15 Things You Might Not Know About Space Ghost Coast to Coast

On April 15, 1994, when Space Ghost Coast to Coast made its debut, Cartoon Network officially stopped being a 24-hour channel entirely made up of old cartoons that Ted Turner had acquired. The series was the cable network’s first—and most influential—original animated series. Blending footage from a short-lived 1960s cartoon with a new awkwardly paced, cheaply produced, animated late night "talk show" setup, the series proved to be surprisingly popular with audiences, paving the way for the channel to produce similarly strange and original animated series. In 2001, the channel's tendency toward non-kid cartoons begot the late night programming block Adult Swim, which is now a brand of comedy in itself.

1. THE ORIGINAL SPACE GHOST HAD LESS THAN 90 MINUTES OF SPACE GHOST ANIMATION.

Space Ghost and Dino Boy was a series that ran for just 20 episodes on CBS in 1966 and 1967. It was created by Alex Toth, a cartoonist who himself didn’t care for Space Ghost’s design. Even with such limited material, Space Ghost Coast to Coast animator C. Martin Croker still managed to only have to make five new pieces of animation for the series' first episode, with the rest of the images coming from the original series.

2. TED TURNER INITIALLY REFUSED TO GIVE CARTOON NETWORK ANY MONEY.

Mike Lazzo started working for Turner in the TBS mailroom before gradually becoming Cartoon Network’s first programmer. At first, Turner insisted that he work only with the classic Warner Bros., MGM, Popeye, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons in their library. Lazzo’s frustration with not having any original programming and not having the money to change that fact was the first step to the strange creation of Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

3. JAY LENO AND DAVID LETTERMAN INSPIRED THE CONCEPT.

Lazzo, as well as fellow Cartoon Network staffers Khaki Jones and Andy Merrill, had a meeting trying to brainstorm ways to incorporate their properties into something new. After talking about Space Ghost, Lazzo went home that night and kept thinking about the character, as well as Leno, the recently installed host of The Tonight Show, and Letterman, who didn’t get the gig and was starting his own show on CBS to compete with Jay (with Chevy Chase and Arsenio Hall also competing for viewers). The next day, Lazzo presented his colleagues with the start of an idea.

4. THE ANIMATOR BECAME THE VOICE OF ZORAK BY DOING A GREAT IMPERSONATION OF HIM IN FRONT OF THE BOSS.

The aforementioned Croker was a Space Ghost fan from childhood, and nailed his impromptu audition. He would eventually get the voice gig for Moltar, too. Croker also came up with the idea of setting the show in space and suggested that Zorak and Moltar should be performing their bandleader and producing duties as unwilling prisoners.

5. THE OLD FOOTAGE OF THE CHARACTERS APPEARED ON A NEWLY DESIGNED SET THROUGH ROTOSCOPING.

Croker hand-drew talk show host poses for Space Ghost, like his tapping of index cards against the desk. He purposely didn’t use any technology so that the old footage and new footage wouldn’t look blatantly different.

6. HERVÉ VILLECHAIZE SIGNED UP TO PLAY SPACE GHOST’S SIDEKICK.

Sadly, the Fantasy Island actor committed suicide during pre-production for the series.

7. LA TOYA JACKSON WAS ALSO SUPPOSED TO BE A PART OF THE SHOW.

She was signed to “do some kind of fanfare/dance routine” for the opening, according to Merrill, but nothing came of it.

8. THE ORIGINAL PILOT WAS PRODUCED IN A CLOSET, AND THE GUEST WAS DENZEL WASHINGTON.

When Merrill edited clips of Washington’s interview on CNN Showbiz Today (promoting the movie Malcolm X) with old Space Ghost clips, he did it on a tape-to-tape VHS editing system, with a Radio Shack mic, just to see if Lazzo’s idea had any legs.

9. THE FIRST 15 SHOWS WERE WRITTEN BY THE NETWORK EXECUTIVES.

Lazzo and his fellow employees would schedule cartoons during the day and find an empty conference room to write scripts at night. During this time the editing, which was being done by Mike Cahill, was still taking place in a closet. "We were constantly fighting with the employees of Cartoon Network Latin America because their copier was right next to where he was editing—which was deafening," Lazzo told IGN.

10. WRITERS FROM LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN WERE EVENTUALLY HIRED.

When the budget went up to $30,000 per episode, Spike Feresten, who earned an Emmy nomination for writing “The Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld, and Steve O'Donnell, former head writer for Letterman and future head writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live! joined up. Other notable scribes include Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson, who wrote on the episode “Urges”, and future Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas got his first TV writing credit penning the season 3 premiere “Explode.”

