Greetings from beyond the veil, Effendi. A few months back, I did a Sirki’s Summons column to mark the anniversary of the passing of Gene Roddenberry, who basically created a whole new domain of pop culture. Earlier today, I found that I’d missed the passing of another founder of truly a new, unique genre within pop culture. On December 26th, 2012, Gerry Anderson passed away at he age of 83, following a bout with Alzheimer’s. Even if you might not know who is was, You might recognize the bulk of his work. He created the cult favorite sco-fi tv hits U.F.O. in the 1960s and SPACE: 1999 in the 1970s. What more people might remember though, are his “Supermarionation” shows, featuring advanced puppets as the characters of classics such as FIREBALL XL5, STINGRAY, and the much more commonly known THUNDERBIRDS & CAPTAIN SCARLET & THE MYSTERONS. Aside from the puppets (which reached their zenith of sophistication in Scarlet, IMHO), these were also marked by the amazing minatures work, spearheaded by effects master Derek Meddings.
Though the shows originated in England, they found their way to the US, where they had a huge fan following. Within the last 15 years or so, there’s been a resurgence in their popularity, brought around by the rise of DVDs. I was even able to get die casts of the Thunderbird ships and other Anderson craft, as there was a huge marketing push when they attempted to ignite a live action version of the franchise. Personally, I MUCH preferred the original
It was actually a coincidence that I created my Thunderbirds themed New Year’s Eve header.
There was nothing quite like Anderson’s shows. He took the “Puppet show” and elevated to new heights. There was nothing like them before, and there’ll never be any more like them. Spectrum is Green, Mr. Anderson, be at peace.