In April of 1983 Disney launched the Disney Channel. At the time it was a paid for Subscription channel on cable, similar to HBO or Cinemax. The channel primarily broadcasted reruns of classic Disney shows and films as most original material was still being developed.
Around the same time Disney was developing technology for their costumed characters at the parks to make the eyes blink and mouths move, but this was deemed too expensive for the parks. Instead the idea of having a show of costumed characters was proposed for the the launch of the Disney Channel. Thus in April 1983 viewers witnessed the beginning of a weird set of shows for the channel reared their ugly mugs