The demonic “After These Messages” Saturday Morning Singers!
The “After These Messages” bit has been part of Saturday morning cartoons since the beginning of time. Or if you want to get specific about it, the mid-1970s. Mental Floss says that in 1970, the Action for Children’s Television gave the FCC their proposal on how to make kids’ TV better. They suggested that networks air 14 hours of kids TV a week and that it should be commercial free. Being commercial free would mean that networks wouldn’t be able to sell crap to children, which would mean that the network executives’ greedy pockets wouldn’t be as filled with coins. So of course nobody was into that. But the FCC came up with a solution, and in 1974, declared that the simple minds of children’t couldn’t tell the difference between a cartoon and a commercial. So during children’s TV time, networks had to put a bumper between cartoons and commercials. Let’s recap: in order to not confuse children, they aired a cartoon bumper between a cartoon show and cartoon commercials. The tricks who were twisted up in the brain area were the FCC and network executives, not the children.
The “After These Messages” bumpers played all through the 80s, and the ones I remember the most were the ones ABC did in the late-1980s. They starred a cowboy who got murdered by a falling horse on meth, an asshole fire hydrant who lived to terrorize a dog, and today’s HSOTD: the possessed 50s singing trio.
Never mind the fact that the lady singers looked like discount Miss Yvonnes from Pee-wee Herman and the dude one had a juicy turd pompadour, they really brought the nightmares with their Exorcist head twist and their switching heads trick. If my abuelita ever saw this dark-sided sorcery, she’d scream SANTO DIOS, unplug the TV, and order me to carry it outside so she could douse it with holy water.
A study done in 1979 found that bumpers actually confused children more. And when Disney took over ABC, they got rid of the bumpers in the 90s. But don’t worry, I’m sure those singers got a job in HELL singing the “After These Messages” jingle between televised Satanic tortures and commercials (which are pretty much televised Satanic tortures).