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A cool documentary recommendation.

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  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
A cool documentary recommendation.
Posted by gregbale on Saturday, November 12, 2022 5:26 PM

Just ran across a great documentary on the free Tubi app called "Filmed in Supermarionation," a cool look back at the various iconic puppet sci-fi adventure series produced for television by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson back in the 1960s. Even if you're not old enough -- as, alas, I am -- to remember the likes of StingrayFireball XL-5, Captain Scarlet and Thunderbirds in their original runs, it's a really entertaining look at a group of super-talented people creating something which was to become an actual legend in the history of television programming.

More to the point for this forum...it's all (literally) about creating the illusion of reality in scale. There's great behind-the-scenes coverage of the model makers and innovative filming techniques used to create those iconic miniature sequences throughout. Plus...it's seriously fun to see many of those great artists and craftsmen (and -women) reunited some five decades later (the doc was filmed in 2014) to reminisce about the glory days of their early careers back in the UK in the 'swinging '60s.'

Very enjoyable and well-made. Worth looking into. 

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, November 13, 2022 7:06 AM

Hi Gregbale:

       Yes, this is worth seeing. My kids were enthralled by those shows. Then I saw much later in California, a Show? Documentary? About the techniques used in the making of them. I was learning how to create miniatures for Film and Court at the time. The Universities Close to me didn't offer such a course of study!

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Sunday, November 13, 2022 10:04 AM

Sounds interesting. Will check it out.

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Sunday, November 13, 2022 10:56 AM

Thunderbirds was my favorite TV show when I was in pre-school.  I was completely mesmerised by all the great miniatures - and explosions!  The sweaty puppets added a strange touch of realism.  Surprise

The first episode where they had to catch the Fireflash nuclear powered SST was my all-time favorite.  I never got tired of watching the rescue sequence.  I think the bongo drums in the score added a thrilling dramatic flair!  You know, even watching it today gives me a smile.  Kind of like watching old Kamen Rider V3 episodes.

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Sunday, November 13, 2022 12:43 PM

There's a great sequence telling how they'd go down to the local Woolworths to scoop up dozens of Airfix kits to use as parts for detailing vehicle models and sets...along with "plastic boxes, beach balls, and salt and pepper sets" that they could turn into exotic-looking bits of machinery or backgrounds. But my favorite quote on that bit comes from model-maker Mike Trim:

"It didn't always work. Sometimes we got it wrong. There is one thing that haunts me...and that's a lemon squeezer stuck on the wall at the back of Thunderbird One's set."

And in the next shot they show Thunderbird One's launch bay with -- clear as day -- the kind of dish-type lemon juicer any of our moms might have had in the kitchen drawer, stuck prominently on the hangar wall...backlit, to give a suitably futuristic eerie glow.

The sheer inventiveness of 'primitive' early-'60s technology is really pretty amazing. The puppets' mouth movements were actually lip-synched with a novel electronic system cued by the voices on the audio track...which had to be carefully calibrated to account for different pitches and tones of the various actors' voices.

All the pyrotechnic and water sequences were shot at double film speed, then slowed down for an incredible degree of 'realism' for editing. They actually recreate one of these sequences -- a refinery explosion -- showing what looks like crappy fireworks going off in real time...but which shows as majestic multiple detonations that would nearly do modern films proud, when 'half-cranked' to slow everything down.

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, November 13, 2022 1:07 PM

I loved these shows as a kid. When Team America: World Police came out, I watched it and remembering laughing so much and being ashamed that I found it so funny.

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Sunday, November 13, 2022 2:23 PM

Team America - **** yeah!!!

My favorite lines from the movie:

Gary  "A Lamborghini that turns into an airplane?  Now I've seen it all!"

Spotwood  "Oh yeah?  Have you ever seen a man swallow his own head?"

Gary  "Um... no."

Spotwood  "Then you HAVEN'T seen everything - and neither have we."

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Sunday, November 13, 2022 7:12 PM

I remember watching all those shows, including Supercar on a b/w TV.  Back then color TVs were incredibly expensive and there was no way we could have one, not that there were many color programs on anyway.

It did come as a surprise many years later when I finally had a color set after I got married and saw them in color.

I did have a couple favorite machines from all those shows, Thunderbird 2, Fireball XL5, Stingray, the S.P.V., and the Shado mobile.

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