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Gerry Anderson (1929 - 2012)

Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with some sad news. As I'm sure most of you already know, we've lost a great. The late great Gerry Anderson, creator of such imaginative shows as THUNDERBIRDS, STINGRAY, SPACE: 1999, and JOE 90 has unfortunately moved on from this world. His television shows, with a unique brand of puppetry and a flair for the spectacular have touched the lives and imaginations of millions. His spirit will live on in the immortal stories he helped create and will be sure to inspire future generations to think outside the box.

From (Anderson's son) Jamie Anderson's website: "I'm very sad to announce the death of my father, Thunderbirds creator, Gerry Anderson. He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today (26th December 2012), having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years. He was 83."

Anderson was born "Gerald Alexander Abrahams" in Bloomsbury, London, England and began working in televison in the 1950's with THE ADVENTURES OF TWIZZLE, a show where that followed a boy who could extend (or "twizzle) his arms to help get out of tight spots. Anderson then went on to create some of the more iconic imagery we think of with modern marionnette puppetry. Films like TEAM AMERICA (almost a very literal love letter to Anderson's aesthetic) would not have been possible. There's a magic that Anderson was able to capture with the use of some wood and string, a true artist who could deliver incredible visuals with seemingly ancient tools.

While he has had a significant impact on television and children's stories, he has had an exceptional impact on the lives of many generations of UK especially. He will be greatly missed.

Special thanks to AICN Talkbacker Steph_J.


- Mike McCutchen



Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 29, 2012, 12:51 p.m. CST


    by TheCommodore

    My second first, ever!

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 12:52 p.m. CST


    by mr. smith

    scared the pee out of me as a kid. anderson was a founding father to my imagination's influences.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 12:53 p.m. CST

    hell, i even enjoyed Space Precinct!

    by mr. smith

    bless him

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 12:55 p.m. CST

    About Time

    by bundyse

    He make my childhood. Ever few years will sit and re watch Space 1999. Met his a few years back. what a lovely man.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 12:55 p.m. CST

    All his work I grew up with...

    by MaxHeadroom

    Used to love his stuff. A little late to this news, though, aren't you AICN?

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 12:56 p.m. CST

    ain't it old news

    by cozy

  • As Snoop (from the WIRE) would say: "YOU EARNED THAT BUMP" - RESPECT!

  • Come on, it's a long overdue obit long overdue from a so-called geek website. Man this place has gone to shit lately. R.I.P Gerry, and thank you Muldoon for at least mentioning the passing of someone that gave me years of frights and laughs growing up.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Thank you for making my childhood, Mr. Anderson.

    by blue meanie

    I grew up as an often bullied kid, moving from city to city and never making any steady friends due to the constant moving. My only repose from this hard, mean life was coming home everyday and watching Thunderbirds, Sting Ray and my very favorite Anderson show, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. These very shows uplifted my spirits and made life very liveable again. Fast forward 30 years, and I now own every Anderson show on DVD and relish in their fantastic and imaginative plots and characters. Pure genius. Thank you, Gerry Anderson, and rest in peace.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Thanks Muldoon!

    by Seph_J

    Shows like Stingray, and in particular Thunderbirds, fired my imagination as a kid. The epic scale of the stories Anderson was telling was just mindblowing to a youngster - each one of the hour-long adventures of International Rescue were pulpy, riveting action films. The stories often ventured into sci-fi territory with the space adventures, thriller/noir with the espionage exploits of Lady Penelope and horror with each appearance of The Hood. Gerry Anderson created something so unique in those shows, and although the supermarionation technique is often viewed as camp or comical, the skills of their craft remains unequalled to this day. Unique, exciting and classy. Thank you, Gerry. x

  • My kid still watches Thunderbirds episodes from my DVD sets, all the time. He'll watch anything if it's cool. It doesn't have to be shiny and CGI either. I remember a year or so ago there was supposed to be a new attempt at a Thunderbirds TV series, but nothing ever came of it. Would like to see some more stories of International Rescue, even if it was CGI. The New Captain Scarlett series from 2005 was pretty cool. RIP Gerry.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Thank you Mr. Anderson

    by punchydugan

    Although the actors were "puppets", Thunderbirds, Stingray and Fireball XL5 always felt like adult shows to me. Kinda wish we still had stuff like that out there.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:18 p.m. CST

    I’ve seen the film about 5 times thus far

    by BoRock_A_Boomer

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:20 p.m. CST

    My childhood is now officially over

    by larrydart

    Damn. Goodbye and thanks for great memories, Gerry.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Shame the Thunderbirds movie was so awful.

    by vadakinX

    Whoever made the decision to try to emulate Spy Kids made a huge mistake. Thunderbirds could have been a pretty awesome epic action adventure.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Barry Gray's Music = Awesome.

    by vadakinX

    Everyone knows the Thunderbirds theme, but every Anderson show had great music. Listen to the Joe 90 intro, it just oozes cool.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:29 p.m. CST

    The intro sequences to his shows were brilliant

    by DonLogan

    Re-runs of his hows were on all the time when i was a kid. The things i remember the most are the title sequences. The theme songs, the editing, just brilliant. Fireball XL5, Stingray & Captain Scarlet were my favourites and everyone liked Thunderbirds of course. Sad news.

