Friday, October 17, 2014

Geek TV: Far Out Space Nuts!

Concept: Two NASA maintenance workers, Junior and Barney, are loading food into compartments to prepare a rocket for an upcoming mission when they accidentally launch the ship into deep space. The duo soon befriend an alien, Honk, as they make their way through space having various misadventures.

Total Episodes: 15

Original Air Dates: September 6, 1975 - September 2, 1976

Original Network: CBS

Characters:

Junior (Bob Denver): Seemingly dim-witted but uniquely clever maintenance worker.

Barney (Chuck McCann): Grumpy, short-tempered co-worker and friend of Barney's.

Honk (Patty Maloney): Furry alien friend who makes horn sounds instead of speaking.

Geek Pedigree:

Of course, given that this was a Sid & Marty Krofft show, there's a whole history of Saturday morning kidvid behind Far Out Space Nuts, going way back to H.R. Pufnstuf. Series star Bob Denver, of course, is familiar to everyone for playing Gilligan on Gilligan's Island, but let's not forget his portrayal of Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which was adapted into the comics by DC! Bob went on to play other incarnations of Gilligan in the Filmation animated series, as well as playing characters called Gilligan on The New Gidget, ALF, Baywatch, and Meego, among others. Co-star Chuck McCann has even greater geek cred, having done voices for Cool McCool, playing the Projectionist and Captain Flash in The Projectionist, providing the voice of Uncle Oley in The World of Hans Christian Anderson, and later doing animation voices for shows like Drack Pack, Fred and Barney Meet the Thing, Thundarr the Barbarian, and other shows. And let's not forget his appearance as Captain Bellybuster on The Greatest American Hero! I didn't know that he voiced the Blizzard in the 1994-1996 Iron Man animated series, and somehow missed that he was the voice of The Thing in the 1994-1996 Fantastic Four animated series as well, plus voicing the Amoeba Boys in six episodes of The Powerpuff Girls. Honk was Patty Maloney's first genre work, but I can't go without mentioning her playing Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special, as well as filling in as Twiki in a few episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, among other roles, including a few voice parts and an appearance in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager!


Geek Guests: Appearing in one episode was Barbara Rhoades, who'd previously guested on Bewitched, Alias Smith & Jones, Mission: Impossible, The Magician, The Ghost Busters, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Six Million Dollar Man, played Elaine in Scream, Blacula, Scream, and later guested on Tabitha and Quark, although I don't recall seeing her on any of those -- I do remember her from multiple game show appearances, however! The legendary John Carradine appeared in an episode, apparently so impressing Bob Denver with his acting ability that several scenes had to be reshot! His career in genre movies and TV is way too long to go into in detail, so here's some highlights: Cameo appearances in The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, playing Dracula in House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein (as well as in Billy the Kid Versus Dracula), Mr. Gateman, Herman Munster's boss in a pair of The Munsters episodes, and way too many other roles to list. His final genre role was as Jacob in Buried Alive before his passing in 1988. 

DVD Release: None, although a two episodes were apparently released on VHS.

Website: There's not any real great websites for this show... but there is a Facebook page you could like if you were interested! 

Notes: This was a very cheesy show, definitely low budget, but as a kid, I watched it every week with my siblings. Bob Denver and Chuck McCann made for a fun pairing! This was but one of many sci-fi shows that invaded kidvid around that time, just a few years too early for the big sci-fi boom started by Star Wars.

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