Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Morning Flashback: THESE ARE THE DAYS

Life at the turn of the 20th century was always great entertainment for me as a child. Stories about how people with simple lives were adjusting to the changes that the new century was bringing were fascinating to me. Perhaps because I knew actual people who were alive at that time and could relate stories if how they went from horse & buggy to motorcars and how they cranked up the Victrola or how exciting it was to listen to their first radio.
THESE ARE THE DAYS was a short-lived (16 episodes from 1974 to 1975) Hanna-Barbera animated drama series set during this time period. The show was set in a town called Elmsville and told the story of the Day family (hence the clever title). Father Day had passed away and widow Martha (voiced by June Lockhart) was raising her three children (Danny, Kathy and Ben) with the help of her widowed father-in-law Jeff Day (Henry Jones). This was pretty serious stuff for Saturday mornings considering it came from the same folks who brought us THE FLINTSTONES, JETSONS and SCOOBY-DOO.

Grandpa Jeff ran the local General Store and their dog Homer rounded out the family. Inspired by the success of the Depression-era prime-time hit THE WALTONS on CBS, this ABC series stressed similar family values and conveyed that warm folksy feeling that you get from watching films like MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS or TV shows like LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. There has never been nothing like THESE ARE THE DAYS on Saturday mornings since it left the air in 1976. Reruns sprung up on Cartoon Network for a brief period in the early 90s, but for the most part it just lives on in my memories. There is a chance that the series could resurface one day on DVD via the Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection or the Warner Archive Collection. I look forward to seeing it again some day.

1 comment:

Lacey said...

This was also one of the first AMERICAN cartoons to feature traveling perspective. The camera would "pan around the room" with the character, not just be the forth wall.

The Borrowers also did this a few years later.