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1962. Dick Darley
Space agents fight space crime and go on space missions in an early 1960’s hard sci-fi universe.
Almost everything about Space Angel is incredibly cheap. The standout is the Clutch-Cargo-style lips superimposed over character faces. There is as little animation as possible, and a constant reuse of old shots and assets.
Because every episode is essentially a slideshow, it can accommodate amazingly detailed Alex Toth still art. Alex Toth’s later animation work would use simpler designs, fewer details, and be easier animators to use to add real motion or at least a sense of movement to their work. Toth’s work for Space Angel is perfect for stills, pans, and the terribly limited animation of the show - it’s static, meant to be scanned over by the eye, full of blinking lights and a thousand little greebles. The plot of the show itself makes similar trade-offs: to save money it spends as much time as possible on physics-plausible rocket flights, lays on the Popular Mechanics-style pseudoscience dialogue where Space Ghost would just cut straight to the laser beams and monster fights. The details are delightful.
Here’s an episode (or rather a string of five minute episodes) now: