Gerry Anderson R.I.PDecember 28, 2012
Thunderbirds Are GO! Gerry Anderson has gone. He was 83.
Along with his then wife Sylvia, he created some fantastic shows, the following which those of us of a certain vintage would go misty-eyed at the mere mention of: Fireball XL5; Joe 90; Stingray; Captain Scarlet; UFO; Space 1999 and of course Thunderbirds.
My love with Anderson’s Supermarionation started when I first watched an episode of Thunderbirds as a young ‘un: the Tracy family; Tracy Island; Brains; Tin-Tin; Lady Penelope, and Parker. Plus the hooded claw: proof that bald people with big eyebrows that meet in the middle are bad news (and look like Yul Brynner).
The sperm and egg that created me weren’t even on nodding terms when Fireball XL5 came on the TV, so I don’t know about that show, but I do remember Joe 90 with his cool specs and the spinning machine he sat in. The Intro is so 60s psychedelic and groovy it hurts.
Then there’s Captain scarlet who’s indestructible. There are also five fighter pilots called angels, led by Destiny who help Captain Scarlet fight the Mysterons and Captain Black. With dark shadows under the eyes and a half-day stubble, Captain Black resembles a clubber after a hard weekend’s rave.
Stingray is an underwater delight, with James Garner, Ernest Borgnine and Angelina Jolie… err, I mean Troy Tempest, Phones and Marina, the mute, underwater breathing girl. The theme at the start of the show is a real heart pumper with those frantic drums (“Anything can happen in the next half hour!”) and the end theme is reassuringly cheesy.
His live action efforts were also good value. UFO featured a cracking theme tune and the fabulous Jensen Interceptor driven by Edward Straker. The other stand out visual feature for me was the purple-haired female agents of SHADO. As to the question of why some of the crew wore string vests as uniforms, you tell me, ladies and gentlemen. I haven’t a Scooby Doo…
Space 1999 was where I first saw husband and wife team Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. I later discovered they were in Mission Impossible (the original TV show, not the Tom Cruise films. Obviously). That space station always seemed to have a big wobble every week, slamming the crew against the walls: a bit like Star Trek, really.
What clever people Mr and Mrs Anderson were. What wonderful entertainment they created for us. What a shame he’s now gone.
R.I.P, Mr Anderson. F.A.B.