Saturday, August 20, 2016
I have been watching "Space Patrol" at the shop as I print during the wee hours. "Space Patrol" was a Brit "LowRentMarionation" production from Roberta Leigh and Art Provis, both of whom are inextricably linked to Gerry Anderson. Leigh had hired a nearly-bankrupt Anderson to film a series of twaddly kids' puppet shows, "The Adventures of Twizzle" in 1957, followed by "Torchy the Battery Boy". Provis was a cautious soul, while Anderson was more adventurous, and their AP Films company which was formed to do television adverts, and went on to do "Four Feather Falls" and "Supercar", dissolved amicably over their differing styles. (Provis did the filming for "Patrol", and his parsimonious nature shows in the low-budget ship sets, composed of silver-painted cardboard tubes, styro fruit box dividers, surface-strung wiring, and pegboard.)
Roberta Leigh and crew.
The brave crew of the Galasphere 347 (seen here taking off)
were reassigned as "Planet Patrol" here in these United States, as a live -action SF series already had claim to the UK title. Larry Dart, an Earthling, Slim, a Venusian, and Husky, a Martian, crew the Galasphere 347, flying through the Galaxy (which is Leigh-speak for "solar system"...22nd century technology was incapable of intergalactic, much less interstellar flight. Puttering around our Sol system required time spent in "The Freezer" in cryo-sleep, to cut down on the need for vast food storage aboard).
YouTube has a number of episodes, likely ripped from the DVD release.
Not bad stuff, if rough around the meson drive. I like the robots. They look so...robot-ey.
Compare their visual quality with that of "Fireball XL5" by Gerry Anderson's crew.
Nonetheless, "Space Patrol" has excellent long-shot visuals. The city housing the HQ, with it's tube shuttles and moving landing pads is beautiful.
The characters are well-defined, and their interactions have the peculiarly British teasing give-and-take. Col. Raeburn is always giving Prof. Haggerty grief over his experiments, and his attempts to grow hair on his encroaching baldness. Haggerty, being the Mad Irish Genius, blows his stack with predictable regularity. Husky, the Martian crewman, is perpetually hungry, having a penchant for Martian Sausages. Slim, the slight Venusian crewman, a sort of mildly emotional Spock for the show, admonishes him for his constant attention to his stomach. Larry Dart, the captain and hero, is a a firm leader, but not above joking with his crew, and poking fun at the pretensions of Commander Raeburn.
More later, perhaps.