Gerry Anderson FAQ
The Gerry Anderson Frequently Asked Questions List
Compiled By Kimberly Murphy
Here are the answers to some of the more frequently asked
questions by Gerry Anderson fans in print and on internet. I
have attempted to compile a reasonably complete first primer for
the new Anderson fan as well as a list of interesting trivia
points for long-time Anderson devotees. Comments, corrections,
additions, etc., are welcome.
Please address all correspondence to Kimberly Murphy:
snail mail: 9740-E Covered Wagon Drive
Laurel, Maryland 20723-1512 USA
- Who is Gerry Anderson?
- What shows has he produced?
- Have any of them been on networks in the U.S.?
- Which of the Anderson shows is the most popular?
- Why was THUNDERBIRDS cut to a half-hour for its 1994 run on FOX?
- I remember lots of video movies based on Anderson shows. Were these new films?
- What is Supermarionation?
- The puppets look different between THUNDERBIRDS and CAPTAIN
- SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS. What happened?
- What does "F.A.B." stand for?
- What other commonly-used acronyms are there in Anderson productions?
- Is it true that STINGRAY's Marina the Mermaid was modeled after Sylvia Anderson?
- Sylvia Anderson suddenly stopped appearing in the credits of SPACE:1999. What happened?
- Captain Scarlet's voice sounds just like Cary Grant. Intentional?
- I thought I heard the voice of FIREBALL XL5's Steve Zodiac coming out of the World President's mouth in CAPTAIN SCARLET. Did I?
- Wasn't Patrick McGoohan supposed to be in CAPTAIN SCARLET?
- Wasn't CAPTAIN SCARLET recently called a "racist" show?
- Commander Straker in UFO looks and sounds an awful lot like Captain Blue in CAPTAIN SCARLET. Coincidence?
- What's the deal with the purple wigs in UFO?
- Wasn't the puppet for JOE 90's Sam Loover in another Anderson production?
- Has Gerry Anderson ever done a voice for a character in his own shows?
- Which Anderson show had the most episodes?
- Which Anderson regular has done the most with him?
- Didn't Gene Roddenberry produce the second season of SPACE:1999?
- Why does the second season of SPACE:1999 look so different from the first?
- Didn't I see THUNDERBIRDS on MTV a few years back?
- Those writers' names in the TERRAHAWKS credits look made up. Are they?
- I thought I saw a pilot for SPACE PRECINCT with a different cast. What happened?
- Are there any official sources of information (books, etc.) on Anderson productions?
- Are there any fan clubs out there?
- What kind of Anderson fan fiction is available?
- How do I meet other Anderson fans on internet?
1. Who is Gerry Anderson?
Gerry Anderson is a British producer who was to British TV in the
60's what Walt Disney was to U.S. TV in the 50's -- THE purveyor of
children's television. As the children of the 60's grew up, so did
Gerry's programming, with more adult puppet shows and live-action
dramas to appeal to his maturing audience. Though he may have
appeared to go out of style in certain areas of the world, pockets
of Anderson fandom have always existed worldwide (THUNDERBIRDS is
one of Japanese television's most popular shows ever, for example),
and, with the recent showings of most of the Anderson library on
the BBC and U.S. showings of THUNDERBIRDS on FOX, runs of
SPACE:1999, UFO, CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS, STINGRAY, and
TERRAHAWKS on The Sci-Fi Channel, and the new syndicated live-
action show SPACE PRECINCT, Anderson is enjoying a revival of
sorts. Most of Anderson's 60's and 70's shows were produced with
his now-ex-wife, Sylvia Anderson (nee Thann); in recent years,
Anderson has teamed with Christopher Burr, John Needham, and Roger
2. What shows has he produced?
The Anderson library is vast and extensive. It includes 12 puppet
shows, 4 live-action shows, 5 films, and numerous pilots,
commercials, and videos. The major body of work is as follows.
