Tag Archives: Thunderbirds

2012 ➤ Why Brains, Parker and Lady P stayed cults long after Thunderbirds had Gone!

Gerry Anderson, Thunderbirds,Supermarionation, TV series, 1960s,

Futuristic puppet stars: Gerry Anderson with Virgil, Brains, Lady Penelope and Parker the chauffeur. (Picture: David O’Neill / Rex)

➢ Thunderbirds creator who made some of the most popular children’s TV shows of the 1960s – Gerry Anderson obituary at The Guardian

Gerry Anderson, who has died aged 83 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was the main mover behind a number of puppet series commissioned by Lew Grade’s Independent Television Corporation. They made the company a fortune from the space age: perhaps the best known was Thunderbirds (1965-66), and among the others were Fireball XL5 (1962-63), Stingray (1964) and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967-68).

Factoid: Thunderbirds hero Jeff Tracy and
his sons John, Scott, Virgil, Alan and Gordon were all
named after early American astronauts

Gerry Anderson, Thunderbirds,Supermarionation, TV series, 1960s,

Captain Scarlet as Royal Mail postage stamp last year

The pre-ITV world of the early 50s had been one of puppets such as Muffin the Mule and the Flowerpot Men, a mirror for a Britain on extremely visible strings. Rocket men, on BBC radio, Radio Luxembourg and in the Eagle comic, meant Dan Dare and Jet Morgan – recycled Biggles and Battle of Britain pilots. After Anderson, they were destined for the galactic dole queue, just as Eagle’s demise was hastened by the arrival of Anderson spin-offs such as TV Century 21 (1965-71). “Everything we did,” Anderson told his biographers Simon Archer and Marcus Hearn, in What Made Thunderbirds Go! (2002), “was in an endeavour to sell to America”, and Grade spectacularly achieved that with Fireball XL5, a US network sale to NBC. Thunderbirds, shown across the world and more than a dozen times on British TV, is the show that defines the Anderson achievement, yet never attracted a US network… / Continued at Guardian Online

➢ F-A-B gallery of Gerry Anderson creations at Guardian Online

➢ 2011, Brains explains “lenticular” Thunderbirds postage stamps

Gerry Anderson, Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds’ secret base at Tracy Island: model kit comes with miniature versions of the Thunderbird 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. “Some assembly required.” From Dragon Models USA, $115

‘Anything can happen in the next half hour’

➢ Paul Hammans on the extraordinary dynamics of Stingray:

Gerry Anderson, Stingray,Supermarionation, TV series, 1960s,

Stingray’s Troy Tempest and “Aqua” Marina (Photo: ITV)

Anderson’s third series in Supermarionation brought a new level of emotional literacy to the genre, albeit one difficult to define. Gradually the move had been made and puppetry was continuing to move toward greater realism, but let’s not get this out of proportion; it was not the end of innocence. Puppetry of the Gerry Anderson variety, despite being set in an imaginary future began to appear more relevant at a deeper level for the audience of the day. The transaction in any learning process depends upon emotional involvement and increasingly the puppet series got you involved… / Continued at Cult Britannia


➤ Index of posts for January

Boy George, John Themis, Bishop Porfyrios , icon,

Two-way exchange: Bishop Porfyrios reclaims his church’s 300-year-old icon of Christ in London, while as a thankyou, Boy George receives a modern version of Christ Pantokrator (right) from composer John Themis. Photo © AP

➢ George Michael celebrates his golden years of Faith

➢ Reliving the Blitz: two pocket fanzines and a request from Rusty Egan

➢ “Too posh for pop” — Grandpa Waterman condemns two decades of musicmakers

➢ 1981, Why naked heroes from antiquity stood in for Spandau on their first record sleeves

➢ Ferry backed by three bass players, Roxy back on the road — how cool is that?

