By Noah Fleisher

I am, ever, a kid of the 1970s, a member of Gen-X. Today I am here to tell you that I love Saturday Morning Cartoons.

I mean real Saturday Morning Cartoons. I mean The All-Starr Laff-A-Lympics and The Superfriends. I mean Captain Caveman and The Teen Angels and Schoolhouse Rock. In fact, I will testify, under oath and on a stack of bibles that a lot of what I know today about grammar and math and history – not to mention the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution – can be traced directly back to Schoolhouse Rock and those magical 7 am Saturday mornings of the late 1970s, a bowl of Cheerios at the ready, and nothing but four straight hours of glorious Hanna Barbera cartoons to keep me company.

Despite the fact that Gen-Xers – commonly classified as those born between 1965 and 1980 in the first generation to follow the Baby Boomers after World War II – have long transcended the disaffected, slacker stereotype that defined our youth in the 1970s and 1980s to become productive and responsible members of society, we have always sought a collective identity based on the seismic cultural and technological shifts that have reverberated throughout our lives, despite the fact that we do not identify totally with any of them.

Except for one thing: Saturday Morning Cartoons.

It is what binds us. I’ll stand on anyone’s coffee table and yell this.

Now, what to my wondering eyes should appear in Heritage’s July, 2014 Animation Art Auction? A wide and glorious selection of animation cells from the late-1960s and 1970s the heyday of Saturday Morning Cartoons. When these beauties hit the auction block, it may well mark the coming out party for a whole new generation of collectors – Gen-X, of course – who have the nostalgia of the childhoods driving them and, some of them, now the necessary funds to support that quest. Cartoon names like Superfriends, Scooby Doo, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Captain Caveman, Hong Kong Phooey, Schoolhouse Rock, Inch High Private Eye and the like are names that bind the collective memory of Gen-X and the names that are now spurring them to collect.

This is a chance to preserve those Saturday mornings in front of the TV. If I could, I’d buy every last one.

Examples of production and presentation animation cells from some of the biggest cartoons of the era – Superfriends, Star Trek, the Laff-A-Lympics, Scooby Doo, Josie and The Pussycats and many more – are estimated to bring a range of prices, ranging from several hundred up to as much as a few thousand, by conservative estimates.

COMMENT FROM JIM LENTZ, DIRECTOR OF ANIMATION ART AT HERITAGE:

“Gen-X has seen and been a part of more cultural change than any generation before or after it, based on the evolution of technology, industry and media. The interesting thing about this is that its’ members don’t identify completely with any one aspect of that change. Put it this way: they were born before the cassette tape and, by the time they had come of age, the Internet had been born. The technology they only dreamed of while watching Saturday morning cartoons is now the stuff of everyday life. No other generation has been as uniquely poised to experience the massive change in the world of the last 50 years.

“It’s a powerful thing when a generation of collectors comes of age and begins to feel nostalgic for its youth. Gen-X’s entry into the market may well now signal the beginning of a seismic shift in collectibles and memorabilia markets.

“The gold standard in animation has always been classic Disney animation, which is still the case in large part, but we’ve seen a very decided and marked entrée into the market of Gen-X collectors hungrily demanding the material that populated the long Saturday mornings of their youth now that they are in a position to collect. It’s a fascinating shift to watch and, looking at the cyclical nature of the animation market, I’d say it’s right on time.”

Highlights from Saturday Morning Cartoons in the Heritage July 1 Animation Art Auction in New York:

Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Captain Caveman Publicity Cel and Background (Hanna-Barbera, 1977)

Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Captain Caveman Publicity Cel and Background (Hanna-Barbera, 1977)

This fan-favorite debuted on Sept. 10, 1977. Captain Caveman was voiced by none other than Mel Blanc. This is a rare hand-painted publicity cel of Captain Caveman that has been placed over a striking Hanna-Barbera hand-painted production background.

Hong Kong Phooey Cover Page Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1974)

Hong Kong Phooey Cover Page Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1974)

Hanna-Barbera launched the Hong Kong Phooey series, featuring the voice of Scatman Crothers, to take advantage of the kung fu craze of the 1970s. This is one of the rarest pieces associated with the series, a hand-painted cel used to create a cover page for script development for the new show in 1973, featuring the working title "Kung Fooey." A true treasure of Saturday morning cartoon history.

Inch High Private Eye Cover Page Cels (Hanna-Barbera, 1973)

Inch High Private Eye Cover Page Cels (Hanna-Barbera, 1973)

One of the favorite cult shows in the Hanna-Barbera library is the Saturday Morning NBC series about a private eye who is only 1" tall. This pair of rare hand-painted cels was used for early script development covers; the first one is titled "Danger Plus Two," which was the original series title, and the second one with the final title but showcasing a different color scheme for our hero. The latter also has a revised character design. Both are 12 field cels, created circa 1971/72.

Scooby Doo and Friends Publicity Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1976)

Scooby Doo and Friends Publicity Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1976)

A very rare hand-inked and hand-painted in-studio publicity cel of Yogi Bear, Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Scooby Doo. An outstanding image, placed over a clay-coated color background.

Scooby Doo Where Are You? Publicity Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969)

Scooby Doo Where Are You? Publicity Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969)

Original hand-painted publicity cel featuring Scooby Doo along with Freddie, Thelma, Daphne and Shaggy in the MYSTERY MACHINE. Used for press and publicity purposes for the Hanna-Barbera marketing team, this 12 field cel is placed over a great Scooby Doo print background.

