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Space Ghost as he appears in Space Ghost Coast to Coast
|First appearance||"The Heat Thing" (Space Ghost
|Created by||Alex Toth
|Portrayed by||Gary Owens (1966–1982, 2011)
George Lowe (1994–present)
Andy Merrill (1995–99)
|Full name||Thaddeus "Tad" Ghostal (in Space Ghost Coast to Coast)
Thaddeus Bach (in the DC Comics)
|Occupation||Superhero, late-night talk show host (in Space Ghost Coast to Coast)|
Chad Ghostal (twin brother on Space Ghost Coast To Coast)
|Spouse(s)||Björk (wife in "Knifin' Around")
Charlene (wife on Cartoon Planet)
|Children||Eugene and Doris(children on Cartoon Planet)|
|Relatives||Leonard Ghostal (paternal grandfather)|
Belt that grants invisibility
Power Bands give an assortment of energy powers and abilities
In his original incarnation, he was a superhero who, with his teen sidekicks Jan, Jace, and Blip the monkey, fought supervillains in outer space. In the 1990s, Space Ghost was brought back as a host for his own fictional late-night talk show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. In the 2000s, he was revamped as a serious superhero once again in a mini-series by DC Comics.
Space Ghost and Dino Boy
The original series debuted in 1966. In the original series, Space Ghost was an intergalactic crime fighter from the Ghost Planet. He had the ability to be invisible (via his belt), fly, and shoot various rays from the powerbands on his wrists. Space Ghost would fight such recurring supervillains as Moltar, Zorak, Black Widow,[a] Metallus, Brak and Creature King with the help of his sidekicks: Jan, Jayce, and their pet monkey, Blip.
The original series shared time with an unrelated segment called Dino Boy in the Lost Valley. During its original run, there were a total of 42 Space Ghost episodes and 18 Dino Boy episodes. The series ended in 1968, but remained in syndication during the 1970s. Space Ghost was voiced by Gary Owens, who is best known for being the announcer for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Twenty-two new Space Ghost segments appeared on Space Stars on NBC in 1981. The episodes introduced a new assortment of villains including an evil version of Space Ghost named Space Spectre who came from an alternate universe. As in the original series, Space Ghost often came to the aid of The Herculoids and vice versa. They also frequently crossed paths with the Teen Force and it appeared that Jan and Teen Force member Kid Comet were dating as well. Gary Owens reprised his role as Space Ghost.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast
The character Space Ghost hosts a talk show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast,[b] which began broadcasting in 1994 on Cartoon Network. One-time villains Zorak[c] and Moltar were Space Ghost's sidekicks (with guest appearances from many other old Space Ghost villains, most notably Brak). The show spoofed late-night talk shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman. Celebrities interviewed by Space Ghost included Beck, Bill Nye, magicians Penn and Teller, Elvira, Hanson, Joel Hodgson, Carrot Top, Jim Carrey, Jon Benjamin, Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien, Thurston Moore, Pavement, Adam West, Björk, Thom Yorke, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Goldie Hawn, Timothy Leary, and Mark Hamill. In this series, Space Ghost is voiced by George Lowe. In this version, Space Ghost's real name is Tad Ghostal and has a twin brother named Chad who attempted to hijack his show. Before they could get into a laser fight, their mother called in to give both Space Ghost and Chad a piece of her mind. Before getting off the phone she orders the two to behave themselves at once.
Coast to Coast relied heavily on absurd, surreal, or even dadaist humor. The show ran from 1994 to 2001, moving to the Adult Swim programming block later that year; the series ended its Adult Swim run in 2004. The characters of Jan, Jace, and Blip (Space Ghost's old sidekicks) appeared twice on the show. After approximately eight seasons, the show went into hiatus, and the writers Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro used characters they developed in an unaired episode ("Baffler Meal") to create another popular "would-be spin-off", Aqua Teen Hunger Force. After that show proved successful, "Baffler Meal" was animated and aired in 2003.
New episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast appeared on the "Animation" channel of the GameTap service, beginning on May 30, 2006. Most guests were either gaming celebrities or musicians. On May 31, 2008, the show ended when the TV section of GameTap shut down.
Following the popularity of Coast to Coast, the show provided a spin-off series, Cartoon Planet; the show ran from 1995 to 1998. Cartoon Planet was an hour-long cartoon block hosted by Space Ghost with his imprisoned sidekicks Zorak and Brak; the segments in-between the cartoons usually consisted of skits and original songs.
Three actors played Space Ghost in the three "main" Space Ghost series:
- Gary Owens (1966–1982, 2011) in Space Ghost, Space Stars, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
- George Lowe (1994–present) in Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Cartoon Planet, The Brak Show, Squidbillies, Perfect Hair Forever, Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters, and Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion
- Andy Merrill (1995–1999) in Space Ghost Coast to Coast as "Live Action Space Ghost" and Cartoon Planet as "Dancin' Space Ghost"
Space Ghost has appeared in the following comic books:
- Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes (Gold Key, 1968)
- Golden Comics Digest (Gold Key, 1969)
- TV Stars (Marvel, 1978)
- Space Ghost (Comico, 1987)
- Cartoon Network Presents (DC, 1997)
- Space Ghost (DC, 2005)
- Future Quest (DC, 2016)
Space Ghost's Coast to Coast version was released as an action figure by Toycom, complete with a desk and chair, a series of cue cards and a mug. Also included were several different sets of hands, allowing the figure to be used either as the talk show host or the super hero or both. The shoulders and neck were ball-jointed, with a light plastic yellow cape. A transparent variant "invisible" figure and a variant with electric "light up" powerband were also released. A repaint of this figure was used to create a Space Specter figure.
In 2012 a new Space Ghost figure was released in the Jazwares Hanna-Barbera series and came with a pack-in of Blip.
- Markstein, Don. "SPACE GHOST". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
Space Ghost endured and is still popular today. In large part, this is due to the artistic input of comic book veteran Alex Toth...who, on staff with Hanna-Barbera as a designer and idea man, is generally credited with having created Space Ghost.
- "Space Ghost and Dino Boy Cartoon List". BCDB. 2014-02-14.
- Fischer, Stuart. Kids' TV: The First 25 Years. New York: Facts on File. pp. 255–256. ISBN 9780871967947. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- Mansour, David (2005). From Abba to Zoom : a pop culture encyclopedia of the late 20th century. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Pub. p. 453. ISBN 9780740793073. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- Booker, M Keith (2006). Drawn to Television: Prime-time Animation from the Flintstones to Family Guy. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. p. 170. ISBN 9780313076152. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- Mittell, Jason (2004). Genre and television : from cop shows to cartoons in American culture. New York: Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 9780415969024. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- McCormick, Moira (1998). "Space Ghost, Zorak, and Brak Fly High on Rhino's 'Surf'". Billboard (August 1): 70. Retrieved 2 January 2016.