What happens when cartoon superheroes lose their Saturday morning gig fighting crime? Well, like most other “celebrities,” they end up hosting talk shows! Starting in 1966, Space Ghost (alias Tad Ghostal) saved the universe from wretched villains like Zorak the Mantis-Man, Moltar the Molten Man, and Brak the space pirate, on a weekly basis, with help from his teen sidekicks Jan and Jace, and their pet monkey Blip (who seemed to save the day more than anyone else, including Space Ghost). The gig went well, off and on, for several years, but by the mid-80’s the hero biz had pretty much dried up for Tad. He spent a lot of time at home watching soap operas and eating chocolate.
Then, a few years ago, something amazing happened. Space Ghost got his own weekly talk show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, on Cartoon Network. Shockingly, Tad’s teen sidekicks had disappeared, to be replaced by Zorak as his bandleader and Moltar as his director! Even more shockingly, the show became a huge hit, and led to a spin off, Cartoon Planet, which features the Ghost trading quips and singling songs with his former enemies Zorak and Brak! The success of their work has led to a new album, Space Ghost’s Musical Bar-B-Que, and a rare chance to put the Ghost on the other side of the interviewer’s desk…
Whatever happened to Jan and Jace?
Private school! Gave ’em a copy of the home game, sent ’em off to get an education. You can’t fly around in your underwear forever. You have to become a doctor, or a lawyer, or something.
Well, then why are you still flying around in your underwear?
Well, because I’m Space Ghost. That’s my job.
How do I know I’m talking to Space Ghost and not your evil twin brother, Chad Ghostal?
Well, because I’m not evil. I don’t have an evil bone in my body. Got a few sarcastic ones, as you are no doubt aware. But you know, Chad is just pure evil. He’s got the bad goatee, I don’t have a goatee.
What about the rumors that Brak is the brains behind the operation?
Ha ha ha! Oh, dear me. Julio, I’m afraid you’ve received bad information. Somebody has taken you down the wrong path. Brak is evil, but the problem with Brak is, he’s too dumb to carry the plan out. You come up with a plan for, say, taking over the universe, and somebody will hold up an ice cream, and he forgets everything. See what I’m saying? You have to have a train of concentration in order to be truly evil. Y’know, because then basically, it’s just like everybody else in an office that envisions the boss’ head exploding. But it’s not like you’re gonna stick a piece of dynamite in the boss’ ear, y’know, somebody will show you some ice cream and you’ll forget everything. That’s Brak’s deal. Brak’s just too goofy to follow through. Lucky for me, because I’ve got my hands full with Zorak and Moltar!
I heard that Zorak is actually being paid more than you.
You heard that? Oh, my goodness, how did you hear that?
Well, that’s the rumor on the Internet.
I certainly hope your information is wrong! Good heavens!
What made you decide to make the transition from saving the universe to hosting a talk show?
Well, pretty much I had wrapped up all the scum of the universe, and shoved them all behind bars in Omega Prison, and it came down to “boy, do I ever have a lot of spare time on my hands!” So between shopping, and of course, hobbies around the house, there was really not a lot to do. The fine folks at Turner Broadcasting, who are always thinking of things… you know, they’re always coming up with something over there, they’re always working in the lab over at Turner… one of the fine youngsters there said “hey, you know, why don’t we do a talk show? Space Ghost could be the host!” and I said, “you know, I like the way you think.” That’s how that began. How much more do they say Zorak is making?
I believe Zorak was making somewhere in the six-figure range.
Which of your two shows do you prefer doing?
I’m a big fan of both, but I must stick with the talk show. The talk show is definitely the fun one for me.
Who have been some of the guests that you’ve most enjoyed having on Space Ghost Coast to Coast?
I have many, many favorites, but Steve Allen is coming up soon, and he was great. Michael Stipe from R.E.M. was terrific. David Byrne was fun, frightening, but fun. I thoroughly enjoyed Kevin Meaney, who was one of our earliest guests.
What about someone like Merrill Markoe?
Markoe was great, are you kidding? She’s terrific. Gave me a rough time, but aside from that, y’know, good interview!
You seemed kind of miserable in that episode…
Well, she was trying to get the better of me, y’know, and the thing is, that makes for exciting television, so I had to just sit there and take it. Makes for exciting TV viewing, don’t you agree?
Y’know, when somebody just keeps pushing, you know what I’m saying, Julio?
You sitting up straight, Julio? You recording this interview?
Yes, I am.
Are you using a tape recorder?
You’re supposed to tell people you’re recording, aren’t you, Julio? Isn’t that part of it? You see what I mean? You’re in the hot seat, now, like Merrill Markoe, I’m pushing you. Do you feel pushed?
Are you feeling uncomfortable? Starting to work up a little sweat? Starting to get a little drip on the brow?
You see what I mean? That’s what you do, you keep pushing!
Is that what Zorak does to you?
Oh, no. Zorak will try to do something evil, and then I blast him.
What about a few weeks ago, when he destroyed all your statues of the Presidents?
That was not a happy day for me. I’ve tried to block it out. Especially my little George Washington, y’know. That really upset me. Father of our country, you know.
I thought you were from space?
Oh, I am! But I consider myself an American because, after all, that’s where my show airs. And Europe, too, so I guess I’m British as well.
What exactly happened to you this past week when Chad took over your show?
Mr. Big Shot came in and took over the show, and I just thought, “Hmm. I’ll go to the mall!” I went and had one of those giant cookies. You ever eat the giant cookies?
Yes, I have.
Oh, man, that’s good eatin’. I had one of those giant cookies, and what else did I do… hung out, kinda goofed around at the movies for a while, didn’t see anything too great. I suddenly ended up in Boogie Nights. I thought it was about dancing.
