ellen’ed.
4. The Videogame Game – This weird intro sequence is all I can find about this show, oddly titled The Videogame Game. Anyone out there know anything more?
5. Toughen Up – A WWII-era ad encouraging Americans to eat their veggies.