November 09, 2019


(NBC, September 12-November 21, 1981)

Hanna-Barbera Productions

Gary Owens – Space Ghost
Steve J. Spears – Jace
Mike Road – Zandor, Tundro, Zok, Igoo
Sparky Marcus - Dorno
Darryl Hickman – Kid Comet
David Raynr (as David Hubbard) – Moleculad
B.J. Ward – Elektra
Michael Winslow – Glax, Plutem
Allan Lurie - Uglor
Don Messick – Astro, Gloop, Gleep, various
Lennie Weinrib – Dipper, various
Frank Welker – Cosmo, Blip, various
Michael Bell – Space Ace, various
Keene Curtis - Narrator
Michael Rye – Opening narration

             Taking inspiration from the massive success of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Hanna-Barbera decided to enter the space business with a new program set in the final frontier (as Star Trek would call it). The result was the 60-minute programming block called Space Stars.

The return of old friends: Space Ghost and The Herculoids.

            Space Stars was a mixture of old and new. Hanna-Barbera took it as an opportunity to revive two of their series from the 1960s: Space Ghost and The Herculoids. However, they didn’t just throw up old reruns--they created all-new stories for both programs. Gary Owens, Virginia Gregg, Mike Road and Don Messick all reprised their respective roles from the original shows (with the exception of Frank Welker replacing Messick as Space Ghost’s animal mascot, Blip). Steve J. Spears and Alexandra Stoddart replaced Tim Matheson and Ginny Tyler as the voices of Space Ghost’s young allies, Jace and Jan, respectively, while Sparky Marcus replaced Ted Eccles as the voice of Tara and Zandor’s son, Dorno. Space Ghost, Jace, Jan and Blip continued to patrol the spaceways in a sleeker version of The Phantom Cruiser, encountering some new foes including an evil version of Space Ghost from another dimension, Space Spectre (John Stephenson). The Herculoids, meanwhile, continued to protect their home planet of Quasar (renamed from Amzot) from threats both terrestrial and alien. The anti-technology slant of the original The Herculoids seemed to have been abandoned as the heroes now seemed to possess the ability to summon intergalactic aid, such as Space Ghost.

Astro and his new friends.

            Another classic 60s character made a return appearance in the form of Astro (Messick), the family dog from The Jetsons four years before Hanna-Barbera would launch their syndicated revival. However, Astro had traded in his cushy home life for one of adventure in Astro and the Space Mutts. Astro was one of three dogs, the others being Cosmo (Welker) and Dipper (Lennie Weinrib), who was partnered up with intergalactic police officer Space Ace (Michael Bell) as they bumbled their way into protecting the galaxy from a wide variety of thieves and smugglers.

Kid Comet leads Moelculad and Elektra with the Astromites.

            Completely new was Teen Force. Teen Force was a team of space-faring young superheroes who dwelled in another universe from the other Space Stars characters, but could cross over back and forth easily through Black Hole X. It was comprised of Kid Comet (Darryl Hickman), who possessed super speed; Moleculad (David Raynr), who could alter his molecular structure; and Elektra (B.J.Ward), who had psionic abilities and teleportation. They were joined and aided by a pair of diminutive aliens known as the Astromites, Plutem and Glax (both human sound box Michael Winslow). Typically, Teen Force battled the evil Uglor (Allan Lurie) and his various schemes at conquering the universe.

Uglor and his many attempts to conquer the universe.

            Space Stars debuted on NBC on September 12, 181. Each episode was broken up into several story segments, with two Space Ghost stories opening up both half hours, and followed by Teen Force and The Herculoids in the first half hour and Astro in the second. The final segment was called Space Stars Finale, which featured two or more sets of characters coming together to battle a major threat. However, Finale wasn’t the only place where the characters interacted. It was common for characters to cross-over into each other’s individual segments. For instance, members of Teen Force could be seen helping Space Ghost (it also seemed as if Jan and Kid Comet were dating), or Space Ghost could aid the Herculoids in protecting their planet, or Uglor’s nephew could find himself causing trouble on Space Ace’s beat. At the beginning and half hour interval, a preview montage of the upcoming stories was shown. To mark the halfway point of the program, a set of characters from one of the segments would be shown flying around a black background with colorful stereoscopic lines moving about rendered by Iraj Paran and Tom Wogatzke.

Teen Force and The Herculoids.

            Additionally, there were four interstitial segments starring a rotating roster of each story segment’s characters designed to provide a little interactivity for the viewing audience, as well as fulfill the FCC’s educational mandates. “Space Magic” would have one character demonstrating a magic trick to another, typically involving coins or cards. “Space Fact” gave scientific information about various celestial bodies, the day/night cycle, how astronauts survive in space and more. “Space Mystery” was essentially a short story segment that tied into that week’s “Space Fact”, whose information provided the clue the audience could use to deduce the solution to the presented mystery. “Space Code” was a coded message given to the audience to reveal the identity of the Finale villain or how that villain could be defeated. “Space Code” was broken up into three parts shown between each of the second half hour’s story segments: the first gave the code, the second provided a clue as to how to break it, and the third started the process of decoding it.

Did you know it can rain in space?

            Space Stars was written by Kathleen Barnes, Ray Colcord, Dianne Dixon, Diane Duane, Scott Edelman, Donald Glut, Orville Hampton, Andy Heyward, Len Janson, Earl Kress, Chuck Menville, Frances Novier, J. Michael Reaves, Reed Robbins, Jim Ryan, David Villaire, David Wise and Marc Scott Zicree, with Janson, Menville, Barnes and Wise serving as story editors and Ray Parker serving as story supervisor. Character designs were handled by Judie Clarke, Jean Gilmore, Jesse Santos and comic book legend Jack Kirby, while Hoyt Curtin provided the series with its music. The series’ intro paid homage to its Star Wars influence by imitating the opening crawl that appears in most of their films with the series’ title and outlines of the characters. Although Keene Curtis was the narrator during the program, Michael Rye handled the narration for the intro.

The DVD.

            Space Stars only ran for 11 episodes; however, it stayed on NBC’s schedule until the fall of 1982. When the series entered syndicated reruns on USA Network, it was reduced to 30 minutes with only one Space Ghost, Teen Force and The Herculoids being shown. Cartoon Network and Boomerang would air the all of the story segments except Teen Force as interstitial segments between shows, never airing the complete episodes. In 2013, Warner Archive released the complete series to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics CollectionIn 2020, the Space Stars logo was featured on an arcade cabinet in an abandoned amusement park arcade in the film, Scoob!

“Microworld / Space Magic / Space Fact / Nebulon / Space Mystery / The Firebird / Space Code / Planet of the Space Monkeys / Will the Real Mr. Galaxy Please Stand Up / Polaris” (9/12/81) – Toymaker takes Certia 3 hostage in exchange for Space Ghost’s power bands. / Space Ace shows Astro a magic trick by pulling a particular name out of a helmet. / Space Ghost explains comets to Jan and Jace. / Uglor is forced to work with Teen Force to stop the energy creature he created. / Space Ghost determines that a comet is really the smuggler ship they’re looking for. / An erupting volcano awakens the firebird that was residing within. / Kid Comet and the Astromites give the audience a clue about the upcoming threat. / Feeling neglected, Blip runs away and finds a planet of space monkeys. / Space Ace and the Mutts have to get the First Galaxy’s bank vault back from Mr. Galaxy. / Space Ghost and Blip have to be saved from a space warp dimension created by Polaris.

“The Starfly / Space Magic / Space Fact / The Death Ray / Space Mystery / The Ice Monster / Space Code / The Anti-Matter Man / Reverso / Dimension of Doom” (9/19/81) – A Starbeast attacks a space transport ship. / Space Ace makes a solid object pass through another. / Space Ace tells Astro about the tides. / Uglor plans to destroy Teen Force’s access to the other universe to destroy them. / Space Ace investigates a fellow officer’s claim about a sea beast that ate his lunch. / An indestructible robot emerges from its icy slumber. / Elektra and the Astromites give the audience a clue about the upcoming threat. / An accident turns a scientist into the Anti-Matter man. / Reverso threatens to reverse everything unless he’s made ruler of the universe. / Space Ghost and Teen Force have to rescue Jan and Jace from Uglor.

