There has been much debate over the history of the Captain Stargood TV show over the years. What little is known is based on vague recollections, anecdotal reports, and no small amount of sheer conjecture. After so many years, much has been lost to the mists of time but what follows is our best attempt to gather the facts (such as they are).
Fresh from the success of a popular series of animated commercials, the shows creators, early-1960s wunderkind puppeteers and filmmakers Oswald Larsen and L. B. Laurence, were approached by network television execs anxious to cash in on the growing national fascination with the Space Race. A notorious megalomaniac, Larsen demanded and surprisingly received, total autonomy in the show’s production. Apparently satisfied with the limited footage they were shown of the requisite spaceships and puppet derring-do, the team was given carte blanche for their production. The show debuted on time, and by some reports, fared quite well in the ratings.
Then someone actually sat down and watched the show.
Reports are sketchy on the exact chain of events which followed, but horror-stricken executives infamously later described what they witnessed as “unwatchable, twisted, and utter sh*t.” Perhaps worst of all were the unauthorized commercial sponsorships interspersed throughout the show, for products wildly inappropriate for impressionable youngsters. One account blamed these unfortunate additions on L.B. Laurence’s desperate attempts to recoup advance monies, which had disappeared under somewhat cloudy circumstances.
By this time untold thousands had been spent, but the increasingly detached and bizarre Larsen refused to alter what he now claimed was his “unflinching look at the world of tomorrow.” Threatened with massive law suits, the two young filmmakers fled with what they could grab and disappeared, never to be heard from again. The networks, fearing massive legal action from concerned parents, promptly destroyed the remaining prints and set about attempting to disavow all knowledge of the show.
Over 40 years later, prints of some of these lost episodes began appearing under mysterious circumstances on the doorstep of N.Y.-based designer and illustrator Laird Ogden. He and fellow sci-fi buff Larry Basinait, along with the Stargood Players, are pleased to make them available again here after all these years…