Monday, December 14, 2009

Galaxy Goof-Ups – Vampire of Space – review (TV Episode)


Directed by: Ray Patterson and Carl Urbano

Release date: 1978

Contains spoilers

The Galaxy Goof-Ups was a short lived cartoon that sat (originally) within Yogi’s Space Race and featured a space patrol made up of Yogi Bear (Daws Butler), Huckleberry Hound (Daws Butler), Scare Bear (Joe Besser), Quack-Up (Mel Blanc) – all of whom were under the command of Captain Snerdley (John Stephenson).

vampire planetThis episode was from when the show was given its own slot, following the cancellation of Space Race, and features a space vampire. Indeed the vampire – Count Vampula – lives on a vampire planet dominated by a huge shadow of a bat. Later we hear that he hates turning into a bat, he gets air sick and when he hangs upside down all the blood runs to his head!

Zomba and VampulaHe has a large castle on the planet, where he is served by a zombie manservant who, originally, is named Zomba. He has decided that he wishes to take over the galaxy with his army of zombies and to do so he must take over the Goof-Ups, which means vampirising Captain Snerdley. Honestly, it would have been easier to just release his zombie army, but…

dentures as well as fangsGalaxy intelligence warn the Goof-Ups, eventually as they are busy playing Go Fish at first, but Snerdley will hear nothing of it – he doesn’t believe in vampires. He even orders the Goof-Ups to stay away from him. Whilst they will do this, ultimately, there is a fair bit of slapstick before that comes to pass. Meanwhile the Count has got his dentures – despite already having fangs – and headed to the Goof-Ups headquarters.

shadow of the vampireHe travels by bat shaped space ship and, on planet, has some slapstick adventures before creeping up on Snerdley, in his sleep, casting a shadow ala Nosferatu and then vampirising him. Bizarrely the Count does not seem to bite him, he simply aims his dentures – in hand – at the Captain. Indeed we actually only get one bite in show – more on that later.

the bat shipThe two vampires and zombie are back in the bat space ship, making good their escape, and the Goof-Ups give chase. However the Goof-Ups find need to stop off at the interplanetary disco – why? Because the psychedelic disco scene was a feature of each and every episode! Yes, when danger is present go and shake your booty to badly aged dance music!!!

They eventually get to the planet.

To cut a long story short, Quack-Up is turned, making him a much earlier example of vampire duck than Duckula. The other Goof-Ups manage to get to Vampula’s laboratory and find three potential cures. The third one works – the other two lead to sight gags that didn’t work because they were drawn too distant and passed too quick.

SnerdleyNow, I said we see a bite and it is in the coda, once Vampula has been caught. Quack-Up bites the vampire’s leg (to see how he likes it). This causes the vampire to turn into a duck, pretty much in the mode of Quack-Up. All in all the humour in this misses more than it hits. Perhaps it’s because I never really watched this as a kid and so I have no rose-tinted glasses or perhaps because, even when this aired, having a disco sensibility was, for me, no good thing. That said, there is some merit within and it is kid friendly, throw away stuff. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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