« Interview: Sci Fi Weekly | Main | Interview: EDGE Boston »


Matt Dinniman

Holy cow. I didn't think I'd seen that show until I saw the screen caps of the puppets. I was in kindergarten in 1980, so it had to have been around then.


I’m now having horrendous flashbacks, thank Nick! I had apparently completely wiped this show from my memory, but it all came rushing back when I read your post. The horrible shrieking spoon, the etiolated hippy singing freaks, the dead-faced puppet children and their rocket—I’m actually shuddering over my keyboard.

However, growing up in Canada, we had the most frightening of all children’s programming: witness the HILARIOUS HOUSE OF FRIGHTENSTEIN and despair.


I also have vague memories of a one-off chilling cartoon diatribe about the benefits of the metric system presented as a nightmarish vision of a world where you would be isolated by using a different method of measuring. The title escapes me now. It was a kind of dystopic “Rip Van Winkle” tale of a man who wakes up in a world that has changed to metric and left him behind. A bit like what I imagine living in the US might be like…

Ângelo Fernandes

I like the Doodlebops expression "We want to eat your children." That's seems to be a good educative show ahahah

here in Portugal, only Teletubbies passed on tv, but we have our own "dubious" children programs.

My faverouties was He-man and The Transformers, and still are.
A few months I bought ONLY for 5€ The Transformers - The movie featuring the voices of Leonard Nimoy and Orson Welles. And if I'm not wron with some artistic help of Peter Chung.

I was affraid that today I was a bit disapointed, but hell not, I love it more, ahahah, I can't waith for the 2007 dreamworks vision in the new movie.




I'm very glad I only ever watched Sesame Street and Barney when I was a little kid. Those puppets creep me out NOW.

Nick Sagan

Matt: 1980 sounds about right--they syndicated Vegetable Soup throughout the early '80s. That's a great list you have, by the way, and now I'm curious to check out The Shivered Sky.

Andrew: My evil plan worked! Now the nightmares return... That Frightenstein show is new to me, but I am indeed despairing. By "hilarious" I assume they meant "freak out triggering?" And we Americans are in complete denial of the metric system. Officially, I can't even pretend to know what that is.

Ângelo: That's the same Peter Chung who did "Aeon Flux" for MTV's Liquid Television? I had no idea he worked on "Transformers." How cool. Has Seth Green's "Robot Chicken" reached Portugal yet? It's a series of stop motion animation comedy skits using characters from old cartoons, comic books, etc. They've featured the He-Man and Transformers characters, and some of the skits are quite funny.

Elizabeth: You're one of the lucky ones. Bad as Barney was, at least the producers of that show kept the dead-eyed puppet kids out of it. *shudder*

Ângelo Fernandes

Yes he's the author of Aeon Flux. He on transformers had more a supporting role on the artistic development.

"Robot Chicken" I think not, as faar as I see not. But I guess a cartoon as this wouldn't pass by me misunderstading. I must check it on the web.

About Transformers, 2 weeks ago I found a comics magazine who mixed GI Joe with transformers. I just saw one number and it seems to be really cool.



A bit out of topic - but I remember watching Stephen King's It on TV when I was about 5. Not a good idea at all, and to this day I ignore his books despite his many acclaims + he shares the same birthday as me; and I still don't like clowns. In fact, I remember being scared of going to McDonalds after that show. So yeah. Scarred for life.

Fred Wemyss

Those drawings look like the work of Gerald Scarfe. He did the artwork for the Pink Floyd LP, THE WALL. He illustrated Hunter Thompson's books.
I'm only guessing, but if the show had the voices of James Earl Jones and Bette Midler, the producers could easily have wanted a cutting-edge artist to do the animation. They'd have picked Hieronymus Bosch if he'd been around.


does anybody own and would like to sell a copy of vegetable soup???the cartoon from the 1970s. I would love to buy them.


Oh, man!! Until I saw this posting I had forgotten what the puppets looked like!! For years my sister and I have been talking about the episode where the puppets take their spaceship to a place where everything you say means the "opposite" of what you actually say. The puppet kids told the people of this place that they came as friends; so these people took it that they were really enemies!! They got mad at the kids and I forget the rest, yikes!!!


**ANYONE looking for the Vegetable Soup show for personal viewing can contact me to obtain a set of the 1st complete season on 13 DVDs at a reasonable price. These were created from the original broadcast tapes, and are near excellent video, and good audio. I aquired these from a guy who made them from the tapes, and I paid his outrageous price to own them, but I believe everyone should have access to this bit of nostalgia, so I'm reproducing them at half his cost so that all you people that are dying to see the Outerscope episodes again, along with the rest of the 70's goodness from the show, can have them without feeling like you're making a car payment to do so.

Send an email to [email protected] if you want this piece of history for yourself, and your children, because there are some real lessons to learn from this show - I wish they still made this required viewing in elementary schools today.


Wonderfully evoked, Nick.

I recently did a post on Vegetable Soup, but I like yours better.

valid username

I've spend many years trying to forget these frightening images and the horrible nightmares that occured after watching each episode. I blame you for sending me back into therapy.


