Ben Rothstein, Marvel and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Earlier this week, the long-talked about merger between Disney and Fox Entertainment became official (to the tune of $71.3 billion), meaning that the door has opened to see many of your favorite Disney characters, including the Avengers, hang out with Fox family favorites like the X-Men. It's a potential alliance that comic book movie fans have long dreamed about, and studio officials are already considering the possibilities.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked specifically about whether Marvel Studios would absorb the X-Men franchise, and if Marvel head Kevin Feige would oversee that. "I think it only makes sense," Iger said. "It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn't be two Marvels."
This, of course, has led to wild fan speculation about how the studio might align the two superhero groups. According to Hindustan Times, one Redditor believes we could see the groups introduced as early as next month, when Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters.
According to the theory: Endgame could see the Avengers destroying the Infinity Stones, which will in turn create the mutant gene that all X-Men have. They give an example of this with Captain Marvel and the tesseract, which gave her the powers she currently possesses. The tesseract is now in Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet, but if the Avengers take the stones, it could cause a chain reaction like it did with Carol Danvers, and start a mutant gene.
While no one knows for sure how the X-Men will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it likely will be a little while before Disney starts up any new films based on these characters. As of right now, Fox is still releasing the Marvel films Dark Phoenix, which hits theaters on June 7, 2019, and The New Mutants, which has yet to land a definitive release date. Still, it's safe to say that fans are pretty excited to see what could happen if Wolverine and the gang joined forces with Captain Marvel and her fellow Phase 4 MCU characters.
This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.
Tubby Baxter and Gary Gnu in The Great Space Coaster.
Tubby Baxter. Gary Gnu. Goriddle Gorilla. Speed Reader. For people of a certain age, these names probably tug on distant memories of a television series that blended live-action, puppetry, and animation. It was The Great Space Coaster, and it aired daily in syndication from 1981 to 1986. Earning both a Daytime Emmy and a Peabody Award for excellence in children’s programming, The Great Space Coaster fell somewhere in between Sesame Street and The Muppet Show—a series for kids who wanted a little more edge to their puppet performances.
Unlike most classic kid’s shows, fans have had a hard time locating footage of The Great Space Coaster. Even after five seasons and 250 episodes, no collections are available on home video. So what happened?
Get On Board
The Great Space Coaster was created by Kermit Love, who worked closely with Jim Henson on Sesame Street and created Big Bird, and Jim Martin, a master puppeteer who also collaborated with Henson. Produced by Sunbow Productions and sponsored by the Kellogg Company and toy manufacturer Hasbro, The Great Space Coaster took the same approach as Sesame Street of being educational entertainment. In fact, many of the puppeteers and writers were veterans of Sesame Street or The Muppet Show. Producers met with educators to determine subjects and content that could result in a positive cognitive or personal development goal for the audience, which was intended to be children from ages 6 to 11. There would be music, comedy, and cartoons, but all of it would be working toward a lesson on everything from claustrophobia to the hazards of being a litterbug.
The premise involved three teens—Danny (Chris Gifford), Roy (Ray Stephens), and Francine (Emily Bindiger)—who hitch a ride on a space vehicle piloted by a clown named Tubby Baxter. The crew would head for an asteroid populated by a variety of characters like Goriddle Gorilla (Kevin Clash). Roy carried a monitor that played La Linea, an animated segment from Italian creator Osvaldo Cavandoli that featured a figure at odds with his animator. The kids—all of whom looked a fair bit older than their purported teens—also sang in segments with original or cover songs.
The most memorable segment might have been the newscast with Gary Gnu, a stuffy puppet broadcaster who delivered the day’s top stories with his catchphrase: “No gnews is good gnews!” Aside from Gnu, there was Speed Reader (Ken Myles), a super-fast sprinter and reader who reviewed the books he breezed through. Often, the show would also have guest stars, including Mark Hamill, boxer “Sugar” Ray Leonard, and Henry Winkler.
All of it had a slightly irreverent tone, with humor that was more biting than most other kid’s programming of the era. The circus that Tubby Baxter ran away from was run by a character named M.T. Promises. Gnu had subversive takes on his news stories. Other characters weren’t always as well-intentioned as the residents of Sesame Street.
Off We Go
The Great Space Coaster was popular among viewers and critics. In 1982, it won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children’s Programming—Graphic Design and a Peabody Award in 1983. But after the show ceased production in 1986, it failed to have a second life in reruns or on video. Only one VHS tape, The Great Space Coaster Supershow, was ever released in the 1980s. And while fan sites like TheGreatSpaceCoaster.TV surfaced, it was difficult to compile a complete library of the series.
In 2012, Tanslin Media, which had acquired the rights to the show, explained why. Owing to the musical interludes, re-licensing songs would be prohibitively expensive—potentially far more than the company would make selling the program. Worse, the original episodes, which were recorded on 1-inch or 2-inch reel tapes, were in the process of degrading.
That same year, Jim Martin mounted an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to try and raise funds to begin salvaging episodes and digitizing them for preservation. That work has continued over the years, with Tanslin releasing episodes and clips online that don’t require expensive licensing agreements and fans uploading episodes from their original VHS recordings to YouTube.
There’s been no further word on digitizing efforts for the complete series, though Tanslin has reported that a future home video release isn’t out of the question. If that materializes, it’s likely Gary Gnu will be first to deliver the news.