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The Great Space Coaster

Between 1981-86 (5 seasons/250 episodes) children were taken on a magical intergalactic journey via The Great Space Coaster through the eyes of three young singers (Francine, Danny, and Roy) who are brought to a habitable asteroid in space called Coasterville by a clown named Baxter who pilots the “space coaster”, a roller coaster-like spaceship.

Coasterville is populated by strange-looking, wise-cracking puppet characters such as Goriddle Gorilla, Knock-Knock the Woodpecker, Edison the Elephant, and Gary Gnu (host of newscast The Gary Gnu Show). Baxter is forever on the run from M.T. Promises, a nefarious ringmaster who plans to re-capture Baxter and return him to the circus he worked at before he escaped.

In each episode, Roy shows a short film on his portable, fold-up television, 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 sing a song together as the Space Coasters in each episode (sometimes originals like “Wacky Talk”, sometimes older songs like “Be a Clown” or covers of ’60s and ’70s hits), and the various puppet characters often sing songs as well.

A few years into the show’s run, the MTV-like “Rockin’ with Rory” segment began where a DJ named Rory would introduce “Danny and the Space Coasters” performing cover tunes. There was also other additions to the show including Baffle, Big Jock Ox, and the Huggles. While the action was mostly videotaped on the space set, it was not unusual for the characters to venture down to Earth for filmed musical numbers.

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