Saturday, January 21, 2012

Adult Swim Historama: Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast (1994)

Long before Cartoon Network launched [adult swim] in 2001, one of the channel's first original series marked the return of one of Hanna-Barbera's classic heroes of the 60's.

Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast recast the Phantom of the Spaceways as a 40-something, out of work superhero who was now on Earth looking for work. Somehow, someway, he landed a talk show, and, ah, persuaded former enemies Moltar (formerly Moltor) and Zorak to work for him as punishment for their various crimes. The series was designed as a parody of talk-variety shows in general, and, more specifically, The Late Show With David Letterman, although Zorak was no Paul Shaffer by any stretch.

Series creator Mike Lazzo realized that until then, Space Ghost didn't have a secret identity. That all changed when it was established that Space Ghost's given name was Tad Ghostal. Well, while that's ok for a comedy show, it doesn't fly with fans of the original series. One other positive was that the series' 15-minute length for most episodes was a throwback to the Golden Age of television, when it was common for shows to be 15 minutes instead of the now-standard 30 or 60. [as] still employs the 15 minute format for many of their current programs, so we'll give them points for that.

The following clip has Space Ghost (now voiced by George Lowe) lamenting the loss of a pet......sea monkey........

The late wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage was cast in a recurring role as Leonard Ghostal, Tad's grandfather, and similarly garbed as his more famous offspring. Of course, it helped that Savage was gainfully employed by WCW, a sister company to CN at the time, allowing for some cross-promotion. While the actual series has ended, new, shorter episodes have been produced online in recent years. However, [as] would be well-served to revive the series as a regular entity to remind viewers that without Coast-to-Coast, there would be no [adult swim].

Ah, but once [as] launched, few of us had any idea of the depths to which the wackjobs at Williams St. Studios (formerly Ghost Planet Enterprises) would stoop to desecrate the hallowed legacies of H-B's icons. Over the next few weeks, we'll be exploring some of the worst of these offenses.

Rating for the series: B--. Have to take points off for the rotoscoping and poorly recycled animation.


Mario500 said...

Preceding George Lowe as the voice of Space Ghost was Gary Owens (or Gary Altman, his birth name).

hobbyfan said...

Like, everyone knows that, Mario.

Owens did appear as himself on Coast-to-Coast as a guest. I will see if that's available.

magicdog said...

I can understand wanting to do a satire of the superhero genre, but I could never get into SGC2C.

Those of us who enjoyed his adventures (corny as they may have been) had trouble seeing SG as such a goof.

There was one ep in which Jan & Jace sued SG for abusing them and exposing them to dangerous situations! I guess that was eventual, since just about any teen hero sidekick could do that. But would Adult Swim ever have Dick Grayson or Tim Drake sue Batman? Doubt it!

Trouble is, to enjoy anything on adult swim would require the viewer to be high on drugs and I make it a point to enjoy my entertainment sober.

hobbyfan said...

Maybe Mike Lazzo and his crew of lunatics should be tested, then.

Seriously, though, I don't think those idiots know what funny is, even if it came up and bit them on their collective butt.

But if you thought that was bad, just wait. It would only get worse.

magicdog said...

I have no doubt that those behind Adult Swim are on some sort of medication. On occasional sleepless nights, I'd tune in to check out some of the programming only to recoil in horror!

There is nothing funny or watchable there, unless you're high on something.

It reminded me of an interview with Marcia Strassman (who played Julie on "Welcome Back Kotter") in which she and other cast members would do a run through of the scripts. While reading they'd note how certain lines weren't funny or made no sense. Of course, the writers were high on cocaine at the time, laughing at imaginary funnies.

hobbyfan said...

It's just too bad [as] can't be persuaded to bring the show back now to mark its 20th anniversary. More bad ideas from the nimrods in charge.