THE ADVENTURES OF TWIZZLE
Children's show based on British screenwriter Roberta
Leigh's short stories; first production for APFilms
TORCHY THE BATTERY BOY
Bigger-budget effort, also based on Leigh's stories
FOUR FEATHER FALLS
Children's western about a lawman with four magical
feathers in his hat
CROSSROADS TO CRIME
An young policeman stumbles across a gang of hijackers
operating out of a local cafe and goes on an independent
investigation to infiltrate their ranks and foil their
plans to hijack œ20,000 of nickel alloy ingots; only
feature-film production of APFilms; first Anderson live-
Mike Mercury tests Professor Popkiss' and Dr. Beaker's
experimental vehicle; start of the Supermarionation era;
first production for ITV
Colonel Steve Zodiac and a French doctor named Venus lead
the forces of the World Space Patrol at Space City
against invading aliens; first Anderson series to appear
on a U.S. network (NBC)
Captain Troy Tempest helms the World Aquanaut Security
Patrol's finest vessel against the undersea tyrant Titan;
first series shot in color for ITV
The five Tracy brothers, their cook's daughter Tintin, a
scientist named Brains, a ex-safecracker-turned-chauffeur
named Parker, and socialite spy Lady Penelope Creighton-
Ward make up International Rescue, an elite mercy
organization; first hour-long Anderson series; most
popular Anderson show worldwide; Century 21 Productions
produced two feature films, THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and
THUNDERBIRD 6; reworked into half-hour format for FOX in
CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS
"One man fate has made indestructible" leads Spectrum, a
world security force, in their war of nerves against the
Mysterons from Mars; first Anderson show with
proportionately-scaled marionettes; first television
production by Century 21 Productions
DOPPLEGANGER (a.k.a. JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN)
Feature-length film about two astronauts who discover a
mirror-image Earth; first live-action feature film from
Century 21 Productions; many actors and props reappeared
Nine-year-old Joe McClaine is the World Intelligence
Network's top spy, thanks to the Brain Impulse
Galvanascope Record And Transfer machine that transfers
brain waves and knowledge patterns through a pair of
glasses; character-based series rather than technology-
THE SECRET SERVICE
Father Stanley Unwin and his gardener Matthew are an
unlikely spy team for British Intelligence Service
Headquarters--Operation Priest, thanks to the Minimizer,
a device that shrinks objects and people; only Anderson
production set in the present day (1969); first to
combine live action and puppetry, substituting a full-
body double for Father Unwin in motion sequences
Former Air Force Colonel-turned-studio executive Ed
Straker leads the super-secret Supreme Headquarters Alien
Defence Organisation, headquartered beneath England's
Harlington-Straker Studios; first live-action show; last
production for Century 21 Productions
Harry Rule, Contessa diContini, and Paul Buchet are the
movers and shakers behind an elite private security and
investigative agency; first production by Group 3
Productions; second live-action show; most episodes of
any Anderson production
An alien investigator shrinks two humans to miniature
size to prevent the defiling of significant artifacts in
this unsold pilot; combination of live-action and
puppetry; puppets resurfaced in a Jif commercial, the
last Supermarionation production
Commander John Koenig must keep 311 colonists together as
their base on the moon hurtles through the galaxy after
an atomic waste explosion on the dark side of the moon;
third live-action show; last joint production of Gerry
and Sylvia Anderson; second season produced by STAR
TREK's Fred Freiberger
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (a.k.a. INTO INFINITY)
NBC SPECIAL TREAT episode, about two spacefaring families
who are en route to Alpha Centauri; intended as a pilot
but not picked up; shot between seasons of SPACE:1999 and
costarred three SPACE:1999 players; narrated by Ed Bishop
(UFO's Ed Straker)
Dr. Tiger Ninestein leads an elite planetary defense
force headquarted in a secret base in South America;
first Anderson series without Sylvia Anderson's
involvement; first puppet show using the Supermacromation
technique; all but three episodes solely written by
Anderson regular Tony Barwick
DICK SPANNER P.I.
Mild-mannered robot private detective Dick Spanner
wisecracks his way through impossible-to-follow sight-
gag-filled plots; series of shorts for Channel 4's
NETWORK SEVEN series, later condensed into two hour-long
shows for Channel 4; characters animated by stop-action
animation puppetry rather than Supermarionation or
New York Police Department Lt. Patrick Brogan is assigned
to the "space precinct" of Demeter City in the year 2040;