Well, I guess in a sense it could be considered to be about dancing.
You’re a nasty boy! You’re a dirty boy, Julio!
Has your brother been caught yet?
I believe he’s been taken care of.
Because you know, he beat up Brak…
He belongs locked up in the nutty house, you know. Chad is no good. His performance has been wholly unacceptable. Our mother gave us both a good whack, you know, she’s warned us many times about trying to kill each other. I learned my lesson, I’ve been leaving him alone, but he’s just bonkers. He’s always coming after me. He’s like Merrill Markoe, you know, he’s nuts, he’s always coming after me. I get calls from Markoe here at the house seven, eight times a day. She’ll call and say “Hello, is Dave there?” and I’ll say “”no!” and she’ll hang up. She thinks that’s funny.
Have you seen these commercials that Zorak’s been airing with you in the mid-80s?
Yeah, well, you know, I suppose I have. The ones where I let my personal hygiene kind of go to pot.
How did you come back from that?
Situps. Situps, and you watch your fatty snacks. You know, instead of having a bag of chips, you sit down and you have some lovely dried apricots. Boy, they’ll give you gas though, those dried apricots.
Do you write all your own songs, or does someone write them for you?
I’ll give you a sample. We have a very talented writing staff, and then sometimes, Brak and I will get together and we’ll have fun, or Zorak and I will get together and do things. Musically, I’m known for my human beatbox, you know. Would you like a sample?
“Space Ghost Head”
Okay! Get ready to dance! [Space Ghost proceeds to give a riff that puts the legendary Fat Boys to shame]. Pretty musical, huh?
Pretty musical! Is it true you’re going to be working on a project with your recent guest, Beck?
Y’know, Beck and I are gonna have to do something, yeah. Either that or Paul Westerberg, who’s such a huge fan of the show.
Of course, you’ve got Man or Astroman? doing some of the music for your show. Are you going to do a project with them, since you’re both from space?
They’re the best. Especially if we can do something that sounds like [lapses back into human beatbox]. Something like that.
You don’t seem too impressed, Julio. I’m knocking myself out over here, and you’re like, “okay.” Yeah, fine, Julio, don’t dance. Don’t let the rhythm take over. Don’t feel the funk.
Well, I haven’t been hit with the “soul ray” that you were using a few weeks ago…
Get ready to get a dose of the spank ray!
Well, I don’t know about that. I’m not animated to explode.
Oh, okay. Well, it won’t work then. I did it to an Earthling the other day, but the only thing that happened is he retained water.
Did you and Moltar make up after the fist fight a couple of weeks ago over Erik Estrada?
Oh, I suppose. Moltar’s such a goofball. He has this Estrada thing, I mean, golly! You just want to slap him with a shoe. You ever slap anyone with a shoe, Julio?
Very painful. You kids should never do that at home. That’s what the wrestlers will tell you, y’know. The wrestlers will say “oh yeah, always eat your peas, boys and girls!” We had Hulk Hogan on, and Hulk thought he was talking to a seven-year-old the whole time.
Do you think you could take him?
Take Hulk? Please. I’ll let him carry my bags. Hulk can drop me off at the airport. You know what I’d say to Hulk Hogan if he were here right now? “Make me a sandwich.” You see, Julio, you have to be assertive with people. Am I right about that?
Am I right? You know what I’m saying?
You’ve gotta be assertive. You have to let people know who’s the boss. How many more did they say Zorak’s making?
I believe it was in the six figure range if I remember correctly.
You may want to talk to the bug, he may be skimming some off the top…
Yes, I’ll have to address that matter. I hope he’s not upset when he finds out I’m making seven…
There may be a blast in order…
That’s true! You’ll keep that seven figure thing under your hat… wait till I come out with my own line of Space Ghost Brand Faberge Eggs. I’ll be rolling in money!
Will there be any action figures coming out?
I don’t know. I haven’t heard anything about that, although I think they are going to have Vision Impaired Space Ghost. That’s the only one we’ve talked about so far, where he’ll go and try to reach for the keys, and he’ll keep missing his keys. Every kid will want one! You know, how it will work is that he’ll see really well at the beginning, and then you put these little drops in his eyes and his pupils dilate to about eight times normal. It’s really cool!
What exciting guests do you have coming up?
Let’s see, we’ve got Steve Allen coming up, with Andy Dick, that’s going to be a terrific show. Charlton Heston is on the way…
You should have had Charlton Heston on the same show with Ice-T, that would have been interesting.
Oh, wouldn’t that have been interesting. How about Chuck D? That was fun. The rapper. You know, I love the rap music.
Maybe you should get together and do a beatbox with him.
I’m down with that! You know, Julio, that’s colloquial kid talk there. When I’m in the hood, I know how to communicate!
Did Ice-T ever hook Zorak up with some fly honeys, as he demanded?
He did! They were dope AND fly! I was off trying to get my groove on.
What about in your private life? Are you seeing anybody?
Well, I had been seeing Wonder Woman, but you know, nag, nag, nag! “Bring some ice… “
Will we ever see Moltar’s lovely wife, Linda, make an appearance on the show?
I hope so! She looks like one of them Nitro girls, on World Championship Wrestling. She’s quite attractive.
How did Moltar land a babe like that?
Oh, he has his secrets, I suppose. Chicks dig evil guys, sometimes. Y’know, it’s like the bad guys in the Bond movies, how they always get such babes.
That’s true. My girlfriend, in fact, has quite a lot of affection for Zorak…
Oh, well it’s nice that you can take all of my time to tell me how the OTHER characters are so popular! I’m about out of time, Citizen Julio. Make sure to write lots of nice things about me! Don’t forget the part about the seven figures!
Did you want me to put that in there?
No… just say “more than Zorak! So there!”