A death in the family means we can finally, legally, enjoy the show that built Adult Swim…
In case you missed the sad news over the weekend, C. Martin Croker tragically (suddenly?) passed away over the weekend. Or Clay, as the elegant Sunday Adult Swim bumpers referred to him. To say Croker brought Zorak and Moltar to life is just the tip of the iceberg, because in addition to offering up his pipes as the voices of Space Ghost Coast to Coast’s co-hosts, he acted as the lead animator on one of the most unsung, influential comedy programs of my adolescence. And as a minor side note, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen Adult Swim have to eulogize one of its pioneers like this in my 15 years of loyal viewership. Fucking Bummer.
It’s actually pretty difficult to overstate the importance of Space Ghost Coast to Coast (Do I have to keep making that distinction here? Is there anybody reading this who could confuse the 90s cartoon talk show with the 60s schlock on which it’s based and still be alive and using the internet?!) Space Ghost Coast to Coast is literally the first wholly original production from Cartoon Network. More importantly, Space Ghost was literally the pilot for original programming that would spawn the network’s late night Adult Swim block, which would eventually offer the inspiration and/or launchpad for several careers and shows that receive considerably more praise today.
The writers AND characters of Aqua Teen Hunger Force began on Space Ghost. The creators of Sealab 2021 AND Archer got their start on Space Ghost. When promoting the recent season The Eric Andre Show, Andre himself lovingly brings up Space Ghost as a major influence. Without Space Ghost, would there be a place for the weird-ass and wonderfully absurd brand of humor of Tim & Eric, Rick & Morty or The Venture Bros? Would Family Guy, Home Movies and Futurama have received a second shot at life? Would there have been an Adult Swim without Space Ghost? I can’t conclusively say. But I can emphatically declare we have Adult Swim because of Space Ghost. And we have Space Ghost because of C. Martin Croker. And he will be missed.
There is a silver lining to Croker’s untimely passing, albeit somewhat bittersweet. I don’t have to tell this to Space Ghost fans this, but the episodes of the show have been more than a little difficult to see in the last few years. Adult Swim rarely, if ever, plays Space Ghost these days, that it… until last Sunday. And even though I thought preempting Mike Tyson Mysteries to show the first episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast was both a touching tribute to Croker and equally merciful to people who hate Mike Tyson Mysteries, somebody over at the House of Lazzo has now seen fit to unleash dozens of uncut Space Ghost episodes online. These episodes have long been the exclusive domain of ancient, incomplete DVD sets, piracy, Russian flash sites, and some of the most irresponsibly cropped YouTube videos known to man. So even in death, Croker has once again improved Adult Swim for the better. WATCH!
Although hardly a “complete” dump, it’s still plentiful, and it’s difficult to argue against in the face of a decade of little to no Space Ghost whatsoever. Plus. you’ve got a ton of great episodes! Including “Baffler Meal” (the unrecognizable debut of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force), “Hipster” (the episode hosted by Space Ghost’s Evil Twin Chad Ghostal), “Late Show” (a full-length scathing takedown of David Letterman penned by his own writers Spike Feresten and Steve O’Donnell), and one of my weirdo personal favorites, “Le Livre D’Histoire,” which was previously available on the VHS copy of The Mask, which I would’ve assumed to be one of the more legally difficult to get rights to (as opposed to all the other missing episodes). Honestly, I don’t mean to sound gift-horsey! I’m just glad to be able to see these again. And they’re all (seemingly, and for now) light on the commercials, and do not require a cable subscription to view. Have at it, chums!
If that weren’t enough, stewards of Space Ghost history know that after the show was “cancelled” (the cut-rate, Atlanta-based production always found some way to reemerge somehow), it was shortly rebooted behind the paywall of Turner’s short-lived GameTap service in the mid 2000s. Some magical human being has uploaded many of these short eps to YouTube recently, as well as E3 interviews with the most famous Peters of 2006 (Molyneux and Moore.) Please feel free to update me on any new and famous Peters video gaming may have to offer in the comments below. Until then, please enjoy some Space Ghost. And RIP C. Martin Croker.