  • how no one has been able to put together a half way decent Thunderbirds movie is simply nuts. There's a very very basic formula: you simply take the plot of the Towering Inferno and add spaceships, or you could go with The Poseidon Adventure and add spaceships; or perhaps any one of the 'Airport' films; simply add some spaceships and you're good to go. How on earth could anyone possibly fuck that up?!??!?

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Wonderful Guy

    by Terence James

    Will be sadly missed.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:34 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    I have fond memories of both Space 1999 and Thunderbirds. I never really cared for the puppet characters in Thunderbirds but the miniatures and the fx work were brilliant. In particular the big green dropship Thunderbird 2 - what a fantastic creation. And when it came out from its secret entrance the palm trees parted and then went back up vertical again - awesome stuff! The Eagle spaceships in Space 1999 were brilliant iconic designs too. RIP Gerry Anderson

  • The intros for the shows alone are awesome. Stingray opens with "Stand By For Action" and that statement delivers. The Captain Scarlet opening is also pretty damn cool. Going back to the Thunderbirds movie, a lot of Anderson's stuff would make great movies in the right hands. Thunderbirds was a huge letdown but maybe in the future someone will do it right. Captain Scarlet could certainly make for a cool film and done right, Joe 90 could actually be a great film for kids and adults. Space:1999, U.F.O., Stingray...Gerry and Sylvia Anderson made epic TV shows that were fun and action packed and in my mind still stand up today. I actually watched the first episode of Thunderbirds yesterday. Dialogue is a little hokey but the amount of effort put into the show is obvious for all to see.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    I had a pitch for a Thunderbirds movie.

    by vadakinX

    It was actually pretty simple. It was going to start with backstory of Jeff Tracy, his wife and Brains, and some terrible disaster that kills Jeff's wife, leaving Jeff to raise his 5 sons. The death of his wife would inspire him to create International Rescue and with his resources and Brains' eh...brains, they build up their arsenal of equipment and vehicles. The very first rescue would be the Fireflash rescue from Trapped In The Sky, the first episode of Thunderbirds, which would be this 15-20 minute sequence and would be followed by a montage of other rescues as International Rescue comes to prominence. Then introduce The Hood who wants to steal IR's secrets, and basically get the designs of the Thunderbirds so that he can sell them on the black market to people looking to use them as weapons. As I said, pretty simple. But that's all you need for Thunderbirds. The rescue sequences alone would be these epic, tense affairs that would keep you on the edge of your seat, just like the show did. I actually have some ideas for Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 movies as well. All of Anderson's shows had something special. It didn't matter that they used puppets and obvious miniatures. They were simply great. F.A.B.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Anything can happen in the next half hour!

    by Ciderman

    Used to watch Stingray, Thunderbirds and Joe 90 as a youngster, as just said, the puppetry left me indifferent but the model work was amazeballs! The scene in Trapped in the Sky, with the airliner coming down was brilliant. Am I the only one who liked Terrahawks? . .. ... Think so!

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Took you fuckwits long enough to post this.

    by acroyear


  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Christopher Lee Has Died

    by Partyslammer

    Just trying to prep AICN for the day in the next 20 years when ol'd Sir Christopher actually does pass away seeing as AICN is so far behind the curve on actual news.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:55 p.m. CST

    UFO was my personal fave. RIP Gerry.

    by LastOfTheV8Interceptors

  • I frikkin loved that cartoon while growing up in the 80s. here is the intro:

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 1:58 p.m. CST


    by Darth_Tarantino

    First "superhero" I ever loved as a kid. Watched it religiously. Still think you could make an amazing movie from it (providing you keep the kick arse theme tune). RIP Gerry. You were one of the greats.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:07 p.m. CST

    A giant talent

    by Peter ORourke

    Gerry Anderson was a giant in UK fantasy television and he'll be sorely missed.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:07 p.m. CST

    An institution in the best sense of the word.......

