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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Let us now praise famous men

Photo from The Guardian

 There are men who have a vision for their lives and work, and there are men who have that vision thrust upon them. Gerry Anderson was an up-and-coming film director with a small company doing commercials and TV pilots in the '50s, when the video frontier was still rough-and-ready. A children's author approached them about doing some puppet shows, and a future was a-borning. From doing Roberta Leigh's "Adventures of Twizzle", and "Torchy the Battery Boy", the man who wanted to do Big Things in film proceeded to carve out his own miniature empire with "Four Feather Falls", a quirky Western marionette series; "Supercar", about the coolest vehicle EVAR;  "Fireball XL5", the only Anderson "SUPERMARIONATION" series network broadcast here in the US; "Stingray" (the first color series in Great Britain) about the World Aquanaut Security Patrol and the crew of the submarine Stingray; "Thunderbirds", the series that made fiberglass and wood into international stars; "Captain Scarlet" about the war against the Mysterons, and a cautionary tale about an itchy trigger finger; "Joe 90" the most diabolical of the series, a study in turning a nine-year-old into a Cold War superspy; "The Secret Service", a clever combo of live-action and marionette work about a Cold War spy, who happens to be an Anglican priest who trades on his honest demeanor to have miscreants confide in him, and who uses doubletalk (the voice actor Stanley Unwin's "Unwinese") to get out of tight situations.

Other series are

UFO (1970–71) - Outstanding lve-action SF thriller about a secret organization combating the UFO menace
The Protectors (1972–74) Live action crime drama with Robert Vaughn
Space: 1999 (1975–77) Live action SF series with actors made of wood.
Terrahawks (1983–84, 1986) Glove puppet return to the fold, the less said about, the better.
Dick Spanner, P.I. (1987) Fun stop-motion detective romp
Space Precinct (1994–95) Do-badders beware! Space cops are afoot!
Lavender Castle (1999–2000) Charming stop-motion and CG kids fantasy
Firestorm (2003) Hey. I like anime.
Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet (2005) Good CG and mocap reboot of the original.

There are other things Anderson did, but these form the massive edifice of his work.

He and his crew brought joy and wonder to my life, and the lives of countless others. The excellence of their productions still hold up beautifully. My paean to SUPERCAR is here.

Mr. Anderson, thank you.
You shall be missed.


    Michael W said...

    Just contributed my own eulogy at the various groups.

    It's been a hard day.

    Doom said...

    I feel somewhat guilty. I have never heard of him, nor do I think I have ever seen any of his work. Was it really rare, or specialty, or mostly shown in bigger cities? I'm in my mid 40's, and other than having my nose in books (to include comics mind you, but just as often the bible, classics, and even history), I thought I kept a pretty good ear to the ground for new or neat stuff. Baffled here.

    The Aardvark said...

    No need for guilt...you're late to the party age-wise.

    Here's a link: