Thunderbirds 1965: A Childhood Obsession is Reborn.
Hello, I’m Myles (nickname to be advised), and I’m new! It’s a real pleasure to be joining House of Geekery, a blog that I’ve been reading for a long time!
Most people have a passing familiarity with the work of Gerry Anderson. I live in Australia, where his most famous production is 1965’s Thunderbirds, but overseas his other works, such as Fireball XL5 (1962), Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1969), and Space: 1999 (1975) were all roaringly successful (well, except Space: 1999 but that’s another story). Anderson and his cohorts at AP Films (later Century 21 Productions, because it was the 1960s and the future was everything) specialised in high quality special-effects laden action bonanzas, with gangsters, disasters, evil aliens, and the rest. Of course, they also usually starred The Puppets From The Uncanny Valley (Supermarionation marionettes), but this doesn’t detract from the appeal as much as it sounds. Except maybe this bit:
Of all the works of Gerry Anderson, however, Thunderbirds has endured. The story of the secret International Rescue organisation and their incredible and eponymous rescue machines, its endless optimism about the future and the benevolence of millionaire ex-astronauts is hugely uplifting. The idea that a massively rich dude (Jeff Tracy, aforementioned astronaut) and his five sons would create a secret organisation solely for the good of humanity is rather nice. The program’s quality, with its rich colours, intelligent camera work, beautiful art direction, and frequently gripping rescue situations make it appeal to audiences of all ages and vintages. I first saw it when I was 8, and was enthralled, and I’ve recently been fortunate enough to introduce my Significant Other to Thunderbirds. She had never even heard of it, and by the end of the first episode even she understood why I like it so much.
Such is the love for Thunderbirds that ITV in the UK collaborated with New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures and Weta Digital (the latter you may have heard of in connection with The Lord of the Rings films) to create a remake this year. Thunderbirds Are Go blends beautifully created miniature sets with CGI characters for a generally enjoyable cartoonish romp just made for watching with your breakfast on Saturday mornings. On my personal blog I reviewed it, if you’d like to have a read. [Self indulgently plug own blog: tick!]
So, what is all this rose-tinted nostalgia about? Well, there’s this Kickstarter. It’s masterminded by the man behind the critically acclaimed documentary Filmed in Supermarionation (2014), Stephen La Riviere, and basically its intent is to seek funding for up to three new episodes of Thunderbirds, made using the original Supermarionation techniques pioneered by Century 21 in the 1960s. Several surviving members of the original crew will even return to work on the episodes. The campaign has less than a week to run now, and they are very close to obtaining enough funding to create all three episodes. If you’re keen on Thunderbirds and want to see this happen, head over to the Kickstarter page and check it out. I should clarify here that neither I nor this blog are affiliated with the fundraiser; I’m just a bearded man-child who never got over his childhood obsession. And why not! I’m sure there are readers of this blog for whom the fire of Thunderbirds still burns brightly – this post is for you!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to being a part of the House of Geekery community. I also promise not to write about Thunderbirds too often.