Who Shrunk Saturday Morning? – A Holy Grail of Childhood Bliss

Making an attempt to inform folks a couple of sure bizarre nook of Saved by the Bell (SbtB) lore made the expertise sound like a fever dream – directionless ardour and wishful pondering. Who Shrunk Saturday Morning was actual, nevertheless. And in a random YouTube rabbit gap, I discovered revitalization, vindication, and Saturday morning nirvana.

What Is Who Shrunk Saturday Morning?

Years in the past, networks would run preview specials, often to assist increase scores for the autumn season. Most featured brief advertisements for brand new reveals, aimed toward kids and households. They might generally use a framework story or gimmick-y theme to assist promote the particular, that includes a solid of celebrities or odd interactions between characters that didn’t usually occupy the identical area. 

These applications had been humorous, over-the-top, and made for must-see viewing, as they weren’t typically re-aired or in a position to be offered on residence media because of the quite a few licensing points. I loved seeing the Dukes of Hazard characters watch their very own cartoons, attending a celebration in a haunted highschool with Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and serving to ALF resolve a thriller, every with a laundry checklist of friends.

However my favourite was this explicit outing that includes the solid of a budding new present, my buddies from SbtB. In essence, this was their fledgling journey, sometimes called a misplaced episode of kinds, despite the fact that there’s virtually no means it may very well be thought of canon. Both means, it’s big for the fandom. I rediscovered it a yr in the past and have been searching for extra details about this particular since, however the reality is there isn’t a lot.

Who Shrunk Saturday Morning aired on September 13, 1989 by most accounts, which was a Wednesday, however supposedly it was proven that Friday in some areas. Affiliate stations had been typically allowed to air a majority of these one-off applications at totally different instances in the event that they thought it may assist the scores, however most agreed that every space solely confirmed it as soon as. The particular aired after SbtB had already proven its first three, or presumably 4, episodes, however these had been on random take a look at nights if the information are appropriate. A number of the print advertisements for the particular say that there was a preview of SbtB afterward, which seems prefer it was episode three, “The Present,” which had already been proven no less than as soon as earlier than this. As finest I can inform, it seems like this was initially supposed to be broadcast earlier than the remainder of the collection. When that didn’t occur, the main target shifted to selling the truth that SbtB could be transferring to Saturday mornings.

Some locations even name this Tiffani Thiessen’s tv debut, displaying up right here in her iconic function of Kelly Kapowski. However as beforehand said, different episodes that includes her had already hit the airways. I believe when the particular was filmed it was supposed to be her first look, however very like when the solid runs into John Moschitta Jr. – largely recognized for being The Micro Machines Man – they solely make references to him being the character of Flash and never Mr. Testaverde. Moschitta appeared as a instructor in the identical episode that’s mentioned to have been used as a preview after this particular. In actual fact, there are a number of causes to imagine that these scenes that includes the solid had been shot earlier than or similtaneously the primary episode.

Is It Value “Saving” This “Bell”?

As for the present itself? It’s sensible. (Okay, it was to me in 1989—nevertheless it’s nonetheless cool.)

Sadly, the intro to the particular appears to be misplaced to time, as each model I’ve discovered of that is lacking it. Belief me, I spent a number of time making an attempt to hunt the misplaced half down. We see the acquainted classroom in Bayside Excessive because the gang is standing subsequent to a tv set (I really like this factor, particularly with the pop-up high) questioning the place Zack and Screech are, involved that they’re going to be late and get in bother with the truancy officer, Ms. Bagwind. 

Ah, proper – Ms Windbag. Get it? Not very intelligent, however this particular was how I (and others I’m certain) discovered what a truancy officer was. Bagwind was performed by Marsha Warfield, largely recognized for her roles on Evening Court docket and Empty Nest. This character, along with her Bret Hart-like jacket and twin assault canine, solely exists inside this particular, however she would seem as herself in an episode of SbtB: The Faculty Years later. The teams’ query is answered rapidly as they see their two absent buddies seem on the tv display screen, the place it seems that Screech’s shrinking machine backfired on them and now they’re caught in Tv Land. 

Sure, for actual.