11. GEORGE LOWE’S OUTTAKES VOICING SPACE GHOST WOULD BECOME PART OF THE SHOW.

For budgetary reasons, famous announcer and original Space Ghost voice Gary Owens didn’t get the late night talk show gig. Instead it went to announcer George Lowe, who enjoyed that his improvising would sometimes make the final cut. In one incident, he inadvertently burped, and attempted to save face by saying he had “Too many Cokes." The ad-lib made it into an episode, to the delight of his guests, The Ramones.

12. THE GUESTS WERE INTERVIEWED AT CNN BUREAUS.

At first, acting students were hired to wear a Space Ghost suit and interview the celebrities, but the guests kept laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. The producers eventually settled on having George Lowe ask the questions through a phone-patch into the guests’ ears, while the celebrities pretend they were able to see the animated host. Later, the writers would add quips from Space Ghost in response to the answers, and give him new questions to ask to make the taped answers sound crazy.

13. THE BEE GEES MISBEHAVED THE MOST.

The singers cursed and laughed so much that only 19 seconds of their interview was able to be used.

14. NASA NAMED ROCKS ON MARS AFTER CHARACTERS.

Space Ghost, Zorak, Moltar, and Brak became names of Mars rocks after NASA’s Pathfinder mission in 1997.

15. ERIC ANDRE BASED HIS LIVE ACTION TALK SHOW ON SPACE GHOST COAST TO COAST.

Before he started shooting Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show, "I rented as many seasons I could get my hands on and did a Space Ghost marathon by myself in my house, just so I could absorb as much Space Ghost as I could," Andre told The Huffington Post in 2012. "I picked Mike Lazzo's brain about it ... and he couldn't give a shit about Space Ghost. He's like, 'What? Space Ghost? Space Ghost is dead to me."

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Love Connection
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Between September 19, 1983 and July 1, 1994, Chuck Woolery—who had been the original host of Wheel of Fortune back in 1975—hosted the syndicated, technologically advanced dating show Love Connection. (The show was briefly revived in 1998-1999, with Pat Bullard as host.) The premise featured either a single man or single woman who would watch audition tapes of three potential mates discussing what they look for in a significant other, and then pick one for a date. The producers would foot the bill, shelling out $75 for the blind date, which wasn’t taped. The one rule was that between the end of the date and when the couple appeared on the show together, they were not allowed to communicate—so as not to spoil the next phase.

A couple of weeks after the date, the guest would sit with Woolery in front of a studio audience and tell everybody about the date. The audience would vote on the three contestants, and if the audience agreed with the guest’s choice, Love Connection would offer to pay for a second date.

The show became known for its candor: Couples would sometimes go into explicit detail about their dates or even insult one another’s looks. Sometimes the dates were successful enough to lead to marriage and babies, and the show was so popular that by 1992, the video library had accrued more than 30,000 tapes “of people spilling their guts in five-minutes snippets.”

In 2017, Fox rebooted Love Connection with Andy Cohen at the helm; the second season started airing in May. But here are a few things you might not have known about the dating series that started it all.

1. AN AD FOR A VIDEO DATING SERVICE INSPIRED THE SHOW.

According to a 1986 People Magazine article, the idea for Love Connection came about when creator Eric Lieber spied an ad for a video dating service and wanted to cash in on the “countless desperate singles out there,” as the article states. “Everyone thinks of himself as a great judge of character and likes to put in two cents,” Lieber said. “There’s a little yenta in all of us.”

2. CONTESTANTS WERE GIVEN SOMETHING CALLED A PALIO SCORE.

Staff members would interview potential contestants and rate them on a PALIO score, which stands for personality, appearance, lifestyle, intelligence, and occupation. Depending on the results, the staff would rank the potential guests as either selectors or selectees.

3. IN 1987, THE FIRST OF MANY LOVE CONNECTION BABIES WAS BORN.

John Schultz and Kathleen Van Diggelen met on a Love Connection date, which didn’t end up airing. “They said, ‘John, she’s so flat, if you can’t rip her up on the set, we can’t use you,’” he told People in 1988. “I said, ‘I can’t do that.’” However, they got married on an episode of Hollywood Squares. As the article stated, “Their son, Zachary, became the first baby born to a Love Connection-mated couple.”

4. IT LED TO OTHER DATING SHOWS, LIKE THE BACHELOR.

Mike Fleiss not only created The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but he’s also responsible for reviving Love Connection. “I always had a soft spot for that show,” Fleiss told the Los Angeles Times in 2017. He said he was friends with Lieber and that the show inspired him to “venture into the romance TV space.” “I remember it being simple and effective,” he said about the original Love Connection. “And I remember wanting to find out what happened on those dates, the he said-she said of it all. It was intriguing.”