    by david starling

    I can't really say much more about the brilliance of his shows, other than the fact that even when people took the blatant 'mickey' out of his shows (the usual 'wire' jokes, and 'wooden' actors) here in the UK on tv, they still had the utmost respect for him, never cheapened him or his shows. And, it seems that Gerry's legacy went-on, even when his shows didn't - the late Derek Meddings went from Century 21 to Bond, and any movie that needed top-notch model FX (that often make CGI look redundant even today). Perhaps the best thing is to say is that Gerry Anderson's output was 'stereotyped' as children's fare - but it was appreciated by far more. Rest in Peace Gerry.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:12 p.m. CST


    by Muldoon

    You and I both know you very easily could have chosen the word "guys" in place of "fuckwits". Save the hatefulness to a post that warrants it - possibly one where a gentleman's life isn't in the subject line. I've personally been out of town away from a computer, just got in this morning - posted SATURDAY SHORTS when I heard of Mr. Anderson's passing and put this up as soon as I could, where I'm rewarded with your name calling in lieu of any actual memories from any of the shows this man helped create. You are surrounded by people who are sharing their thoughts on the death of childhood innovator and you chose an apple box of hatefulness to step up on? C'mon man. By posting hateful/mean spirited comments in the posts that actually try to do right by you (i.e. this one), you're almost like an angry waiter who wonders why they got a poor tip. Drop the ugliness, you're better than that. It cheapens any good ideas you might be capable of.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Oh, and one more thing.......

    by david starling

    .......I live about 45 minutes on the train away (I don't drive!!) from Slough, where they shot a lot of the early series (including Thunderbirds and Stingray) - really good to know that Slough is famous for something other than the Office and David Brent!! Sorry, I know its tenuous - but I thought it would make you all smile!!

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST

    gotta agree with Muldoon...

    by Righteous Brother

    Not cool for an obit. I really enjoyed Gerry Anderson's shows growing up, especially Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO and Space:1999. The live action show's had some surprsingly mature storylines for the time, and they had great theme tunes too. RIP Mr Anderson.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Gotta agree with Muldoon

    by XoanonTORN

    As someone who ran a website with a massive fanbase, it is a bit of an unforgiving experience when people start with the 'what about this?' and 'it's about f'ing time!' posts. Muldoon and the others who run this site are human, with other interests, needs and well...lives. Chill, they cannot be everything to everyone all the time... That being said I am looking for work :)

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:40 p.m. CST

    A sad loss

    by Mr Kite

    I loved all his shows as a kid, especially Captain Scarlet. Thank you sir and RIP.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:46 p.m. CST

    RIP Gerry

    by horvak

    RIP Gerry, you were unique and original and I hope that someone, someday remakes all of your stories in a format they deserve. UFO was my fave and should be remade.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 2:58 p.m. CST

    I always thought my Mom wasn't into anything like this

    by GeneralKael

    And then one day as a kid I discovered Stingray, and my Mom listed off all the characters. She used to watch it with my brother when he was the same age. Regarding the Thunderbirds movie - the best thing about it was Lady Penelope and her butler - they were perfectly cast - the rest was a bit weak but not as bad as I thought it might be. I don't really blame Jonathan Frakes I think it was probably done on a shoestring budget and Frakes did what he could with it. But I agree why not a big budget Anderson project? We get subjected to so much crap that costs a fortune to make you think this would be a no brainer...

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:01 p.m. CST

    New Captain Scarlet

    by Tomarru

    As a kid growing up in the 80's and 90's I still had easy access to gerry andersons classics as the likes of stingray was still aired on BBC2 at around 6pm in a similar timeslot to star trek TNG. It was still storytelling on a bigger scale than anything else, it bridged the gap between mindless cartoons and stuffy adult drama when I was the perfect age for it and it still managed to appeal to adults themselves. In the mid 2000s ITV started airing new captain scarlet, a CG reimagining which I never knew gerry anderson had much involvement with till I looked it up. The way it was treated was horrific, it wasn't an event, it wasn't aimed at anything but young kids by its timeslot. Even then as it was serialised but didnt appear in the listing (it was under an umbrella kids tv show) and would randomly disappear from one week to the next it was a frustrating experience. It's a shame the BBC didn't latch onto it and show it at a proper time to compete with the simpsons rather than giving us more crappy quiz shows. Now it's all but forgotten. Shame. Thunderbirds hasnt faired much better with the hollywood abomination of a movie having killed it off. It's ripe for a similar scarlet makeover though, a great CGI series would be right up its alley, just dont aim it at the lowest of the low.

  • If they could plug up the moon-sized holes in logic in the general concept, I would love to see a reboot of Space: 1999 ala BSG. At least re-use the Eagle ship concept in something else.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Meanwhile Abe Vigoda dances GANGNAM STYLE over his grave!

    by Ricardo

    Abe was the oldest looking main cast member of the first Godfather, done over 40 years ago, and he's still around.

