Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson died December 26 at the age of 83. He was diagnosed with mixed dementia two years ago and his condition “worsened dramatically over the past six months” said his son to Time Magazine.
Anderson was a guest of honor at Intersection, the 1995 Worldcon in Glasgow.
He was famous for “supermarionation,” using puppets to act out science fiction TV adventures, and it was an affectionately bestowed, enduring fame — just last year the Royal Mail set FAB: The Genius of Gerry Anderson as the theme of its first issue of 2011, featuring his shows Stingray, Joe 90, and Captain Scarlett on postage stamps.
Anderson was also notable for Space: 1999, a live action sci-fi adventure that reportedly was the most expensive tv show made up to that time. Its not-especially-scientific premise was that the Moon had been hurtled into interstellar space by a thermonuclear explosion of nuclear waste dumped on the lunar surface. It starred Mission: Impossible vets Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.
Gerry Anderson was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2001.
The logic behind SPACE 1999 isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever encountered in film or the Tube. But if you’re pretty much scientificly illerate, it makes sense.
The whole point was to get the show started.
“With beauty and grace, as swift as can be
Watch it fly through the air!
“It travels in space, or under the sea,
And it can journey anywhere!
SUPERCAR!” [crash of thunder]
It was trash, but I was 11. I loved Fireball XL-5 and still do. I watch my DVDs almost as much as I do Fraggle Rock and rather more often than The Muppet Show. All three of which are puppet shows, come to think of it. Do you suppose there’s a pattern?
I couldn’t miss a single episode of either of these when they were new, and I was seven years old. The themes are still exciting even today.
God save Gerry Anderson.
@Taral: Your next Drink Tank essay can explore whatever pattern you think there might be!