Mind-Erasing Kits
Gilles Deleuze's Theory of Cinema in Space Ghost: Coast to Coast

    Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is an animated series that aired from 1994 through 2004 on the Cartoon Network, mostly in unenviable late-night, weekend time slots, as well as on other networks internationally and in the United States.  This ten year oeuvre consisted of a series of episodes inconsistent with the time frame of conventional television seasons, and ended on a permanent hiatus broken only by unannounced Space Ghost manifestations on other shows, such as Perfect Hair Forever, and on Cartoon Network parent company properties, such as Game Tap broadband entertainment network.  The show's basic format is a talk show parody that willfully mashes up live action celebrity interviews and locations with animation liberated wholesale from an uninspired 1960s Hanna-Barbera superhero cartoon, Space Ghost and Dino Boy.  Over the life span of the show, using this simple framework as premise, creator Mike Lazzo and his team of writers, actors, and animators pervert, distort, differentiate, transform and mutate not only that framework, but the 'classical' movement-image as well, producing a contemporary, critical praxis within the entertainment industry that profoundly resonates with the taxonomy of intervals and images that Gilles Deleuze catalogs in Cinema 1 and Cinema 2 toward the goal of dismantling the movement-image and elevating the time-image.
    Deleuze situates the crisis of the movement-image at the fulcrum of his revised history of cinema, defining a moment in the aftermath of World War II during which audiences cease to believe in the continuity of narrative and become aware of the filmic techniques that create it.  Audience disillusionment with action-image cinema's irrevocable premise that there must exist actions capable of somehow modifying, or being engendered by, global situations begins to undermine "the linkages of situation-action, action-reaction, excitation-response, in short, the sensory-motor links which produced the action-image."1  Deleuze lists five characteristics of the nascent, rebellious image that emerged with Italian neo-realism the wake of the action-image: "the dispersive situation, the deliberately weak links, the voyage form, the consciousness of clichés, the condemnation of plot."2  Space Ghost presents all of these characteristics and more to critically heighten our boredom with the action-image, and to nurture the birth of thought intrinsic to this boredom.
    The formulation of dispersive reality as "a series of fragmentary, chopped up encounters"3 precisely describes Space Ghost's structure.  The television format's episodic nature is at the foundation of this structure, providing a de-globalizing effect, especially considering the contrast of the multiplicity of ninety or so twelve minute episodes with the narrative monolith of a feature film.  Further, each Space Ghost episode is produced through intrinsic fragments, clips torn from celebrity interviews and from the original 1960s cartoon.  These fragmentations also simultaneously prevent the show's dissolution into series of sketches4  by establishing consistency through the source of the animated footage and through the celebrity interview.  The celebrity interviews that reiterate the episodic nature of the series are chopped up encounters in themselves, typically re-edited so that the questions Space Ghost asks his guests are blatantly disconnected from the replies that have been filmed, to confusing or humorous effect.  A moment during the Judy Tenuda interview in the early Elevator episode particularly emphasizes this through repetition.  Tenuda tells Space Ghost that "friends are just enemies who don't have the guts to kill you", which prompts Space Ghost to ask "Judy, are friends just enemies who don't have the guts to kill you?", whereupon the space of the TV monitor inhabited by guests on the show replays the same clip of Tenuda's definition of friends.5
    Space Ghost also toys with weakening the links from event to event, displacing them with chance and indifference, just like the examples Deleuze cites in his identification of the way the viewer moves from action to situation6.  The show's running fixation upon intertitles to indicate technical difficulties handily illustrates this replacement via a segment from the Sharrock episode.  Rumbling and camera shake cause Space Ghost to observe aloud that the set seems to be under attack by one of his enemies again.  Moltar, a superheated supervillain from Space Ghost's 1960s superhero past, press-ganged into directing the talk show to atone for his crimes, confirms this.  Moltar, Space Ghost, and the other characters on set chew over this information with lassitude, resigned familiarity, and sarcastic indifference.  