“City In Space / Space Magic / Space Fact / Prison Planet / Space Mystery / The Snake Riders / Space Code / The Toymaker / The Education of Puglor / Worlds in Collison” (9/26/81) – Elektra joins Space Ghost in saving a floating city from falling into the sun. / Space Ace shows Astro an alien in a box. / Tara explains stars to Dorno, Gloop and Gleep. / Teen Force goes to Uglor’s prison planet to rescue the Solvanite president. / The Herculoids encounter an alien who promises to bring them to a paradise planet. / The Herculoids have to stop the Snake Riders from conquering Quasar. / Space Ghost and Blip give the audience a clue about the upcoming threat. / Toymaker captures Jan, Jace and Blip while they vacation. / Uglor loans Puglor his tools so he can conquer the resort world of Solar Springs. / Elektra joins Space Ghost and the Herculoids in stopping Uglor’s plan to crash the Ghost Planet into Quasar.

“Nomads / Space Magic / Space Fact / Trojan Teen Force / Space Mystery / The Invisibles / Space Code / The Space Dragons / Wonder Dog / Mindwitch” (10/3/81) – The people Space Ghost saves from a giant space snake may not be the victims they appear to be. / Jan and Blip show Jace their mind-reading trick. / Tara explains traveling at the speed of light to Dorno. / Teen Force must save a royal family from Uglor and keep him from marrying the princess. / An alien comes to Quasar demanding the planet’s minerals and to enslave the Herculoids. / The Herculoids get aid from Space Ghost when a chunk of Magnlilite turns their foes invisible. / Space Ghost learns that one of the Herculoid animals will betray Zandor. / Space Dragons attack mining operations to steal an element to make fuel. / Space Ace is given a new robotic dog partner while Scavenger steals the Aceship. / An evil witch is accidentally revived and sets her sights on conquering Quasar.

“Eclipse Woman / Space Magic / Space Fact / Decoy of Doom / Space Mystery / The Energy Creature / Space Code / Attack of the Space Sharks / Menace of the Magnet Maniac / Magnus” (10/10/81) – Kid Comet helps stop Eclipse Woman from draining planet Halcion’s energy. / Moleculad shows the Astromites a coin trick. / Zandor explains the moon to Dorno. / Uglor lures the Teen Force into a trap so he can steal their powers. / An alien from the moon comes to conquer Quasar. / An energy creature crashes onto Quasar and can assume the form of any being it grabs. / Space Ghost discovers a secret about the alien menacing Quasar. / Space Ghost battles shark-like warships while his associates end up their prisoners. / Space Ace has to stop a rash of metal robberies. / Space Ghost helps the Herculoids deal with Magnus and a childlike alien with dangerous toys.

“Time Chase / Space Magic / Space Fact / Elektra’s Twin / Space Mystery / The Purple Menace / Space Code / The Haunted Space Station / The Night of the Crab / The Crystal Menace” (10/17/81) – Kid Comet ends up sending himself and Jan back in time. / Moleculad shows the Astromites his teleporting coin trick. / Teen Force relies on the international dateline to make it to an Earth party on time. / Uglor uses a double of Elektra to capture Teen Force and keep them from saving the star Helios. / Teen Force has to apprehend a criminal before the statute of limitations on his crimes runs out. / Glowing rocks lead to purple vines becoming a menace to the planet. / Space Ace uses a crystal ball decoder to figure out how to defeat a crystal creature. / Investigating a distress signal from a space station reveals a soul vampire has turned its crew into obedient zombies. / The Crab steals the Space Awards from the Space Palace. / Space Ghost helps the Herculoids deal with Crystal Cyborg to keep all life on Quasar from being crystallized.

“Time of the Giants / Space Magic / Space Fact / Uglor’s Power Play / Space Mystery / The Buccaneer / Space Code / The Sorceress / Rock Punk / The Olympians” (10/24/81) – The Phantom Cruiser goes through a space cloud that shrinks it and its occupants. / Kid Comet shows the Astromites his disappearing wand trick. / Space Ghost tells Jan and Jace about how Earth astronauts survive in space. / Uglor mimics Teen Force’s powers in his latest plot to conquer the galaxy. / Space Ghost and Blip pursue the Tinkerer to a moon. / Space pirates come to Quasar in search of buried treasure. / Elektra and the Astromites get a coded message as to what Uglor wants to steal from Quasar. / The Sorceress plans to control Space Ghost and force him to marry her. / Space Ace has to retrieve Mount Spacemore from Rock Punk. / The Herculoids and Teen Force have to keep Uglor from stealing all of Quasar’s energy rock deposits.

