|The world’s most popular teenage witch became a pre-teen in Sabrina: The Animated Series. The Harvey Comics star had already graced the Saturday morning airwaves back in the 1970’s, but the popularity of the live-action Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in prime time gave the wee witch a 90’s renaissance.
Unlike previous versions, this Sabrina was a scant twelve years old, not yet out of middle school. Melissa Joan Hart, title star of the prime time version, acted as producer of the Saturday morning cartoon, but lead vocal duties were turned over to her little sister, Emily. Instead, Melissa voiced the pre-teen witch’s two aunts, Zelda and Hilda, who shared an enchanted home with Sabrina, Uncle Quigley and everyone’s favorite sarcastic black cat, Salem.
Most episodes centered around the typical problems of junior high school, along with those that come with being new to the witching business. Sabrina and best friend Chloe used magic for all sorts of emergencies-trying to fit into skinny new clothes, making Sabrina’s boyfriend Harvey (another prime time carryover) into Mr. Right, and so on-but by the end of the show, the kids always learned that magic usually wasn’t the answer. Since many of the girls’ spells came out of Uncle Quigley’s “Spookie Jar” (like a cookie jar, only more magical), the old man’s help was usually needed to set things right.
With Savage Steve Holland (the man behind Eek! The Cat) as executive producer, Sabrina: The Animated Series was bound to have a large wackiness quotient. The series came through with interstitial bits like “Captain Harvtastic’s Safety Nine Seconds” and celebrity voice cameos by the likes of Mr. T and “Weird” Al Yankovic.
As part of both Disney’s 1 Saturday Morning on ABC and the new UPN Disney’s 1 Too block of Sunday and weekday afternoon cartoons, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch could be seen seven days a week in its debut year. Add that to the Friday night Sabrina, the Teenage Witch on ABC’s TGIF lineup, and Sabrina was (and is) one of the most visible personalities on television.