5. A FUTURE ACTOR FROM THE SOPRANOS WAS A CONTESTANT.

Lou Martini Jr., then known as Louis Azzara, became a contestant on the show during the late 1980s. He and his date, Angela, hit it off so well that they couldn’t keep their hands off one another during the show. Martini famously talked about her “private parts,” and she referred to him as “the man of my dreams.” The relationship didn’t last long, though. “I had just moved to LA and was not ready to commit to anything long-term," Martini commented under the YouTube clip. "The show was pushing me to ask her to marry me on the show!" If Martini looks familiar it’s because he went on to play Anthony Infante, Johnny Sack’s brother-in-law, on four episodes of season six of The Sopranos.

6. BEFORE THE SHOW WENT OFF THE AIR, A LOT OF CONTESTANTS GOT MARRIED.

During the same Entertainment Weekly interview, the magazine asked Woolery what the show’s “love stats” were, and he responded with 29 marriages, eight engagements, and 15 children, which wasn’t bad considering 2120 episodes had aired during its entire run. “When you think that it’s someone in our office putting people together through questionnaires and tapes, it’s incredible that one couple got married, much less 29,” he said.

7. CHUCK WOOLERY WAS AGAINST FEATURING SAME SEX COUPLES.

In a 1993 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the interviewer asked him “Would you ever have gay couples on Love Connection?” Woolery said no. “You think it would work if a guy sat down and I said, ‘Well, so where did you meet and so and so?’ then I get to the end of the date and say, ‘Did you kiss?’ Give me a break,” he said. “Do you think America by and large is gonna identify with that? I don’t think that works at all.” What a difference a quarter-century makes. Andy Cohen, who is openly gay, asked Fox if it would be okay to feature gay singles on the new edition of Love Connection. Fox immediately agreed.

8. ERIC LIEBER LIKED THE SHOW’S “HONEST EMOTIONS.”

When asked about the show's winning formula, Lieber once said: “The show succeeds because we believe in honest emotions. And, admit it—we’re all a little voyeuristic and enjoy peeking into someone else’s life.”

9. IN LIVING COLOR DID A HILARIOUS PARODY OF THE SHOW.

In the first sketch during In Living Color's pilot—which aired April 15, 1990—Jim Carrey played Woolery in a Love Connection parody. Robin Givens (played by Kim Coles) went on a date with Mike Tyson (Keenan Ivory Wayans) and ended up marrying him during the date. (As we know from history, the real-life marriage didn’t go so well.) The audience had to vote for three men: Tyson, John Kennedy Jr., and, um, Donald Trump. Tyson won with 41 percent of the vote and Trump came in second with 34 percent.

10. A PSYCHOLOGIST THOUGHT THE SHOW HAD A “MAGICAL HOPEFULNESS” QUALITY.

In 1986, People Magazine interviewed psychologist and teacher Dr. Richard Buck about why people were attracted to Love Connection. “Combine the fantasy of finding the perfect person with the instant gratification of being on TV, and the two are a powerful lure,” he said. “There’s a magical hopefulness to the show.”

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New Doctor Who Cast and Crew Are Coming to San Diego Comic-Con
Steve Schofield, BBC Worldwide
Steve Schofield, BBC Worldwide

Though Doctor Who fans got a glimpse of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor in “Twice Upon a Time,” the iconic sci-fi series’s 2017 Christmas special, it will be a few more months until the first female Time Lord officially commandeers the TARDIS. While the new cast and crew have kept relatively mum on what to expect from the new season, which premieres in the fall, BBC America just announced that they’ll be gathering together in July to take part in their first-ever group panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

While Whittaker will be front and center on the panel, which will be hosted by Chris Hardwick, she’ll be joined by two of her three confirmed companions—Tosin Cole (who’ll play Ryan) and Mandip Gill (who’ll play Yasmin). Bradley Walsh, who is not confirmed to be in attendance, will play Whittaker’s main companion, Graham. Also joining the panel are executive producer Matt Strevens and writer-turned-showrunner Chris Chibnall, who has a long history with the series and with Whittaker (he’s the creator of Broadchurch, which saw former Doctor David Tennant star alongside new Doctor Whittaker).

“With this year’s highly-anticipated season packed full of action, adventure, humor and emotion, the panel will be the cast’s first-ever panel appearance ahead of Doctor Who premiering this fall on BBC AMERICA,” the network noted in a press release.

New faces both in front of and behind the cameras won’t be the only changes coming to the eleventh season of Doctor Who. Instead of 12 episodes, there will only be 10, though they will run slightly longer. While it’s not confirmed, it’s expected that the TARDIS will get a slight upgrade, too. But the most noticeable difference will be in the theme music: In February, the show’s longtime composer Murray Gold confirmed that he would not be returning for the new season. Which means that Whovians should prepare for a whole new look and sound.

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