fourth live-action series; most recent Anderson
production, now running in U.S. syndication
In addition, Anderson has done many more items than can be listed
here: Produced numerous television commercials for such concerns
as Jif Peanut Butter, Airfix Model Kits, Lyons Maid, Royal Bank Of
Scotland, Tennent Lager, and Domestos Household Cleaner; developed
treatments for proposed feature film FIVE STAR FIVE and TV series
RESCUE 4; co-produced the music video "Calling Elvis"; and assisted
with stage productions THUNDERBIRDS F.A.B. and RETURN TO THE
3. Have any of them been on networks in the U.S.?
Most of Anderson's 60's and 70's work has been syndicated
extensively in the U.S., but only two have appeared on major
commercial networks in regularly-scheduled slots: FIREBALL XL5 on
NBC in 1963 and a revamped and shortened version of THUNDERBIRDS on
FOX in 1994. In recent years, however, the cable network The Sci-
Fi Channel has provided a home for SPACE:1999, UFO, CAPTAIN
SCARLET, STINGRAY, and TERRAHAWKS.
4. Which of the Anderson shows is the most popular?
By any measure--original ratings, syndication runs, merchandising,
fan appeal--the most popular of all the Gerry Anderson series
remains 1965's THUNDERBIRDS, the 39-episode series that became the
defining series for a generation of Brits just as STAR TREK was for
a generation of Americans. A close second is 1967's CAPTAIN
SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS; though it never developed the audience
THUNDERBIRDS did, SCARLET has done extremely well in worldwide
syndication, in merchandising, and in its recent BBC revival, and
has a strong core of devotees. The live-action shows UFO and
SPACE:1999 also have strong fan bases and are enjoying new lives
thanks largely to renewed syndication in recent years for both
5. Why was THUNDERBIRDS cut to a half-hour for its 1994 run on FOX?
The editing of THUNDERBIRDS from its one-hour original format to
half-hour shows with new music, credits, and dialog track for its
1994 run on the U.S.-based FOX network has been the subject of much
debate. In a letter widely circulated on USENET and the fab-l
mailing list, ITV claimed a number of reasons why THUNDERBIRDS had
to be cut down: Pressure from FOX's Standards and Practices to
remove unsavory or inappropriate elements (drinking, smoking,
subservient minorities, excessive violence); the short attention
span of U.S. children made the hour-long format impractical; the
sale in the mid-1980s of the ITV music libraries to U.S. pop star
Michael Jackson meant the music and vocal tracks had to be edited
out and redubbed with new voices and music; the credits after all
the edits were made were simply inappropriate to the new show.
There is much evidence to the contrary to counter ITV's assertions
that these were the reasons THUNDERBIRDS was cut: Recent runs on
The Sci-Fi Channel of SCARLET (one of Anderson's most violent
shows) and STINGRAY (where all the characters smoke and drink in
several scenes) and the THUNDERBIRDS films on TNT, all of which
also used the ITV music and vocal tracks, were left reasonably
unmarked (cut only for time constraints and commercial breaks);
much of the Anderson library, including THUNDERBIRDS, had run in
their original format on the BBC only a year earlier and had been
released on laserdisk in Japan, also in their original format;
computer technology has made scene-editing to remove undesired
elements almost embarrassingly easy, meaning cigarettes and wine
glasses could have been looped out without much effort. More than
likely, the decision was a business one, done to maximize profits,
and we shall never know the true reasons behind the dramatic
editing done to THUNDERBIRDS.
6. I remember seeing lots of movies at the video store based on Anderson shows. Were these new films?
Most likely not. There have been numerous compilation films
released that have combined episodes of Gerry Anderson shows.
Among the shows that have had compilation films released are UFO,
SPACE:1999, CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS, THUNDERBIRDS, and
FIREBALL XL5. The DICK SPANNER P.I. videos that are available are
also compilations of the shorts done for NETWORK SEVEN.
Ironically, in the U.S., the compilation movies have seen wider TV
screenings than the series they are based on in many cases,
particularly in the case of INVASION:UFO, the compilation film
based on the seldom-screened series UFO.
However, there are two films based on THUNDERBIRDS that are not
merely compilations of series episodes, 1966's THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO
and 1968's THUNDERBIRD 6. Each were unique productions done for
the cinema by the newly-formed Century 21 Productions, though
neither had the success of their TV series counterpart. Both
movies occasionally turn up in Sunday afternoon and late-late-show
7. What is Supermarionation?
Supermarionation is a puppetry technique involving marionettes with
extremely fine wires, electronics controlling certain aspects of
the puppets' movements, and voice boxes inside their heads (and
later, in their chests) that synchronized the mouth movements with
the vocal tracks. It is completely different from the puppetry
technique used in TERRAHAWKS called Supermacromation, a Muppet-
style puppetry technique, and the stop-action animation of plastic
puppets in DICK SPANNER, P.I.