“Space Spectre / Space Magic / Space Fact / Ultimate Battle / Space Mystery / The Thunderbolt / Space Code / The Big Freeze / The Greatest Show Off Earth / Endangered Species” (10/31/81) – Space Ghost must battle his evil double from another dimension. / Dorno challenges Gleep into tying a rope into a knot without letting go of it. / Teen Force explains to Glax why it gets dark at night. / Uglor challenges Teen Force to a battle on a planet full of creatures he’s already turned against them. / Teen Force pursues a bank robber to the arctic region of a planet. / Saiju eats some electrically-charged rocks and is turned into an electrical monster. / Space Ghost detects a threat heading for Quasar. / Feron plans to freeze all the planets in the galaxy to make them inhabitable for his people. / Space Ace has to rescue the Spaceling Brothers Circus from the Cosmic Clown. / Dorno, Zok and the Space Mutts must rescue Space Ace, Sandor and Tara from an alien zoo.

“Devilship / Space Magic / Space Fact / The Space Slime / Space Mystery / Return of the Ancients / Space Code / The Deadly Comet / Jewlie Newstar / The Outworlder” (11/7/81) – Investigating a shuttle leads Jace to fall under the power of The Wizard. / Dorno shows Tundro how to magnetize a stick to attract a straw. / Space Ace explains the sun’s heat to Astro. / Teen Force must stop Uglor’s new biological weapon. / Space Ace pursues a cosmic car thief through the solar system. / The descendants of Quasar’s original inhabitants return to the planet after a 1,000-year mission. / Space Ghost gets a message on how to trap the Outworlder. / Space Ghost asks Kid Comet to help deal with some weaponized comets. / Jewlie Newstar steals the Jupiter Jewel from the interplanetary museum. / Space Ghost and Teen Force deal with an energy vampire while a threatened freighter’s captain recklessly tries to save his ship.

“Spacecube of Doom / Space Magic / Space Fact / Wordstar / Space Mystery / Space Trappers / Space Code / The Time Master / Galactic Vac is Back / Uglor Conquers the Universe” (11/14/81) – A space cube steals all the precious metals in the universe. / Jan shows Blip a card trick. / Space Ghost explains stars to Jace. / Teen Force must stop Uglor from getting a tremendously powerful weapon. / A new alien addresses the United Worlds asking refuge for his people from a dying sun, but Space Ghost learns he’s up to something. / The Space Trappers want The Herculoids for their intergalactic circus. / The code computers go crazy when Teen Force gets a message on how to defeat Uglor. / Time Master turns time back on planet Glax-3 in order to harvest the material needed for his Time Shredder. / Galactic Vac returns to suck up everything in the galaxy. / Teen Force, Space Ghost and the Herculoids have to stop Uglor who has gained omnipotent power by absorbing a neutron galaxy.

“Web of the Wizard / Space Magic / Space Fact / Pandora’s Warp / Space Mystery / Mindbender / Space Code / The Shadow People / Rampage of the Zodiac Man / The Cosmic Mousetrap” (11/21/81) – The Wizard plots to use an illusion to force the Phantom Cruiser to crash. / Jan shows Jace a card trick. / Space Ace explains black holes to Astro. / Uglor summons help from another dimension to destroy a vital power plant. / A smuggler attempts to escape Space Ace through a black hole. / Dorno, Gloop and Gleep accidentally release a member of the race that previously ruled Quasar from his prison. / Space Ghost shares the threat he’ll face with Teen Force. / Elektra joins in the investigation of a hastily-abandoned space refinery. / Zodiac Man steals the Stardust Constellation Ring from the Moona Lisa Museum. / Megamind captures Space Ghost, Jace, Blip and Elektra in order to study their weaknesses.

Originally published in 2019. Updated in 2023.

1 comment:

LTYSON said...

A cool cartoon block that combined some cool new characters with some classic action cartoon heroes from the 60's. I loved the action toons & this cartoon block had the action characters.