The chance attack by random, invisible, and unspecified enemies draws viewer attention to the weakness of this event's connection to the narrative flow of the episode.  On a command from Space Ghost, Moltar uses the lever on his directorial mainframe to cut to an 'UNDER ATTACK PLEASE STAND BY" technical difficulties intertitle.  The intertitle serves to further pry apart the links between events in this episode, for a time entirely shutting down visual event-to-event linkage, as well as replacing aural linkage with a noise-rock interlude, presumably courtesy of celebrity guest Thurston Moore's band Sonic Youth.  This situation continues for two minutes, a full one sixth of the episode's twelve-minute length, and unceremoniously ends with Space Ghost's admission that the attack was faked, followed by a collective, obviously false explanation of how it was staged.  These explanations are permeated by an additional indifference, arising from the fact that the viewer doesn't know and that it simply doesn't matter whether or not the attack was real or faked.7
    That interlude and its conclusion takes the viewer through an illustration of weakened links between events and further, into Deleuze's fourth and fifth characteristics of the new image; the foregrounding of cliché and the condemnation of plot, respectively.  'It was all a fake/all a dream' must be one of the most heavily trafficked narrative paths, a groan-inducing cliché born of the rigors of maintaining situation and action in lockstep as dictated by the axioms of action-image structure.  The vague, disconnected attack, the irrelevance of whether it happened at all, the characters' blatant unconcern, and finally the abandonment of plot for noise rock all mock the role of a plot, and suggest that it is unnecessary.  Space Ghost broadcasts the idea that viewers and art practitioners, everyone, can have more fun, more mental and emotional freedom, and yes, more noise rock, by abandoning not only that tired old "enemy attacks superhero's base" shtick, but all plot in general as inherently cliché .  This is consistent with Deleuze's analysis of plot after linkages between events are removed, which construes it as a closed set of images, and "what forms the set are clichés, and nothing else.  Nothing but clichés, clichés everywhere. . ."8
    The remaining manifestation of the new image emerging out of the crisis of the action-image is a proliferation of voyages, Deleuze's third characteristic in the identification of the crisis, as well as another recurring obsession within the annals of Space Ghost.  One literal example, found in the late episode Whipping Post, elevates and satirizes the sonic affection-image that takes the form of Space Ghost's anger.  He flies off on a pointless circular journey to blow off some steam, returning with anger intact as well as with hiccups instead of the post card stamps he requested at the convenience store.  The sequence's soundtrack is Space Ghost's continuously looped, angry scream.9
    A second example, from another late episode, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, is consistent with a more broadly defined voyage, derived from Deleuze and Guattari's idea that "the schizophrenic voyage is the only kind there is."10  Space Ghost embarks on a trip induced by a sickle embedded in his head.  He hallucinates the sickle's absence, Moltar's sexy outfit, the problem of sinister computations in Moltar's directorial mainframe, and the destructive solution to this problem.11  In breaking the "super-computer" of his trip, Space Ghost literally destroys the machine responsible for constructing narrative on the Space Ghost set, and therefore the composition of the action-image.
    Deleuze and Space Ghost also share a concern with montage, the fundamental machine for constructing the movement-image's "relationship with the whole"12 of the creative work and time, albeit indirectly.  Space Ghost attacks montage early, often, and openly, starting with Moltar's gem of a tribute to women in the entertainment industry during the episode Girlie Show.   Hand-lettered and hand-swapped title cards identify that "S. GOST PRESENTS" a "TRIBUTE TO WOMEN".  The tribute is an accelerating montage of shots of women from cinema and other live action found footage, culminating in an ever more frenetic rhythm of musical noise and horrified Hollywood scream ys; cliché.  It is a brief, degenerate case of montage, forging a simplistic relationship with a limited whole, incapable of adequately addressing the whole represented by its purported title.  Zorak, Space Ghost's unwilling band leader and willing mantis nemesis, yawns with exaggerated boredom, capping a sequence that foregrounds the potential vacuity and intellectual bankruptcy within such image and narrative composition13.  This sequence also serves as a convenient metaphor for the off-hand, totalizing gloss-over that Deleuze applies in his sole analysis of female authorship throughout Cinema 1 and Cinema 2, in which he suggests that the house is a key cinema theme "not simply because women 'inhabit' houses, in every sense, but because passions 'inhabit' women".14
