Monday, March 21, 2011

Krofftverse: Far Out Space Nuts (1975)

After 6 years of series on NBC & ABC, Sid & Marty Krofft finally sold one to CBS in 1975.

In some respects, Far Out Space Nuts, were it not for a twist of fate, might've been a companion to ABC's Lost Saucer, the Kroffts' other freshman entry of '75. Both series had the same basic premise, and in a sense were derivative of Irwin Allen's mid-60's sci-fi series, Lost in Space.

Two NASA maintenance workers (Chuck McCann & Bob Denver) are accidentally launched into space when Junior (Denver) mistakenly hits the "launch" button while Barney, his partner (McCann) is loading foodstuffs for a mission. Along the way, they pick up an alien companion, Honk (Patty Mahoney), which draws a parallel to Josie & the Pussycats' misadventures 3 years earlier.

For Denver, it was his 2nd straight Saturday morning series. The New Adventures of Gilligan was in perpetual rerun over on ABC and would be moved to Sundays before long. Space Nuts, in fact, represented another variation on the Gilligan persona, after the syndicated Dusty's Trail had been sent to Boot Hill in 1973. Coincidentally, Denver's co-star on Dusty, Forrest Tucker (ex-F-Troop), had the series airing in back of Space Nuts, Ghost Busters, on CBS. McCann, a former kids' show host in NYC, had become better known for the "Hi, Guy!" spots he did for Right Guard deodorant in those days. McCann was also a writer for Space Nuts, and had done some production work in addition to voice acting on a number of cartoons in the 60's.

Following up the connection to NBC's lone remaining soap opera, Days of Our Lives, after one of its stars of the period, Wesley Eure, had been cast in Land of the Lost the previous year, writer-producer H. Wesley Kenney served in the same capacity on Space Nuts. The series was cancelled after 1 season, and it would be nearly a decade before the Kroffts would give CBS another try.

Here's the open to Far Out Space Nuts. You can picture Alan Hale, Jr. (The Skipper from Gilligan's Island) getting just as exasperated as Barney when Junior hits the launch button......

Rating: B.

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