Japan pop group, Mick Karn, Hammersmith Odeon , 1982, Sounds ,Chris Dorley-Brown

Karn onstage at Hammersmith Odeon, November 17, 1982: Japan’s final UK tour. Photographed for Sounds © by Chris Dorley-Brown

➢ 1981, The day they sold The Times, both Timeses

➢ George makes saintly gesture over stolen icon

➢ 1981, How Adam stomped his way across the charts to thwart the nascent New Romantics

➢ Life? Tough? At the Blitz reunion, Rusty delivers a message to today’s 20-year-olds (TV news video)

➢ The unknown Mr Big behind London’s landmark nightspot makes his return to the Blitz

➢ Va-va-vooom! goes the world’s smallest portable record player

➢ F-A-B! Thunderbirds stamps are go!

➢ Julia and Gaz share their secrets for ageing disgracefully

Return To The Blitz , Steve Strange, Rusty Egan, Red Rooms, Blitz Kids, New Romantics

Motormouths back in action: Strange and Egan interviewed on BBC London news in the club where they once reigned. Such were members’ powers of self-promotion at the Blitz, Egan said, that it was the 80s equivalent of Facebook Live!

➢ 2011, Strange and Egan return to the Blitz to kick off the 20-tweens

➢ 200 new acts tipped for the new year in music

➢ Most popular bits of Shapersofthe80s during 2010

➢ Farewell Mick Karn, master of the bass and harbinger for the New Romantics

➢ Prescott says Postlethwaite’s Brassed Off speech inspired New Labour in 1997

➢ Discover Ubu while Christopher Walken takes flight to Fatboy Slim

➢ Happy New Year from Frosty The Snowman and The Ronettes — and hear the smash that changed the sound of 60s pop

➢ List of posts for December 2010

The Ronettes, Phil Spector, Frosty the Snowman, Be My Baby, Wall of Sound, 1963

The Ronettes in 1963: beehive hair-dos and producer Phil Spector


➤ F-A-B! Thunderbirds stamps are go!

Gerry Anderson ,Supermarionation,Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Royal Mail, stamps

Half a century of Supermarionation: Gerry Anderson, Captain Scarlet and Thunderbird 2

❚ TODAY THE ROYAL MAIL (AND THE TIMES’S FRONT PAGE) honour 50 years of Supermarionation by 1960s puppetmaster Gerry Anderson with a set of “lenticular” postage stamps that appear to move — no strings attached. When tilted, the stamps create the illusion of movement to show the launch of the four main Thunderbirds vehicles, along with Captain Scarlet, Stingray and other Anderson shows. Each frame has been drawn by Gerry Embleton, illustrator of 1960s comic TV Century 21, and these are Royal Mail’s first motion stamps to be printed with microlenticular technology.

Stingray, Gerry Anderson

Stingray’s evil Masterspy: looks like Rains, talks like Lorre

F-A-B: The Genius of Gerry Anderson is the full title of the stamp issue and Gerry Anderson MBE, 81, who lives in Henley, says he feels “incredibly proud”. The stamps feature characters who first arrived on TV screens in the 1960s, beginning with Mike Mercury and Professor Beaker in Supercar, 1961. The scifi space adventure Fireball XL5, piloted by Colonel Steve Zodiac and Robert the robot, followed in 1962 and Stingray in 1964.

The idea for the Thunderbirds international rescue organisation was inspired by a real-life mining disaster and Lew Grade’s ATV backed the first series in 1964 which made stars out of Lady Penelope, her pink Roller and her chauffeur Parker. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons followed in 1967, and Joe 90 in 1968. All enjoyed revival as TV cults during the 80s and in the 90s the children’s show Blue Peter was showing audiences how to build their own Tracy Island. Anderson also wrote and delivered a treatment for a James Bond movie, elements of which eventually informed The Spy Who Loved Me, 1997.

➢ See the full F-A-B set of stamps at Royal Mail


Thunderbirds, Gerry Anderson, stamps, Royal Mail, Brains