"Off we go!"
A syndicated children's series, featuring cartoons, live action segments, and puppets. The series was co-created by Kermit Love and Jim Martin, and featured a number of talent who either came, or went onto The Muppets
. The premise followed three musicians from Earth - Roy, a keyboardist; Danny, a drummer; and Francine, a guitarist - who travel to an asteroid-like planet
out in space via the titular coaster, driven by Baxter, a life-sized circus clown
puppet who is actually on the run from his mean ringmaster, M.T. Promises. Other bizarre characters include Gary Gnu; host of The Gary Gnu Show
, where no g'news is good g'news; Goriddle Gorilla (a mischievous, gravelly-voiced gorilla who doesn't quite think before he acts, and Knock Knock (a sophisticated woodpecker who lives in a tree.
As of 2012, Tanslin Media has obtained the rights to The Great Space Coaster
. Current plans include preserving the old episodes to potentially donate them to a museum/media center (as the use of licensed songs in the program would make all 250 episodes hard to release on DVD or streaming without significantly cutting them out) and the production of new online content featuring Gary Gnu with hopes to garner enough attention for a full-fledged revival
. More information can be found on the Tanslin Media site
and the official Facebook page
. Two episodes out of twenty have been preserved so far and several fan-uploaded full episodes of the show can be found on Gnu, uh, Youtube.
- All Planets Are Earth-Like
- Alliterative Name: Gary Gnu, Goriddle Gorilla.
- Break Out Character: Gary Gnu, in spades; a number may not even remember this series, but all you have to do is mention Gary Gnu, and they know who you are talking about.
- Catch Phrase: "This is Gary Gnu, and The No G'News is Good G'News Show, the only TV g'news program guaranteed to contain no g'news whatsoever!"
- Also, "No g'news is good g'news with Gary Gnu!"
- "Of course! I promise!
- Cloudcuckoolander: Goriddle could fit the bill.
- Cousin Oliver: Later in the series' run, a small group of sickeningly cute baby aliens known as The Huggles were introduced in an attempt to reach out to younger audiences.
- Crossover: Supposedly, Sid and Marty Krofft characters made guest appearances.
- Dastardly Whiplash: M. T. Promises
- Drop-In Character: In addition to The Huggles, other new characters were introduced at the beginning of Season Four, in an attempt to help boost up the slumping ratings.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: Most of the native characters of this planet.
- Expository Theme Tune
- Fantastic Comedy
- Jerkass: Goriddle Gorilla, to a degree.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: From an early episode, one of Gary Gnu's no g'news reports of was of a showgirl who had a serious smoking problem: not only did she continually smoke a cigarette as she was preparing for a show, but we she has an ashtray overflowing with smoldering butts, her dressing room floor covered in a layer of butts, and not only does she put out her current cigarette just seconds before the curtain call, she starts hacking and choking after she begins singing. Such a thing would be met with outcry today.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Goriddle sounds exactly like Hoots the Owl.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Goriddle again.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Because this series is rather obscure, it's almost difficult to come by for people today to view it, even Jim Martin is amazed at the number of postings on YouTube. Unfortunately, because the series included a number of copyrighted songs, legal issues with music clearance and license is preventing the series from officially released on DVD. The only official home entertainment release of this show was a "Supershow" compilation VHS that was released in 1981 (which is presently posted on YouTube, in five installments).
- Additionally, in 2012 Jim Martin announced that many of the master tapes are starting to deterorate, and laucnhed a kickstarter campaign to make digital copies of as many episodes as possible (with th goal to save at least one show).
- Laugh Track
- Medium Awareness: Some skits involve the characters speaking to the audience, usually to introduce celebrity guest stars, or whenever Baxter is about to take the gang on another trip in the coaster.
- Medium Blending
- Running Gag: Gary Gnu pronouncing N words with a hard G sound before it (e.g., "No g'news is good g'news").
- Punny Name
- Knock-Knock the Woodpecker
- M.T. Promises
- Puppet Shows
- Show Within a Show: The program had several recurring segments, such as "Speed Reader".
- Species Surname: Gary Gnu and Goriddle Gorilla.
- Spiritual Successor: To the works of Jim Henson.
- Talking Animal
- What Could Have Been: Big Jock Ox and Rory were added the cast of puppet characters, after a separate pilot featuring them (also produced by Sunbow Entertainment) failed. Likewise, another veteran Muppeteer, Richard Hunt, was originally going to perform Big Jock Ox, but instead, was handed to Kevin Clash (who also performed Rory as well).
- An early conceptual artwork shows Roy, Danny, and Francine riding in the Great Space Coaster with a bear-like creature; Jim Martin believes that the character of Baxter may originally have been conceived as a bear, which he says would have made since, because of the already-existing alliterative naming with Gary Gnu and Goriddle Gorilla (to wit, Baxter Bear).