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Gerry Anderson: Creator of Thunderbirds
Gerry Anderson: Thunderbirds and More!
For any youngster growing up in the UK in the 1960s, Gerry Anderson's TV shows, such as Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Thunderbirds were a staple of British television and have now gone on to enjoy cult status among those of a certain age.
Although Anderson had created several puppet shows before these (such as Torchy the Battery Boy and Four Feather Falls), it is his science fiction adventure shows for which he will be best remembered.
In the 1970s, his legacy continued with some fabulous live action series, including UFO and Space:1999, but my childhood memories remain with his classic puppet or Supermarionation shows from the 1960s.
Gerry Anderson: 1929-2012
Thank you, sir. You fueled the imaginations of a generation!
Introducing Gerry Anderson: An Interview With Derek Jameson
Creator of Thunderbirds, Stingray & Captain Scarlet etc.
Those of us fortunate enough to have caught Mr. Anderson's shows during their original runs, will especially enjoy this book: a wonderful listing, episode by episode, of all of his wonderful work. There are facts, photos and a few surprises. A must for fans of Gerry Anderson's productions.
This was Gerry Anderson's first science fiction series: Supercar. Adventures abounded with this vehicle that could travel on land, in the air or under the sea.
The pilot was a groovy guy called Mike Mercury, who traveled with Jimmy Gibson, a young kid in search of adventure.
Supercar was continually modified for specific missions by its creators Professor Popkiss and Dr. Beaker. Now, there's a couple of names you won't forget in a hurry!
Fireball XL5 - 1962-1963: The Opening and Closing Titles
Supervised by the World Space Patrol, Fireball XL5 was part of the fleet of interplanetary rockets protecting Sector 25 of the Solar System from alien invasion.
Memories of watching this series as a youngster come flooding back as I viewed the video here. Not only was the show progressive for its time, but it also included one of the most hummable of signature tunes.
Television heaven was watching the adventures of Commander Steve Zodiac and his crew consisting of Venus, Professor Matic and Robert the Robot, XL5's mechanical co-pilot.
Loud and explosive, the calling card of future Gerry Anderson productions, Stingray blasted its way onto television screens in 1964.
Exploring the oceans and keeping the world safe from a variety of perils, Captain Troy Tempest piloted the super submarine Stingray and ran into exciting adventures each week, accompanied by his trusty co-pilot Phones. Joining them on many of their missions was the mute Marina, a beautiful princess from the undersea city of Pacifica,
As the narrator commented at the beginning of each episode: Anything can happen in the next half hour! And it quite often did.
Probably my favourite among the Gerry Anderson Supermarionation shows was Thunderbirds. No doubt, the best loved of all his series, each show was a television epic focusing on the adventures of International Rescue and its Thunderbirds.
Headed by Jeff Tracey, his five sons undertook their weekly adventures from a secret base hidden in the Pacific. Their mission was to save lives and avert various action packed disasters, while keeping their identity secret from curious onlookers. The action was tense, the explosions were loud and the missions seemingly impossible.
Each week, these super heroes were ably assisted by a small, but effective team. Brains, the science engineer and London agent, Lady Penelope, replete with a pink Rolls Royce and Cockney chauffeur, Parker.
Of course, as with all of Anderson's shows, there was a villain. He came in the form of The Hood, a ruthless, bald-headed mastermind intent on stealing the Thunderbirds. Great Boy's Own stuff and complete with one of the most memorable signature tunes too.
Captain Scarlet: 1967-1968
More out of this world adventures followed in Gerry Anderson's next offering: Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Set in 2068, Spectrum had become the world security organisation with a team of agents each named for a specific colour. Captain Scarlet was our indestructible hero, saving the Earth each week from the evil unseen Mysterons who were bent on destroying the planet through a series of terrorist acts.
The villain of the piece was Captain Black, now controlled by The Mysterons as their agent on Earth. Capable of recreating objects and people, The Mysterons tried the same technique on Captain Scarlet, but their plan backfired. Because Scarlet was still alive when he was processed, he instead became indestructible and thereafter The Mysterons' mortal enemy.
Can you tell that I loved watching these shows? Even over forty years later, I can still remember the details! This is the voice of the Mysterons...we know that you can hear us Earthmen...
Joe 90: 1968-1969
If it weren't for the fact that our hero here is a puppet, nowadays the producers of this next show would probably be prosecuted for child endangerment! Joe 90 was a 9-year-old boy who was given amazing powers by a pair of special glasses given to him by his adoptive father.
Having developed a method of transferring special brain patterns, (a machine by the name of BIG RAT), his father could implant these in his son so that Joe could assume the skills and personality of any professional, such as a top scientist, surgeon or pilot. Shielded by his young and unsuspecting appearance, he became an agent for the World Intelligence Network, saving the day on a weekly basis.
The Gerry Anderson Poll - Choose Your Favourite!
Which of the puppet shows featured here is your favourite?
Gerry Anderson: His Obituary & Legacy
- Gerry Anderson and his supermarionation superstars - in pictures
Gerry Anderson, who has died aged 83, had TV hits with Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet Joe 90 and Stingray.
- Gerry Anderson - a life in pictures
The British director behind puppet TV shows Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet has died aged 83.
- Gerry Anderson obituary | The Guardian
Thunderbirds creator who made some of the most popular children's TV shows of the 1960s.
- Gerry Anderson's movie legacy | guardian.co.uk
Stephen La Riviere and Howard Dawber on how Gerry Anderson paved the way for a range of cinematic special effects.
- BBC News: Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson's funeral held
Hundreds of people attend the funeral of Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, who died last month aged 83.