I only saw the Captain Scarlet reboot last year but boy, what a nostalgia trip. It was the sort of thing the original Scarlet wanted to be.
Shame the broadcaster cocked it up...
Gerry Anderson, creator of classic children's television shows like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90, has died at the age of 83. Anderson, in conjunction with his then-wife Sylvia, pioneered the use of puppets that had solenoid motors built into them to move the eyes and mouth – later dubbed supermarionation. The wires …
I've never heard of this, but its was before my time,
I supose this may because this news hack is a yank, but he mentions the BBC once, but never once a mention that all that work was paid for by ITV under the control of Lew Grade.
Plus where is the UFO series, that was the first show to use actors with the pupetry/models only used for the real SciFy vehicles (plus the real gas turbine car for the main star, later purches by DLT).
There was an excellent documentary a year of two back covering the whole history of the Andersons, and the creation of all these shows. It was part of a 50 year celabration or something, with a bit of luck it will be repeated soon as a tribute to this wonderful story teller.
I was wondering where the references to UFO were - in my mind the best of Gerry Anderson's real-actor series. Far better than the hippy-dippy surreal plotlines of Space:1999 (though the Eagle transporters are one of my favourite Anderson tech creations).
I probably like many others think that Gerry was one of Britain's great television sci-fi creators, and is amazing that such a programme like Thunderbirds don't date and bring joy to those who could be his grandchildren.
A plaque outside Slough Trading Estate, perhaps?
GO - because Thunderbirds are!
I always thought the puppets looked crap, but the modelwork was superb.
I loved the designs of things like the passenger planes in thunderbirds, and the futuristic buildings and vehicles in captain scarlet.
Didnt he do a liveaction series called space cops or something in the mid 90`s? It had roy shneider in it and loads of animatronic aliens.
"fantasies about Lady Penelope"
I can recommend the CGI Captain Scarlet for that sort of thing, with a rather eye catching scene of Destiny heading for the shower.
And personally I thought the CGI CS was very much better than the critics thought - great sound, fabulous vehicles, and good editing. A worthy update in many ways, and a pity it wasn't more successful.
My father had watched the Thunderbirds and during my teens we watched several episodes together. It was ok, but very dated from a 80s perspective so to say. Now I'm just happy that I got my dose of Thunderbirds.
But speaking of marionettes and such; does the name "Star Fleet" ring any bells? And no; this has nothing to do with Star Trek (this series was around way before that), this is all about X-Bomber; the space ship constructed in secret on moon base and the last line of defence between Earth and the alien invaders of the Imperial Alliance.
A puppet series which ran for approx. 25 episodes, obviously inspired by series such as Thunderbirds.
So yeah; the legacy which was left us maybe even greater than you imagine!
If that's the one where the ships combined into a huge robot, then yes I do, I still have a puzzle of the ship and the alien ship. The only reason I kept it was I was worried I would forget it. That, Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet, Terrahawks etc all set me on a path for being a sci-fi addict.
"And no; this has nothing to do with Star Trek (this series was around way before that),"
It does, but no, the original Star Trek dates from the early 1960's, Star Fleet dates from roughly the mid 80's. I always thought it was inspired by the Transformers figures around then but anyone in that area would have found it hard to miss the impact of one (or other) of his series.
IIRC Star Fleets creator was also behind The Equalizer (not sure if before or after).
I had the SHADO Mobile Unit as a kid, but my favourite model was always the SkyDiver.
PS: While checking my memories/spelling using google I found someone on amazon trying to flog this for £286!
I was always partial to that big aircraft (Fireflash I think) which was shown in multiple episodes. I saw the one where it had to land on the moving platforms (the pilot episode I think) and was hooked from then on.
Such a cool design with it's drop wings, although I doubt it would be able to fly in real life!
After complaining about the bland content of my video library my young godson gave me a list of his top 20 DVDs - mostly of action movies.
That "Team America: World Police" was obviously a homage to Thunderbirds surprised me. The pr0n scene caused much mirth. It reminded me of that 1970s homage to the 1930s "Flash Gordon" - replete with smoking firework spaceships and incongruous settings. The title "Flesh Gordon" neatly conveyed the plausibility of it being the director's cut rescuing scenes previously left on the cutting room floor.
I think paying homage involves respect.