Laff-A-Lympics Yogi's Yahooeys Mini-Pan Production Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1977)

Laff-A-Lympics Yogi's Yahooeys Mini-Pan Production Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1977)

Hanna-Barbera launched this cartoon parody of ABC's Battle of the Network Stars reality show with a cast of more than 45 Hanna-Barbera characters, and it is a cult favorite among die-hard Saturday morning cartoon watchers. The series starred three teams of competitors and this rare hand-painted publicity cel features Yogi's Yahooeys, which included 15 Hanna-Barbera characters from the early 1960s. This cel was used in almost all of the marketing efforts for the show.

Challenge of the Super Friends Title Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1978)

Challenge of the Super Friends Title Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1978)

After the success of Super Friends (1973), and The All New Super Friends Hour (1977), Hanna-Barbera brought to ABC this third installment of the popular franchise that pit the Justice League of America against the Legion of Doom. This show still shows on Boomerang in the US. This is the amazing hand-painted main title cel on an original background painting that features the entire cast of heroes and villains

Interjections! Schoolhouse Rock Storyboards (Walt Disney, 1974)

Interjections! Schoolhouse Rock Storyboards (Walt Disney, 1974)

HEY! Wow! Cool. "Interjections!" is one of the most loved and remembered of the classic first season of Schoolhouse Rock. These six pages of storyboards from that episode have graphite notations on them, and many panels have been partially hand colored as well. Each page is signed by Director/Designer Phil Kimmelman. 12 panel storyboard pages each.

 Star Trek Production Title Cel Setup and Master Background (Filmation, 1973)

Star Trek Production Title Cel Setup and Master Background (Filmation, 1973)

An original 12 field hand-painted title cel from the NBC Saturday morning animated series, a continuation of the live-action Star Trek series.

The Perils of Penelope Pitstop Presentation Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969)

The Perils of Penelope Pitstop Presentation Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969)

This cel has it all... Penelope Pitstop (voiced by the great Janet Waldo), The Hooded Claw (voiced by the hilarious Paul Lynde) and the Ant Hill Mob. This is a hand-inked and hand-painted published publicity cel. It was used on page #158 in the 1989 Ted Sennett book The Art of Hanna-Barbera -- 50 Years of Creativity by Viking Studio Books. To top it all off, it is hand-signed by Janet Waldo, and the late Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

scooby

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Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels Captain Caveman Publicity Cel and Background (Hanna-Barbera, 1977): This fan-favorite debuted on Sept. 10, 1977. Captain Caveman was voiced by none other than Mel Blanc. This is a rare hand-painted publicity cel of Captain Caveman that has been placed over a striking Hanna-Barbera hand-painted production background.Hong Kong Phooey Cover Page Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1974): Hanna-Barbera launched the Hong Kong Phooey series, featuring the voice of Scatman Crothers, to take advantage of the kung fu craze of the 1970s. This is one of the rarest pieces associated with the series, a hand-painted cel used to create a cover page for script development for the new show in 1973, featuring the working title "Kung Fooey." A true treasure of Saturday morning cartoon history.Inch High Private Eye Cover Page Cels (Hanna-Barbera, 1973): One of the favorite cult shows in the Hanna-Barbera library is the Saturday Morning NBC series about a private eye who is only 1" tall. This pair of rare hand-painted cels was used for early script development covers; the first one is titled "Danger Plus Two," which was the original series title, and the second one with the final title but showcasing a different color scheme for our hero. The latter also has a revised character design. Both are 12 field cels, created circa 1971/72.Scooby Doo and Friends Publicity Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1976): A very rare hand-inked and hand-painted in-studio publicity cel of Yogi Bear, Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Scooby Doo. An outstanding image, placed over a clay-coated color background.Scooby Doo Where Are You? Publicity Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969): Original hand-painted publicity cel featuring Scooby Doo along with Freddie, Thelma, Daphne and Shaggy in the MYSTERY MACHINE. Used for press and publicity purposes for the Hanna-Barbera marketing team, this 12 field cel is placed over a great Scooby Doo print background.Laff-A-Lympics Yogi's Yahooeys Mini-Pan Production Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1977): Hanna-Barbera launched this cartoon parody of ABC's Battle of the Network Stars reality show with a cast of more than 45 Hanna-Barbera characters, and it is a cult favorite among die-hard Saturday morning cartoon watchers. The series starred three teams of competitors and this rare hand-painted publicity cel features Yogi's Yahooeys, which included 15 Hanna-Barbera characters from the early 1960s. This cel was used in almost all of the marketing efforts for the show.Challenge of the Super Friends Title Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1978): After the success of Super Friends (1973), and The All New Super Friends Hour (1977), Hanna-Barbera brought to ABC this third installment of the popular franchise that pit the Justice League of America against the Legion of Doom. This show still shows on Boomerang in the US. This is the amazing hand-painted main title cel on an original background painting that features the entire cast of heroes and villains.Interjections! Schoolhouse Rock Storyboards (Walt Disney, 1974): HEY! Wow! Cool. "Interjections!" is one of the most loved and remembered of the classic first season of Schoolhouse Rock. These six pages of storyboards from that episode have graphite notations on them, and many panels have been partially hand colored as well. Each page is signed by Director/Designer Phil Kimmelman. 12 panel storyboard pages each.Star Trek Production Title Cel Setup and Master Background (Filmation, 1973): An original 12 field hand-painted title cel from the NBC Saturday morning animated series, a continuation of the live-action Star Trek series.The Perils of Penelope Pitstop Presentation Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969): This cel has it all... Penelope Pitstop (voiced by the great Janet Waldo), The Hooded Claw (voiced by the hilarious Paul Lynde) and the Ant Hill Mob. This is a hand-inked and hand-painted published publicity cel. It was used on page #158 in the 1989 Ted Sennett book The Art of Hanna-Barbera -- 50 Years of Creativity by Viking Studio Books. To top it all off, it is hand-signed by Janet Waldo, and the late Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.Scooby Doo Where Are You? Publicity Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969)


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