Supermarionation was first developed for SUPERCAR and used for
every Anderson puppet production through THE INVESTIGATOR. It was
revamped between THUNDERBIRDS and CAPTAIN SCARLET; see the next
8. The puppets look different between THUNDERBIRDS and CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS. What happened?
Anderson puppet artists Mary Turner and Plugg Shutt had developed
stringless puppets during the period between the end of
THUNDERBIRDS and startup for SCARLET; stringless puppets meant that
the puppets could be controlled from underneath and thus look more
natural in sitting positions, flying planes, driving cars, etc.
Also, engineers John Read and Reg Hill had experienced a
breakthrough in technology for the voice mechanism that enabled it
to be reduced in size so it would fit inside the chest cavity
rather than the head (which had always been overlarge and out of
proportion to the rest of the puppet). The combination allowed a
complete redesign of the puppets to 1/3 human scale, which made
them look much more realistic; at first glance, it is often
difficult to tell that some of the shots in SCARLET are not of
humans. The drawback was that they did not move as realistic as
they looked, so many shots done of the puppets going from place to
place were done on moving walkways, and other motion was often
implied by changing camera angles and sounds of movement (the
famous "walk down the alley" during the opening credits of SCARLET,
for example, is done strictly from Scarlet's point of view; all one
hears is the click of bootheels on pavement).
9. What does "F.A.B." stand for?
Perhaps the most frequently asked question by new THUNDERBIRDS
fans, the definitive answer came from Sylvia Anderson herself
during her promotional tour for her book YES, M'LADY. According to
Sylvia, F.A.B. stands for...
It was something they made up on the spur of the moment during a
writing session, Sylvia says, and it was never intended to stand
for anything other than to spell out the letters of a popular
British slang word--"fab"--during that era. Many people have
attempted to find other meanings ("Filed, Actioned, Briefed",
"Fine--Acknowledge Broadcast"), but it never meant anything other
10. What other commonly-used acronyms are there in Anderson productions?
A by-no-means-complete list appears below:
10-0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Negative (TERRAHAWKS)
10-10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Roger (TERRAHAWKS)
10-50. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Immediate Launch (TERRAHAWKS)
. . . . . . . . . .Brain Impulse Galvanascope Record And Transfer (JOE 90)
. . . . . . . .British Intelligence Service Headquarters--Operation Priest
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (THE SECRET SERVICE)
FBV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Full Boost Vertical (SUPERCAR)
IR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .International Rescue (THUNDERBIRDS)
. . . . . . . . . . . . .Martian Exploration Vehicle (THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO)
. . . . . . .Maximum Security Building (CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS)
. . . . . . . Maximum Security Vehicle (CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS)
PWOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Proceeding With Orders Received (STINGRAY)
. . . . . . . . . . .Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation (UFO)
SIG. . . . . . . . . .Spectrum Is Green (CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS)
SIR. . . . . . . . . . .Spectrum Is Red (CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS)
. . . . . . . Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS)
WASP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .World Aquanaut Security Patrol (STINGRAY)
WIN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .World Intelligence Network (JOE 90)
WSP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .World Space Patrol (FIREBALL XL5)
11. Is it true that STINGRAY's Marina the Mermaid was modeled after Sylvia Anderson?
Yes, as was THUNDERBIRDS' Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, who was
also voiced by Sylvia. Though Sylvia had been providing vocal,
script, and production support since SUPERCAR, STINGRAY was the
first Anderson series to feature her face on a puppet.
12. Sylvia Anderson suddenly stopped appearing in the credits of SPACE:1999. What happened?
Problems between the Andersons and ITV, coupled with problems in
the Andersons' marriage, resulted in Sylvia's sudden departure from
SPACE:1999. It was the last time she and Gerry would work
together; they were divorced in 1975.
