The cartoon shows of the 1950s were immensely entertaining and much ahead of their time, regardless of whether you label them classic, vintage, or old-timey. Even though some people believe cartoons are only for children, the skillfully produced plots and creative characters drew viewers of all ages. While the wild antics and vivid images appealed to children, the language was frequently filled with adult comedy and references.
This added to the fun of watching cartoons with the kids! The tendency has continued today, with networks attracting a sizable adult viewership—nearly a third of the total population.
Animated programs were as popular yesterday as they are today. And, thanks to streaming websites, fans can watch their favorite cartoons whenever and wherever they want. Like all things classic, vintage, or old-timey, younger generations typically like them as well—and sometimes even more than today’s.
Let’s look at some of the top cartoons of the 50s.
Tom and Jerry
These two characters, Tom and Jerry, are known for being a hilarious duo that shaped our childhood. The cartoon series began as animated shorts in the 1940s. Tom and Jerry, however, did not appear on television until the 1960s, yet they were nonetheless famous among cartoon fans.
The cartoon was notable for its odd premise, which included characters that barely spoke to one another but shared a home. Tom, who portrayed the Cat, was always on a quest to catch Jerry the mouse, even though Jerry was a cunning figure who always outsmarted Tom. This cartoon’s popularity stems primarily from its amusing plots, which appealed to people of all ages.
- Klein developed this cartoon in the 1950s, and it initially aired in 1942. It was included in The Mouse of Tomorrow, a theatrical animated short.
Super Mouse was the character’s original name, but it was altered after the Terrytoons studio discovered similar names and characters were being published in comic books. The studio countered by changing the character’s name to Mighty Mouse.
The Mighty Mouse was famous for the statement “I came to save the day,” he sang whenever a fellow mouse was in distress. Roy Halee was the voice of this animation for a while, but Tom Morrison subsequently replaced him.
On July 27, 1940, Bugs Bunny made his first appearance in Leon Schlesinger Productions’ Tex Avery cartoon A Wild Hare (later Warner Bros. Cartoons). By 1954, the humanoid, talking rabbit with a Flatbush accent had surpassed Mickey Mouse in popularity. Mel Blanc voiced the character, who has since appeared in numerous short films, TV shows, feature films, video games, albums, compilations, advertisements, comic books, and amusement park rides.
The rabbit is reported to have appeared in more movies than any other cartoon character since he loved playing tricks on just about anything or anyone, whether he was the one who started it or not. He is the tenth most portrayed film character globally, with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “Eh… What’s up, Doc?” was his famous catchphrase, which he rarely said without munching on a bright orange carrot.
The Heckle and Jeckle Show
In 1946, the Heckle and Jeckle performance debuted as the Talking Magpies. The appearance of these two inseparable blackbirds was identical, but they couldn’t be more dissimilar.
Heckle and Jeckle had contrasting accents: one spoke with a British accent, while the other spoke with a New York accent. The pair spent most of their time attempting to outsmart every other character in the series. These two characters were extremely popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
Felix the Cat
The series was created by Joe Oriolo and produced by Paramount Cartoon Studios, which had 260 episodes at the time. The entire carton is about Felix the Cat, who used his hidden tricks to help him deal with distress and antagonism most of the time. The series is ideal for viewers of all ages because of how the cartoon is produced, animated, and tricked into playing some hilarious parts.
The Woody Woodpecker Show
The Woody Woodpecker series is considered one of the most iconic cartoon series of the 1950s by fans. The show is a 30-minute American television series based on the animated cartoon adventures of Woody Woodpecker and other Walter Lantz characters such as Chilly Willy, Andy Panda, and Inspector Willoughby, which Walter Lantz Productions produced.
The series immediately gained popularity due to its amusing characters, animated colors, story, and plot. Ben Hardaway voiced the primary character, Woody Woodpecker, among many other actors. The series debuted in the 1940 short Knock Knock, and audiences were eager to see more of the same after seeing it for the first time.
The show’s main character was amusing and, more importantly, a favorite of many cartoon fans. This is why the filmmakers decided to give Woody his show. The series was renewed and reformatted multiple times, but it remained successful for nearly four decades, allowing the studio to continue producing theatrical cartoons until its closure in 1973.
Yogi Bear was a popular late-fifties television show appearing on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958. The show, however, did not become a hit until 1961, when the character was given his show. Hanna Barbera dubbed it the funniest and most amazing character she had ever imagined and produced.
This animated series was first broadcast in 1949, but it was a big hit in the 1950s. It was first exhibited as an animated short in a movie theater, but the TV series premiered in 1960.
The primary character in this show was a near-sighted man who never admitted to being unable to see properly, and the stories were based on this. Jim Backus provided the voice of Mr. Magoo, who also had a dog named McBarker. The character was a charming guy who made everyone laugh with his antics.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends
The Rocky and Friends Cartoons series started in 1959. It was designed as a variety show. The major feature was the ongoing adventures of the two main characters, the moose Bullwinkle J. Moose and the anthropomorphic flying squirrel Rocket J. (“Rocky”) Squirrel, produced by Jay Ward Productions.
The two Russian-like spies Natasha Fatale and Boris Badenov, both working for the Nazi-like ruler Fearless Leader, are the major villains in most of their exploits.