In Hindsight: Get On Board!

It’s a sure sign that you’re getting old – you look at the kids shows of today and you wonder how kids can watch all this crap. Of course, back in the day there were also a lot of crap shows – we just don’t see them that way. Still, one place that TV seemed to be good at in my youth that is lacking today is in educational shows. For whatever reason, I don’t see too many shows that are as cheerful and colourful as they were back in the day – unless they’re still running from that era. And today I’m going to take a look at one of them – I bright little show called “The Great Space Coaster”.

(NOTE: All pictures (unless otherwise noted) are courtesy of and are used with permission.

Image from Wikipedia

The premise of the show is typical of a kids show in any era – don’t question the logic gaps, just accept that it can happen. Three young singers named Danny, Roy and Francine are taken to a habitable asteroid by a puppet clown named Baxter via a “space coaster”. Baxter is an escapee from a circus who is on the run from the evil ringmaster, M.T. Promises, who wants to bring him back to the circus.

Danny, Roy, Baxter and Francine

M.T. Promises – Ringmaster and off-Broadway dancer

Other recurring characters included the only other human on the asteroid, Speed Reader, who would read a children’s book and provide a synopsis in about a minute

Professional reader/runner. Do not try this at home.

and one of the more memorable puppets, Gary Gnu.

Oh, you didn’t Gnknow?

Gary was a newscaster and host of “The Gary Gnu Show”, known for his catchphrase of “No gnews is good gnews with Gary Gnu”, and causing speech impediments to several young children in North America. Of course, this being a kids show, now gnews… er, news, was ever reported on the show, and quite often things didn’t go quite as expected, as can be seen at
this link

Gary Gnu (and M.T. Promises) were performed by one Jim Martin, and pictures of his puppets can be seen here.

Of course, having a coaster that could go into space meant that the band wasn’t stuck on the asteroid. They would often take trips to an unknown destination (but oddly enough, almost always on Earth) and learn something new every time out.

But oddly enough, my favourite part of the show actually predates “The Great Space Coaster”. It’s a series of animated shorts known as “La Linea” that the show would cut to via Roy’s portable TV.

Image from Wikipedia

Obviously, I’ve only given you a taste of what “The Great Space Coaster” was all about, but if you were a kid in the early 80’s like I was, I hope I’ve helped you rekindle some fond memories of a wonderful show.

If you want to find out more, I urge you to check out as well as it’s Wikipedia entry and probably the only page on Jump the Shark where the votes are overwhelmingly against a show jumping.

IP Linkage:
You get a double dose of Shelly as she recaps episode 11 and episode 12 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’.

Matt Basilo nitpicks on continuity within David Kelly shows. Personally, I’d like to see whether “227” is in the same universe as Cheers/Frasier/Wings, since characters from both universes were on Jeopardy. What, you don’t remember Jackée on Jeopardy?

Dora anoints someone as Survivor’s best father. Hint: it wasn’t Richard Hatch.

Did you know that Mike Kaye is willing to pay your admission into Botcon 2006? Don’t laugh – that’s $114 out of his own pocket that could be used to pay his student loans. Find out how you can rub elbows with other Transfans!

The Week… In Hindsight:
‘Game Show Marathon’ (CBS)
‘The Ultimate Fighter 3’ (Spike)

‘Iron Chef America’ (Food Network Canada)
‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ (Food Network Canada)

‘Hockey Night in Carolina’ (CBC) – Since Edmonton Oiler Raffi Torres is from Markham, ON I was hoping that Edmonton would do the impossible and pull off the win. Sadly it was not to be so congrats to Carolina on becoming the third WHA refugee to win the Stanley Cup.

‘Hell’s Kitchen’ (CITY, FOX) – I still haven’t figured out yet why Heather was so pissed at Garrett. Was his comment blatantly sexist? Yes it was, but bear in mind, Heather and the red team came into the kitchen and flaunted their reward victory in the blue team’s faces. Garrett retorted with his “y’all better have dinner ready when we’re done workin'” comment which I think had to have some irony to it given that the men were doing laundry – which by people like Tom is still considered a woman’s job. So Heather’s pissed, and confronts Garrett about it, even throwing down her “I’m a woman, I’ve worked harder to get where I am” card. Garrett, remember, is an ex-con, so this pretty much rolls off of him, and it pisses Heather off further.

I’m all for equal rights and fairness to everyone regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, but Heather really needs to calm down and take Garrett’s comments for what they were – a comback laced with some bitterness.

‘World Cup – England vs. Sweden’ (TSN)
‘Last Comic Standing’ (NBC) – Apparently there was some controversy concerning Stella getting picked over Nikki Payne. Well, here’s a reality check for you people – there was never a chance that Nikki was going to get chosen after Josh Blue and Roz got picked. Nikki’s loud – Roz does that, and is funnier at it too. Nikki has a lisp – Josh has cerebral palsy. How can you pick a person whose one-note act revolves around her speech impediment when you’ve already got a guy whose one-note act revolves around a TRUE handicap? There’s also that issue where Nikki’s act becomes extremely unfunny by the second viewing, but I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

‘Iron Chef America’ (Food Network Canada)
‘Good Eats’ (Food Network Canada)

That’s it for this week.