By Doug Levy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 20, 1997

Cooking Up Laughs At Space Ghost's Musical Bar-B-Que


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Space Ghost's Musical Bar-B-Que, a new release from Cartoon Network and Kid Rhino, offers tunes from some of the '60s super hero's greatest adventures.

Let's face it, we love cartoons. There are many different reasons for this national obsession, but humor is undoubtedly at the top of the list. Often, part of those funny shows is funny songs, and if we love the shows, chances are we love the songs as well. In fact, cartoon song compilations make for great albums. The Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits compilation, which featured covers of classic cartoon songs by alterna-rock artists, became itself a classic. Last year's The Simpsons: Songs in The Key of Springfield was equally good, capturing many of the show's best moments in music and sound-bytes.

And Space Ghost's Musical Bar-B-Que, a new release from Cartoon Network and Kid Rhino, is no exception to the rule.

If you haven't seen either "Space Ghost Coast to Coast," or its sister show "Cartoon Planet," which both air on Cartoon Network, you've been missing out on some of the funniest, most bizarre stuff television has to offer. Both shows star '60s superhero Space Ghost and his enemy Zorak; rounding out the cast on "Cartoon Planet" is another villain, Brak. Both of the bad guys are Space Ghost's prisoners, released from his space jail, and ostensibly forced to work on the show.

The programs' writers are apparently a bunch of very strange guys who just put whatever comes into their heads in the scripts, without any self-censoring. On "Coast To Coast," celebrity guests are "interviewed" in the manner of late-night talk shows, so they have some contribution to how the program proceeds. On "Cartoon Planet" however, the characters just seem to spout things off at random, apparently oblivious to any standards of making sense. This makes for a lot of lunacy, often in the form of song. And the new compilation is just full of these songs. Included are tracks like Brak's "Don't Touch Me," a beat-boxed MC Hammer pastiche, Zorak's "Don't Send In The Clowns" and Space Ghost's own "Ramblin' And Wanderin'," an obvious tribute to Steve Martin for anyone familiar with his old comedy routines and his "Rambling Guy" act. There's other Martin influenced moments as well, which at least gives some insight into where these guys get their off kilter concept of humor from.

Plus, there are the usual sound-clips as well, perfect for answering machine messages, such as "Big Head," where Space Ghost declares, "I'm having a big head day!" and "Minkey Boodle," which features all the characters repeating "Stop it, stop it, stop it," over and over again in their ridiculously silly voices.

There are even karaoke versions of a couple of the songs, so you can give them your own wacky personal touch.

The liner notes feature a commentary by Space Ghost himself, detailing the highs and lows of his career, wherein he declares, "I've got something no other cartoon superhero has ever had: a burning desire to sing."

Well, let the man be heard already. He won't care if you laugh.

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