    A similar degenerate montage also appears in the Anniversary episode of Space Ghost.  It composes climactic action-image clips from the old 1960s cartoon into a career retrospective, depicting Space Ghost the super hero getting beaten and zapped by a succession of monstrous villains.  Space Ghost's vanity reacts with profound disgust for the way he is depicted, as befits a bloviating show-boat of a talk show host.  But he reacts most strongly to the idea of montage itself, which sends him on a destructive mission to fire bomb Parisian landmarks, heedless of collateral damage.  Just like in the previous example, this montage again forces a laughably simplistic relationship with a limited whole that inadequately addresses the montage's supposed subject.15  
    Space Ghost also foregrounds and exposes the workings of montage from another, more subtle perspective, by enacting a cumulative type of Kuleshov effect.  Lev Kuleshov was a turn of the century Russian film maker who used the same shot of a matinee idol's impassive face, first arranged between shots of food, then shots of a pretty woman, and lastly shots of a coffin, to conduct an experiment.  For each unit of montage, viewers reported that the actor looked hungry, aroused, or deeply sad, depending on which of the three kinds of shots preceded and succeeded the shot of the actor.  The demonstration elegantly expresses that the burden of meaning-creation falls upon the side of the montage, not upon the acting or the content of shots. Closed shot stacked right up against closed shot, forming new meaning via composition, links in a perpetual chain of "and then, and then, and then."  
    Space Ghost produces its cumulative Kuleshov effect by using and re-using sparse, fixed image loops of the original 1960s cartoon in episode after episode.  Different quips, conversations, situations, and plots set to the same tight loops, the same shots of Space Ghost behind the desk, Zorak's reaction shots, shots of Moltar's lever motions on the directorial mainframe, varied only by the clips he pulls from the feed.  A sequence of these shots from the episode Toast stands in for the multitude of examples.16 In fact, Space Ghost mainly consists of such shots.  Since there are relatively few bits of footage drawn from the original cartoon, their array is palpably finite to a viewer of just a handful of episodes.  These closed sets are repeated ad infinitum to lend an optical scaffold to a variety of meanings over the course of a ten-year time frame, and each time they repeat, they remind the viewer of the mechanism that composes meaning, thus transcending it.  As Kierkegaard, via Deleuze, puts it, "To the eternal return as reproduction of something always already-accomplished, is opposed the eternal return as resurrection, a new gift of the new, of the possible."17  Sameness, image loops craftlessly reproduced, unmoored from their original cartoon ground, the ultimate index of montage, as well the ultimate line of escape.
    Any point between the shots of montage, on the plane of immanence of movement-images, inherently manifests an interval, "a gap between the action and the reaction"18 that exists to be filled, and this is the condition of Space Ghost as well.  According to Bergson via Deleuze, this is the only precondition necessary to produce a delay, a duration emerging between the shots, a potential novelty and unpredictability.19  Space Ghost proves equal to the task of realizing this potential, beyond the reactionary, beyond representation, into producing creative possibilities from the ruins of the movement-image.  Fire Ant is a rare twenty-two minute episode meant for a half-hour time slot, and Space Ghost uses this extra time to stage a sublime manifestation of duration.  Space Ghost spends eleven minutes of the episode, roughly all of the extra time, following a fire ant home, setting a snail's pace through the set, the hallways of the Ghost Planet Industries building, outside through the barren Ghost Planet itself, crawling from the right side of the frame to the left through indeterminate Ghost Planet landscapes.  Space Ghost finally finds the fire ant's home, as well his monstrous, over-sized parents, who promptly give chase.  The last shot suggests that the return journey to the set will be a much faster one.20  It is as though a lever is suddenly pulled, a crank turned, or a light casting a shadow, and time scurries back to its corner, to what it was supposed to be doing.
