The super-swanky mod world of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's "Supermarionation"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/12/the-super-swanky-mod-world-of-gerry-and-sylvia-andersons-supermarionation.html

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They also did the live-action movie “Journey to the Far Side of the Sun” (or “Doppelganger”, depending on where you live).

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I saw Doppelganger over forty years ago! I should give it a rewatch, because I don’t remember much about it other than it was cool.

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It makes me sad that up here in the actual future, we have to have handrails on our open staircases and four foot drops.

And that’s just the start of my current future disappointments…

*sigh

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That room layout does look wonderfully impractical.

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When did they stop having open space rooms divided by a step? I feel like this was a big thing in the 1980s. Was it accessibility that killed it off or because it made people trip?

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It might have been just down to fashion.

In the sixties, seventies and early eighties, design tended toward futurism and modernism. By the nineties, possibly due to anxiety about the coming millennium, retro became a thing and stuff became more conservative and classical.

(I use the terms modernism and classical kind of loosely.)

It’s not that modernism stopped or went away, it’s just it stopped being mainstream. So this is why McMansions have fluted columns and transom windows and dado rails and other random old fashioned shit that people take as being classy and tasteful.

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Fun fact:
The pink Rolls-Royce used in Thunderbirds (FAB1) was approved by Rolls-Royce.
Not a given. Looks like RR thought that the Anderson’s work was up to their standards.

Source:
Rolls-Royce - The Complete Works by Mike Fox and Steve Smith
Guild Publishing, London, 1984

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I plan to rewatch Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons on Amazon. Those end credits always made me feel sorry for him:

That show’s office designs looked like they needed a few trap doors.

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I saw it when I was 10 or 11 at a drive-in when it came out. Haven’t seen it since, but it’s one of those movies that sticks with you when you’re that age.

I remember the cars being all cool and streamlined.

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That man has done a lot of dying. That’s why, In my personal headcanon, Captain Scarlet is just another one of the many personas that Captain Jack Harkness has adopted over the centuries.

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Ok, but where are all those sets and props now? And how can I acquire them for a reasonable price?

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Now I really want more Torchwood. :pleading_face:

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I had a Little Golden Book about Supercar, I don’t think I saw the series. I have some of the vehicles, Joe-90’s car, the pink Rolls Royce, Thunderbird 2 (and the submarine that came with it) and three of the Captain Scarlett vehicles.

I had a Captain Scarlett annual, but somehow I let it slip away. But last year I noticed at Amazon a book about the show, and there’s some similarity (but no.comic strips). More detail.about the vehicles.

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The 1080p remasters that you cna get through amazon prime video (and possibly other services) are really quite something. Of course, you can see the wires, which might not have been the Andersons’ intent, judging by the movies. But it’s charming nonetheless.

I think I saw wires decades ago.

We knew they were puppets, oops marionettes, they never looked real, and their movement didn’t match people, so I doubt there’d been much attempt at hiding the strings.

What makes the shows memorable was that it was the future, and the puppets. The latter made it “easy” to do the future, but it also made the shows endearing.

There are shots of hands where they use a human hand. And on the references site there is a shot of a shortwave radio that looks very much like a Hallicrafters S-120 (a low end shortwave receiver). It’s interesting that they made this tiny model that was recognizable, and not some futuristic radio.

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Some of them (few) ended up with this lot, I think:

And, of course, they did this:

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(from a documentary on the movie)

“The biggest problem of all was that we don’t want any strings to be seen”

But here I am, watching the TV thunderbirds at movie film resolution, and being utterly amazed at the attention to detail. The wires enhance the experience, rather than detracting from it.

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There are newish Torchwood audio dramas by Big Finish. Not the same thing but it’s better than nothing.

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I did a binge of UFO recently. That series was crazy dark for TV SF.

The costumes were wild. Gabrielle Drake could rock a purple wig and the head honcho had a dispenser for scotch, whisky and vodka in his office.

image

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