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Gerry & Sylvia Anderson

Gerry & Sylvia Anderson

Anderson Gerry Anderson, MBE (born Gerald Alexander Abrahams; 14 April 1929 - 26 December 2012) was an English television and film producer, director, writer and occasional voice artist. He was known for his futuristic television programmes made in collaboration with his wife Sylvia.

Anderson's first television production was the 1957 Roberta Leigh children's series The Adventures of Twizzle. Supercar (1961-62) and Fireball XL5 (1962) followed later, both series breaking into the US television market in the early 1960s. In the mid-1960s the Andersons produced their most successful series, Thunderbirds. Other television productions of the 1960s include Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.

Gerry Anderson also wrote and produced several feature films whose box office performance was unexceptional. Following a shift towards live action productions in the 1970s, he had a long and successful association with media impresario Lew Grade and Grade's company ITC, continuing until the second series of Space: 1999.

Anderson Sylvia Anderson (née Thomas) was born in Camberwell, London in March 1927. Her father was a boxer and her mother a dressmaker. After graduating from the London School of Economics with a degree in sociology and political science, she became a social worker. She eventually became a British television and film producer, writer and voice actress, and is well known for her collaborations with Gerry Anderson, her third husband between 1960 and 1981.

During the production of Thunderbirds, the Andersons' marriage began to come under increasing strain increased by the failure of the feature film which was a box office flop. The Andersons' creative partnership ended when their marriage broke down during the production of the first series of Space: 1999 in 1975. Gerry announced his intention to separate on the evening of the wrap party, following which Sylvia ceased her involvement with the company. In later interviews, Gerry Anderson said that he considered divorce as early as 1966, but this was halted when Sylvia announced that she was pregnant. Their son, Gerry Anderson Jr., was born in July 1967. The Andersons eventually divorced at the start of the 1980s following a five-year separation.

In 1983, she published a novel titled Love and Hisses and in 1994, she reprised her voice role as Lady Penelope for an episode of Absolutely Fabulous. She worked as a London-based talent scout for HBO for 30 years. Her autobiography, Yes M'Lady, was first published in 1991; in 2007, it was re-published as My FAB Years with new material to bring it up to date with the latest developments in her life, such as her role as a production consultant for the 2004 live-action film adaptation of Thunderbirds. Of the film, Anderson commented
"I'm personally thrilled that the production team have paid us the great compliment of bringing to life our original concept for the big screen.If we had made it ourselves (and we have had over 30 years to do it!) we could not have improved on this new version. It is a great tribute to the original creative team who inspired the movie all those years ago. It was a personal thrill for me to see my characters come to life on the big screen."
My FAB Years was re-released as a spoken CD, narrated by Anderson, in 2010.

4falls In 2015, Sylvia travelled to Italy to receive a Pulcinella Award in recognition of her career in television production. Sylvia Anderson sadly died after a short illness in March of 2016 twelve days before her 89th birthday.

Supermarionation

In the early 1960s, the Andersons co-created the series Thunderbirds, with Sylvia Anderson creating the characters and Gerry concentrating on the production side of the series. As Sylvia was aware that Lew Grade intended to sell the show to American TV networks and wanted to make the show appealing to American audiences, she introduced the "British aristocrat" of Lady Penelope's character, and the "Cockney chauffeur" of Parker. Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, an aristocratic fashionista who was an undercover agent, was to become one of her most popular characters; Anderson both created the character and provided her voice. In addition to serving as co-creator and co-writer on their TV series during the 1960s and early 1970s, Sylvia's primary contribution was character development and costume design. She regularly directed the bi-weekly voice recording sessions, and provided the voices of many female and child characters.

Anderson In 1967 production started on a new series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, which saw the advent of more realistic marionettes which, thanks to improvements in electronics allowed the puppets to be built closer to normal human proportions and with miniaturisation of the lip-sync mechanisms. The characters were presented as marionette puppets alongside scale model sets and special effects in a filming technique that the Andersons termed "Supermarionation". This technology incorporated solenoid motors as a means of synchronising the puppet's lip movements with pre-recorded dialogue and was revolutionary at the time.

Joe 90 followed on from Captain Scarlet and was the sixth and final of the Andersons' productions to be made exclusively using the form of marionette puppetry termed "Supermarionation". Their final puppet series, The Secret Service, used this process only in combination with extensive live-action filming. As in the case of its antecedent, Captain Scarlet, the puppets of Joe 90 are of natural proportions as opposed to the more caricatured design of the characters of Thunderbirds.