I think TA:WP displayed as much respect toward Andersen's work as Parker and Stone are capable of. And whatever you might think of the story, it was a substantial technical achievement - there were clearly a lot of people who cared about their craft working on it. They could have taken the cheaper and easier route of simply doing the whole thing in CGI with a marionette look.
 I don't know about Brady; I've never seen an interview with her, for example, while I have caught a few with Parker & Stone over the years.
"One of the most entertaining characters from UFO is the sinister doctor played by Vladek Sheybal as the foreign accented Dr "Jackson""
You can kind of guess where he got his degree (although what its in is a bit hazy).
The last doctor you'd ever want to visit.
Not of course that you'd remember afterward....
Parker! Take off my coat!
--- yes, m'lady.
Parker! Take off my blouse!
--- yes, m'lady.
Parker! Take off my skirt!
--- yes, m'lady.
Parker! Take off my bra!
--- yes, m'lady.
Parker! Take off my knickers!
--- yes, m'lady.
--- yes, m'lady?
I don't want to catch you wearing them again.
> What, no mention of Dick Spanner?
I managed to find a "totally legitimate" Dick Spanner DVD on eBay several years back which turned out to be better than the chopped around official release. I don't think "surreal and plently of sight gags" quite covers the brutal and sustained pun assault that this show delivers.
You should be able to find it lurking around on youtube; it's very much worth looking up.
Torchy! Torchy the battery boy.
My rich uncle bought us a (black and white, of course) TV in 1962, so I was plugged into children's programming every day after school. But, of course, Captain Scarlet was the best - Thunderbirds was too slow and Stingray too scary (can't remember why) and Joe 90 I never watched - no technology.
Strings - there weren't any, were there? Maybe they're not visible with 405 lines.
but thank you Gerry Anderson for enriching my life and giving a window to new futures.
Sorry can't agree with the statement Four Feather Falls didn't catch on. It was hugely popular amongst all the kids at school. They were all talking about the programme next day. I think what you should have said was it didn't catch on with marketing of toys and other franchises for extracting money from parents.
Another one here who caught Thunderbirds in the 80s, usually a Sunday lunchtime on ITV. It was the modernist total faith in technology and its consequent fatal flaws that always intrigued me - monorails that couldn't stop, people getting trapped in hermetically sealed underground car parks, that sort of thing. How much less exciting the plots would have been if there had been adequate health and safety legislation in 2065!
I always admired Gerry Anderson's faith in his projects, but somehow felt a little sorry for the way fashions in kids' telly had moved on and left Gerry behind. Not to detract from his many achievements though - his work will most definitely live on for many years to come!
Somewhat scarred for life by the Pete & Dud, as it brought back memories of Des O'Connor in the bathtub with Stingray surfacing (amongst other things).
Another chunk of my past detached like melting icebergs.
RIP Gerry FAB.
Explosion for Thunderbirds & Stingray obviously.
At 29 I remember loving all the marionette stuff while they were shown in the 80's, possibly early 90's too. I really do think he did a lot to get the science fiction ball rolling in general and I praise him for that, I also think the drydock/hangar for Stingray was a rather neat little system.
As I've grown up though I've begun to find most of the mechanical sequences showing the people and/or vehicles getting ready to be a little cringe makingly detailed, not to mention including a few too many twists and turns that just add complexity. Couches turning into lifts and hooking onto a miniature rail system are great ideas in their own way but depositing the pilot straight into their seat is just a little too much for my personal suspension of disbelief. I also have to admit his obsession with the covert side of the organisations to be a little over done in a lot of ways, I could give it to him in some of the shows certainly but in almost every show is just a little much.
Then again Star Trek did have all the deflector dish shenanigans...
The Thunderbirds live action film isn't that bad! *ducks*
I'm not going to claim it's a masterpiece (the plot and Ben Kingsley(!) are a bit poor, and Ford should not have been involved), but it's a short, fun kids' movie where the kids save the day. And it has a great performance from Sophia Myles.
Arguably, JJ Abrams ripped off Jonathan Frakes's work on this, because if I recall correctly, the plots of the two films have the odd similarity.
It's definitely a shame the film wasn't better, though, because the universe is definitely at least as worthy of a successful franchise as something like the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Finally, as I watched the film, I wondered about how acceptable something like International Rescue would be to our modern world of carbon obsession. Each of the craft would use an unimaginable amount of energy.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022