No More Strings Attached.

At the risk of getting monotonous, we have lost another great talent – and this one strikes

Gerry Anderson, Creator of "Thunderbirds" and "Space:1999"

Gerry Anderson, Creator of “Thunderbirds” and “Space:1999”

home to us sci-fi geeks. Gerry Anderson, innovator of “Supermarionation” and creator of “Thunderbirds”, has died at the age of 83.

If you don’t know him, it’s hard to get across the appeal. Though the puppetry work was questionable, even before the days of CGI, “Thunderbirds” became an icon to sci-fi lovers everywhere, starting in England. With the meager pickings of televised sci-fi in the mid-1960s, “Thunderbirds” picked up viewers quickly on both sides of the Atlantic, and soon became so iconic that the phrase “Thunderbirds are Go!” quickly entered the pop lexicon.

Gerry also created “Space: 1999”, the tale of our moon blown out of orbit by a nuclear explosion and becoming, in essence, a space ship wandering the universe. Though it lasted only two seasons from 1975 through 1977, it developed quite a following, and despite the death of one of the regulars, Barry Morse, there has been ongoing discussion of a sequel or follow-on series and movie. Other titles he was responsible for include include “Stingray” and “Captain Scarlett and the Mysterions”.

For we who love British sci-fi, Gerry will never be forgotten.

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This entry was posted in Obituary, Science Fiction, TV Stars and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to No More Strings Attached.

  1. Binky says:

    Questionable puppetry? I thought it was great! Such a unique way to create a SF series.

    • Very true, Binky, and badly worded on my part. I was looking at this from a modern point of view, with CGI rampant and nary a wire to be seen. In the time period, it was indeed outstanding. And frankly, I was never a nit-picker enough for the strings to bother my enjoyment!
      And thanks for your patience. We’ve gone a whole 36 hours without snow! WOW! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. rarasaur says:

    This is a lovely tribute to Gerry Anderson– it was so sad to hear of his passing.

  3. unfetteredbs says:

    Sorry John… I guess 2012 is going out with a bang. At least your icons have lived a full and successful life– and they will live on.

    • We lost a lot of great names. The two that really stick out are Michael O’Hare of “Babylon 5” and Michael Clarke Duncan. I never met the second Michael, but both were always kind and delightful souls both on and off camera, and went far too soon in my humble opinion. I hope 2013 is kinder!

  4. aFrankAngle says:

    Not being in the SciFi loop of things, I didn’t know GA … but given your knowledge, it is a loss. Good tribute!

  5. I didn’t know Gerry, but I learned something new today.

  6. Tori Nelson says:

    What a legacy! (and a great tribute post, too)

  7. Road Dave says:

    “Team America – World Police” by Trey Parker and Matt Stone was also a tribute-rip-riff to the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson Supermarionation style of Marionette manipulation. The whole Thunderbirds/Fireball XL5 genre used solenoids in the puppet to provide further motion, like eye motion or mouth motion. He was truly ahead of his time.
    .

    • I’ve heard very mixed things about “Team America”, though I haven’t caught it personally. Like I said to Binky, while by today’s standards the shows look a bit backwards, for the time they were truly outstanding. And it’s amazing to realise how many shows (like “Space: 1999”) he had a part in making happen. Truly a great man.

  8. fasab says:

    Good tribute. I was an avid Thunderbirds fan and saw my share of Capt Scarlet and Space 1999 too. Here are a few clips of the shows and the great man himself.

  9. savor says:

    Hi John, thanks for the link to your site – I actually already have a prescription to your blog though. Hope you’re enjoying a good holiday.

    • Hmm … WordPress is claiming you’re new here! Ah well, greetings, and yes, I finally have the snow whipped into shape. And sunshine is coming! (Well, not until day after tomorrow, but hey – it’s hope!) Hope you had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  10. Archon's Den says:

    I’ve watched all of these. While not *great* by today’s standards, they were great in their time, and were the foundation upon which much of today’s visual Sci-Fi was built.

    • That’s what I was trying to get across, Archon. I especially remember the model work, as I was very much “into” building plastic model kits. How I envied those rotating aircraft hangars and command buildings! Great stuff.

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