The Great Space Coaster

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The Great Space Coaster
Greatspacecoaster titlescreen.jpg
Created byKermit Love
Jim Martin
StarringEmily Bindiger
Chris Gifford
Ray Stephens
Ken Myles
Puppeteers:
Pam Arciero
Kevin Clash
Francis Kane
John Lovelady
Noel MacNeal
Jim Martin
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes250
Production
Executive producer(s)Tom Griffin
Joe Bacal
John Claster
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Sunbow Productions
(Sony Pictures Television)
Metromedia Television
DistributorClaster Television
Broadcast
Original channelFirst-run syndication
Original runSeptember 1981  – September 1986
 
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The Great Space Coaster
Greatspacecoaster titlescreen.jpg
Created byKermit Love
Jim Martin
StarringEmily Bindiger
Chris Gifford
Ray Stephens
Ken Myles
Puppeteers:
Pam Arciero
Kevin Clash
Francis Kane
John Lovelady
Noel MacNeal
Jim Martin
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes250
Production
Executive producer(s)Tom Griffin
Joe Bacal
John Claster
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Sunbow Productions
(Sony Pictures Television)
Metromedia Television
DistributorClaster Television
Broadcast
Original channelFirst-run syndication
Original runSeptember 1981  – September 1986

The Great Space Coaster is a children's television show that was broadcast in first-run syndication from 1981 through 1986.

Production[edit]

The series was co-created by Kermit Love (original Muppet designer and builder for Jim Henson) and Jim Martin (who later went on to work on a number of Henson-related projects including Sesame Street). The series' episodes, which were videotaped in New York City, were directed by Dick Feldman and were fitted with a laugh track. It was produced by Sunbow Productions and distributed by Claster Television, a division of Hasbro.[1]

The puppets were designed by The Great Jones Studio, New York under the supervision of Kermit Love. The puppet designers and builders consisted of James Kroupa, Robert Lovett, Christoper Lyall, John Orberg, and Matthew Stoddard.

Summary[edit]

The Great Space Coaster is about three young singers (Francine, Danny, and Roy) who are brought to a habitable asteroid in space called Coasterville by a clown named Baxter who pilots the "space coaster", a roller coaster-like spaceship. The asteroid is populated by strange-looking, wise-cracking puppet characters such as Goriddle Gorilla, Knock-Knock the Woodpecker, Edison the Elephant, and Gary Gnu (host of newscast The Gary Gnu Show). Baxter is forever on the run from M.T. Promises, a nefarious ringmaster who plans to re-capture Baxter and return him to the circus he worked at before he escaped. Each episode ends with a different life lesson, and various celebrity guest stars (such as Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame and composer Marvin Hamlisch) occasionally dropped by.

In each episode, Roy shows a short film on his portable, fold-up television, often featuring segments from La Linea, an Italian animated series about a little man who is drawn (using a single line) at the beginning of the segment and then springs to life, communicating with his animator through high-pitched Italian mixed with gibberish. Francine, Roy, and Danny sing a song together as the Space Coasters in each episode (sometimes originals like "Wacky Talk", sometimes older songs like "Be a Clown" or covers of '60s and '70s hits), and the various puppet characters often sing songs as well.

A few years into the show's run, the MTV-like "Rockin' with Rory" segment began where a DJ named Rory would introduce "Danny and the Space Coasters" performing cover tunes. There was also other additions to the show including Baffle, Big Jock Ox, and the Huggles. While the action was mostly videotaped on the space set, it was not unusual for the characters to venture down to Earth for filmed musical numbers.

Characters[edit]

Space Coasters[edit]

Coasterville inhabitants[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Cast[edit]

Guest stars[edit]

Puppeteers[edit]

Preservation[edit]

As of 2012, Jim Martin launched a campaign to help raise money to finance the preservation of as many episodes of The Great Space Coaster as possible. The original master tapes had been purchased by Tanslin Media, but it is very costly to transfer, convert, and store video tape into digital media, with a cost of up to $350 for one episode. It was estimated that it would cost anywhere between $35,000 to $40,000 to preserve all 250 episodes of the series, but knowing such a goal wasn't plausible, Martin set a goal to preserve $2,000 worth of episodes. As of May 21, 2012, the donations exceeded the goal, and Jim Martin was able to raise $3,500 to preserve as many episodes as possible. Presently, there are also legal issues that are preventing the series from being released publicly for home entertainment.[3]

Popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]