Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Far Out Space Nuts: "The Three Spacekateers" (October 9, 1975)

In “The Three Spacekateers,” two alien beings arrive on the planet surface where Barney (Chuck McCann), Junior (Bob Denver) and Honk (Patty Mahoney) are repairing their lunar lander. After meticulously cleaning a faulty Electric Guidance System, Junior manages to get dust in it and damage all Barney's work.

Angry, Barney calls Junior “useless” and Junior runs away, feeling sorry for himself. The next morning, he sees the landing of the alien saucer. These aliens (called Sporians) mistake him from their mission leader, “Junio.”

Junio is supposed to help them capture their female ruler from evil aliens call the Troyax.  Now, they are stuck with Junior, who arranges to invade the Troyax fortress, and distract the evil aliens with a magic show. Barney and Honk help out.

But the real Junio has also arrived on the planet…

It’s a case of comedic mistaken identity this week on Sid and Marty Krofft’s Far Out Space Nuts (1975), as the bumbling Junior is mistaken for an elite trainer of soldiers, the gold-skinned alien Junio. 

Much of the humor in the episode arises from the fact that Junior keeps getting things right, though always completely by accident. For instance, he accidentally leads the aliens to the mountain that houses the enemy fortress. Then, when he arrives there, here accidentally discovers the “ant-gravity” rocks that can carry the team to the summit of the same mountain. He’s a bumbling idiot, but this week, a lucky bumbling idiot.

The evil Troyax this week look like the Gill Man from the classic movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), though with some of the fish-elements lessened a bit. They may have been commercial masks from the time, only modified for use here.

In terms of special effects, this episode features many shots of the alien flying saucer flying over the land-scape, and some chroma-key shots to integrate the two Klingon-like aliens into the shot with them. At one point, the footage doesn’t quite match up, as the two humanoids seem to grow inordinately in size.

Finally, the mistaken identity concept breathes new life into an episode with a familiar plot line: Junior and Barney restoring a (female) royal to her throne. One wonders why so many female leaders are being dethroned in this universe, and why only the galaxy’s two worst bumblers can help them get their power  back.

Next week: Flight of the Pippets”

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