Everyone has their favourite Supermarionation series.
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Coming shortly our FAB collection of Supermarionation-related products available from cj-books-etc:

Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds Thunderbirds was inspired by a mining disaster that occurred in West Germany in October 1963. This real-life drama gave Gerry Anderson the idea to create a new programme format about a rescue organisation, which eventually became his most famous and popular series, Thunderbirds (1964-1966). The Andersons scripted a pilot episode, "Trapped in the Sky", and began production. Gerry initially wanted actress Fenella Fielding to perform the voice of Lady Penelope, but Sylvia convinced her husband to let her play the role. Thunderbirds also marked the start of a long professional association with actor Shane Rimmer, who voiced Scott Tracy.

Set in the mid-2060s, Thunderbirds is a follow-up to the earlier Supermarionation productions Four Feather Falls, Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Stingray. It follows the exploits of International Rescue (IR), a life-saving organisation equipped with technologically-advanced land, sea, air and space rescue craft; these are headed by a fleet of five vehicles named the Thunderbirds and launched from IR's secret base in the Pacific Ocean. The main characters are ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, the founder of IR, and his five adult sons, who pilot the Thunderbird machines.

Thunderbirds Thunderbirds began its first run in the United Kingdom on the ITV network in 1965 and has since been broadcast in at least 66 other countries. Periodically repeated, it was adapted for radio in the early 1990s and has influenced many TV programmes and other media. As well as inspiring various merchandising campaigns, the series has been followed by two feature-length film sequels, a live-action film adaptation and a mimed stage show tribute. The second of two TV remakes, the computer-animated Thunderbirds Are Go, premiered in 2015.

Widely considered to be the Andersons' most popular and commercially successful series, Thunderbirds has received particular praise for its effects (directed by Derek Meddings) and musical score (composed by Barry Gray). It is also well remembered for its title sequence, which opens with an often-quoted countdown by actor Peter Dyneley (who voiced the character of Jeff): "5, 4, 3, 2, 1: Thunderbirds Are Go!" A real-life rescue service, the International Rescue Corps, is named after the organisation featured in the series.

Thunderbirds The Thunderbirds series made the Andersons world-famous. The 32-episode series was not initially successful in the United States because it was only given a limited release, although it later became hugely successful in syndication. But it was a major hit with young audiences in the UK, Australia and other countries and retains a huge and dedicated international following that spans several generations.

cj-books-etc are delighted to have a selection of Thunderbird merchandise on offer, so what are you waiting for? The countdown has begun!

The Complete Book Of Thunderbirds

Chris Bentley, Foreword by Gerry Anderson
Published by Carlton, Books, 2005
This is the ultimate guide to this legendary TV series, charting the history of the programme over four decades from inception to its 40th anniversary.
ISBN 1844424545  The Complete Book Of Thunderbirds

Used good
£20.00
FREE delivery for UK addresses.

Thunderbirds X-Ray Cross-Sections

Alex Pang
Published by Oxford for M&S, 2004
Features cut away artwork generated by computer software and includes stills from the feature film showing the main characters and vehicles in action.
MPN M6834685S  Thunderbirds X-Ray Cross-Sections

Used good
£7.00
FREE delivery for UK addresses.

Aquanaut Thunderbird 4 - Gordon Tracy

Jigsaw from KING, 1992
100 above average sized pieces
Puzzle can be made up in the box on a special raised card platform
Finished size 30.5cm x 21.5cm
MPN 8710125801407  Thunderbirds - Gordon Tracy

Used very good
£6.50
FREE delivery for UK addresses.

Please contact us to discuss possible shipment overseas. BOX21.02.055K

Pilot Thunderbird 2 - Virgil Tracy

Jigsaw from KING, 1992
100 above average sized pieces
Puzzle can be made up in the box on a special raised card platform Finished size 30.5cm x 21.5cm
MPN 8710125801407  Thunderbirds - Virgil Tracy

Used very good
£6.50
FREE delivery for UK addresses.

Please contact us to discuss possible shipment overseas. BOX21.02.056K

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Stingray

Stingray Stingray is a British children's Supermarionation television series, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by AP Films for ATV and ITC Entertainment between 1964 and 1965. Its 39 half-hour episodes were originally screened on ITV in the United Kingdom and in syndication in Canada and the United States. The scriptwriters included the Andersons, Alan Fennell, and Dennis Spooner. Barry Gray composed the music, and Derek Meddings served as special effects director.

Stingray was the first Supermarionation production in which the marionette characters had interchangeable heads featuring a variety of expressions. It was also the first British television series to be filmed entirely in colour over its production run.