13. Captain Scarlet's voice sounds just like Cary Grant. Intentional?
Absolutely. The voice belongs to British actor Francis Matthews,
also known as Paul Temple in the BBC spy series TEMPLE. Matthews
had been previously approached to work on STINGRAY and THUNDERBIRDS
due to his well-known mastery of dialects and versatile voice, but
always either was not interested or had not been available. As
SCARLET was being planned, Anderson decided he wanted a British
voice for Captain Scarlet, a Roger Moore/Cary Grant type of voice;
remembering Matthews was said to do a passable Grant impersonation,
Matthews was once again approached to participate in an Anderson
production. When Matthews read for SCARLET and Anderson realized
the impersonation was even better than he'd heard, he was
determined to get Matthews to sign on this time. As Matthews
remembers it, "Although Gerry didn't move heaven and earth to get
me, he certainly came close. At the time of the first two
recording sessions I had to be flown up and down to Manchester,
where I was appearing in Coward's PRIVATE LIVES." Over the six
weeks of recording sessions for the 32 episodes of SCARLET, many
sessions were arranged around Matthews' schedule so he could
participate and still fulfill other commitments.
Ironically, though CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS was the only
Anderson production Matthews ever appeared in, and though Matthews
took great pains after the series ended to avoid action-adventure
roles in an attempt to prevent typecasting, Captain Scarlet remains
his best-known role outside the U.K., something which Matthews says
completely baffles and often bothers him. In recent years,
however, Matthews has somewhat reluctantly grown accustomed to the
measure of fame SCARLET brought him and even reprised his vocal
role for the Scarlet puppet's appearance on the ITV children's show
WHAT'S UP DOC when SCARLET returned to British television in a 1993
14. I thought I heard the voice of FIREBALL XL5's Steve Zodiac
coming out of the World President's mouth in CAPTAIN SCARLET.
Yes. Anderson had a core of vocal actors he used repeatedly; only
rarely (SCARLET, for example) did Anderson look outside his vocal
troupe to find a suitable voice. The voice of both Steve Zodiac
and the World President belongs to the late Paul Maxwell, who also
voiced Paul Travers in THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and provided many other
voices in SCARLET, including Captain Grey and the Supreme Commander
of Earth Forces ("Point 783"). Maxwell also appeared in the UFO
15. Wasn't THE PRISONER's Patrick McGoohan supposed to be in CAPTAIN SCARLET?
Yes. McGoohan was to have voiced World President James Younger in
the opening episode of the series. The idea was to have a guest
star puppet every week, sculpted to look like its voice artist.
However, McGoohan was unavailable when recording sessions began,
and the concept was scrapped due to expense; Anderson regular Paul
Maxwell took over the vocal duties after McGoohan had to cancel.
The puppet of World President Younger, though, still bears more
than a passing resemblence to McGoohan.
16. Wasn't CAPTAIN SCARLET recently called a "racist" show?
Believe it or not, yes. SCARLET, the first Anderson show to
feature colored characters in regular roles, was called both
"politically incorrect" and "racist" by a handful of critics as the
series prepared for its 1993 revival on BBC-2. The focus of the
charges seemed to be the fact that the leader of the heroes was
named "White" while the chief villain was named "Black", which was
said to be yet another example of perpetuating ethnic stereotypes
of black being bad and white being good.
The only problem with this argument being directed at SCARLET was
that it simply didn't apply. The villainous Captain Black is
caucasian, while the colored characters, African-American pilot
Melody Angel and West Indian communications specialist Lieutenant
Green, are heroic figures and play prominent roles in several
episodes. The inclusion of black characters in significant roles
was no accident, according to Gerry Anderson, who in a 1992
interview said that he had tried as far back as 1961's SUPERCAR to
incorporate black characters into his shows but was rejected by ITV
due to possible problems getting the shows syndicated; SCARLET was
the first show in which he was actually able to get them accepted
Interestingly, except for its recent U.S. run, this argument has
seldom been raised about THUNDERBIRDS, which consistently
perpetuates negative Asian and female stereotypes in chief villain
The Hood, Jeff Tracy's manservant Kyrano, and Kyrano's
underutilized (except as weepy damsel-in-distress) daughter Tintin,
and outside of the three Asians and Lady Penelope features no
minorities in significant roles. Contrast this to SCARLET, with
five female regulars, women in significant heroic and villainous
guest roles, and the prominent presence of Lieutenant Green, and
the charges of political incorrectness and racism become even more
17. Commander Straker in UFO looks and sounds an awful lot like Captain Blue in CAPTAIN SCARLET. Coincidence?
Absolutely not. Captain Blue was voiced by American actor Ed
Bishop in his first role for Gerry Anderson, and the puppet bore a
strong resemblence to Bishop with one exception: Blue was blond,
while Bishop had dark hair. When Bishop was later cast as the lead
in UFO, his hair was bleached blond, which made the resemblence
between Straker and his previous series incarnation even stronger.
