1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 6 (USA)
A kid’s fantasy/variety show about three friends – Francine (Emily Bindiger), Danny (Chris Gifford), and Roy (Ray Stephens) – who leave Earth each day in their ‘Space Coaster’.
Each episode featured several musical numbers – usually dealing with the various issues and problems kids face every day plus news reports from Gary Gnu (Jim Martin) – who added a “g” to words and whose catchphrase was “No Gnews Is Good Gnews” – and book reviews from Speed Reader (Ken Myles).
In each episode, Roy showed a short film on his portable TV, often featuring segments from La Linea, an Italian animated series about a little man who is drawn using a single line at the beginning of the segment and then springs to life, communicating with his animator through high-pitched Italian mixed with gibberish.
Francine, Roy, and Danny would sing a song together, and the puppet characters would often sing songs too.
A few years into the show’s run, the MTV-like “Rockin’ with Rory” segment presented Danny and the Spacecoasters performing cover versions of 1960s tunes.
While the action was mostly taped on the space set, it wasn’t unusual for the characters to venture down to Earth for filmed musical numbers.
Other characters included:
- Baxter – A gentle clown who once worked for M.T. Promises and lives in fear of ever going back. He was the pilot of the space coaster and took the characters from Earth to the asteroid. He could magically disappear by twirling around
- Goriddle Gorilla – a rude, lazy, obnoxious, gravel-voiced ape
- Knock Knock – a prissy pink woodpecker who told a lot of “knock knock” jokes
- Edison – a robotic elephant with an echoing voice
- M.T. Promises – A top-hatted circus ringleader forever scheming to capture Baxter the clown and take him back to the circus
- The Huggles – Small, furry creatures who had stories read to them by Baxter.
Ratings began to slip a few years in and the producers tried to correct this by bringing in new characters like the Huggles.
Kevin J. Clash
Knock Knock the Woodpecker
John Lovelady (1)
Noel MacNeal (2)
Edison the Elephant