|“Greetings! I'm Space Ghost. Here's the deal: I've got a behind, it's super-heroic, and I'm about to shake it.”
Billed as “the first cartoon talk show,” Space Ghost Coast To Coast was also the first original cartoon aired on The Cartoon Network. A clever spoof of late night talk, the series was hosted by 60’s animated superhero Space Ghost (of Space Ghost and Dino Boy), and featured interviews with such live-action celebrities as Jim Carrey, the Bee Gees, “Weird Al” Yankovic, half the cast of Gilligan’s Island, and “the lovely Alice Cooper.”
The trick was pulled off by pre-taping the celebrity interviews (with celebrities addressing the interviewer as “Space Ghost”), then rearranging the footage to suit the show’s purposes. Most of the Space Ghost footage was culled from classic episodes of Space Ghost and Dino Boy, with the superhero taken out of his normal setting and placed on a talk show set (which was actually constructed in miniature scale). Classic Space Ghost enemies Moltar (the molten guy in the helmet) and Zorak (the praying mantis) were released from prison to serve as the show’s director as bandleader, respectively.
Celebrity starpower aside, the real draw of Space Ghost Coast To Coast was its host, who seemed utterly unqualified to run a talk show. His questions were ridiculously silly (asking Charlton Heston if he’d thought about a sequel to The Ten Commandments), the show was routinely interrupted by technical difficulties, and he wasn’t above using his power bands to fry his assistants. The interviews often took a back seat to the bickering among Space Ghost, Zorak, Moltar, the Announcer, and any number of supporting characters who popped up for an episode or two (anyone from William Shakespeare to Space Ghost’s evil twin Chad Ghostal to the rest of the Council of Doom-Brak, Tansut, Lokar, and Black Widow).
Space Ghost Coast To Coast debuted in the spring of 1994 and soon became a cult classic. The show was filled with enough quotable lines (“Banjo! Banjoooooooooo!”), pop culture references, and overall quirkiness to please the young and hip. New episodes have continued to air every year since, and the producers have put out a flood of merchandise and a sister program, Cartoon Planet.