18. What's the deal with the purple wigs in UFO?
Although numerous attempts to explain a scientific purpose for the
purple wigs on the female staffers at SHADO Moonbase have been
proposed through the years (the most common being that they are
anti-static wigs to prevent migraines), the fact remains that they
were merely part of Sylvia Anderson's design for the SHADO Moonbase
women's costumes and serve no functional purpose.
By the way, not just women wore wigs in UFO. After the first few
episodes were shot, Ed Bishop wore a blond wig to prevent damage to
his dark hair from repeated bleachings. George Sewell (Col. Alec
Freeman) and Michael Billington (Col. Paul Foster) also wore wigs
to keep consistency in hair stylings and lengths since the episodes
were shown out of order from their original shooting.
The answers to this and many other UFO-specific questions can be
found in the UFO FAQ list, located at the anonymous FTP site
ftp.doc.ic.ac.uk in the /public/media/tv/collections/tardis/uk/sci-
19. Wasn't the puppet for JOE 90's Sam Loover in another Anderson production?
Most of the puppets in the post-SCARLET puppet shows were recycled
from SCARLET's large marionette cast. JOE 90's Sam Loover is best
known as the Supreme Commander of Earth Forces in SCARLET; the
puppet also appeared as the Lunar Controller in the SCARLET episode
"Lunarville 7". Other SCARLET puppets turn up in various roles in
later shows--among the more memorable are Colonel White in a dark
wig in JOE 90, Captain Ochre in THE SECRET SERVICE, and Captain
Scarlet himself in wire-rimmed glasses in JOE 90.
20. Has Gerry Anderson ever done a voice for a character in his own shows?
Only once. Gerry's voice, run through a synthesizer, became Robert
the Robot in FIREBALL XL5. Sylvia Anderson, however, did most of
the female voice work in the puppet productions up through THE
21. Which Anderson show had the most episodes?
It may come as a surprise to most Anderson fans, but the live-
action spy series THE PROTECTORS, with 52, has the most episodes of
any series in the Anderson canon. The 1972-74 half-hour series
lasted two seasons and production was set to begin on a third when
co-financiers Faberge withdrew their support. The series is
considered the "black sheep" of the Anderson family due to its lack
of success in the U.S. and its complete lack of connectivity with
any of the other Anderson series, though series co-star Tony Anholt
went on to play Tony Verdeschi in the second season of SPACE:1999.
The Anderson series with the most episode time is SPACE:1999, whose
48 episodes in uncut and uncommercialed form total 40 hours.
22. Which Anderson regular has done the most with him?
Leaving Sylvia Anderson off the list due to an unfair advantage,
among Anderson's core of regulars the one who has appeared in the
widest variety of roles is Shane Rimmer, who began his Anderson
career as the voice of Scott Tracy in THUNDERBIRDS and later went
on to provide voices for THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO, THUNDERBIRD 6,
SCARLET, JOE 90, SECRET SERVICE, THE INVESTIGATOR, and DICK
SPANNER. Rimmer also wrote or co-wrote episodes for SCARLET, JOE
90, SECRET SERVICE, THE PROTECTORS, and THE INVESTIGATOR, and
appeared live in episodes of UFO, THE PROTECTORS, SPACE:1999, and
the original pilot of SPACE PRECINCT (then called SPACE POLICE).
23. Didn't Gene Roddenberry produce the second season of SPACE:1999?
No, but another famous STAR TREK producer did--Fred Freiberger, who
produced the third season of STAR TREK for NBC and who was hired to
replace the outgoing Sylvia Anderson in an attempt to make 1999
more palatable for the U.S. audience, which was the only country
where 1999 was even close to the success originally desired.
24. Why does the second season of SPACE:1999 look so different from the first?
The series was completely revamped to appeal more strongly to the
U.S. market after a disastrous first season in the U.K. on ITV.
STAR TREK third season producer Fred Freiberger was brought in and
made sweeping changes: Most of the cast was let go (by mid-season,
only Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, and Nick Tate remained of the
original cast), new cast members added (Tony Anholt and Catherine
Schell being the most notable), and sets and costumes completely
redone. Despite the changes, the show declined steadily in the
all-important U.S. ratings and was not renewed for a third season.
