The Young Astronauts (lost animated series; 1986)


The Young Astronauts
Drawn ad from a magazine: this is the only confirmed visual evidence remaining to this day.
Drawn ad from a magazine: this is the only confirmed visual evidence remaining to this day.
Status Lost
Full page ad from 1985, announcing the new animated shows that would begin airing that fall.

The Young Astronauts was an animated series originally meant to air on Saturday mornings on CBS in February 1986.

Premise

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.

Cancellation

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.

Findings

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.

An animation cel possibly coming from The Young Astronauts.
An animation cel attributed to The Young Astronauts has resurfaced among a private collector's gallery; the character looks like an astronaut, and at least fits in the theme of the cartoon.


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).


References

Comments


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Anonymous user #1

21 months ago
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This is by far my most sought-after piece of lost media

Surely there has to be a way to get it

I know DIC isnt around anymore

Could it be in a CBS vault somewhere?
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Nanis149

18 months ago
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Not completly true. It's sought- after? Yes. But not as much as ADWSS.
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Anonymous user #2

18 months ago
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They said it was THEIR most sought-after piece of lost media, not the most sought-after in general
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Flashbcaks

17 months ago
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someone should post the muppet babies & monsters ad below the young astronauts ad on the little muppet monsters page :0
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Reynard

16 months ago
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Well, how about you do it? :)
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Anonymous user #3

14 months ago
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There was also supposed to be a Marvel comic based on this show (published under their "Star" imprint).
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Reynard

10 months ago
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Source?
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Path

9 months ago
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http://www.l...UT%20COUNCIL

Some interesting reading here.
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Anonymous user #4

8 months ago
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I have a comic book that has an ad of sorts for a comic based on this show (I believe that's what it was) I'm going to go investigate and post it to tumblr or something if I find it
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FireSquid

8 months ago
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I made that comment(forgot to log in)
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FireSquid

8 months ago
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http://www.w...taticboombox Here it is if anyone is interested.
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Anonymous user #5

7 months ago
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From the launch in October 1984 until early 1987, I was the Director of Curriculum for the Young Astronaut classroom program. I was also science advisor for the CBS funded Marvel effort to produce a cartoon show with some accuracy, but still aimed at the Saturday morning audience.character sketches, scripts including episodes by Star Trek original series writers like Norman Spinrad and D.C. Fontana were written. The ship was the Courageous captained by Murakami. The AstroMinutes which I co wrote with then Marvel producer Geraldine Frerks, now Clark (Rug Rats) were intended to be between episodes like Grammar Rock. The AstroMinutes hosted by real NASA astronaut Joe Allen, author of "Entering Space." And astronaut Katherine Sullivan (first US female to spacewalk and later NOAA Administrator) actually aired on CBS and were submitted unsuccessfully for the Emmy nominating process. CBS shut down the project for costs as well as the uncertain environment after Challenger. Marvel producer Karl Guers left for Disney. Eventually, I was asked to develop some action figures for another series attempt and came up with magnetic boots "Magna" for what I considered a rediculous plot by the staff at Mattel. Episodes of that series based on a animated military theme eventually aired. I watched for five minutes until a ship landed on Mercury and the pilot, without helmet, opened his cockpit. The toys were released.

I left the Young Astronaut Council where I had been a loaned government executive to direct development with NASA's support of the commemorative Challenger Center for Space Science Education established by the Challenger families.
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Anonymous user #6

6 months ago
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The Young Astronauts wasn't just about a boy launched into space. His entire family was including their aidful robot. Essentially it was sort of a "Lost In Space" ripoff. From the research I have done on the show, I have only turned up a few pieces from the show. First is an original drawing of the family which I think may have been for the dropped Star Comics series. Second, I am in possession of several of the live action "Astro-Minute" segments. Someone who worked on the show uploaded them to YouTube several years ago and has since taken them down. Lastly, that animation cel looks to be more of DIC quality. I have doubts it's from a Marvel production. From what I gather (and I could be wrong), Ruby Spears animated the series and is more than likely now owned by Warner Bros. The character in the animation cell looks like an older Scott Trakker from M.A.S.K. or a younger character from a show like Stardom. The child in the Young Astronauts is younger and confirmed to be a blonde.
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Anon

6 months ago
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Can you reupload the astro minute segments?
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