  • It's like 2012 has a quota or something, because they are all coming quickly before the year is over. Very sad.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    space 1999

    by Mark

    Saturday night, grandmas house, and Three musketeers and Space 1999. The design of the Eagle was awesome, and of course the Thunderbirds. RIP. Mark

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:11 p.m. CST

    space 1999

    by HoraceSkinner

    Never got thunder birds. But as a kidd space1999 mezmorized me. It opened the door for me to watch and like trek, outer limits, twilight zone, ect. His work on that was legendary. Thanks Muldoon for the nice post.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:14 p.m. CST

    remake space1999

    by HoraceSkinner

    There are worse ideas out there hollywood

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:15 p.m. CST

    kaelomont...theres alot of stuff your mom is into you don't know about

    by HoraceSkinner

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:16 p.m. CST

    lol Horaceskinner

    by Cotton_Mcknight

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Unfair to attack the "lateness" of this tribute.

    by Octavian

    I assume the guys who run this place have family commitments at this time of year like almost everyone else. If this had happened last week or next it would be up in a couple of hours. Now, Mr. Anderson... By some accounts not a nice man, but my God his achievements are extraordinary. Nothing tops Thunderbirds of course, but Captain Scarlet and Stingray both came close. The recent GGI Scarlet was bloody fantastic. It had some magnificent stories. "Syrtis Major" was particularly good. I got a TV21 annual when I was about seven and it featured a Thunderbirds strip about Thunderbird 3 finding an alien ship with the crew in statis. It still gives me the creeps all these years later. The Frakes remake was a bitter disappointment. Why they went down the Spy Kids route when they could have played it relatively straight and made a mint I shall never know. Hopefully one day someone will revisit a live action version.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Thanks Muldoon, much appreciated.

    by DrMorbius

    And many thanks to Mr. Anderson. From his initial effort in Supermarionation, SuperCar, followed by fIREBALL XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space;1999 ... for the MANY hours I spent immersed in your worlds. Saddend by your passing, but your Legacy will endure.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:28 p.m. CST

    I had an original Thunderbird 2 when I was a kid in the 70's

    by jpwishbone

    Unfortunately it got involved in a lot of destruction and mayhem and failed to service my childhood. Whatever you think of the puppets, the fx and set pieces were brilliant and really fired the imagination. Modern digital fx may be incredible in their realism but they leave nothing for your brain to fill in. Give me old school practical effects any day. B.t.w thanks Muldoon for posting this thread. I know you've been away but we've been posting requests for this thread for 3 days now and plenty of other AICN contributors have been around and seem to have ignored our requests. You can't post an obit for everyone in the film industry who dies, but when an absolute legend and pioneer like Gerry Anderson dies it has to be acknowledged. Thanks again. I'm looking forward to reading the many posts from talk backers on this thread as they dig into their memories of the life and works of a true genius.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Thunderbirds was dope!! R.I.P.

    by sanford and gun

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I meant "failed to survive my childhood"

    by jpwishbone

    Stupic ipad autocorrect. Wouldn't want anyone thinking I used thunderbirds toys in an inappropriate way!!

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Sun Probe!

    by Seph_J

    Does anyone else actually start sweating and getting hot and clammy when watching the Thunderbirds 'Sun Probe' episode? I mean... damn!

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Anderson literally changed my life

    by Mike J

    Before Lucas, before Spielberg, before Cameron, I grew up with Gerry Anderson's shows. Things like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 inspired me to be creative and helped me to escape the real world. They gave me my interest in FX and editing and writing. I'm sure this is true for thousands of others, too. Gerry never really recieved the credit he deserved. Such a shame as so many people owe him so much. Anderson was my first real hero - before I knew anything about him. What a great pity the industry never backed him in later life to return with one last great project. Pretty much any of the Century 21 productions would have made cracking entertainment rebooted today. Gerry's passing is a huge, huge loss. RIP and thank you Gerry, for so so much.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Sad news indeed

    by Crawing

    Many years ago, when Terrahawks was just finishing my parents wrote to him asking how to track down a model Battlehawk which we couldn't find anywhere. Gerry personally sent a bundle of ships along with a nice letter. So 'octavian', by some other accounts a very nice man indeed. Goodbye Gerry, thanks for the wonderfully creative shows.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Terrahawks ruled!

    by MegaBaz

    Hey, let's have a bit more love for Terrahawks here! Used to love watching that on a Sunday afternoon on ITV. I always felt Gerry Anderson was a touch bitter that he got so pigeon-holed by all his puppet shows that he struggled to get taken seriously doing much else. And it's hard to blame him for that, but the puppet shows were just so brilliant. How many other show creators had the hit-rate he had? Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet (my favourite), Joe 90, Stingray, the list goes on. I remember hearing that he was called up for help on Team America too, when the crew was struggling to make it all work. I never met Gerry Anderson, so i don't know what he was like as a person. But he was a tv genius, who gave me so much entertainment when i was growing up. S.I.G, F.A.B, R.I.P.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Dragon's Domain: Scariest shit ever!!

