14 Kids' Shows From the 1970s That Put the Fab in Fabulous

Fight back against the doomscroll and introduce your kids to these delightfully wacky children's shows from the 1970s. 

Updated January 29, 2024
Two girls on living room floor, watching television.

Without 70s kids' shows, we wouldn't have such beloved pop culture icons as Miss Piggy, Big Bird, and Scooby Doo. Whether you were fed and watered on your parents' favorite cartoons like I was or you religiously caught reruns on Boomerang, you know how magical and strange children's shows of the 1970s were.

TikTok might've gotten Gen Alpha addicted to short-form content, but the joke's on them because the 70s were pumping out animated shorts like it was a liquidation sale. So fight back against the doomscroll and introduce your kids to these delightfully wacky shows from the 1970s. 

The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968-1970)

This ground-breaking children's programming concept featured a fictional kid-rock band of fuzzy creatures named Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky. The Splits were most famous for "The Tra La La Song" (which will get stuck in your head for days).

The show, which debuted in September 1968, enjoyed a 31-episode run until 1970 — though many kids caught it in reruns throughout the 70s. Incredibly, Cartoon Network briefly revived it in 2008. 

@poplifenostalgia Kelloggs Presents the Banana Splits Adventure Hour 1968 #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #duet #tiktok #viral #didyouknow #trending #comedy #funnv #imtroyhill #popculture #entertainment #movies #tvshows #memes #trending #nostalgia #cultclassics #popculturejunkie #trivia original sound - Pop Life Nostalgia

Age Level

The Banana Splits appeals mostly to younger school-age children. Once they get a taste for it, they'll be hooked on the "Tra La La Song" ala the "Let It Go" and "Baby Shark" route. 

Where to Find It

You can find seasons 1 and 2 at Yideo and buy a DVD copy on Amazon.

Captain Kangaroo (1955-1984)

Starring Bob Keeshan in the title role, The Captain, Captain Kangaroo boasted one of the longest runs in children's television history, first airing in 1955 and running continuously through 1984. The puppeteer Kevin Clash, who would later become famous for helming one of our favorite characters on Sesame Street — Elmo  was a regular on the show from 1980-1984.

A huge cast of famous actors and musicians, unknown to the kids but well-known to their parents, made regular guest appearances.

@mikedee1971 original sound - MikeDee71

Age Level

Captain Kangaroo appeals to all ages. Since it was common for parents to watch with their kids, the show was designed to engage adults as well. Think of it like how you and your kids can still rock out to The Wiggles. 

Where to Find It

Many episodes are available for free on YouTube.

The Muppet Show (1974-1981) 

The Muppet Show, a Jim Henson Studios creation, ran on primetime network television for five seasons between 1976-1981. Featuring many characters from the popular Sesame Street series, The Muppet Show was designed to appeal to the entire family, with wholesome humor the whole family could enjoy.  

The show featured comedy sketches and guest stars such as John Denver and Mark Hamill. The real stars of the show, however, were the grumpy old men, Statler and Waldorf, who punctuated every episode with a gag.

Age Level

If the many Muppet movies that have come out are anything thing to go off of, then kids of all ages (and their parents) will still get a kick out of it. 

Where to Find It

Stream the show on Disney+

Schoolhouse Rock! (1973-1985) 

Schoolhouse Rock! was originally pitched as an educational album, but turned into three-minute animated episodes that ran between Saturday morning shows on ABC from 1973 to 1985. Through memorable songs and hilarious animation, Schoolhouse Rock! simplified the rules of grammar, math, and even civics with songs like "Conjunction Junction," "Three Is a Magic Number," and "I'm Just a Bill."

@schoolhouse.rock3 Replying to @Kayla Ward #schoolhouserock #imjustabill #fyp original sound - SchoolHouse Rock

Age Level

Elementary and middle school students will love these jam-packed educational shorts (emphasis on jam). 

Where to Find It

Stream the show on Disney+ or buy individual episodes for $1.99 on Amazon

H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-1970)

H.R. Pufnstuf is one of the most unhinged kids' shows to come out of the 1970s. This live-action show was similarly styled to The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and ran from 1969-1970. It's surprising what a lasting impact this show's had considering only 17 episodes were released. Today, it's the stuff of pop culture parody. 