    The Fire Ant sequence compresses the two parallel durational flows implicit in the movement-image, the duration of cinema time and the duration of viewer time.  This not only evokes the present and time itself, but also the contrivance of cinema time.  The visual space of the sequence undergoes a similar compression, a stripping away.  Less than a minute in, the viewer strongly suspects that the rest of the episode will consist of desolate, unimaginatively rendered Hanna-Barbera landscape succeeding landscape, "strangely and terribly flat."21  Time flows so slowly that the viewer is thrown back into her own thoughts.  It is important to note that this is especially the case if she watched the episode as an analog stream, like broadcast TV, as opposed to a digital, scannable stream like Tivo or computer.  The soundscape is an atmosphere of buzzing sounds and distant wind, sometimes birds, but mostly Space Ghost humming to himself.  The soundtrack and the animation struggle toward a situation Deleuze describes as "a purely optical or sound situation [that] becomes established in what we might call 'any-space-whatever.'"22
    According to Deleuze, any-space-whatevers give rise to a type of character that "does not act without seeing himself acting, complicit viewer of the role he himself is playing"23.  The characters in Space Ghost take it one step further and do not even act, since they are a variably recurring crew of crudely realized animated loops, cultural detritus duplicated from the past and imbued with contemporary voices.  They are a Warholian factory of reanimated superzeros, complete with degradation, substance abuse, serpentine, gutter-bound career paths, and a perpetual lack of money.  They engage in "perverse modes of behavior which they produce and animate".24 The images of celebrity guests, although produced through live action footage, do not act either, since any acting employed in filming could be neutralized and subverted through the process of remixing the question-response pairs, and since Space Ghost often cannot differentiate between actors and the roles they play.  Furthermore, many of the celebrities are themselves the flotsam and jetsam of the entertainment industry.  Because host and guest share this condition in common, because Space Ghost is so self-involved, and perhaps because of the late night talk show format, the interviews commonly turn to the topic of failed careers.  
    Fire Ant also provides one example of many such self-reflexive sequences.  First the gang examines a clip that appears to be contemporary, that is, produced from the old cartoon but altered, and uses it as evidence that the 1960s Space Ghost cartoon was not very good.  Complaints about how it ruined everyone's career ensue.25  These characters, without acting, are complicit viewers of the roles they play in their acting and in cultural production at large.  What's more, they are creatures of the impulse-image, "inseparable from the perverse modes of behavior which they produce and animate."26  In Dreams, one of the last episodes to air as Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Space Ghost is hell bent on pushing the boundaries of obscenity and offense, despite Moltar's warnings of cancellation.  The level of obscenity and the heavily self-referential text of this episode fuel continuous, unproven speculation that the show was cancelled by the network.  Space Ghost maladroitly tries to exploit every perversity in order to raise money for his foundation, and therefore to gain status and in turn validate his vanity27.  This complex of impulses is typical in the derived milieu of the entertainment industry, and in the originary world of the 1960s television cartoon.

     Deleuze suggests another differentiation of the duration that arises in the interval between the closed sets of montage, a form "more profound than that of movement."28  The interval is "that which - an appropriate action being given in a point of the universe - will find the appropriate reaction in some other point, however distant it is."29  A few moments in the late episode In Memory of Elizabeth Reed exemplify both humorous and processual vectors from the given point of action to the distant point of appropriate reaction.  At the immediate beginning of the episode, amongst the distorted Ghost Planet image of the introductory sequence, a subliminal text and image glimmers.  The text reads "Turner Production Effects & Advanced Imaging / Zorak Desk Lip-Sync / Zorak CU Elements."  The image is the silhouette of Space Ghost's cowl and eyes.30  Is the text a residue of the creative process, or a deliberate interjection satirizing the show's production values with the ridiculous notion that Zorak's lip-sync would require a special effect?  Is the image a brand watermark on the functional placeholder text, or is it the ghost immanent in the montage machine?  Either way, it is a mental action-reaction connected by a line of process.  The effect here is also sharpened, this time into brief incomprehensibility, by an analog reception, just like in the Fire Ant sequence.
