10 Classic Cartoons We Loved Before There Was Cable

From Candy Candy to Voltes V, we look back at our old Saturday morning favorites.

Back in the day when you didn't have a hundred channels to choose from, there was a treasure trove of cartoons on free TV. Technological advances aside, why does it seem like they just don't make them like they used to? SPOT.ph gets nostalgic for our top 10 favorites:

Candy Candy
Circa: mid-1980s
Why we loved it: "American" (although obviously Japanese-created, with the requisite saucer eyes and button nose) orphan Candy was adorable with her blond, curly hair, and her frilly frocks, and pink bows. She, with her fellow orphan friends, would always impart a good lesson about being kind to others. It was pretty much the first animated soap opera.
Favorite: When Terry gives Candy her first kiss in summer school.

Opening theme:


(English dubbing)

Rainbow Brite
Circa: 1984 to 1985
Why we loved it: Because we had the dolls–I had Rainbow Brite and Shy Violet, how about you? Rainbow Brite was all about how everything in life would be more beautiful with color. No to black and white!
Favorite: Starlite and Twink, Rainbow Brite's sidekicks.
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Care Bears
Circa: 1985 to 1988
Why we loved it: Three words. Care Bear Stare!
Favorite: It would be hard to choose just one from the Bears of Care-a-lot and their Cousins in the Forest of Feelings. Did you know that there are over 50 Care Bears and Cousins? Who was your favorite?
Opening theme:

Jem and the Holograms
Circa: 1985 to 1988
Why we loved it: There was something exciting about rock star Jem and her alter ego Jerrica Benton (especially when it came to her two-timing–sort of–boyfriend Rio). Plus all the music videos included in the series, which you probably sang along to at one point. (Shangrila, Shangrilaaa, where are you going?)
Favorite: Pizzazz of The Misfits. With her green hair and outrageous makeup, you were never sure what she was up to next.
Opening theme:


The Smurfs
Circa: 1981 to 1990
Why we loved it: Even with their blue hue, the Smurfs were always lovable. They lived in mushrooms and were always battling with Gargamel and his cat Azrael.
Favorite: Papa Smurf who was always there to settle any differences in Smurf Village.
Opening theme:

Voltes V
Circa: 1986 to 1989
Why we loved it: Who didn't play Voltes V with their playmates or siblings? With that oh-so familiar opening theme, we'd all come rushing in front of the TV, eager to see another adventure and a new nemesis.
Favorite: Whenever Voltes V would slash the enemy with a "V" sign. That's when you knew that he was going down in 3, 2, 1…
Opening theme:

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Circa: 1983 to 1985
Why we loved it: Because He-Man is the only dude who can pull off a bob. Maybe because "by the power of Greyskull," he has the power.
Favorite: The scaredy-cat Cringer who turns into Battlecat.
Opening Theme:

My Little Pony and Friends
Circa: 1986 to 1987
Why we loved it: The thought of talking ponies was just magical. These little ponies with their sparkly mane and bedazzled asses were what we wanted to have as pets back then.
Favorite: Each episode had a good story and catchy songs to go along with it. We all wanted to be Megan, Danny, or Molly so we could be in Ponyland. Who was your favorite Pony? We're pretty sure you had the toy, too.
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Recommended Videos

Flying House and SuperBook
Circa: 1983 to 1985
Why we loved it: Who didn't watch these shows on weekends? It was a great way to educate kids without being preachy. Chris, Joy, and Gizmo traveled to different places through the SuperBook (aka Bible) and witnessed events such as The Great Flood. Both shows adapted stories from the Bible while still appealing to non-Christians.
Favorite: Gizmo, the toy robot!
Opening theme:

Flying House


Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Circa: 1990 to 1996
Why we loved it: Whenever you'd hear "with your powers combined…" you'd already know who was talking. Admit it, you and your friends would argue who got first dibs on who was Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart! They should still air this. The message of Captain Planet and the Planeteers still holds true today.
Favorite: Captain Planet and Gaia. Gaia was voiced by none other than Whoopi Goldberg. Did you know that Tom Cruise was the original voice of Captain Planet?
Opening theme:

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