Sunday, August 06, 2006

In the Beginning...

Hard to believe next month it'll be thirteen years since I started work on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Also can't believe how many people are already gone who were associated with the Show as it first aired. Starting with Herve' Villachez (who was originally to play Ed Macmahon to Space Ghost's Carson in the Pre-Zorak and Moltar model for the show), the list would eventually include Sonny Sharrock, Ran Coney, Charlie Willis, and most recently "Ghost Master" Alex Toth himself.
Of course Alex never consciously worked on Coast to Coast, but a lot of the scenes that I picked for repurposing on that show were from original 1966 scenes he had laid out ("The Sandman" episode in particular). The first thing I asked for when I started work on SGC2C was as many model sheets as possible. Of course, back then Cartoon Network didn't know exactly what they had yet, or where to find it, so I was pretty much on my own on that one. (Luckily, I knew some guys that were still working at H-B at the time and one of them sent me a packet of SG goodies.)
Since I wanted to start this blog at the beginning --and pay the late, great Mr. Toth some tribute at the same time if I could-- then how better than with a look at some of the Ghost drawings that started it all? Okay, that said--here's some choice original art --most of which are Toth. Some were scanned right off the originals --the ones I own at least --the rest from as close to the source as I could muster). Enjoy!

Here's a really odd original piece of "Ghost Team" conceptual art...almost a halfway-point in design between Space Angel (1960) and Space Ghost.

This one is a little more H-B at least (the "Jace" kid looks a lot like Jonny Quest)...But what exactly provides the"ghost" hook here?

Now we're getting somewhere! This original Toth model sheet that goes a long way to define the look of classic Space Ghost. (Though the power band buttons were still located on his belt at this point.)

Of course on the original series we never see Space Ghost's true identity (and offhand I can't think of any other hero from this time-period that just didn't have a secret identity) but if we had, this is what Alex thought he would look like...

Here's Alex's models for Jan and Jace too.

Okay --now here's a peculiarity. This Space Ghost cast size chart (dated April 11, '66) includes
a mod-hairdo Jan and Lil' Dr. Soonev (from SG episode The Energy Monster). Could it be that at this point he was to have been the Ghost Planet science officer?

Whatever the reason, check out the next page and boom...Soonev is gone! Somebody gave 'im the "invisible snowman" treatment. (Also SG now has the familiar power bands, Jan has the familiar hair-do, and blip lost a little weight and became a cuter monkey with a shorter tail.)

...Add a little adjustment to SG's chest imblem and Bada-Bing! all fixed. (And youse didn't see nothin' unnerstand?)

Final SG color model, looking pretty dead-on (here printed a little dark...) from May 2, '66 --less than a month after the "Soonev incident".

More changes! The original 1966 Zorak model sheet. Looks from here like The Z-Man was almost the T-Man...Note that not only does it actually say TORAK and his Henchmen on the left, but you can see where a Z has been pasted on top of the T on the right. (Ironically Zorak is one of the few villian models not drawn by Toth)

Moltar changed to Moltor too, (as he was called in his first SG appearance "The Ovens of Moltor") Here's the original Toth model...

The original Brak and Sisto model sheet. (See, Brak Show fans? Sisto was so on the original Space Ghost show!)

Ah, the lovely Tansut...He's the only Coast to Coast character that I made a conscious decision to make older than he was on the original show. With Don Kennedy's (60-something) voice comin' out of him to begin with it just seemed like a natural decision.

(All characters copyright Cartoon Network)

That's it for now, folks. More early art comin' soon!


Blogger Julie said...

Tansut ("Can we hit 'em with the rusty metal???") and Moltar are freaking amazing. It's pretty sweet putting 'em in the show was your idea! :D

1:27 PM  
Blogger C. Martin Croker said...

I can claim Zorak and Moltar at least...I'm not sure who drafted Tansut (He first appeared in Coast to Coast on "The Space Ghost Christmas Special")but it may have been Andy Merrill or M. Lazzo himself. Thanks for the comment as always!

9:07 PM  
Blogger Matthew I. Jenkins said...

Nice post! Keep 'em comin'! I especially like the early, (marker?) comps. Which ones are in your collection, and which ones xeroxed? Oh, and, I can't believe it's been, what, almost 10 years since I worked on it as your assistant!?! (I ain't lettin' that guy in my house! hah-ha!)

2:34 PM  
Blogger C. Martin Croker said...

I own the SG color model, The Brak and the Tansut models...I'd have the Moltor too if not for meddling Taco Bell and their "food" --While it mercilessly assaulted me from within Moltor sold on eBay for 180$!! Ah well...)

9:58 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Just out of curiousity, how much of C2C was ad-libbed by you and George Lowe?

6:34 AM  
Blogger Silvolf said...

Wow Space Ghost's design looked quite different in those first pictures! I didn't know Zorak was originally Torak. I think Zorak suits him better though! I knew Sisto was Brak's partner from seeing clips of the original show. Did Toth create all the characters for the show?

1:23 AM  
Blogger G.W.A. said...

11:19 AM  
Blogger G.W.A. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Wayne Infect said...

Awesome history! I've been looking for this kind of info on SG for years. At what point did the new animation first come into use on SGC2C? I'm guessing it was probably around the 96-97 era.

And where's the next DVD release? :)

7:25 PM  
Blogger C. Martin Croker said...

Thanks Folks,
Julie --Probably more than anyone at CN would be comfortable with us disclosing. Thanks again!

Wayne --Well, I'll take that as a completment...We had new animation in there from day one --though we started off with just 10 scenes of new scenes.
BY the 1997 season we we generally putting in about 3-5 new scenes per show on average. Some were one-shot gags, and others were new "Library stock" and almost immediately went into heavy rotation. Thanks for the questions and sorry for the delayed response guys! I'll do better in 2007.

1:13 PM  
Blogger bryce.coburn said...

You are the MAN!

8:39 PM  

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