Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Great Space Coaster

Go To

"Off we go!"

A children's television series, featuring cartoons, live action segments, and puppets, that originally aired in first-run syndication from 1981 to 1986.

The series was co-created by Kermit Love and Jim Martin, and featured a number of performers who either came from or would go onto The Muppets. The premise follows 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, piloted by Baxter, a life-sized circus clown puppet who is actually on the run from his villainous 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; Edison, a robot-like elephant with an echoing voice who loves gardening; and Knock Knock, a sophisticated woodpecker who lives in a tree.

As of 2012, the rights to the show are held by Tanslin Media. Current plans include digitally preserving the old episodes, to potentially donate them to a museum or media center (as the use of licensed songs in the program would make releasing all 250 episodes on DVD or streaming without significantly editing them difficult if not impossible), 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. The preservation of these old episodes is time sensitive, as the tapes they're on are deteriorating due to age, meaning that most of the show could potentially be gone for good. The initial Kickstarter effort, which originally set out with the goal to save at least one episode, made enough money to start the preservation process for 20 episodes. Currently, Tanslin Media is holding another preservation fundraiser featuring previous Kickstarter merch and rare show memorabilia through eBay, which so far has raised enough funds to preserve an additional 7 episodes. 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.
  • Breakout 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.
  • Caring Gardener: Edison.
  • Catchphrase: "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!"
    • "And now for something really g'new, here's Gary Gnu!"
    • 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 show's run, Baxter adopted the Huggles, a small group of baby aliens that looked like pastel otters, in an effort to reach out to younger audiences.
  • Crossover: Supposedly, characters from Sid and Marty Krofft Productions made guest appearances.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: M. T. Promises, complete with the top hat and mustache to match his conniving personality.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Roy often entertains the others by showing them videos on his pocket TV. Fast-forward 25 years...
  • 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
    • In later seasons more sketches were added including:
      • A sketch featuring The Huggles.
      • Rory Lion running late for his DJ show and introducing a song played by the Space Coasters
      • Baxter reading a bedtime story to the Huggles.
  • Expy: Goriddle and Gary could be considered ones for Animal and Kermit respectively.
  • Informed Species: Gary Gnu is green, anthropomorphic, and has no ears or horns.
  • Pet the Dog: One episode has M. T. Promises helping the Space Coasters hold a telethon fundraiser to replace their worn out instruments.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: All of them. To be fair, the opening title was just an animated sequence of Baxter picking up and transporting Roy, Danny, and Francine to the asteroid in the titular coaster set to the show's theme song. For the last two seasons, however, the opening titles added something of a Dramatis Personae overlay, and a Goriddle voice-over announcing, "It's The Great Space Coaster, starring Goriddle Gorilla; Gary Gnu; Baxter; Roy, Danny, and Francine; The Great Space Coaster Gang (M.T. Promises, Big Jock Ox, Rory, et al), and the Huggles!"
  • Punny Name
    • Knock-Knock the Woodpecker
    • M.T. Promises
  • Puppet Shows
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: The Speed Reader segments that recommend a specific book to the audience, and have Gary dispensing the moral "Everyone can make time to read".
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: M. T. Promises
  • Running Gag: During Gary Gnu's segments, his stage crew often calls him a "turkey" and drops a paper turkey with his face from the ceiling, accompanied by a gobbling sound effect.
  • Show Within a Show: The program had several recurring segments, such as "Speed Reader".
  • Special Guest: Including Mean Joe Greene, Mark Hamill, Marvin Hamlisch and Marilyn McCoo among others.
  • Species Surname: Edison Elephant, Gary Gnu and Goriddle Gorilla.
  • Swapped Roles: Gary reviews the book and Speed Reader hosts the segment the time they review Freaky Friday.
  • Talking Animal: Many members of the cast.
  • Verbal Tic: Gary Gnu pronouncing N words with a hard G sound before it (e.g., "No g'news is good g'news").
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Some nonsense was present in the theme for the sake of viable rhymes.
    Get on board, step inside. Cuz you're in for a magic ride. Rolling toward the other side, where only rainbows hide.