Writer’s Workshop: Riffing on “Break”

Before I start, I wanted to say that I was intrigued by this question:

Who did you walk the aisle with at your high school graduation? Where are they now?

I walked out with a girl named Sherree, a pretty girl with bangs and glasses and a nice figure. I had seen her here and there during the three years I was there, but never had classes in common with her. She was out of my league anyway… No idea where she is now; I’m pretty sure she’s still alive, because I haven’t seen her name on the list of deceased classmates.

Anyway…

Drop the E from break and you get brak, or better, Brak. There was a Saturday morning cartoon in the ’60’s and ’70’s called Space Ghost, a typical superhero thing. SG flew around with two teenaged partners named Jan and Jace, who had a monkey named Blip and enemies that included Moltar, Zorak, and Brak. When Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting, proprietors of Cartoon Network, bought MGM, they got Hanna-Barbera, the creators of Space Ghost. They took one look at Space Ghost and figured, "hey, we can have a little fun with this"

Soon, Space Ghost starred in Space Ghost Coast To Coast, kind of like The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, with Zorak, who looked like a praying mantis (or a locust, depending on when you watch the show) and was caged in a prison pod so he wouldn’t cause any trouble, playing the roles of Doc Severinsen and Ed McMahon, and Moltar, who wore a fireproof suit and a helmet, acting as the producer/engineer for the show. They would embed live footage of actual celebrities into a TV screen on the cartoon Space Ghost’s desk, and, through the magic of some pretty amazing editing, Space Ghost would "interview" the celebrity, while being heckled by Zorak. Here’s an example: the guests are members of the cast of Gilligan’s Island.

Sorry I couldn’t find the one with Greta Van Susteren…

Anyway, Space Ghost Coast to Coast was so wildly successful that they decided to create an "after school" version that aired in the afternoons called Cartoon Planet. I discovered it when I was on the road, flipping channels on the TV, and was instantly hooked.

(Yes, I have the album, as you might expect.)

Cartoon Planet was a little more freeform, and included Space Ghost, Zorak, and another former archnemesis, Brak, whose mind got a little scrambled. Here he is, singing "I Love You, Baby."

And they’d get into fights, like this one.

Brak proved so wildly popular that they spun him off in his own show, Brak Presents The Brak Show Starring Brak. I’d talk a little about that, but I think you probably need a break…

11 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Riffing on “Break”

  1. We didn’t walk two by two. I was behind Brocelyn Owen (she’s a dentist now) and I do not recall who was behind me…
    I’ve seen the show advertised or something, maybe my son watched it, it’s vaguely familiar.

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  2. I feel like I should remember that show, but I don’t. I also feel like I should remember whom I walked with at graduation. But I don’t. Of course, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast, so maybe I shouldn’t, in fact, feel like I should remember stuff from that long ago. Sigh.

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  3. I grew up watching Space Ghost when he was a serious space hero. I never cared for how he was made ludicrous on Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

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    1. The cartoon was pretty good, although I’ve only seen odd episodes on Cartoon Network (which we no longer get because we cut the cord a bunch of years ago). While I can see your point, I just remember laughing like an idiot at some of the stuff they did, and think it’s quite clever that they were able to figure out how to adapt the characters to a comedy setting.

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