    Other moments of the episode produce other vectors, this time with lines of humor to relate action and reaction.  When Space Ghost breaks Moltar's directorial equipment with a rock, the space of two gaps in the control panel created by the tracks of levers dispenses toast.31  Also, there is the recurrent leprechaun from another dimension.  He enters during the beginning of the episode, from a portal that Space Ghost creates, and subsequently reappears at several random, mildly inopportune moments.32

    All these Space Ghost sequences have taken us past the dimension of the movement-image, severing the sensory-motor link and even producing situations of pure sound and vision.  As he begins Cinema 2, Deleuze delineates these situations, opsigns and sonsigns, as the first new images to be found "beyond the movement image"33 and on the way to a direct time image.  Now that opsigns and sonsigns are pure and unlinked from the action-image, they may be linked with recollection-images and dream-images, but this still cleaves to an indirect representation of time.  The direct time-image is born when "we are in the situation of an actual image and its own virtual image, to the extent that there is no longer any linkage of the real with the imaginary, but indiscernibility of the two."34 
    Space Ghost
exemplifies such a situation in the episode Snatch, throughout which replicating pods hold the set hostage, waiting until their prey, the gang, is asleep, in order to kill them in a gruesome and painful manner.  Space Ghost hits on the idea of ordering "one of those mind-erasing kits" so that they can forget how sleepy they are and stay awake forever.  Moltar tells him that he already has one.  A sequence of variations on this same discussion ensue.  The variations are split up by the Law and Order-style intertitles that have been a part of the episode all along.35 They identify the day of the week and the time in a simple, nonsensical way, complete with the suspenseful gravitas of the Law and Order 'cha-chung' sound effect.  In tandem with the mind-erasing kit, they open the recollection-image out onto the forking multiplicities of time.  The viewer imagines that infinities within infinities of time could have passed in partaking of the mind-erasing kit on the Space Ghost set, and indeed Deleuze says that the optical-sound image is not created in recollection or attentive recognition, but in "the disturbances of memory and the failures of recognition"36.  The episode's final intertitle simply says "March 99:099 A6", the format of a date impossibly distant from the other dates in the episode, distant across an uncountable universe of forking paths.
    A pure opsign communes with recollection and dream-images, and also with its own virtual image.  Deleuze calls this the opsign's genetic element, the crystal-image.  Space Ghost puts the new kind of image to work in two late episodes, Baffler Meal and Live at the Fillmore.  In Baffler Meal, Space Ghost sells out the show to Burger Trench for a house boat and one speaker, and the set is overrun with the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a trio of anthropomorphic fast food items that spout streams of continuous Burger Trench marketing.  At one point, Master Shake, their leader, initiates a heinously unappetizing film within a film that he refers to as hunger imagery.  As the hunger imagery assaults the viewer, Space Ghost argues with the Shake about the amount of interference the ad contract allows him.37  With this sequence, Space Ghost produces a crystal image that beautifully illustrates Deleuze's idea that "cinema confronts its most internal presupposition, money, and the movement-image makes way for the time-image in one and the same operation."38 The film within a film expresses this confrontation of unequal, incomparable exchange.  Hindsight provides one more facet, the historical fact of the runaway success of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force spin-off series. ATHF brought unprecedented amounts of money to the network, surpassed Space Ghost's viewership by a huge margin, and launched myriad new shows that also owe debts great and small to the path blazed by Space Ghost.  These triangulations of unequal exchange form, simultaneously coexisting and replacing each other, form the new crystal image.
    In Live at the Fillmore, Zorak and Moltar are forced to bail Space Ghost out of jail using the show's budget.  The three of them unsuccessfully entertain a few radical cost-cutting ideas.  At the jail, a strange conversation between Zorak and Space Ghost heightens the processual nature of the episode.  Zorak speaks Space Ghost's excuses almost simultaneously, as though he'd memorized the script, which is suggested in an earlier shot, or as though it is a very common conversation between Space Ghost and Zorak.39  Later on, Space Ghost decides to interview an old episode for ideas. The film within a film that Moltar rolls is the beginning of Live at the Fillmore itself.  Space Ghost tells the gang, "You see what they're doing in that show?  We could do that."40  The viewer watches the show in the process of being made, a crystalline seed-image, wondering what would appear on the screen if Moltar hit fast-forward.  The sequence is an image of constant, Bergsonian self-generation.  It also resonates with Deleuze and Guattari's reproach of psychoanalysis as "having stifled [the] order of production, for having shunted it into representation"41, and the reversal of production in favor of stifling representation is a central theme of the Space Ghost oeuvre.