For a more complete answer to this and many more SPACE:1999-
specific questions, see the SPACE:1999 FAQ list, located at
anonymous FTP site quack.kfu.com in the /pub/space-1999 directory.
25. Didn't I see THUNDERBIRDS on MTV a few years back?
No, but if you saw the 1991 Dire Straits video "Calling Elvis", you
saw the puppets and vehicles. Gerry Anderson co-produced the
video, using the THUNDERBIRDS puppets in non-speaking roles
throughout the video--which, like most videos, has very little to
do with the actual lyrics of the song.
26. Those writers' names in the TERRAHAWKS credits look made up. Are they?
Yes. The late Tony Barwick, who had been a writer for
THUNDERBIRDS, JOE 90, THE SECRET SERVICE, and SPACE:1999 and script
editor for SCARLET and UFO, solely wrote all but three episodes of
TERRAHAWKS (he co-wrote one additional one), always under
pseudonyms such as I.C. Fingers and Sheik Spearstein.
Barwick's pun-filled pseudonyms were one example of the many in-
jokes in TERRAHAWKS, a show with a deliberately lighter touch than
any Anderson show since THUNDERBIRDS. Among some of the other more
memorable ones: The French-speaking zeroid robot was named Dix
Huit (French for 18, his numeric designator), Terrahawks team
member Kate Kestrel's civilian cover was as a pop singer for
AnderBurr Records (an abbreviation of Anderson-Burr Productions,
Gerry's new production company); her recording engineer was named
Stew Dapples; an executive who shows up to hear Kate perform is
named Dan Druff; evil android Zelda's son is named Yung Star and
her sister is named Cy Star.
27. I thought I saw a pilot for SPACE PRECINCT with a different cast. What happened?
The original pilot for SPACE PRECINCT was shot in 1986 and was the
last Anderson-Burr production. It was then called SPACE POLICE and
starred Shane Rimmer as Lt. Chuck Brogan and Catherine Chevalier as
Officer Cathy Costello. Like THE INVESTIGATOR, it was a live-
action/puppet combination and was well-received upon screening but
was never financed. An edited financing film, put together from
the pilot by Anderson and narrated by Ed Bishop, was shopped around
to various networks and production houses, again with no luck.
Finally, in 1993, Anderson sold Grove Television Enterprises on the
idea of producing a series based on this idea. A new pilot was
shot, much of the concept revamped (most of the puppets were
abandoned in favor of humans in alien costumes ala STAR TREK:DEEP
SPACE NINE), and finally SPACE PRECINCT was sold into U.S.
syndication in 1994.
28. Are there any official sources of information (books, etc.) on Anderson productions?
Several. Boxtree Publications has produced a series of behind-the-
scenes books for STINGRAY, THUNDERBIRDS, SCARLET, and
UFO/SPACE:1999 that are very good resources for the Anderson fan,
though many have pointed out serious inaccuracies in the
UFO/SPACE:1999 book. Derek Meddings, designer of the F/X for
almost all the 60's Anderson series as well as the first BATMAN
movie, the SUPERMAN movies, and LIVE AND LET DIE, has written a
book entitled 21ST CENTURY VISIONS, which details much of the magic
of the model work in such series as THUNDERBIRDS, SCARLET, and UFO.
The late Simon Archer's FAB FACTS is considered the bible of
Supermarionation and Gerry Anderson trivia. Sylvia Anderson's
autobiography YES, M'LADY is also considered a definitive source of
information on Anderson productions. There are also tie-in books
("annuals") for most of the Anderson puppet shows available, mostly
through rare book stores and specialty merchandisers.
29. Are there any fan clubs out there?
Several. The official Anderson fan club, Fanderson, is sanctioned
by Gerry Anderson himself and has members worldwide. The group
puts on regular conventions, has a strong merchandising arm, and
publishes sanctioned fanzines. For more information, send a SASE
or SAE and two IRCs to Fanderson/P.O. Box 93/Wakefield, West
Helen Weber's UFO fan club, SHADO-USECC, has been going strong
since the late 1970s. A well-run club with several UFO cast and
crew as honorary members, the club turns out newsletters quarterly,
a fanzine yearly, and has a videotape lending library. For more
information, send a SASE or SAE and two IRCs to Helen Weber/514
Delaware Avenue/Lansdale, Pennsylvania/19446/USA.