Stingray, a highly sophisticated combat submarine built for speed and manoeuvrability, is the flag vessel of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP), a security organisation based at Marineville in the year 2065. It is capable of speeds of up to 600 knots (1,100 km/h), while advanced pressure compensators allow it to submerge to depths of over 36,000 feet (11,000 m), enabling cruising to the bottom of any part of any of the Earth's oceans. Marineville is located somewhere in California, on the West Coast of the United States. In the case of it being under attack, battle stations is sounded and all the buildings and vehicles are sent down on hydraulic jacks into the safety of underground bunkers, protected by enormous steel and concrete shutters whilst missiles are deployed from underground silos and fighter jets are launched. The base lies 10 miles (16 km) inland, and Stingray is launched from "Pen 3" through a tunnel leading to the Pacific Ocean. The alerts "action stations", "launch stations", and "battle stations" are sounded by a rapid drum-beat (composed and recorded by series composer Barry Gray) that is played over Marineville's public address system. Commands given by radio are acknowledged with the acronym: P.W.O.R. which stands for, "Proceeding With Orders Received".

Stingray The pilot of Stingray is the square-jawed Captain Troy Tempest (whose Supermarionation puppet was modelled on actor James Garner). He is paired with Dixie navigator Lieutenant George Lee Sheridan, nicknamed "Phones" for his role as Stingray's hydrophone operator. (Phones' real name, George Sheridan, is referred to in the series' publicity material but is not mentioned on-screen.) Troy and Phones board Stingray by sitting on twin injector seats in Marineville's stand-by lounge, which are sent down rapidly into the vessel through injector tubes and clamped down into place. They answer to the crusty "hoverchair"-bound Commander Samuel Shore, whose daughter, Lieutenant Atlanta Shore, is enamoured of Troy. The reason for Shore's disability is revealed in the episode "The Ghost of the Sea": as a security agent for a deep-sea mining platform, he was injured when a hostile submersible attacked the facility and damaged his patrol craft. He managed to ram the enemy in return, and then escape to the surface, but in so doing lost the use of his legs. Sub-Lieutenant John Horatio Fisher also regularly takes shifts in the Marineville control room.

During the course of the series, Stingray encounters a number of undersea races, both friendly and hostile. The Aquaphibians, an aquatic warrior race, appear regularly - usually under the command of King Titan (modelled on Laurence Olivier), who is the tyrannical ruler of the underwater city of Titanica. In the pilot episode, Stingray is attacked by Titan's forces and Troy and Phones are captured. They are rescued by Titan's slave girl, Marina (modelled on Brigitte Bardot), a mute young woman who can breathe underwater. Troy immediately becomes infatuated with Marina, causing Atlanta to become jealous. Titan, meanwhile, swears revenge for Marina's betrayal. Marina becomes a regular member of Stingray's crew, and later acquires a pet seal pup named Oink, who appears in a number of episodes.

Stingray Many later episodes revolve around Titan's schemes to destroy Stingray and Marineville. These often fail due to the incompetence of his spy on land, Surface Agent X20 who lives on the Island of Lemoy (whose likeness is modelled on Claude Rains but whose voice is imitative of Peter Lorre). Most of the characters, vehicles and places featured in the series have names that are connected, in some manner, with the sea. Character names of this type include Tempest (synonymous with "storm"), Shore, Atlanta (from "Atlantic"), Marina, Lieutenant Fisher and the hostile Aquaphibians. Place names inspired by the sea or its elements include Marineville, Pacifica, Marina's old home and Aquatraz, Titanica's prison. Vehicle names include Stingray itself and Titan's fleet of lethal submersibles, the mechanical fish, named "Terror Fish" in merchandise and comics but never in the series itself (where they are only referred to as "mechanical fish").

Stingray Stingray represented a major breakthrough from Fireball XL5 both in terms of special effects techniques and storytelling. It was the first Supermarionation series to use puppets with interchangeable heads, allowing a number of emotions to be conveyed to the audience. The love triangle between Atlanta, Troy, and Marina is a surprisingly mature development for a children's TV programme, and is even incorporated into the closing credits, in which Troy sings "Aqua Marina" (a song about his romantic feelings for Marina, sung by Gary Miller) while Atlanta gazes wistfully at his photograph.

Marina is unique among Supermarionation characters in that she has no dialogue. In the episode "Raptures of the Deep" she appears to communicate telepathically with Troy (her thoughts voiced by Sylvia Anderson), but this is later revealed to be a part of a dream that Troy experienced while delirious, having passed out underwater due to a lack of oxygen. In the dream sequence in question, Marina's lips do not move because her puppet was not equipped with a speech mechanism.

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Joe 90

joe90 Joe 90 is a 1960s British science-fiction television series that follows the adventures of a nine-year-old boy, Joe McClaine, who starts a double life as a schoolchild-turned-superspy after his scientist father invents a device capable of duplicating expert knowledge and experience and transferring it to a different human brain. Equipped with the skills of the foremost academic and military minds, Joe is recruited by the World Intelligence Network (WIN) and, as its "Most Special Agent", pursues the objective of world peace and saving human life. Created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson it had 30 episodes in total

First broadcast in the UK between September 1968 and April 1969 on the ATV network, Joe 90 was the sixth and final of the Andersons' productions to be made exclusively using the form of marionette puppetry termed "Supermarionation". Their final puppet series, The Secret Service, used this process only in combination with extensive live-action filming. As in the case of its antecedent, Captain Scarlet, the puppets of Joe 90 are of natural proportions as opposed to the more caricatured design of the characters of Thunderbirds.

