Back in the days when Saturdays used to air cartoons in their morning time slots instead of news programming and infomercials, each network had their own line-up to try and compete with each other to snag all the viewers who were under thirteen.
You had ABC, who banked all their success on Bugs Bunny and Tweety and their weekend specials. Then there was CBS who had Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Garfield and Friends, and CBS Storybreak.
I will say this though. My network of choice for Saturday mornings was usually NBC.
Part of it was the programming. I liked most of the NBC kids programming that they aired back then. Some of the cartoons that aired on this station were The Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Kissyfur, The New Archies, Camp Candy, Captain N, Super Mario Brothers 3, Foofur, Kidd Video, and many more. Quite an impressive roster of programming, no?
Their live action stuff was great as well. I was a fan of Saved By The Bell, California Dreams, and Hang Time. Some of the other shows like Chip and Pepper, and The Guys Next Door...ah...not so much.
Then there's the subject of this blog entry, which was probably the glue that held the NBC cartoon line-up together for six years.
One To Grow On ran from 1983 to 1989, and each segment only lasted two minutes each. They would usually come on in between cartoon shows, and would often be introduced by NBC television stars at the time (such as in the image above where you see Kim Fields from The Facts Of Life).
What were these mini-segments about?
Each segment involved anywhere from one to four actors (usually children between the ages of 8-12) in a problem or conflict. And with the help of NBC personality du jour, they would talk out the problem and offer a solution as to how the kids in the video could deal with the situation.
I thought it would be kind of fun to look back at some of these segments, and see if I could remember back to a time in which I faced a situation like that.
Oh, and to laugh at the retro 80s commercials that may appear in the segments.
All right...let's take a look at exhibit A, featuring Punky Brewster star, Soleil-Moon Frye.
Okay, so you have a little girl who is lost, and 'Punky' said that she should find help in the store, but not from any stranger. She's right, of course. Finding someone who works at the store, or a police officer in a mall is the best way to get help.
I should know. I've had a couple of instances in my workplace where I've had to direct lost children back to their parents. They did the right thing and found someone who worked there to help them. Within seconds, they were reunited with their families.
Great advice there, 'Punky'.
Onto the next scenario, presented by Family Ties actress, Justine Bateman.
Ouch! Talk about being unable to keep your real feelings in check, right? The truth is, I've been in both situations before. Once, I was the kid who nobody wanted to work with. Then the next project, I would be forced to work in a group with someone who used to pick on me in school.
I really wish I had taken Justine's advice more seriously, because in both cases, they didn't turn out too well. In the first situation, the other kids froze me out of the project and I rarely got a chance to even so much as share my ideas with them. In the second case, the opposite happened, where I did all the work, and the other person got credit for nothing. If only I had tried to listen to the others, or have the courage to speak to the teacher, maybe it wouldn't have been nearly a challenge.
All right. We've heard from the women so far. Let's get a guy's perspective. Courtesy of Joel Higgins from Silver Spoons fame.
(Just sayin'...she could clean her room if she has nothing to do.)
But Joel does make a good point here, even if you chuckled a bit at the 'put on a fashion show for your goldfish' comment. Yes, it would be nice to have friends over, or to go to a movie, but truth is, in my neighbourhood, there weren't a lot of kids around. And my family didn't really have the extra income to go to the movie theatre every day. So, like Joel said, I created my own fun with my own things in my own room, and it seemed to fill the void quite nicely.
Ah, now here's one from the A*Team's Dwight Schultz that will get you thinking. (P.S. Can you spot a very young Jaleel White in this segment?)
Yep...I can tell you exactly what poor Adam must have felt like. I had trouble making friends in school, and whenever I did make a couple, my parents weren't exactly the most...um...how you say...welcoming to them. I guess because of my experiences in school that they were only trying to protect me, but in fact were making the situation that much harder. I did follow that advice though, and talked to them about it. Most times their fears were unfounded, but in a couple of cases, they did know what they were talking about, and it turned out that they weren't really friends at all.
Heh...I suppose this advice could also be used in adulthood when it comes to dating and romance, couldn't it?
This next One To Grow On moment is courtesy of Knight Rider/Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff.
You know that David has shown some questionable behaviour in recent years, but he was right on about this one. Sometimes you catch people when they're having a bad day, and they say things that they don't mean, or act in a way that is out of character, but unless it's directed at you, you shouldn't take it personally. It took me a while to get this lesson, but once I did, it proved to be a valuable one.
So, you see that One To Grow On was a very educational piece of television, and I'm sure it has helped a few kids make the right choices in life.
Looking at what has been happening in the world lately, I wonder if maybe NBC shouldn't attempt to bring this series back with current NBC celebrities. Maybe we could all use a reminder of what's acceptable and what isn't.
With that, I'll leave you with one final One To Grow On moment, presented by Thom Bray of Riptide fame.
A little food for thought this Saturday morning, don't you think? I know I'd like to live in a world where differences are respected, and people didn't attack each other for their beliefs.
Maybe One To Grow On was onto something there.