TV Tidbit: Benji, Zax and the Alien Prince
How many of you remember a Saturday morning live-action show in the 1980s called Benji, Zax and the Alien Prince? The show (which appeared on CBS) had a mere 13 episodes in 1983 and was most-assuredly capitalizing on the sci-fi hysteria of the time created by Star Wars, E.T. and Battlestar Galactica. It was actually quite a fun show that clearly very few people watched. It followed the story of alien prince named Prince Yubi (played by Christopher Burton) who is hiding out on Earth as his home planet of Antars has been taken over by the villainous Zanu. Yubi’s guardian is a droid named Zax (voice of Rick Spiegel). On earth, they are befriended by the dog Benji (of the popular movie series Benji) who helps keep the hunted prince safe. Each episode was full of close calls and lots of low-budget special effects (though, for the day, they probably were not as low-budget as they look). The show did have some earnest drama as Yubi would often speak of his imprisoned mother and his dead father, not to mention his wish to someday return to his planet and safe his people from Zanu’s tyranny. Benji, Zax and the Alien Prince may not have been the most popular of Saturday morning television shows, but it was definitely a step outside of the box, taking the rare stab at live-action science fiction for kids.
Fun Fact: The series was filmed in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. It was produced by those staples of Saturday morning: Hanna-Barbera, as well as Mulberry Square (another production company). The show was created by Joe Camp, who also created the Benji film franschise.