Joe 90 (1968) and The Secret Service (1969), which combined live shots with marionettes, were the last of the supermarionation series, but by now, Anderson was just overseeing production whilst he was busy writing screenplays for the film Doppelganger (1969) and the TV series UFO (1970).
Anderson has been married 3 times. His second wife was Sylvia Anderson who 'voiced' her famous puppet character
In the 1970s and 80s Anderson produced 52 episodes of The Protectors (1972-74), 33 episodes of Space: 1999 (1975-76) and 39 episodes of Terrahawks (1983).
With each series becoming more eloborate and popular, and 'supermarionation' now developed, the series Thunderbirds (1965) was the one to capture the public imagination and led to the major film Thunderbirds Are GO (1966) and its sequel Thunderbird 6 (1968). At its peak, Thunderbirds attracted millions of viewers, and a spin-off comic, TV Century 21, grossed a staggering 630,000 copies each week. If you want to know more about the iconic Thunderbirds series, please click on this Wikipedia link.
The series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967) was able to use marionettes with smaller heads more in proportion to the body, because of more newer and smaller technology in the puppet heads.
Anderson was president of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance for a number of years, fundraising on their behalf. He resigned from the charity in November 2007 after a management shake-up clearly displeased him.
The 1960s were the heyday of Anderson's many marionation series. Four Feather Falls (1960) was the earliest followed by Supercar (1962) and Fireball XL5 (1962) in which he himself voices the character 'Robert the Robot'. Each of these TV series ran for 39 episodes. Some of the puppets were modelled on real people - Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds resembled Anderson's wife Sylvia whilst Captain Scarlet was based on Cary Grant.
'Marionation' used marionettes suspended on thin wires which not only acted as the puppet strings, but also carried electrical signals to electrodes hidden in the puppet heads. These heads contained small motors which synchronised mouth movements from signals sent from the actor's voice down the wire puppet strings. This later became known as 'supermarionation'. Most of the marionettes were filmed sitting because walking movements were not especially convincing.
In 1960, Anderson produced and directed his first feature film for TV Crossroads to Crime, but this proved less successful than his 'puppet' productions so he decided to concentrate on 'marionation' (from 'marionette' and 'animation'), the system that he and AP Films had perfected.
Anderson more or less stumbled into puppet-based filmmaking in order to keep his ailing production company going. In 1957, he was approached to direct a puppet series for the newly-formed Independent Television, and this resulted in The Adventures of Twizzle. A second series, Torchy,
After National Service with the RAF, Anderson became a dubbing editor at Pinewood Studios. In 1955 he founded his production company Pentagon, later becoming AP Films.
Gerry Anderson was born in London in 1929. After leaving school, he planned to become a architect but quickly became attracted to working in the film industry. He joined the Ministry of Information film unit as a trainee, and later moved on to Gainsborough Pictures.
By now, Anderson's production company AP Films had become Century 21 Productions which took charge of the marketing, toy manufacturing, merchandising and publicity of the many products based on his various puppet productions.
Gerry Anderson was awarded the MBE in 2001 for his services to animation. He died on 26th December 2012.
The Battery Boy followed. These brought Anderson to the attention of the boss of ITV, the legendary, cigar-puffing showbiz impresario, Lew Grade. It was Grade who helped Anderson develop his later, highly succesful puppet productions.
Torchy, The Battery Boy
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
Parker & Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds
Four Feather Falls
Twizzle and his cat Footso
Gerry Anderson signing my book
Signed title page of my book
Gerry Anderson's biography
Barbara Bain & Martin Landau in Space: 1999
Robert Vaughn and Nyree Dawn Porter in The Protectors
Sylvia Anderson with
Gerry Anderson signed two models
Gerry signing my models
of Scott Tracy for me
I met Gerry Anderson at the NEC in November 2005. He signed my copy of his biography 'What Made Thunderbirds Go!' and two models of Scott Tracy, which I had also got signed by Shane Rimmer who 'voiced' the character.
character, Lady Penelope, in Thunderbirds. They divorced in 1975 when Anderson married his present wife Mary Robins.
What Made Thunderbirds Go!
Gerry Anderson (1929 - 2012)
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