    by Jugs

    ..and the UFO purple wigs :)

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4 p.m. CST


    by iamdavebowers

    I'm sorry Muldoon, but this is the internet of 2012, not 1998. News should be up-to-the-second. This site should always have someone on stand by, ready to publish breaking news, not wait for someone to come back from the shops (or wherever they've been.) That's what a professional website is, and that's why this website is becoming increasingly irrelevant and short of breaking any kind of news. I mean look at it. It's barely changed in 15 years.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST

    shit, forgot about Terrahawks!

    by DonLogan

    used to love guessing who would win the noughts and crosses bit at the end! Loved the spherical robot voiced by Windsor Davies. I think I even had the 7" single.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST


    by Muldoon

    I can only speak personally, not for the site as a whole (I wouldn't dream of the audacity). Do I agree with your thoughts? Yes.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST


    by iamdavebowers

    Except, of course, the main difference being that the commenting system is now somehow worse than the 2000 version, in that I have to click on every-single-comment to read it. Usability fail. #downgrade

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Earliest memory is playing with Thunderbird 2 on our stairs..

    by Keith Maniac

    you see, this lego bridge had collapsed and..anyway, RIP Gerry.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Fireball XL5!

    by Real Deal

    How could you not include this! :

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Dream cast...

    by Seph_J

    I know it came too late, but I would have loved an old-school Thunderbirds disaster movie, with Cary Grant as Scott Tracy, Robert Mitchum as Virgil, James Mason as Jeff, Jimmy Stewart as Brains, a young Kirk Douglas as Alan and Charlton Heston as John...

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:39 p.m. CST


    by HenryLeconte

    i think the diy-look of aicn is what makes me coming back again and again. plus, happily the heart of this site is so big that i don't care much about a news-feature being delayed or not. r.i.p. mr. anderson.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Sorry but Anderson deserves a far better obit on this site

    by Powers Boothe

    And yes, I do understand that it's Christmas time and the writers for this site are busy with family. And yes, I do understand that Anderson probably meant more to those of us in the UK...but if no one currently has time to write the sort of obit Anderson deserves - why no wait until it can be done PROPERLY?

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST

    This obit really doesn't do him justice-

    by don

    for example- no mention of some of the people who worked on these shows and went on to other things. Aliens, anyone?

  • Duh!

  • No wonder this site is going down the shitter.

  • Gerry Anderson's futuristic productions were a big part of my childhood, leaving me with a huge appreciation of their inventive miniature sets and vehicle designs etc. And on top of certain memorable opening themes, there was some great music during some of his shows which added a lot to the imaginative visuals. Sadly, the much-anticipated THUNDERBIRDS movie directed by Jonathan Frakes turned out to be a huge disappointment compared to the succesful franchise-starter it COULD have been. Hopefully, someone will do the show's template better justice on the big screen again one day - one with a 'Rolls Royce' version of 'FAB1' for starters... In the meantime, my young sons continue to lap up Gerry's work on dvd, and I'll eventually get around to doing that 2 hr. 'movie' edit of the U.F.O. show that I've wanted to do for a while now. Thanks for the enduring inspiration Gerry, and thanks for all the entertainment over the years.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 7:06 p.m. CST

    It's great to see all the fond memories Mr Anderson created for us...

    by TheBigFuckinLebowski

    I grew up with Gerry Anderson's shows. As a kid, I loved most of all Stingray and Captain Scarlet. I found Thunderbirds a bit too long, with those lenghty shots of ships landing and trucks reving up and rolling down the ramp of the Thunderbird 2 pod. But now, I love it! It's funny, somebody said that kids don't mind it if they were using puppets as actors and miniatures as sets... I think, to the contrary, that this is the MAIN REASON Gerry Anderson's shows were so popular: KIDS LOVE TOYS! And Gerry Anderson's shows were like 30 or 60 minutes long toy commercials!... I'm an avid vintage toy collector and I still feel all warm inside and giddy, at 46, while watching Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Fireball XL5 or Joe 90 for that very reason! Please, if somebody makes a reboot of the Thunderbirds franchise, go the route of TEAM AMERICA! You can use CGI to enhance the effects and shots, but the basic look of a Supermarionation Show adaptation has to use puppets and miniatures to be succesful. Just my 2 cents.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 7:07 p.m. CST

    Thank you, Gerry Anderson

    by matineer

    He's like the English version of Gene Roddenberry, and certainly Thunderbirds, with its incredible longevity and endurance, is England's Star Trek (along with Dr. Who). Saw all his shows, like Thunderbirds best. Amazing how the show invented technology -- an electronic sick bed, I think before trek, and many futuristic airplanes, as well as dealing with nuclear accidents and industrial disasters. What a brilliant concept to take all the machines we use to kill -- missiles, transports and subs -- but use them to save people. And all of his shows were entertaining. Very sorry to see him go. Enjoyed his new take on Captain Scarlet in CGI.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 7:23 p.m. CST

    by pvs

    Can't believe you left out the series UFO. Does anyone know what's happening with the Matthew Gratzner UFO movie? I see they have a website still up, saying summer 2013. Is this movie even in production?

