The Phantom Planet

Space AcademyOn Space Academy, Commander Gampu urges his cadets to monitor the asteroid Proteus IX-B. Instruments and scanners pointed in that direction have spotted a ghostly planet that appears and disappears at random. But Chris and the others have a more serious mission to the asteroid: to eliminate its hazard to the spacelanes, they’re ordered to demolish it with explosives. When the Seeker lands there, the shaking of the ground indicates that the asteroid may be too unstable to plant demolition charges safely. And then Laura and Adrian spot a ghost – one who wants them to follow it through a wall of solid rock.

written by Samuel A. Peeples
directed by Ezra Stone
music by Yvette Blais & Jeff Michael and Horta-Mahana

Cast: Jonathan Harris (Commander Gampu), Pamelyn Ferdin (Laura), Ric Carrott (Chris), Ty Henderson (Paul), Maggie Cooper (Adrian), Brian Tochi (Tee Gar), Eric Greene (Loki), Peepo (himself)

Space AcademyNotes: Timed and themed for broadcast just before Halloween 1977, The Phantom Planet is a highly unusual episode of Space Academy, trading in shaky “science” for psychic phenomena (complete with a seance and the Gentry siblings taking a walk on the astral plane). The ghost of Proteus IX-B appears and disappears with a sound effect that would later become the familiar sound of another Saturday morning series: Pac-Man powering up with power pellets. The term “oraco” appears here, and from context it would seem to be analogous to “yes sir” or “I’m on it” (the actual script, included in the Space Academy DVD set, offers no definition). Also ill-defined is the nature of Chris and Laura’s astral walk: if they can do that, why bother to send the Seeker anywhere? And if their physical bodies aren’t at risk, why worry about what’s happened to their spirit forms on the asteroid?

LogBook entry by Earl Green