Few people afford Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Cartoon Network’s strange, seminal comedy, its rightful place in the pantheon. But from its bargain-basement launch in 1994 to its place at the center of the wildly popular Adult Swim lineup in the 2000s, it helped introduce cringe comedy to the American viewing public, deconstructed the idea of the talk show beyond repair for a generation of comedians, and changed the look and feel of the entire animation art form.
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Today marks the 45th anniversary of the first airing of the first episode of the first show starring Space Ghost. That series ran from 1966 to 1968, and was followed up by Space Stars from 1981 to 1982. Skip ahead another couple decades, and Space Ghost returned to TV, but he finally found his calling. Space Ghost: Coast to Coast was a talk show, broadcast from Ghost Planet, and featuring a wide array of guests who were interviewed on a wider range of topics. SG:C2C ran from 1994 to 2004, starting on Cartoon Network, then moving to Adult Swim in 2001, and finally to jumping from TV to the internet, where it was on GameTap from 2006 to 2008. [more inside]
It just isn't Christmas without Space Ghost.
Saturday morning cartoons were once a staple of American television, but by the year 2000 they had all but disappeared. Of course, the Internet never forgets. Case in point: Cartoon Network Video -- a free, searchable, ad-supported service that provides hundreds of full-length episodes of classic shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and The Powerpuff Girls, as well as current offerings and scads of shorter material. Too recent for you? Then give Kids WB Video a whirl -- it does the same thing with the same interface, but for older programs like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo, Thundercats, and the original Space Ghost. If you're in the mood to learn (and don't mind some live-action), PBS Kids Video has educational fare such as Arthur, Wishbone, and Zoom. And don't forget about Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, The Magic Schoolbus and Schoolhouse Rock! Now if only we had some Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs...
Long before there was Adult Swim, there was Cartoon Planet, an odd little show that showed Turner-owned cartoons with surreal vignettes featuring Space Ghost, Zorak and Brak in-between. Soon the old cartoons were dropped in favor of more strangeness from SG and his crew, ostensibly in the form of an afterschool special with regular features like mailbag, story time and educational bits like Learning to Talk Italian. Over time, the sketches got odder and odder. [more inside]
He created Space Ghost, The Herculoids and made Saturdays worth getting up for with his Super Friends. In addition, he was a prolific comics artist. Comics great Alex Toth is dead at 77.
'Just Bring 'em In From Space' • An interview with Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, co-creators of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and former writers for Space Ghost. "If talking food is a tool, it's one typically seized by a businessman/evangelist desperately grasping for 'funny' — and using the first inoffensive, seemingly comic concept he can find. But Adult Swim mainstay Aqua Teen Hunger Force may be enough to singlehandedly rehabilitate the genre."
Step one: record an embarrassing video of yourself (RealPlayer link). Step two: Let the video fall into the hands of the internet masses, and become the hero you've dreamed of (also RealPlayer).
Space Ghost is old news. Brak is the new king. His variety show "Brak Presents The Brak Show Starring Brak" on The Cartoon Network the other night was the surreal highlight of my TV year. Another episode comes along March 16th--miss it if you dare! And please, please, please let the mentioned CD of songs be real. My girlfriend called me at work today and played Brak's rendition of "Highway 40" to cheer me up!