  • Reads like the abridged NY Times obit (which is much better written), leaving out all the details. No mention of UFO, his relationship with Lew Grade, his ex-Sylvia. Hardly even touch the live action material. And it was 3 days late. Seriously, this Obit sucks. Charles Durning got a better Obit than this and he's done half the work that Gerry Anderson has done.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    If he were making shows now, AICN TBers would be trashing them.

    by Gary Makin


  • Dec. 29, 2012, 8 p.m. CST


    by iamdavebowers

    Holy shit, would you look at that! That'll save me some clicks. Thanks. It is a little concerning that I never found it. Going back on topic, back when I was at uni (2002 ish) I was asked to create some cg cutscenes for a play at a youth theatre. It was for something called space cadets and was to be based on Thunderbirds. Apparently he was in attendance for the opening night. The graphics were pretty good for the time...

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 8:19 p.m. CST

    alzheimers is a cruel joke

    by walt

    and nobody would be trashing his shows cuz they would be live action and have tons of hot girls with great asses in them and after thunderbirds, supercar was my fav

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 8:24 p.m. CST

    It's almost like losing a close relative.


    Someone who you grew up with. At least he was a good age though and as far as I'm aware Alzheimers hadn't totally taken him over. Bummer he's gone though.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 8:32 p.m. CST

    and anyway, herc shouldve done the obit

    by walt

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 8:43 p.m. CST

    So many good shows in the UK back in the day. RIP Gerry.

    by paul cook

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Brian Johnson, SFX director for Space 1999,

    by Sydney2K

    won an Oscar for The Empire Strikes Back, and also worked on Alien, the Neverending Story and Dragonslayer.

  • Anderson and Saltzman-Broccoli shared many of the same actors, including Vladek Sheyba (chessmaster in From Russia With Love and worked on UFO), Canadian Shane Rimmer (Thunderbirds and Spy Who Loved Me), and Catherine Schell (OHMSS and Space 1999). Anderson worked on Moonraker during the early stages of the project. Anderson even ran afoul of Kubrick, who thought some of Anderson's FX work on UFO and Space 1999 was a threat. As some have said upthread, members of Anderson's Century 21 production team worked on Aliens and the Bond films. How did Anderson influence Lucas? The yellow visors of the Red and Gold squadrons during the attack on the Death Star are similar to those of the Space Interceptor pilots stationed on Moonbase on the show UFO. I can see the Anderson influence of production design, especially having the chair move with the person already sitting down (because that makes it easier to move a puppet), in PIXAR's The Incredibiles, Voltron, and other anime. And where do you think Voltron and especially Gatchaman aka G-force aka Battle of the Planets got the idea of multiple ships combining to form one bigger ship? Thank You Mr. Anderson.

  • Considering how many people here grew up with his work in one form or the other, somebody could of wrote a better obit for him. If Harry and Co. couldn't find anybody among his staff to pay him tribute, then he should have asked for a volunteer from one of the readers. I'm sure somebody here (present company included) would have been happy to write something a little more moving, a couple of days sooner.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 9:29 p.m. CST


    by uncaandy

    Why dosen't anyone mention SuperCar.This was His first exposer on the american market. It was the prototype for every show they ever did. Fireball XL5 is also ignored,a ground breaker of kids Sci-Fi. Wake up,this man did more than what you guys acknoledge.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Re: Gerry Anderson/Er, What About ...

    by ArmageddonProductions

    ... mentioning the small fact that there wouldn't have likely been the type of visual impact in STAR WARS, ALIEN or THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (or any other sci-fi movie shot in England around that time) without the help of many of the same artisans that worked under Anderson?!? When he branched off into live-action sci-fi, one of the main selling points of his work were the still-impressive visual effects and designs. "Space: 1999" kicked "Star Trek"'s ass all over the place.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 9:44 p.m. CST


    by DrMorbius

    I mentioned SuperCar earlier in this thread, didn't you see it?

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 10:18 p.m. CST

    For fuck's sake, RIP Gerry Anderson!

    by Jaka

    Because AICN talkbackers sure as hell weren't going to let you until they got their precious obituary.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 10:20 p.m. CST

    Its not Supercar....

    by IamZardoz

    its "SEEYUPACAAAAAAA!" I still remember Fireball XL5 though the most, came on Saturday mornings in 1964-5. Great show.