@lynn_xanax “The Pronoun Song” - from Sid & Marty Krofft’s “H.R. Pufnstuf” starring Jack Wild (1969) #hrpufnstuf #jackwild #pronouns #fyp #fypシ #foryou original sound - Lynn_Xanax

Age Level 

This show is silly enough that younger kids will find it entertaining, though older elementary schoolers might age out of the dated humor. 

The Electric Company (1971-1977)

The Public Broadcasting Company (PBS) premiered this educational variety show in 1972. It ran for 780 episodes over six seasons. The Electric Company featured established stars such as Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman.

Many of the best-loved recurring sketches on the show include "Love of Chair," "The Adventures of Letterman," and "A Very Short Book," which served as the ending of many episodes.

@thetimetraveler79 The Electric Company. 1971-1977. They ran reruns until 1985. . . . . . #theelectriccompany #vintage #nostalgia #reels #GenX #timetravel #thetimetraveler79 #timemachine #1970s #1980s #tv #memories #PBS #throwback #saturday #tiktok original sound - thetimetraveler79

Age Level

The Electric Company was created for early school-age children, especially beginning readers.

Where to Find It

You can buy episodes on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ for $1.99. 

Jabberjaw (1976-1978)

Jabberjaw was an animated series that took bits and pieces from other popular cartoons of the period (detective work from Scooby-Doo, band drama from Josie and the Pussycats) and wrapped it up into one program. Best known for the title character, Jabberjaw, a giant great white shark and The Neptunes' drummer, this Hanna-Barbera show was pretty short-lived. But, it had bursts of popularity in syndication. 

@finallylostmymarbles Jabberjaw 1976 #jabberjaw #cartoon #classic #curly #thethreestooges #funny original sound - JR

Age Level 

This one is geared towards middle to late elementary schoolers, who will appreciate the shark and band's silly antics. 

Where to Find It 

You can buy entire seasons of Jabberjaw on Amazon Prime Video for $19.19.

Related: 11 Dangerous Toys From the 1970s That We're Surprised We Survived 

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969-1970) 

You can't have a list of 70s kids' shows without including the most important one: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Arguably the most successful kid's franchise to come out of the 70s, this is the show that introduced us to the Mystery Machine and Mystery Incorporated. 

Surprisingly, the first show only lasted a year, but left such an impact that it launched a massive empire. How could it not when it brought equal parts humor and fright to teenage detective work? 

@throwbackkteevee My favorite one! Scooby Doo Where Are You! (1969-1978) #scoobydoo #scoobydoowhereareyou #animations #childhoodthemesongs #childhoodmemories #themesong #70stv original sound - ThrowbackkTEEVEE

Age Level 

Although young elementary schoolers can watch Scooby-Doo, it's up to you to decide if they're too sensitive for some of the suspenseful scenes. 

Where to Find It 

Watch the entire show on Tubi for free.

Josie and the Pussycats (1970-1972) 

This show featured catchy original music and empowering female characters, following the all-girl band Josie and the Pussycats' adventures. Like many of the shows on this list, Josie ran for only one season in 1971 but started in reruns the following year.

Because of its popularity, the next year CBS revived the cartoon as Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. The Pussycats refused to go quietly and the sequel was so popular that it was sent to reruns throughout the 1970s. In addition to being one of the first children's shows to focus on strong female leads, it also featured morning television's first African-American lead character, Valerie.

Age Level

Josie would appeal to late elementary schoolers and preteens, especially those with a taste for cheetah print and musical numbers. 

Where to Find It

Grab the entire first season on Vudu for $16.99

Super Friends (1973-1985) 

Before Iron Man launched the MCU and X-Men kicked off the gritty studio superhero film, there was Super Friends. This show took many of DC's most beloved superheroes and sent them fighting against bad guys in a superhero team ala Justice League called Super Friends.

It ran from 1973-1985 in several different iterations on ABC. And we might've started watching for Batman or Wonder Woman but the reason we stayed was the Wonder Twins. 

