Death of an Institution
You may not have noticed, but just a few weeks ago a beloved American institution died the death of a ragdoll; and no less of an American institution itself than The Washington Post announced the passing in its recent article “Saturday Morning Cartoons are No More.” The Post lamented the last holdout:
This past Saturday, the CW became the last broadcast television network to cut Saturday morning cartoons. The CW is replacing its Saturday cartoon programming, called “The Vortexx,” with “One Magnificent Morning,” a five-hour bloc of non-animated TV geared towards teens and their families.
Those of us who remember the age of three and only three networks, also recall fondly that, once upon a time the only way you could watch animated cartoons was to wake up on Saturday morning and catch what ABC, NBC or CBS had on offer. Here is what a typical Saturday line up looked like when I was my son Keelans’ age. It includes classics like Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker mixed in with more circa 70’s fair, like The Scooby Doo/Dynamutt Hour, and a personal favorite, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which came on so late, 12 noon, that my mom was usually hectoring me by that time to get outside because I had already wasted too much of “perfectly nice day” watching that “idiot box.”
“But Mom! It’s Fat Albert!”
Birth of an Institution
Happily, theatre—as specifically embodied by director/producer Jim Jewell— did not let the tradition of Saturday morning cartoons go gently into the good night. Instead, Jewell saw the demise coming, and made a plan to fill the gap with short plays written by teams of local Northwest playwrights and their kids. “Saturday mornings used to belong to kids,” says Jewell. “I remember waiting all week for that one day I could binge on cartoons for hours. So, we wanted to try and create that same feeling with some fun live theater, and what better way to understand what kind of art kids want to see than engaging them in the creation of it?”
My sons, Declan and Keelan, and I teamed up to write “Magical Man and the Space Needle of Hideousness”, just one episode in the continuing adventures of Magical Man and his million-plus year sojourn in our paltry four palpable dimensions.
MAGICAL MAN: I call myself Magical Man. Yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but I can’t say my actual name in your universe. There aren’t enough dimensions.
I’ve been in your world for one million very, VERY boring years.
Today I will do what I have waited all those years to accomplish. Confront Roger Wickersham, bring him to justice for his transgressions. . . .
It certainly doesn't hurt that Cody Smith and Samuel Hagen will be staring as Magical Man and Roger Wickersham, Evil PhD, respectively.
Other playwright/kid combinations include:
“Don’t Touch That Dial!” by Penelope Venturini and Marcy Rodenborn
“Roderick Saves the World (or at least the Day)” by Finn Judd and Maria Glanz
“Feline Fitness” by Olivia and Jim Jewell
“The Family Jynx” by Jack and Joe Zavadil
The plays will be brought to life by a talented ensemble, including Val Brunetto, Sam Hagen, D’Arcy Harrison, Cole Hornaday, Kacey Shiflet, and Cody Smith, with a special guest appearance by Paul Shipp. Co-directed by Shawn Belyea and Jim Jewell.
Here are the details broken out real simple like:
What? Saturday Morning Cartoons – Live!
Who? B-Sides & Rarities, a Partner Project of The 14/48 Projects, in association with Pocket Theater
Where? The Pocket Theater, 8312 Greenwood Ave N
When? November 8, 15, 22 @ 10:30am
How? Tickets for Saturday Morning Cartoons are available at The Pocket Theater website (https://thepocket.org/see/) and are $10 adults/$5 kids online (or $14/$7 at the door). Seating is general admission and all children MUST be accompanied by an adult
Parents, I promise you a good time will be had by all!