  • SID was a large satellite in orbit that detected UFO's. On the show most of the computers were the old reel-to-reel machines used on TV thoughout the 1960's and 1970's. But when they showed the interior of SID, it looked like a 21st century server room. Nice work.-----later-----m

  • But "Fireball XL5" got me in the right space because it starred Steve Zodiac. If he was starring in the series, he couldn't just be a marionette. <p> Gerry did great work. He had a great team of people working with him. Much appreciation to all of you who may still be with us. I watch the stuff on youtube often.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 11:43 p.m. CST


    by the desolate son

    ...equals NO CREDIBILTY.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 11:54 p.m. CST

    FWIW, HoraceSkinner...

    by Cotton_Mcknight

    I repeated your joke "there is a lot that your mom is into that you don't know about" several times today. Easily the funniest thing I have read all day.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 11:54 p.m. CST

    No mention of The Secret Service?

    by veteran_of_mu

    For shame! The mix of puppetry and live actors and the wonderful pacing makes it unique. The only understated Anderson production - it's absolutely wonderful. Gerry Anderson and the cartoon Beatles made my world go round as a child of the sixties. We will not see his like again. Requiescat In Pace.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Why the ThunderBirds Movie sucked in 2 easy words....

    by Brett Peacock

    (Comment was originally by Mr Frakes, himself) Studio interference.... Read... Focus groups..... No shit. They actually hired morons to second guess everything about the story. And worse, they then LISTENED to them! (check out the number of alleged writers- 5 credited and according to Frakes about 10 others had a hand...) Jonathan Frakes was a "gun for Hire" director, brought in after this was done, cos the first (+2nd +3rd) choices all quit. He was angry about it, but was promised something better as a reward. Never happened. Hollywood, more Sphincters per square foot than anywhere else...

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 12:18 a.m. CST


    by sasquatch_with_a_swatch_watch


  • Dec. 30, 2012, 1:11 a.m. CST

    Anderson's shows were simultaneously uncool and SUPER cool

    by Keith

    The technical inventiveness for the vehicles, the gadgets, the bases and (especially) the launch sequences. I think we would have watched TB and Terrahawks for the launch sequences alone, especially those of TB-2 and Hawkwing. And as was mentioned above, all of Anderson's shows had fucking awesome music. Go to YouTube and remind yourself how kick-ass bombastic Terrahawks was with its synth-brass and choral samples, and how sixties cool Joe 90 was. You could play the themes from UFO and Space: 1999 in some retro set at a club without a hint of embarrassment.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the good times Gerry : )

    by Mace Tofu

    Your model craft spilt over to the Bond movies with their great model work in the 60s & 70's An artist who moved the bar for others to reach. Thanks for the childhood TV shows so hard to find sometimes... no DVRs but so special when you did find them on TV. RIP Going to put some Joe 90 on to cheer up

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 2:09 a.m. CST

    Thank you Mr. Anderson. True sci-fi legend.

    by leroyspoboys

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 2:44 a.m. CST

    R.I.P. Gerry Anderson

    by justmyluck

    I have vague memories of watching something using *Supermarionation* on television, but it wasn't until I saw one of the two THUNDERBIRDS feature movies, and a Sci-Fi feature called JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN, at kids' Saturday afternoon matinees that I flipped for all the elaborate miniature work. While I didn't see most of Andersons' series on television, I managed to catch up later with A&E's affordable DVD box sets of CAPTAIN SCARLET, THUNDERBIRDS, UFO and SPACE:1999. These remain incredibly trippy and ambitious for *kids* fare. Condolences to the Anderson family, and to Gerry's ex-wife and long-time producing partner, Sylvia.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 2:47 a.m. CST

    As a child of the sixties....

    by RobinP

    I think I'm one of the lucky ones. The first thing I saw on TV to give me nightmares was an episode of Fireball XL5. Probably ridiculous to hear now, seeing or appraising the show in 2012, but to a five year old back then, man, that stuff was intense. Though I loved Stingray (actually the first British show to be filmed in color) it was Thunderbirds that really rocked my world. Imagine being six or seven years old and coming home from a school where I was never particularly popular (the loner outsider who wasn't into sports) and having an hour long epic to watch every week. I still have a Thunderbirds Are Go movie special magazine from back then. Captain Scarlet - Think about this for a second - a weekly kids show, where the hero gets KILLED every single week. How deliciously twisted is that? And if all that wasn't enough - who remembers TV21? That was a weekly comic in newspaper form promoting all of Anderson's shows, past and then-present. I've always said you can sum up my formative years in three shows - Thunderbirds, Lost in Space and Batman. Man, it was good to be a kid in the sixties. Thank you, Mr Anderson for making my childhood a better time that it would have otherwise been. You brought Hollywood production values to early evening TV and fired the imaginations of kids everywhere. You raised us well, sir.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 3:24 a.m. CST

    Kudos to Muldoon for the nice obit. Those clips brought back memories!

    by BiggusDickus

    I always wanted the Dinky Joe 90 car when I was a lad. Never did get round to owning one, though...

