Sunday, July 10, 2011

Toon Sports: Yogi's Space Race (1978)

Even though Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics had been renewed by ABC for a 2nd season (albeit with a revised title as Scooby's All-Stars), Hanna-Barbera was commissioned by NBC to create a similar series for them. Unfortunately, spinning off some of the characters, like Yogi Bear & Huckleberry Hound, into this new series didn't work the way it was drawn up.

Yogi's Space Race was a galactic reboot of Wacky Races, which bowed 10 years earlier. The show's central villain, the Phantom Phink, along with his dog, Spot, was also given a dual identity as the heroic Captain Good (Spot became Clean Cat in one of those bizarre interspecies transmutations), and unlike Dick Dastardly, who never won a race, the Phink actually did win, in each of his identities!

You'll see a space disco in the open, a homage to "Star Wars", which was a mega-hit a year prior and is now an iconic franchise. There were three additional segments, which we'll feature in separate posts later on down the line, but here they are:

Galaxy Goof-Ups: Yogi & Huck are joined by two new characters---Quack-Up and Scare Bear, a perpetually frightened bruin, understandably, creating the most unlikely team of peace officers the galaxy has ever seen. Joe Besser, who'd reprised his Jeannie role as Babu over on Laff-a-Lympics, is Scare Bear in his final gig for H-B.

The Buford Files: Buford is a bloodhound whose owners, Woody & Cindy Mae, are amateur detectives seemingly more on the beam than the bumbling Sheriff Muletrain.

The Galloping Ghost: The title spirit is known simply as "Nugget Nose", an old prospector who now appears to aid the owners of a dude ranch.

Here's the intro, narrated by race announcer Gary Owens.

The series didn't make it to the halfway mark of the season before NBC split the show into three component parts. Buford & the Galloping Ghost would air at lunch time, as memory serves, with Galaxy Goof-Ups and the truncated Space Race airing earlier in the morning. The 90 minute format was bulldozed by ABC's lineup, forcing some changes, which actually forestalled the inevitable cancellation. It didn't help that with the Laff-a-Lympics reruns still airing, that meant Yogi was appearing on two networks at the same time. He would return, as previously documented, in Yogi's Treasure Hunt in the mid-80's.

Rating: B-.

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