Sunday, June 20, 2004


Gerry Anderson, amongst other things

My missive yesterday mentioned the current crop of chanteuses who (allegedly) use headset microphones that to my eyes looked like the one that dropped down from Captain Scarlet's hat when he needed to communicate with Cloudbase and all those other neato Spectrum guys. Ms. Spears and Mrs. Ritchie obviously don't have a clue as to the cool factor that the Gerry Anderson shows had for us kids who grew up in the 60s, but it helped raise a generation of serious geeks who actually contributed something to technology and society, as opposed to the tripe the ladies in question put out that cheapens popular music and culture. There's any number of uber-gurus in various disciplines out there who when the subject of any Supermarionation show, especially Thunderbirds, comes up in conversation, get that really excited vibe going on and the conversation inevitably gets to "You know that Thunderbird 2 could've actually worked!".

One thing that absolutely cracked me up was that Thunderbirds were useful in a current Internet issue. As you know, there are tons of Nigerian "419" scam letters being bulk e-mailed every day, and there are some folks who've taken up baiting the scammers to turn the tables on them. One enterprising fellow has enlisted the aid of none other than Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward to play with their criminal heads, as can be seen here and here.

In case you need an introduction or reminder of how cool Thunderbirds were, check this out.

I learned one interesting, yet sobering fact out of being a "Fanderson". I've always loved the absurdly complicated launching sequences of the various craft on the Anderson shows. Moving Thuderbird 1 down what looked like an escalator at Macy's 34th Street to underneath the pool, then sliding the pool out of the way for the launch was a hoot, but for me the wildest one of all was Fireball XL5's long launch down a ramp. I had always assumed that Anderson had nicked this launching from the 50's sci-fi potboiler "When Worlds Collide", however, in at least one interview, Anderson mentioned getting the idea from a German, then later Soviet scheme to launch a hypersonic bomber against an American target. The targeting the Germans had intended was especially chilling (scroll down about 3/4 of the page).


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