In the 1930s, we had Popeye and Betty Boop. In the 1940s, we had Bugs Bunny and a slew of characters from the lightboards at Warner Bros. In the 1960s, we had Astronut.
Yeah, things were really sucking in the cartoon world in the ‘60s, which brought us things like “Dodo, the Kid From Outer Space” and “The Big World of Little Adam.” And don’t even get me started on Luna the inane flying horse, which seems to have been inspired by a Mobil Oil sign.
Yet these cartoons were made for TV or theatres and the distributors had to convince someone to buy them. So trade ads were taken out. These are all from 1965 editions of Variety.
Dodo was the brainchild of the Halas and Batchelor studio in England. Adam was the result of Fred Ladd (known for importing TV cartoons from Japan) taking NASA stock footage and adding cheap animated inserts. The Tom and Jerry ad below plugged the fact the cat and mouse were coming to Saturday morning TV. The designs in the ad are from the Chuck Jones era but I don’t know if any of the Jones cartoons aired as part of the series. And the Three Stooges designs you see aren’t the ones used in any cartoons I’ve seen. Dave Detiege was involved in them, along with Disney vets Jack Kinney, Nick George, Cecil Beard and Homer Brightman. No one would mistake them for Disney cartoons.
On Saturday mornings in the 1966-67 season, “Dodo” aired opposite “Spunky and Tadpole” in New York City. Spunky might actually have been the better choice.
If you do a search for any of these series on the internet, you should be able to find videos. “The Beatles” series on ABC was the best of the lot and deserves a DVD release simply because of the Fab Four’s place in music history.