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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"I said 'lunch,' not 'launch!'"

I recently commented to friends that with the release of Man From Atlantis on DVD, I now had virtually my entire TV childhood on my video shelves. There are still a few notable exceptions, though, including the Saturday morning sci-fi sitcom, Far Out Space Nuts, from 1975.

Produced by Sid & Marty Krofft, the show was basically a pared-down Gilligan's Island in space (ironically, Filmation actually produced a cartoon of that very premise in 1982, Gilligan's Planet), with a bumbling simpleton and his blustery, overweight companion stranded on an alien planet after accidentally being shot into outer space on a NASA rocket.

It made sense then, that the Kroffts cast Gilligan himself, Bob Denver, in the lead role of  "Junior." In the part of Space Nuts' "Skipper," the Kroffts cast chubby comic Chuck McCann as "Barney."

Their furry alien sidekick, "Honk," was played by Patty Maloney. The diminutive actress also appeared on Buck Rogers as distaff ambuquad "Tina" (and at least twice as Twiki, filling in for Felix Silla), and played Chewbacca's mischievous offspring, Lumpy, in the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Although I'm certain I watched it every Saturday morning when I was ten, I sincerely don't remember much about the show except that, like Filmation's Ghost Busters (another childhood favorite of the era), it was filled with lots of old fashioned, vaudeville-styled slapstick and juvenile wordplay, with every story taking place on the same "alien planet" set. I recall lots of cool space monsters, though, several of which appeared at the end of the show's titles - and probably re-appeared on the Krofft's The Lost Saucer, which aired the same year. (I also watched Saucer, but liked Nuts better.).

Goofy as it is, Far Out Space Nuts is still a part of the tapestry of space and sci-fi themed entertainment that shaped me as a Seventies Star Kid, and I would love to have the show on DVD on the shelf next to my Space Academy, Ark II, Land Of The Lost, Flash Gordon, Star Trek animated series, and Jason Of Star Command boxed sets. And, considering how many honest laughs I still get out of the Ghost Busters show (for example), I'd probably genuinely enjoy watching Space Nuts again, too!


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