December 26, 2012


Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson dies aged 83 (Alexandra Topping, 12/26/12, The Guardian)

Gerald Alexander Anderson - famous for the use of "Supermarionation", or the use of modified puppets - was born in 1929 in Hampstead, north London, and began his career as a film trainee at the Ministry of Information before starting work at Gainsborough Pictures. He later set up AP Films with some friends.

With commissions thin on the ground Anderson and his team were eager to produce their first puppet show The Adventures Of Twizzle. Others including Torchy The Battery Boy, and Supercar followed. Success continued with Fireball XL5 and Stingray. But it was Thunderbirds, filmed on the Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire and first broadcast in 1965 that made his name. With the catchphrase "Thunderbirds are go!", the programme revolved around International Rescue, a secret emergency service run by the Tracy family aided by London agent Lady Penelope and her butler, Parker.

In 1966, Thunderbirds was made into a major feature film for United Artists, Thunderbirds Are Go, which was followed by a sequel, Thunderbird 6.

Anderson moved towards live action productions in the 1970s, producing Space: 1999. In the 1980s, a burst of nostalgia for his Supermarionation series led to the commission of new productions, including a remake of Captain Scarlet. New Captain Scarlet, a CGI-animated reimagining of the 1967 series, premiered on ITV in the UK in 2005. He also worked as a consultant on a Hollywood remake of his 1969 series UFO, directed by Matthew Gratzner.

Anderson was a one-of-a kind film and television producer, who had far-reaching influence, according to his fan club dedication. "Anderson's unique style of filmmaking influenced the imaginations and careers of countless creatives that succeeded him, and his productions continue to be shown around the world to new generations of fans," it read.

Gerry Anderson, creator of Thunderbirds dies (David Millward, 26 Dec 2012, The Telegraph)

His science fiction puppet shows, which also included Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 captivated generations of children.

Characters from Parker the chauffeur to Lady Penelope and Brains - the chief engineer of International Rescue - became cult figures whose popularity outlasted the short span of the original series.

Anderson had had a varied career before going into film production, including a spell studying fibrous plastering - which he gave up because of dermatitis.

He set up the AP film company with friends and Thunderbirds, which was filmed on a trading estate in Slough, was his crowning achievement, even though other shows followed.
Thunderbirds - with the catchphrase "Thunderbirds are go" were essential viewing for children in the 1960s who not only loved the characters but the space ships and futuristic sets.
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Posted by at December 26, 2012 12:41 PM

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