Thunderbirds Are No-Go

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frank-new Frank E. Lee
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The 1960s were a fertile period for television science fiction. There was Twilight Zone (featuring recently deceased regular Jack Klugman), Star Trek and Outer Limits, along with lesser but still watchable shows like Time Tunnel, Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea (the Mad parody “Voyage To See What’s on the Bottom” was better) and The Invaders. There were also some animated shows, including an English import featuring puppets (Filmed in something called Supermarionation) involved in numerous hi-tech adventures that featured a wide variety of vehicles that could fly through space, the air and underwater. It began with Supercar, then Fireball XL5, Stingray and Thunderbirds. The puppets looked a bit corny, but the dialogue was cheeky and the characters included astronauts, pilots, officious government bureaucrats, even a Pernod drinking, cigarette smoking high society model named Lady Penelope. The best thing about the shows were the detailed models and sets, which included missile fire and other pyrotechnic effects, and fired the imagination of many a young mind. Gerry Anderson, who pulled the strings, (along with his wife Sylvia) passed away on Wednesday. He was 83.

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