Terry Bowers has run Martin Landau and Barbara Bain fan clubs since
the days of SPACE:1999. For more information, send a SASE or SAE and
2 IRCs to Terry Bowers/603 North Clark Street/River Falls,
Mary J. Rudy's APA/CENTURY 21 is a long-running Amateur Press
Association that has developed into a loose-knit club of sorts.
Published quarterly, APA/CENTURY 21 brings together Anderson fans
of varying likes and dislikes; SHADO-USECC President Helen Weber is
a member, as is POWER STAR publisher Kimberly Murphy, S&M Video
Productions owner Walter M. Scott III, and SCIENCE FICTION AND
FANTASY MODELER correspondent Marc Frattasio. For more
information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or send a SASE or SAE and two
IRCs to Mary J. Rudy/4057 Comly Street/Philadelphia,
Katie Bleathman's SPECTRUM APA is the British counterpart to
APA/CENTURY 21, with an emphasis on CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE
MYSTERONS; several members of C21 assisted in the creation of
SPECTRUM APA. After a brief hiatus, SPECTRUM APA is publishing
quarterly again and has begun accepting new members. For more
information, e-mail email@example.com or send a SASE or
SAE and two IRCs to Katie Bleathman/26 Milner Road/Horfield,
30. What kind of Anderson fan fiction is available?
Fanderson produces fanzines on a regular basis, as does SHADO-
USECC, while both APA/CENTURY 21 and SPECTRUM APA run occasional
fan fiction. See the question above for addresses.
A UFO-based fanzine was published in Australia recently,
REFLECTIONS OF A UFO ZINE. For more information, send a SASE or
SAE and 2 IRCs to IIBNF Press/P.O. Box N-213/Grosvenor Place/New
South Wales 2000/AUSTRALIA.
POWER STAR Magazine, now in its ninth year of publication (monthly
for the past four years) is a fanzine that publishes a wide-variety
of media-based fan fiction and does Gerry Anderson-based fan
fiction on a fairly regular basis. Issues 66 (part one of a
SPACE:1999 story) and 71 and beyond (containing more of the 1999
story and other Anderson fiction) are available via the internet in
ASCII format; issues 24 and onward (containing artwork, photos,
etc.) are available in print. For more information, e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org or send a SASE or SAE and 2 IRCs to
Kimberly Murphy/9740-E Covered Wagon Dr./Laurel, Maryland/20723-
31. How do I meet other Anderson fans on internet?
The major U.S.-based online service providers (CompuServe, America
Online, GEnie, Prodigy) have areas of Anderson discussion scattered
throughout (several on AOL are located at keyword SCIENCE FICTION).
In general, however, the best way to meet Anderson fans is through
USENET, the 1999 list, and the FAB lists.
The major Anderson discussions on USENET take place in newsgroup
rec.arts.sf.tv. Discussions are infrequent; however, they do
occur, so read the group regularly if you have access and watch for
For more specific discussions, there are three Anderson listservers
around. The oldest is the 1999 list, located at quack.kfu.com. An
unmoderated list, it provides lively discussions with other 1999
fans round the world. Send an e-mail message with human-readable
text (the list is not updated automatically) to space-1999-
In August 1994, two new Anderson listservers started at uel.ac.uk,
one for UFO and one for general Anderson discussions. Dubbed "the
FAB lists", fab-l covers Anderson productions from TWIZZLE to SPACE
PRECINCT, while fab-ufo is specifically devoted to UFO. Both are
unmoderated though informally monitored by Marc Martin (fab-ufo)
and Kimberly Murphy (fab-l). To join either, send a mail message
to the automated list processor, email@example.com, in the
is either FAB-L or FAB-UFO and is just that.
Grateful acknowledgement is given to Steve Beverly, Katie
Bleathman, Terry Bowers, Lorrie Marchini, Marc Martin, and Helen
Weber for their invaluable assistance in researching and producing
this FAQ. Special thanks to Mary J. Rudy for first introducing me
to CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS and reawakening my interest in
Anderson fandom through generous gifts of books, magazines, and
stories, many of which were also used in preparing this FAQ.
Copyright 1995 by Kimberly Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This archive may be freely copied and distributed as long as it is
not altered or used for profit without express written consent of