@edawg5150 #superfriends #genx #generationx #superman #batman #robin #wonderwoman #aquaman #80scartoons original sound - E-Dawg

Age Level 

Super Friends is the perfect elementary school-aged show, but even teens will get a kick out of the laughably strange crime-fighting antics. 

Where to Find It 

Buy and stream the whole first season for $12.99 on Vudu

Zoom (1972-1978) 

An experimental design in children's programming, Zoom was an educational show developed almost entirely by children. The half-hour episodes were unscripted, giving the show a genuine feeling of spontaneity that resonated with young viewers (though drove parents wild).

The original series ran for six seasons (1972-78), with a new cast of seven kids debuting each year. No members of the cast were professional actors by design, and all returned to their normal lives after the season was over. True to its mission of teaching practical information, Zoom taught a generation of children the zip code of their headquarters in "Boston, Mass: 0-2-1-3-4."

@gbh #ComeOnAndZoom like it's 1972! #ZOOM #dance ZOOM theme song 1972 GBH - GBH

Age Level

Zoom appeals mostly to children of about the same age as the "Zoom-ers," so roughly middle school age.

Where to Find It

Head to the Internet Archive to stream the show for free. 

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (1968-2001)

One of the best-loved and longest-running children's shows on television, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, debuted on PBS in 1968 and ran continuously through 2001. The title character, Fred Rogers, played himself and hosted the show in an iconic red sweater.

He revolutionized children's programming by speaking directly into the camera as though he was talking to each child individually. Rogers used his easy-going, genuine warmth to impart important lessons to the kids, such as how they were all valuable human beings. As he led them through visits to factories and museums, he taught generations of children how to navigate a large and sometimes scary world.

@alien_age_of_aquarius Remember that it's the little things that count. #mrrogers #mrrogersneighborhood #wontyoubemyneighbor #fredrogers #pbs #kidstvshow #childhoodhero original sound - Aquarius_Alien

Age Level

The show was originally conceived for two to five-year-olds, though with how short toddlers' attention spans are, they might not tolerate the half-hour format. Today's kindergarten through third-grade students are sure to love it!

Where to Find It

Stream the show for free on PBS Kids

Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977-1980) 

Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels was another entry in a long line of shows that took inspiration from hit TV shows already airing at the time. While the Captain Caveman of it all was purely original, the "teen angels" were Charlie's Angels ripoffs. That didn't mean their combined adventures weren't a barrel of laughs. 

This show — about a superpowered Caveman who gets discovered by three teen spies — ran from 1977 to 1980 on ABC. Despite being longer-lived than many shows on this list, it's one of the least remembered of them all. 

@nolenz_volenz Captain Caveman , remember when the world didn’t suck ? #cartoon #70s #70stv #saturdaymorning #animation #captaincaveman #fyp original sound - Nolenz Volenz

Age Level 

Captain Caveman fits right in with the Jabberjaw and Scooby-Doo elementary and preteen audience. 

Where to Find It 

Stream on Amazon Prime Video with the Boomerang add-on. 

Sesame Street (1969-present) 

Sesame Street debuted on PBS in 1969 and is still up and running today. With timeless characters such as Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird, Sesame Street has outlived many of its creators, including puppeteer Jim Henson.

Though the show aims to entertain, Sesame Street's primary objective is to teach. From learning to count from The Count to discovering the letter of the day from Cookie Monster, all kids love to take a trip down to Sesame Street. 

@sesamestreet Petition to make this the official alphabet song that they teach you in school...comment your name below. #SesameStreet #OldSchoolSesame #Grover #SesameSongs original sound - Sesame Street

Age Level

Pre-school through early grade school children have always loved Sesame Street.

Where to Find It

Stream on Max and for free on PBS Kids

Social Media's Got Nothing on These Kids' Shows 

In a sea of content today, 70s kids' shows stand out. From classic hand-drawn animation to giant puppets, these retro shows are wonderfully strange and kids today will love them just as much as they did 50+ years ago. 

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14 Kids' Shows From the 1970s That Put the Fab in Fabulous