Space Ghost is a cartoon show produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and aired from September 10, 1966, to September 16, 1997. The show stars the titular character Space Ghost, who is a superhero that fights villains in outer space alongside his trusty sidekicks Jan and Jace, as well as the money Blip. Even though Space Ghost is a superhero, he is more popular in real life as a fictional late-night talk show host in Space Ghost Coast to Coast. How did Space Ghost turn into a talk show host? To answer this particular question, here is an introduction to Space Ghost.
Conceptualization and Production
The cartoon show was created by Alex Toth, who also served as the character designer. Toth began his career as a comic book artist in the 1940s, but he found success when he worked as an animator and designer for Hanna-Barbera from the 1960s to the 1970s. Besides Space Ghost, he also contributed in other Hanna-Barbera shows such as Fantastic Four (1967), Sealab 2020, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, The Herculoids, and Super Friends. Toth passed away on May 27, 2006, after suffering from a heart attack while doing what he loves most, drawing. To grant his wishes, his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
Each episode of Space Ghost is divided into two unrelated segments, and both of these segments are created by Alex Toth. The first segment is Space Ghost, which focuses on the titular character’s adventures in outer space. The second segment is Dino Boy in the Lost Valley, whose story resembles Tarzan’s.
Because there are two segments in every episode of Space Ghost, there are plenty of characters that were featured on the show. However, there are four main characters for Space Ghost that frequently appear in each episode, while there are only three main characters in Dino Boy in the Lost Valley.
For Space Ghost, the characters are Space Ghost, the main protagonist that has a similar personality to DC Comics’ Superman, and his sidekicks Jan and Jace, who both have the ability to turn invisible using special utility belts. There is also Blip, Jan,and Jace’s pet monkey, who sometimes save the group because the villains aren’t noticing him.
For Dino Boy in the Lost Valley, the protagonist is Dino Boy, a caveman who explores the jungle and fights nefarious tribes like the Moss Men and the Rock Pygmies. Dino Boy is often accompanied by another caveman named Ugh, who once saved Dino Boy from being attacked by a saber-tooth tiger.
Broadcast and Fictional Talk Show
Space Ghost first aired on CBS, with the first episode premiering on September 10, 1966. After 20 episodes, the production for Space Ghost ended on September 16, 1967. However, CBS continued to air reruns of the show until September 7, 1968, due to its popularity. Some reruns of the show gave it the title “Space Ghost & Dino Boy” in order to acknowledge the presence of the caveman character in the show.
In the 1990s, Mike Lazzo, who was a producer for Cartoon Network during that period, was tasked to create a cartoon show for adults. Because of having a low budget, Lazzo was forced to recycle clips from the original Space Ghost series and asked for the help of producers Jay Edwards and Ned Hastings to splice and edit the scenes of Space Ghost to make it look like the characters are on a talk show. For editing the clips, they have to use the Avid non-linear editing software in order to have an easier time creating the style of the show. The imperfections in editing were left off in each episode of the talk show as a running gag that the cartoon is low budget.
The talk show was named Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and the titled is said to have been coined by Jay Edwards and animator Andy Merrill while they are thinking of a word that rhymes with “Ghost,” although the title they came up with was supposed to be used for a marathon segment on Cartoon Network. The talk show premiered on April 15, 1994, and from then on, it became quite popular among cartoon fans because of its humor and unique animation style. Space Ghost Coast to Coast then became one of the longest-running cartoon shows in the United States until 2008. Interestingly, the original Space Ghost series only lasted for one season, while the spin-off had 11 seasons in its belt.
There was a rumor that the original creator of the Space Ghost series, Alex Toth, did not like how his characters were presented in the cartoon. However, there were several letters sent by Toth to the creators and producers of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which reveals that he appreciated how his characters were utilized in the talk show.