|Johnny Jupiter was a brilliant little show that used puppets and comedy to comment on modern society and human foibles.
The show starred Ernest P. Duckweather, a janitor at a TV station who one day found himself playing with the knobs and switches in the control room. Inadvertently, Duckweather ended up communicating with people on the planet Jupiter.
The Jovan emissaries?portrayed by puppets?were Johnny, the leader, his Oxford-sounding sidekick B-12, and a robot named Major Domo. The puppets were all skillfully brought to life by Carl Harms.
Johnny, hoping to comprehend human behavior, questioned things like traffic, television, and even the importance of physical appearance, all with comic results. Duckweather himself ended up hosting a news program on Jupiter, where he was always forced to change his stories because of complaints from special interest groups, like the Moon Dwellers Association, Underwater Vegetable League, and the Juicy Tidbit Society.
Everything changed once Johnny Jupiter left Dumont for the greener pastures of ABC. The show was now filmed, M&M candies became the sponsor, Duckweather now worked in the Frisbee General Store, and Wright King replaced Vaughn Taylor as the man who portrayed him. Most significantly, the witty social commentary that had once defined the program was now replaced by a more slapstick-style.
The retooled show ran for eight months on ABC before Terran/Jovan relations were broken off permanently.