Although not as successful as previous efforts, Joe 90 has been praised, among other aspects, for the level of characterisation of its smaller puppet cast and the quality of its model sets and special effects. Critics have interpreted Joe 90 's spy-fi theme and the choice of a child character as the protagonist as either a "kids play Bond" concept or an enshrinement of children's powers of imagination. Points of criticism range from the violence depicted in a number of episodes to the absence of female characters, which is interpreted as the inevitable result of the series' composition as a "boy's own adventure".

Joe 90 is set in the near future. The timeframe is most commonly stated to be 2012 and 2013; various other sources point to an undetermined year in the early 21st century, while the official scriptwriters' guide states that the year is 1998. Based on visual evidence, the events of "The Unorthodox Shepherd" occur in 2013.

joe90 Nine-year-old British schoolboy Joe McClaine is the adopted son of Professor Ian "Mac" McClaine, a computer expert. Outwardly, the McClaines are a simple father-and-son pair, who live in an antiquated Elizabethan-style cottage overlooking Culver Bay in Dorset, and are waited on by their housekeeper, Mrs Harris. Yet residing in a secret underground laboratory is Mac's latest invention, the "BIG RAT" (Brain Impulse Galvanoscope Record And Transfer), a machine capable of recording knowledge and experience from leading experts in various fields and transferring it to another human brain. At the heart of the design is the "Rat Trap": a spherical, rotating cage in which a subject is seated during the transfer of "brain patterns".

Sam Loover, a family friend and an agent of World Intelligence Network (WIN), persuades Mac to dedicate the services of Joe and the BIG RAT to the organisation: Joe will become a WIN operative with a difference, the unlimited possibilities offered by the BIG RAT serving as an invaluable tool for completing missions. After requisite knowledge and experience has been transferred, and provided that Joe is wearing customised glasses containing hidden electrodes (a portable storage device for brain impulses), he is able to carry out missions requiring proficiency in - among other disciplines - flying fighter aircraft, spaceflight, performing advanced neurosurgery and concert pianist.

Since a boy would never be suspected of espionage, Joe's innocence is as useful an asset as the BIG RAT, and he comes to be regarded as WIN's "Most Special Agent". Reporting to Shane Weston, the commander-in-chief of WIN's London Headquarters, Joe is also equipped with a special briefcase, which externally appears to be nothing more than a school case but which secretly contains an adapted handgun and transceiver. There is some inconsistency as to why Joe is assigned the codename "90". Contemporary series publicity stated that, in the pilot episode, Joe enlists in WIN as its 90th London-based agent. However, in the episode "Project 90", reference is made to the BIG RAT being documented in WIN's "File Number 90", from which Joe's designation is explicitly stated to originate. The series ends with a clip show episode, "The Birthday", in which a selection of Joe's missions are presented as flashbacks at a surprise party on the day that the character turns ten.

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Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

Scarlet This series often referred to as just Captain Scarlet, was first broadcast on ATV Midlands from September 1967 to May 1968. It has since been transmitted in more than 40 other countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Scarlet Set in 2068, Captain Scarlet presents the hostilities between Earth and a race of Martians known as the Mysterons. After human astronauts attack their city on Mars, the vengeful Mysterons declare war on Earth, initiating a series of reprisals that are countered by Spectrum, a worldwide security organisation. Spectrum boasts the extraordinary abilities of its primary agent, Captain Scarlet. During the events of the pilot episode, Scarlet acquires the Mysteron healing power of "retro-metabolism" and is thereafter considered to be virtually "indestructible", being able to recover fully from injuries that would normally be fatal.

Captain Scarlet, the eighth of ten puppet series that the Andersons produced during the 1950s and 60s, was preceded by Thunderbirds and followed by Joe 90 and The Secret Service. In terms of visual aesthetic, the series represented a departure from Thunderbirds on account of its use of non-caricatured puppets sculpted in realistic proportions.

In comparison to Thunderbirds and other earlier series, Captain Scarlet is generally considered "darker" in tone and less suited to child audiences due to stronger on-screen violence and themes of extraterrestrial aggression and interplanetary war. The transition in the puppets' design has polarised critical opinion and drawn a mixed response from former production staff, although the series has been praised for its inclusion of a multinational, multiethnic puppet cast and its depiction of a utopian future Earth.

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Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade

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