I return to my hobbyhorse about messing about with things that don’t need to be messed about with.
A few days ago I caught the film Thunderbirds Are Go! I’d not seen it for a good few years and it was wickedly enjoyable, partly because of the era in which it was made, back in the 60s.
A while ago I saw a documentary about the creator, Gerry Anderson. He and his band of tweedy, pipe-smoking boffins’u’like spent their working lives blowing models up in a shed or, in the case of the opening sequence of Thunderbirds television shows, in a water tank. No CGI here, just good old fashioned pyrotechnics on an epic if miniature scale. Meanwhile puppeteers handled the live action, and made sure that Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John, and Alan got to save the day.
If you were an avid Gerry Anderson fan, as I was, you could have fun spotting the recycling that went on in the shows that preceded Thunderbirds. Tex Tucker from Four Feather Falls morphed into Supercar’s Mike Mercury, who became Steve Zodiac from Fireball XL5. He popped up again as Troy Tempest in Stingray before being having a career change and have his head transplanted, thus becoming Scott in Thunderbird 1.
The recycling made sense because the heads were very technically advanced for their time, so they didn’t just sling them out, they changed the clothes. Each figure also had upwards of a dozen sets of hands, and these took more than a couple of days to make too.
Add in some rather dated looking set designs (LEDs? What are they?), and the ludicrously elaborate ways that the International Rescue boys got to their aircraft and then launched through secret hatches in Tracy Island, and the whole show was a riot of fun, and it just got better in the film.
Recently, a CGI animated television show has been developed, and it’s utter cack, as reboots tend to be.
Footnote. I went on a stag night back in the 80s, and we all went back to someone’s flat to get even more drunk. Our jovial host had two videos available for our delectation. One was TAG, and the other was called (Trigger Alert!) The Muff Divers. The group of twentysomethings voted unanimously for TAG.
The next morning I went into the living room, and one of the hooligan element was watching TMD, fag in an ashtray, glass of scotch in one hand, bacon sarnie in the other. He was wearing only his underpants.