Following the 50th anniversary of hit puppet series Thunderbirds, a unique trio of adventures are released this month as part of a Kickstarter campaign to bring the classic Supermarionation series back for one final outing.
In the Sixties, several audio-only Thunderbirds adventures were released commercially on vinyl. Three of these were original stories, unique from the broadcast series and featuring the voices of the original cast, including Sylvia Anderson as Lady Penelope and David Graham as Parker.
Some fifty years later, these recordings have been expanded and restored to form the basis for three newly-produced episodes, employing the traditional Supermarionation techniques and effects which made the original series a global phenomenon.
Cast: Peter Dyneley, David Graham, Bob Monkhouse, Shane Rimmer, Ray Barrett, Neil McCallum, Sylvia Anderson, Christine Finn, Charles Tingwell, Jeremy Wilkin, Paul Maxwell, Matt Zimmerman, Alexander Davion
Director: David Lane
Writers: Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson
Released By: Fabulous Films
Duration: 89 minutes & 85 minutes
Release Date: June 15, 2015
Reviewed On: Blu-ray
In 1965 Gerry Anderson led his team at AP Films to produce one of the most expensive and enduring television programmes of all time. Thunderbirds was the culmination of several years experience in the creation of adventure drama with marionettes and scale models, utilising cutting-edge technology and special effects to present a futuristic world. Filmed using a process coined Supermarionation, Anderson’s shows were unique in their unmatched production values, perilous stories and orchestral scores, evidenced by the popularity of Thunderbirds fifty years on.
The entirety of audiences in 1965 experienced Thunderbirds in low resolution monochrome, on comparatively small television screens. Regardless of the broadcast limitations of the time, the explosive bravura of the series shone through and Thunderbirds was a huge success in Europe, enjoying a phenomenon which was expected to spread to the lucrative American market. ITC’s Managing Director, Lew Grade, was so pleased with Thunderbirds that he quickly funded a project to bring a movie version to the big screen. Capitalizing on the show’s popularity, a cinematic adaptation would offer all the action and adventure in full Technicolor with a widescreen frame. Scripted by Gerry and produced by Sylvia Anderson, Thunderbirds Are Go was released through United Artists shortly before the Christmas of 1966.
Charlie Chaplin is arguably one of the most important figures in the history of cinema. Famous for the creation of the moustachioed Little Tramp, he produced over eighty films and was the highest paid performer of his time. Chaplin became, by his own conviction, more famous than Jesus Christ.
Between 1916 and 1917, Chaplin signed a record-breaking $670,000 deal with Mutual films to produce twelve two-reels films running at approximately 25 minutes a piece. Chaplin was by now in his mid-twenties and at the height of his creative powers, having previously worked extensively with the Keystone and Essanay film companies. He later recalled that his year with Mutual was the happiest professional period of his career.
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws has the distinction of being one of the most ubiquitous films in terms of domestic release, with literally dozens of VHS (and latterly DVD) releases over the past twenty-five years. Jaws also holds a place in history as the first film to be pressed on the Laserdisc format in 1978. It is perhaps surprising that it has taken such a long time for this commercially popular film to arrive on the Blu-ray format. Has it been worth the wait?
As motion pictures became popular in the early 20th Century, so followed the phrase, “A picture paints a thousand words”. It is uncertain exactly where that famous adage originated, though some scholars cite a Japanese proverb as the inspiration. What is known, however, is that it was propagated in America, at a time when Hollywood became the locus of the motion picture industry. Cinema is arguably the greatest innovation in entertainment since the invention of theatre, and at less than 150 years old, it is the subject of Marc Cousins’ ambitious documentary.
Theatre Manager, Writer, Film Photographer & Printer, Reviewer, Reader. Secular biped mammal with own views. © Samuel Payne 2016