The Young Astronauts (lost animated series; 1986)
|Drawn ad from a magazine: this is the only confirmed visual evidence remaining to this day.|
The Young Astronauts was an animated series originally meant to air on Saturday mornings on CBS in February 1986.
The protagonist would have been a young boy who was accidentally launched into a space shuttle, and setting in a spaceship in the 21st Century.
Each episode would have "real astronauts" (possibly live-action) in an educational segment called "Astro-Minute" talking about space-related science facts (including astronomy and gravity).
Several sources describe it as being produced by Marvel Productions.
Because of its space travel theme, the series was cancelled after the real-life tragedy of the NASA space shuttle Challenger (that disintegrated and caused the death of its crew members) on January 28th, 1986. It was never shown again anywhere, and there are no known/confirmed copies of episodes, cels, images or audio available.
According to an anonymous commenter on a blog, the pilot episode was actually shown on January 26th, 1986 on CBS, two days before the Challenger tragedy. The anonymous commenter claims that they worked on the series at Marvel Productions and there were a total of 13 episodes made, with only the first one that aired.
Considering that other sources claim to have seen the lone aired episode (and provided the loose description of the young boy accidentally sent into space - fitting the character in the drawn ad), it is possible that at least this episode could have been recorded on VHS by someone.
If it does indeed come from this animated series, then it would be confirmed that animation was done by Toei Animation as it did with other Marvel productions at the time (many western cartoons, especially serialized TV ones, were animated in Japan during the 1980s).
- Blog post talking about the cartoons in the ad, and an anonymous blogger's testimony about the one episode airing.
- NYT article describes the show.
- Source of the cel.