Davids Basement of the Bizarre

THE BASEMENT’S TIMELESS TELEVISION: Far Out Space Nuts (1975-1976)

FAR OUT SPACE NUTS is a Sid and Marty Krofft children’s television series that aired in 1975 for one season, and produced 15 episodes. It was one of only two Krofft series produced exclusively for CBS (the second being 1984’s PRYOR’S PLACE). Reruns of the show aired in daily syndication from 1978 to 1985 as part of the KROFFT SUPERSTARS package with six other Krofft series.

Like most of the Kroffts’s productions, FAR OUT SPACE NUTS‘ opening sequence provides the setup of its fanciful premise: While loading food into various compartments to prepare a rocket for an upcoming mission, Barney (Chuck McCann) instructs Junior (Bob Denver) to hit the “lunch” button, but Junior mistakenly hits the “launch” button. The rocket blasts off and takes them on various misadventures on alien planets. The theme song is also very catchy, as was the norm for this time period.

Typically, in each episode, their spaceship (a NASA lunar module) would be captured by aliens (one being played by John Carradine, who so impressed Denver with his acting skills during a scene that he was left speechless and missed his cue, requiring another take) and taken to some strange planet, or the spaceship would merely land somewhere. Then, either Barney and Junior, or the ship, would be taken away by the strange creatures on the planet. After some weird mission was carried out, the two astronauts would be reunited with the spaceship and be off on their next mission.

Though this is not considered one of the best offerings by Sid & Marty Krofft, it was one that I truly enjoyed. It was a comedy through and through, though I felt that the use of canned laughter detracted from the show. I thought the different alien planets were imaginative and the aliens, despite the $100 a week budget to create them, were fun and very original.

I was not aware of Chuck McCann and his talents at the time but Bob Denver was no stranger to me because of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, one of my favorite shows as a child. The quality of the acting was inconsistent but in the end, the show kept me coming back for more, week after week. McCann and Denver played off of each other well and though McCann was credited as one of the creators, he got second billing to Denver, who was considered a bigger star.

Junior, Honk and Barney.

In their first adventure, Junior and Barney come across a cute little alien that they ended up calling Honk, played by Patty Maloney. It had a horn coming out of its head with which it communicated. Honk ended up being a part of all of their travels to strange new lands. I am a huge fan of the creatures that came out of the Sid & Marty creative camp and Honk is one of my favorites. Maloney infused so much energy and character into a costume that really had no facial expressions.

Though low budget, some of the sets were quite nice.

In addition to John Carradine, there were many other guest stars, well known for their work in the genre. Of note is horror icon Robert Quarry (of Count Yorga fame), Otis Campbell from THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW and American International regular Leo Gordon.

I have fond memories of FAR OUT SPACE NUTS and it’s a shame that that the complete series has not been released in the digital format. The first episode though is available on the Rhino DVD release entitled SATURDAY MORNING WITH SID & MARTY KROFFT. To order this item, just click on the image below.

Thanks for reading. Please make sure to read other entries in my BASEMENT’S TIMELESS TELEVISION series.

~David Albaugh

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