"Brownfield" was the last name of one of the animators working on Vegetable Soup. In the late 70's early 80s's he lived in Brooklyn. This im 90% certain of.
I cant say where he is now, but I was a comic book fanatic - and good friend of his son "C----". I saw his artwork regularly.

Hos son and I were good friends at PS 214,in NY untill his family eventually moved.




Dennis Recio (drecio@usfca.edu)

On Outerscope 2:

I recall more vividly, Outerscope 2, which consisted of twenty-odd episodes of these kids in search of Tia Rosa and a golden medallion. What made it amusing and perhaps less frightening than the first set, Outerscope 1, was that they filmed the second adventure primarily in New York and its vicinity. Actor, Daniel Stern, (commonly known as the narrator for ABC's sitcom, The Wonder Years) played one of two villains trying to get hold of the gold medallion before our heroes could get to it. Eventually, the two villains, one male and one female, would snatch the medallion from a young girl (to whom it properly belonged) and tried to escape in the children's spaceship only to crash on some train tracks. The five kids, because they are supposed to be the "good guys", save the two creeps from being killed by an oncoming train. They return the medallion to the rightful owner and the kids go home. In the second series, consistent with the rest of the show, Outerscope embraced multi-culturalism, providing the kids with clues that would lead them to people of varying ethnic backgrounds. Nobody was ever demeaned for their ethnic heritage but instead, the focus seemed to be on providing children with tools for basic morality (e.g. the evils of stealing, etc.).

As Mr. Sagan writes, the first series of Outerscope was rather disturbing primarily because the stories presented us with five hapless children in constant danger. Their adventures throughout the first series managed to land them in serious trouble, particularly when they came across some very fastidious creatures on a planet who did not like litter. Apparently, filth was outlawed and for whatever reason, our five heroes would inadvertently make a mess and provoke the ire of the planet's inhabitants. What made the first series fascinating was the fascism of the country and how these five kids sunk deeper and deeper into trouble, just for creating a mess. Was it early socialization about the value of cleanliness? Perhaps.

Personally, I loved Outerscope but I also found the intercalary images between segments on Vegetable Soup frightening and beguiling at the same time.

Happily Gen X:

Dennis Recio
San Francisco, California

Metric Mindy

I'm just curious if anyone out there remembers a little PBS show about the metric system in the 70's. The catchy little theme goes through my head and I know it existed but I can find nothing about it on the internet. It featured humans and puppet type things teaching all the elements of the metric system in a variety of confusing ways. If anyone has any info about it, I would appreciate it.

I loved Vegetable Soup. But Outerscope did seriously give me nightmares. It was just a little too out there for me. Woody the Spoon I could watch for days. Perhaps that's why I'm such a fan of Aqua Teen Hunger Force as an adult.

Brian Weatherley

Metric Mindy, the show was called
Metric Series

38 15 minute episodes

(approximately 600 minutes of animation)

A series of animation programs designed to teach children, as well as adults, the metric system of weights and measures. The metric Series features a mild mannered character named Newton Joule who, when conversion problems arise, turns into the superhero Metric Man to teach children about liters, meters and grams. They learn the metric system is used worldwide, and that once understood, it is easier to use then gallons, yards and pounds.

Sound Clips Billy

Yes! I finally have been able to figure out this creepy show's name!

Watch an episode here:


PS - Check out these tv show sound clips:


The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad

August 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

Idlewild Trilogy

  • i d l e w i l d

    "Sagan has a ferocious imagination."
    -- Stephen Baxter

  • e d e n b o r n

    "One of the best post-apocalyptic novels you will ever read."
    -- SFX Magazine

  • e v e r f r e e

    "Sagan's mind-blowing post-apocalyptic trilogy comes to a satisfying, terrifying conclusion."
    -- Kirkus Reviews


  • Aristeia Rising

    "An intense and intelligent story partnered with art that makes your eyes drool."
    -- Ain't It Cool News

  • Hubris

    "Lord, this is epic. If you thought the first volume of the Shrapnel series was intense, brutal, and dark, just wait until you get your hands on its follow up."
    -- Comics Bulletin


  • Future Proof

    "A delightful 'expedition in search of the future,' providing clear explanations of today's cutting-edge technologies to find where science fiction has become reality."
    -- Publishers Weekly

Star Trek

  • Voyager: Season 5

    "Year five of Star Trek: Voyager is the greatest achievement in its seven year run. This is Voyager in its prime, and in its absolute top form."
    -- DVD Answers

  • TNG: Season 7

    "One of Next Generation's best seasons ever... The series was at the top of its game, consistently turning out episodic sci-fi hours that felt fresh and captured the imagination."
    -- SciFi.com

Computer Games

  • Zork Nemesis

    "The story is dark and gripping. Numerous subplots and twists are heightened by a surprise climactic revelation. Character developments are complex. The portrayals of the dark side of mankind in these characters are chilling."
    -- The Adventure Collective




Carl Sagan

  • Visit the Carl Sagan Portal

  • Visit the Celebrating Sagan site

  • Visit the Planetary Society