Before Spaceballs, there was Quark

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(WARNING – RECYCLED POODOO – This was my 24th entry from just after the release of Episode III, when the Hyperspace Blogs at were still brand new…)

Moose Poodoo
by: The Dark Moose
date posted: Jun 24, 2005 11:44 AM

Proof that shtoopid 8-year-old kids are pretty easily enterained…

At the time of the release of Star Wars in 1977, it was widely believed that for the most part, the sci-fi genre was dead as far as network television was concerned.

Sure, Battlestar Galactica made a run at it. Space 1999, too. But actually, at least in terms of longevity and interest, they were right–these shows went supernova after short and inglorious lifespans. Mind you, I was a huge fan of many of these shows, especially Galactica, but let’s be honest, it’s because I wanted more Star Wars.

In the time between Trek going off the air 1969 and the premiere of Star Wars in 1977 and shortly thereafter, sci-fi television programming suffered from the same malaise as fashion and the economy. It was widely relegated to Saturday morning cartoons and younger interests. Even plans to resurrect Trek in 1978 petered out in favor of making a new motion picture.

Network executives lacked the insight to see a burgeoning market, and to complicate matters, nothing could compare to Star Wars. So one brave little show went left and decided if you can’t beat ’em, make fun of ’em.

I give you Quark. It was a collosal failure.

Quark aired on NBC and continued to the decrepit age of 7, count ’em, 7 episodes. Its debut was February 1978, and was ripped off the air in April 1978, beaten to death, wrapped in an old rug and dumped in the Hudson like nothing had ever happened. But it pre-dated Mel Brooks’ ideas for his Spaceballs movie by nearly 9 years.

The premise of the show was actually all about poking fun at sci-fi, especially the ever-so-topical and timely Star Wars. It was campy, it was droll, but hey–it had a pair of 70’s hotty twins, too. Here’s a list of the episodes:

Quark – Season 1:
May The Source Be With You (2/24/1978)
The Old And The Beautiful (3/3/1978)
The Good, The Bad And The Ficus (3/10/1978)
Goodbye, Polumbus (3/17/1978)
All The Emperor’s Quasi-Norms – Part 1 (3/24/1978)
All The Emperor’s Quasi-Norms – Part 2 (3/31/1978)
Vanessa 38-24-36 (4/7/1978) 

And that was all she wrote. You can see from the titles what it was going after, and honestly, as a kid, I loved this show. It was funny! Of course, I was 8, and I thought flatulence was funny, too, but that’s beside the point. Still do, but that’s also beside the point…

The show starred Richard Benjamin of Westwold fame, for you sci-freaks out yonder. The cast was comprised of one bipolar robot, Andy the Android, the aforementioned twins who…did something on the ship in skimpy spaceware, I forget what…, the first officer Ficus of the half-man/half-plant Vegeton species, Jean/Gene of the half-man/half-woman gender bender species, some sort of Big Head in space, and Benjamin’s boss, Dr. Palindrome of the premature baldness species.

I’ve wondered for years what became of my old Friday night diversion until I stumbled across it again doing a web search on sub-atomic particles, of all things. Back then, for those short weeks, the show managed to get me off my bike, in from the outside joys of childhood and scrambling to get a good spot next to my siblings about 4 inches from the screen. I think in restrospect, I was so enraptured with Star Wars, anything, anything that remotely sounded like Star Wars was fair game.

I’d be willing to lay odds that a very precious few of you out there remember this little horrid gem of TV gone by, given that you were even alive in 1978. But if you do, give me a holla :0)

Here’s a website that gives you all the quirkyness of Quark.

May the Source be With You,
DM out

About The Dark Moose 17 Articles
The Dark Moose is an administrator on the Port Haven Forums and a regular contributor to Port Haven Magazine. He gained internet fame as a moderator and blog contributor on StarWars.Com. He is currently being treated for his addiction to pineconez at an undisclosed location. Or not.