Wednesday, September 28, 2011


"I said 'lunch,' not 'launch!'"

I recently commented to friends that with the release of Man From Atlantis on DVD, I now had virtually my entire TV childhood on my video shelves. There are still a few notable exceptions, though, including the Saturday morning sci-fi sitcom, Far Out Space Nuts, from 1975.

Produced by Sid & Marty Krofft, the show was basically a pared-down Gilligan's Island in space (ironically, Filmation actually produced a cartoon of that very premise in 1982, Gilligan's Planet), with a bumbling simpleton and his blustery, overweight companion stranded on an alien planet after accidentally being shot into outer space on a NASA rocket.

It made sense then, that the Kroffts cast Gilligan himself, Bob Denver, in the lead role of  "Junior." In the part of Space Nuts' "Skipper," the Kroffts cast chubby comic Chuck McCann as "Barney."

Their furry alien sidekick, "Honk," was played by Patty Maloney. The diminutive actress also appeared on Buck Rogers as distaff ambuquad "Tina" (and at least twice as Twiki, filling in for Felix Silla), and played Chewbacca's mischievous offspring, Lumpy, in the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Although I'm certain I watched it every Saturday morning when I was ten, I sincerely don't remember much about the show except that, like Filmation's Ghost Busters (another childhood favorite of the era), it was filled with lots of old fashioned, vaudeville-styled slapstick and juvenile wordplay, with every story taking place on the same "alien planet" set. I recall lots of cool space monsters, though, several of which appeared at the end of the show's titles - and probably re-appeared on the Krofft's The Lost Saucer, which aired the same year. (I also watched Saucer, but liked Nuts better.).

Goofy as it is, Far Out Space Nuts is still a part of the tapestry of space and sci-fi themed entertainment that shaped me as a Seventies Star Kid, and I would love to have the show on DVD on the shelf next to my Space Academy, Ark II, Land Of The Lost, Flash Gordon, Star Trek animated series, and Jason Of Star Command boxed sets. And, considering how many honest laughs I still get out of the Ghost Busters show (for example), I'd probably genuinely enjoy watching Space Nuts again, too!


  1. I thought I had hallucinated this as a child. Nice to see it did exist!

  2. This never arrived in the UK. The chubby guy looks very familiar though. What else was he in? Was he in an episode of 'Columbo'?

  3. McCann has over 140 credits as an actor, going back to 1959.

    Here's his Internet Movie Database entry:

  4. And yeah, one of them is for an episode of Columbo.

  5. And don't forget "The Lost Saucer", which was another show of the same ilk starring Ruth Buzzy and Jim Neighbors as a pair of androids.

  6. I loved all of those Sid & Marty Krofft shows as a kid. Unfortunately, most of them were only on for one season.

  7. Ah, I remember this one.... it aired on Sunday mornings where I'm from, in a block of Krofft shows in between the early-morning religious programs and the later-morning news shows.

    Is it just me, or does the wolf-man creature at about 1:07 look a lot like one of the critters in the Star Wars cantina? I've heard Lucas was forced to use some off-the-shelf masks in the scene (one of the things that's always bugged him, apparently)... could it be this was one of them?

  8. I remember getting Starlog's Special Effects #1 book as a kid and marveling over the miniature landscapes that were produced by Mike Minor for all those Sid & Marty shows.

    I still have that book and would love to get these programs on DVD, if only to watch the old-school miniature effects.

    I know all the compositing was done on video but those models of futuristic landscapes made of acetone etched foam with buildings made from cardboard, styrene, plastic plates and glasses were just so cool!

  9. I liked this show as a kid, too. Silly, but memories of it have stuck with me over the decades.
    Oh, and just to show how nerdy I was/am: while the show was on tv, I was getting serious about building plastic model kits. How serious? I didn't want to get a model of a Saturn V rocket to duplicate the NASA footage from the opening credits... I wanted to get a model of a van, paint it white and make my own "NASA COMMISSARY" decals to replicate the guys' food van from the opening credits! I actually looked at generic letter decal sheets (or perhaps they were rub-down transfers) at a local hobby shop one day, counting the letters to make sure that there were enough on one sheet to actually spell "commissary." (Hey, who says Saturday morning tv shows weren't educational? I learned to spell a big word thanks to Far Out Space Nuts!)

  10. I loved this show. Even at 8 years I knew it was dumb.

  11. Whoaa! The Gilligan guy and the Right Guard guy -- an unbeatable combo!!!