    It is inevitable that, sometime during the show's run, the frame of the viewer's television would enter into a tight loop with the frame of Space Ghost's monitor.  Re-presented, recorded, and broadcast, the film within a film would elevate the past present into virtuality, while the characters plod along in the actual present, except that the actual and the virtual are no different from each other, simultaneous.  Space Ghost is again confronting money, except, of course, that he can materialize on the other side of the jail cell at will, so the loss of the budget is false, a contrivance.  In the positive, creative sense of Fellini's ambiguous statement, "When there is no more money left, the film will be finished,"42 this episode of the show exists not in spite of but because it has no budget.  
    From the crystal image, Deleuze develops the crystalline description, and a correspondent falsifying narration, which derives its creative, artistic power from relinquishing any claim on truthfulness.43  The power of the false is another frequent thematic element in Space Ghost.  The Kentucky Nightmare episode is one example.  Space Ghost appears in Moltar's control room, demanding to know what the bear is doing on his set.  By way of explanation, Moltar shows Space Ghost a documentary on the directorial mainframe, which Space Ghost himself narrates, spinning an inaccurate yarn about sharks and bear.  Later, Space Ghost returns to the control room asking how his beloved pet, Ole Kentucky Shark, came to have his head blown off.  This time the documentary Moltar shows features exploding sharks and killer bees.  At the end of the episode, after the giant killer bee attack, the gang abandon the set for the milieu of that same documentary to discuss what went wrong with the show this time.  Ole Kentucky Shark swims to the surface of the river and drags Zorak away.44 

    The documentary is incredibly lame, and blatantly designed to suggest the false.  But it is the way that this laughable falsehood coexists and intertwines with Space Ghost's lived experience in the episode that makes it interesting.  Given the events transcribed in episode's actual mode, the documentaries do contain a level of veracity regarding how sharks, bears, and giant killer bees behave in the world of Kentucky Nightmare.  The documentary evokes potential truth and falsehood coexisting simultaneously within the same image.
    The Zorak episode presents a momentary gem of falsified narration, which goes by so quickly that a viewer could miss it, and which introduces a glimpse of a subjective author into the conventional objectifying frame of the screen.  A continuity error is manufactured and then immediately corrected within the narrative flow of the episode.  A shot of Zorak with a blue vest on is replaced inline with a slightly different shot of him, this time in a red vest, in response to the description of Zorak that the guest is speaking at the time.45  The creator of this disjunctive moment is suddenly foregrounded, and the viewer wonders who exactly is responsible for these sorts of continuity corrections, Moltar and his levers, or, more likely, a manifestation of the immanent, shadowy author figure.
    In this way, Space Ghost begins to bring into question not only "the distinction between the objective and the subjective, but also their identification."46  As the subjective and objective become indiscernible, they give rise to a new type of narrative construction, free indirect discourse.  It is a Bergsonian form, echoing his characterization of reality as an aggregate of equally important images.  The spectator and the screen, both images, are therefore equally important, and Space Ghost uses this premise, as well as a proliferation of spectators and screens, to attain free indirect discourse.  On the set, there is Moltar's directorial screen, the screen for the guests, the ever shifting triangulation between these screens as spectators and spectacles, and the shifts of perspective in the camera's frame as it inhabits or moves out of those screens.  There is also the example of the Momentary episode, which replays the Kentucky Nightmare episode with the notable difference that the audio is commentary from the moms of four of the show's writers, actors, and animators.47      Another example can be drawn from the show's recurring use and misuse of voice over narration, perfectly demonstrated in the episode JacksonvilleJacksonville establishes the voice-over narrator in the first part of the episode, describing a segment that mimics the 'previouslies' found at the beginning of sitcoms and soap operas, which get the viewer up to speed on plot from previous episodes.  After the 'previouslies', in this case all inventions, the narrator introduces the characters and the fictional name of the episode, and the show begins.  Space Ghost greets his audience, and at the same time as the narrator continues his description.48  They interrupt each other and Space Ghost dismisses the narrator.  In that moment of vying for control of the 'objective' flow of the episode, Space Ghost and the narrator pit their varying subjectivities against each other and suggest to the viewer their equivalence, as well as their indiscernibility from the objectivity they aspire to.  The moment establishes "the obliteration of a whole, or of a totalization of images, in favor of an outside which is inserted between them."49

    Space Ghost himself lives outside of the whole constituted by the collection of episodes of Space Ghosts: Coast to Coast.  In the moment of watching the show, the viewer sees Tad Ghostal ,the washed-up, 40-year-old superhero and talk show host of the present, exists simultaneously with the vapidly glorious Space Ghost from the 1960s cartoon and with the more recent past of his unannounced cameos and sporadic Space Ghost specials, pasts that contain within them the possibilities of future Space Ghosts.  Space Ghost exists, like we do, in Bergsonian time, a perpetual becoming to which even the animated detritus in the apocryphal sediments of our pop culture are subject.