SbtB had a little bit of a tone problem in some episodes. There have been ridiculous dream sequences, total episodes that had been fantasies, Screech had momentary powers at one level and a robotic (some thought they needed him to reflect Steve Urkel), and Zack Morris may freeze time, however having them go into Tv Land right here will be the wildest they went. It explains why they didn’t care if this story made a lot sense, because it was by no means supposed to be taken as part of the present. 

The start has a Honey, I Shrunk the Children vibe. Then it’s a bit TRON with the digital world, however by the top, it’s all about reaching the Grasp Programmer – whose title is often accompanied by trumpets – and an ending that feels extraordinarily near The Wizard of Oz. Finally, Slater and Lisa try and go rescue Zack and Screech, however find yourself being shrunk themselves. The 4 undergo varied bizarre environments assembly celebrities and seeing previews for the brand new reveals whereas Jessie and Kelly are left to cope with their antagonist. 

Can the gang beat the clock and get again earlier than the bell rings? Positive they will — and the Grasp Programmer (trumpets!) says that’s why the present is known as that. 

I hate to spoil the surprises, however for many who don’t wish to watch the particular, the cartoons we see are ALF Tales, The Karate Child, The Smurfs, Camp Sweet, Captain N: The Recreation Grasp, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and naturally a preview of Saved by the Bell (why did they by no means get a cartoon?). A couple of different reveals additionally get imprecise mentions or pop up as indicators on the Saturday Morning Circuit crossroads, like The Love Boat, Cheers, and Unsolved Mysteries. 

As for celebrities, we get among the voice actors from the assorted reveals and, in fact, our favourite puppet, ALF. One other notice for a way early I believe a few of this was filmed for these reveals, as they’d must in all probability work round everybody’s schedule, is that the voiceover from Matt Hill through the Captain N section sounds only a bit off. Both they caught him on an off-day or he hadn’t totally refined the Kevin Keene voice but, which makes extra sense if these video packages had been simply plugged in a lot later after the vast majority of the particular was completed.

Together with the aforementioned live-action character of Flash, the circuit maker, we additionally get the 2 largest cameos of the night time, Sherman Hemsley (Amen, The Jeffersons, Dinosaurs), and John Sweet (no introduction wanted). Seeing them work together with the SbtB solid is superb and left me questioning why that couldn’t have been the entire program. This was wonderful for the entire proper causes.

I completely adored the units used right here. Tv Land is so cheaply completed and but magnificent, like a studio hodgepodge, however with visuals I recalled for years and stored making an attempt to elucidate to others. There was the fog door that led into Smurf village, partitions of TVs, an enormous NES Benefit controller, ALF’s simplistic dressing room… one has to marvel if the mini-sets for stuff like Camp Sweet had been constructed specifically for this program. Lastly, there was Screech’s basement, one other relic that seems to be one thing scrapped from the precise present. It seems so attention-grabbing.

The model I watched on YouTube got here with the commercials nonetheless hooked up. It’s enjoyable to see what aired with this, however there are additionally some attention-grabbing moments, with Alvin from the Chipmunks dancing with Michael Jackson and Invoice Cosby having some awkward moments in a Kodak promotion. 

In some enjoyable SbtB trivia, as Jessie and Kelly are attempting to faux like they aren’t speaking to their tardy buddies on the tv they seize devices. These are the identical ones they really play in early episodes of the present. Additionally, for all my buddies on the market who had been screaming for Zack and Lisa to finish up collectively, across the 7:35 mark they’re rapidly seen holding palms in a blink-and-you-’ll-miss-it shot. Perhaps this was an early signal that the writers had been contemplating it, however extra probably that touching was a case of the actors being chummy, as Mark-Paul Gosselaar has mentioned that he dated all three of his feminine co-stars at totally different factors of the present. 

Only a few folks will get as a lot out of this program as I did, largely followers of SbtB, cartoon lovers, or fiends for bizarre obscure media. However I used to be genuinely elated after I rediscovered it and really feel like I’ve this small gem of my childhood again, so I’m sharing. Might everybody discover one thing meaning this a lot to them from way back. 

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