Saturday, December 26, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Space Academy: "Space Hookey" (December 3, 1977)

This week on the 1977 Saturday morning, live-action, Filmation production Space Academy, space orphan Loki and his diminutive robot friend, Peepo (actually a "self-determining type-A manu-droid," according to this episode) decide to skip out on Commander Gampu's (Jonathan Harris) boring Astrography Class (in classroom 5), steal a Seeker, and go on a joy ride through space.

Alas, the Seeker is shadowed by a comet, and Peepo and Loki go to visit it. There, they discover two glowing amorphous life-forms who happen to be playing hookey too. 

One is a red glowing ball, the other a white one. These chipmunk-voiced aliens possess Loki, causing the boy to become schizophrenic. "It's crowded in here," they complain of his mind.

When Loki and Peepo get hauled back to the Academy for disciplinary action, one of the non-corporeal aliens takes over Commander Gampu (Jonathan Harris) and makes him mince around the control room counting numbers like a kindergarten student. "Onesie, Twosie, threesie, foursie" he says as he skips about merrily...

Then, Gampu begins acting as a space pirate, incarcerating those who resist his orders, and ordering them to walk the plank.  But then things become truly dangerous as Gampu orders a course for "Terazoid."  To reach that destination, the Academy planetoid will have to take short cut through hostile Denebian Territory. And that's against a space treaty! 

While Chris (Ric Carrott), Laura (Pamelyn Ferdin), Tee Gar (Brian Tochi) and Adrian (Maggie Cooper) attempt to figure out what to do, a menacing-looking Denebian "space drone" starts taking pot shots at the approaching Academy.

Finally, in a story resolution familiar from Star Trek's "Squire of Gothos," the glowing aliens get caught by their Daddy, a blue glowing light. He takes them home for punishment, but promises not to be too harsh. They are, after all, just kids...

"Your mother and I will deal with you when you get home!" he says. The aliens quickly vacate from Gampu, and also from Paul, who became possessed after Loki was freed.

"Space Hookey" is a really fun show, and it remind me of the heyday of Star Trek, Lost in Space, Space: 1999 and Buck Rogers.  

Those were days when not every single episode of a space adventure had to be life and death.  This story starts out innocently enough, but there is a threat when the characters possessed by the alien life-forms don't realize they have put the Academy and all its personnel into very grave jeopardy. The miniatures of the Denebian ships are fantastic too.

Also, I should note, "Space Hookey" looks ahead.  A first season episode of The Next Generation (1987 - 1994), called "Lonely Among Us," tells basically the same story.  In that case, another non-corporeal life-form takes over a commanding officer (Picard, rather than Gampu) and begins making him act strangely, and -- eventually -- dangerously too.  

Next week: "Star Legend."


  1. SPACE ACADEMY at it's best. The model work it top notch as anything in prime-time '70s.


  2. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Every time Jonathon Harris starts to camp it up and overact can be cringe-worthy when watching this as an adult(bringing back memories of the worst second season eps of Lost in Space).

    The photo of the Denebian ship looks like something out of the Star Wars universe. Definately one of the series best effects scenes.