    The crisis of the action-image and the new images and modes born from it permeate the Space Ghost oeuvre.  But the entire analysis thus far has eluded an inevitable question regarding this body of creative work.  What is the importance of the Space Ghost: Coast to Coast project's re-dismantling of the action-image in the milieu of the entertainment industry between mid-nineties and the mid-naughts in America?  After all, this crisis has long since occurred worldwide within cinema.  At this point the movie industry has internalized many of its consequences, and it has even passed into the canon of philosophical and theoretical historicization, of which Deleuze's Cinema 1 and Cinema 2 are just one example.
    However, Space Ghost is not cinema, and operates in the realm of the television cartoon, traditionally relegated to the ghettos of low art or children's entertainment, heretofore estranged from the philosophy and theory that inform cinema and legitimize it as high art.  The significance of the Space Ghost project lies not only in its successful connection to the theory of the moving image, but in its cultural positioning, as an opener of spaces of possibility within the TV industry, for artistic practices that are not complicit in the totalizing use of television as a machine for producing desire.  Space Ghost's tactics against the action-image are supplementary, "they can make war only on the condition that they simultaneously create something else."50  The show inspired and paved the way for a panoply of others, shows that move beyond the use of the television medium as a machine for producing desire.  The overall result is an introduction of the crisis of the action-image and its attendant philosophical shifts into mass media, making these ideas second nature to a young, contemporary audience.  

  1. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 206
  2. Ibid. p 210
  3. Ibid. p 212
  4. Ibid. p 207
  5. Elevator, Season 1, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1994.
  6. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 207
  7. Sharrock, Season 3, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1996.
  8. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 208
  9. Whipping Post, Season 8, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2003.
  10. Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, University of Minnesota Press, 1983. p 224
  11. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Season 8, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2003.
  12. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 55
  13. Girlie Show, Season 2, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1995.
  14. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 257
  15. Anniversary, Season 4, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1997.
  16. Toast, Season 5, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1998.
  17. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 131
  18. Ibid. p 61
  19. Ibid. p 61
  20. Fire Ant, Season 6, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1999. 
  21. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 111
  22. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 2: the time-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 5
  23. Ibid. p 6
  24. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 128
  25. Fire Ant, Season 6, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1999.
  26. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 128
  27. Dreams, Season 8, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2004.
  28. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: the movement-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 82
  29. Ibid.
  30. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Season 8, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2003.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 2: the time-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 1
  34. Ibid. p 273
  35. Snatch, Season 6, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1999.
  36. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 2: the time-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 55
  37. Baffler Meal, Season 8, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2003.
  38. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 2: the time-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 78
  39. Live at the  Fillmore, Season 8, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2004.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, University of Minnesota Press, 1983. p 296
  42. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 2: the time-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 77
  43. Ibid. p 131
  44. Kentucky Nightmare, Season 7, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2001.
  45. Zorak, Season 4, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1997.
  46. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 2: the time-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 148
  47. Momentary, Season 7, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 2001.
  48. Jacksonville, Season 3, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Mike Lazzo, Big Deal Cartoons, 1996.
  49. Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 2: the time-image, University of Minnesota Press, 2006. p 187
  50. Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, University of Minnesota Press, 1987.  p 423