Friday, January 1, 2010

Thunderbirds Are Go!

What better way to ring in the New Year than to look back fondly on some of our favorite childhood TV moments. That's right friends we launch into the new year with THUNDERBIRDS [ARE GO]! Could there be a more ringing endorsement, a more resounding call for success in 2010 than Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds? I think not! So what if Thunderbirds [1965] was originally aired over forty years ago. Everything you need to know is in the past. This show was about success, results, team work, heroics and puppets, but not those scary head-twisting type puppets. Oh and it was about extremely cool vehicles!

When I was a young boy you couldn't peel me away from the puppets. I loved, loved, loved Thunderbirds! Apart from the fact, I loved all of the characters, Scott, Gordon, Virgil, Brains, Penelope and the lot, let's face it, it was the classic designs of those fabulous miniature ships that landed me face planted in hands, back feet swaying behind me arse as I looked longingly at my off color, bulbous, cathode ray tube.

Thunderbirds brought a world of adventure to life and whisked me away from the daily routines of trash removal and a paper route so that I could head off and save puppets in dire straits from certain death. I was the one inside those Thunderbirds. Say the word and I was there. What do you need? A Firefly, The Mole, Thunderbird 4? Please, please, Thunderbird 4! I just couldn't get enough of those Thunderbirds. Thunderbird 5 was always intriguing to me, but because it was relegated to outer space I never had enough of a handle on it to keep it on my radar as a potential favorite. So, the battle for favorite Thunderbird as a child was between 1,2,3 and 4. Today, I love Thunderbird 1 the most. Still, it could switch at any moment. In those yesteryears, back in my shuffling around the house with plastic pajama feet days [yes, I watched Thunderbirds for many years], I would have to say it was a toss up between Thunderbird 4 and Thunderbird 2. Those were the two big ones for me. There was nothing cooler than to see that yellow spaceship-like submersible launch into the ocean. Simply awesome! And it was freakin' yellow. How many things in life were yellow that you thought were supercool. The colorful world of Thunderbirds just exuded excitement. Your imagination would ignite and come alive. But, when you get right down to it, Thunderbird 2 essentially carried Thunderbird 4 in its belly and on any given day Thunderbird 2 could quickly change things up and it would be off and running on that launchpad with something radically different like the Firefly. I love the Firefly. And my favorite guest craft would have to be The Mole. How cool is The Mole? I like just being able to say, The Mole. It was just wicked how it kicked dirt skyward, burrowing into the earth on a rescue mission. It was equally impressive how it backed out of some deeply trenched cavern to rest back upon its wheelbase. I tell you, simply amazing those Thunderbirds. Thunderbirds Are Go indeed! My motto for the new year! I can't help that I live in a time warp.

It's funny, because I've been drawn to British science fiction of late in the form of Doctor Who, Space:1999 and Thunderbirds. It's a phase, but it's a bloody, bloody good one at that thanks to the imaginary world of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson who brought many of these classic shows to fruition. So, I thought, let's do something fun into the new year. I'm going to try and make it a regular feature to spotlight Thunderbirds on Fridays. We can call it FAB Fridays. If you'll recall, the puppets loved saying F.A.B.. As far as I know it didn't mean anything other than act as a call signal to the other team members. Anyway, I think I'll have a bit of fun with Thunderbirds. I won't necessarily do the play by play format for the entire episode as I did with Babylon 5 unless there is an utter outcry for it by fans of the series out there. We shall serve up some of the best moments from the thirty-two remastered episodes, a brief synopsis and any other interesting facts that might come to mind. So, we will venture into the world of Gerry Anderson and his faithful puppet heroes beginning now in VIDEOCOLOR and SUPERMARIONATION!

I leave you with the wonderful theme song created by Composer Barry Gray and a glimpse of those FAB-FAB-FABtabulous Thunderbirds owned and operated by the Tracy family for International Rescue. Thunderbirds Are Go!

Warning: You must be a kid at heart to love the Thunderbirds! Happy New Year as we continue to look back at those classic years by placing one foot into the future and taking several steps back to this ever spectacular past!


Unknown said...

If you want to know more about Thunderbirds, you should buy my new book: Filmed in Supermarionation from


SFF said...

I'm always open to the shamelesss plug especially when its relevant like this. : ) thanks for stopping by Stephen. The book looks terrific, a real labor of love no doubt. It looks well researched. Best of luck with it and getting that island.

How much of your book is dedicated to Thunderbirds? We'll keep it in mind. Again, best of luck with the book sales. Deserved no doubt!

Unknown said...

It is indeed a labour of love - one which has just received an excellent review in SFX :)

A large chunk of the book is about Thunderbirds. The book covers all the 'Supermarionation' puppet shows, with Thunderbirds dominating three chapters.