History

The early 1970s was a kind of chaotic time at Hanna-Barbera (and at the other major animation studios, too). Cheaper animation studios from Europe and (slowly) Asia were slipping into the market, and with cartoons relegated almost exclusively to kids and their ever inconstant taste, Hanna-Barbera had struggled to find success.

Attempting to step up the plate, H-B had parlayed the counterculture into a marketing giant with "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" in 1969. And, in true H-B style, they immediately created several one-offs from the show, among them "The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan", "Goober and The Ghost Chasers", and "Speed Buggy". Of these, the most successful and well-remembered one is "Josie And The Pussycats", based on the successful Archie comic spin-off. Featuring Josie and her friends, a rock band, plus their manager and ne'er-do-well tagalong Alexandra, the group solved mysteries while touring the country and releasing generic funk classics. The first season had seen good ratings, but the second had shown some signs of slipping. Hanna-Barbera saw cartoons as the real opportunity to be outlandish, to erase boundaries. They also saw the boom in sci-fi movies and shows with the success of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And so, in the fall of 1972, they took the musical ladies on a strange trip to the final frontier.

The Show

Josie, in outer space.
Pussycats are all in place.
(ahhh) Blasting off on another chase.
Mars, stars, the milky way,
when they're groovin' who can say.

Buckle up your seatbelts.
They could be in orbit (in the stars).
On a spooky planet (maybe Mars).
There's no way of knowing
When they're groovin' way above the atmosphere,
trying to get back to here.

They're blasting off now.
Josie's on a rocket ride.
Pussycats all by her side.
Bleep Bleep is the kooky guide.
Come along and dig the chase.
With the Pussycats in outer space.
The Pussycats in outer space.
(yeah)
theme song lyrics

"Josie and the gang are visiting NASA when Alexandra's vanity leads to a struggle, and the group accidentally falls into a capsule and launches it into space. Landing on a strange planet Zelcor, they meet Bleep, a cute alien who will be their space guide."

(Could I make this stuff up?)

The show began airing on September 9, 1972. 16 episodes were created, and with the exception of the backgrounds and the new alien baddies (who spoke remarkably good English), the show's premise was still the same. Apparently George was right: it's galactic, baby child!

Episode Listing

"Where's Josie?"
"Make Way for the Multi-men"
"The Sleeping Planet"
"Alien Alan"
"The Sun Haters"
"The Mini-Man Menace"
"The Water Planet"
"The Space Pirates"
"Anything You Can Zoo"
"Now You See Them, Now You Don't"
"The Four-Eyed Dragon of Cygnon"
"The Forward Backward People of Xarock"
"The Hollow Planet"
"All Hail Goddess Melody"
"Outer Space Ark"
"Warrior Women of Amazonia"

Strangely enough, no online episode guide can be found. I have only see one episode myself, "Anything You Can Zoo", which basically placed the girls in a zoo at the hands of the guards. They put the guards to sleep with a song and escape, and release the other (gigantic) creatures. When the girls are surrounded and almost re-captured, their new friends come to the rescue. I'm told Cartoon Network's Boomerang does re-air these on occasion, so I'm on the lookout. And by God, if you see an episode, /msg me!

Sources

  • http://www.yesterdayland.com/popopedia/shows/saturday/sa1108.php
  • http://www.lunar.org/docs/LUNARclips/v7/v7n4/josie_and_the_pussycats_in_outer.htm

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