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Needs updating to mention Terrahawks

    by theyreflockingthisway

    Whilst I'm aware of the shows mentioned, a lot of the slightly younger fans will remember Terrahawks quite fondly. It was Anderson's return to puppetry in the early 1980's making a whole new generation aware of his work. Infact I'd say it's the show that most resembles the Anderson homage Team America. My dad was a huge fan of Anderson's shows as a kid and I remember him being quite excited to show me Terrahawks at one point. I think I was a little too young for it but I've never been able to forget that amazing intro. I'd love it if the Terrahawks intro was added to the top or if you guys seek it out on YouTube. It's a short lived era of Anderson's later career that doesn't deserve to be forgotten.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 4:14 a.m. CST

    UFO ??

    by krylite

    no mention of this great series? The bridge from thunderbirds to space 1999? While 1999 was great as wierd and torture hospital. UFO had it's NATO like militarism. With it's obsessed Colonel Straker. (skinny Kirk-like) Landau's Koenig in the 1st season just trying to save his people then they made him more into a clone of Kirk and making him make those crazy glary faces. UFO and it's 'groovy' intro theme and purple hair!

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 4:31 a.m. CST

    UFO Blu-ray:

    by justmyluck

    Costs a fortune and region-free, but there it is. THUNDERBIRDS, too: THUNDERBIRDS remains massive in Japan:

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 5:08 a.m. CST


    by mark howard

    Thank you for the obit, better late than never. We lost a true creative genius last week, and a real nice guy in an industry populated by real twats. The producers of the Thunderbirds movie really dropped the ball when they refused to involve Gerry in the film - he would have had the balls to tell them they were completely on the wrong track. Everything he created had some good to it, even Space Precinct and Terrahawks. Good bye Gerry Anderson, and thanks for shaping my childhood.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 5:28 a.m. CST


    by RobinP

    To add to your comments... I've read in an interview with Gerry Anderson a while ago that while Frakes was making that Godawful abortion of a Thunderbirds movie, Anderson was in a neighbouring studio workjing on the CGI Captain Scarlet. He visited the set of Thunderbirds and introduced himself as the creator of the original series and actually OFFERED his services as a consultant. They declined. They didn't even know who he was. No wonder that film stank as much as it did. It was the closest I've ever come to walking out of a film in a cinema. Anderson said in the same interview that the best tribute he had ever seen to his work was Team America.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 8:51 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    planetran, I have to agree with you. Apart from looking really cool the Eagle design looks like it would actually work! I dont know if this was the first time that a spaceship had been shown that didnt have an encompassing outer hull, I certainly dont recall seeing one before this. But with the Eagle you have the enclosed cockpit and the rest is just a barebone frame designed to support the thruster and landing feet, and as you say modular to carry different payloads. Its a really brilliant piece of design work.

  • I'd read that the Space 1999 reboot was titled Space 2099, and that the moon would be cut loose from Earth orbit, but in a more scientificly plausible way, since a physical explosion could never push the moon to intersteller speeds. I assume this would mean a wormhole or hyper space accident would be invovled. I'd also heard that the UFO reboot would be very militaristic and action oriented.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 9:52 a.m. CST

    No mention of UFO on this orbit=FAIL!

    by Stalkeye

    UFO was more than some glitzy SciFi series with special effects and style, but Character development and groundbreaking episodes like A question of Priorities and the Long Sleep. UFO was definitely ahead of it's time and it's my favorite vintage series of all time. On another sad note; had no idea that the actress that played the Beautiful Nina Barry, also passed (November of this Year.) Godspeed to both Gerry and Delores.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Re: U.F.O./Space: 1999

    by ArmageddonProductions

    Actually, "Space: 1999" began life as Season 2 of U.F.O. U.F.O. was actually a pretty awesome show: the Martians bled what looked like water, the model work and special FX were top-notch and the production design is constantly being aped today any time they want to make something look "retro-chic". "Space: 1999" wound up being waaaaaay ahead of its time in a lot of ways. The Eagles wound up being eerily prescient of the space shuttle (except that the Eagles seemed a lot more practical) and simple things like the video communicators (Facetime?) and the layout of Moonbase Alpha came off as a lot more practical and realistic than something like "Star Trek". In fact, go back and watch ALIEN; a lot of the Nostromo feels like it was influenced by the show.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 10:32 a.m. CST


    by mark howard

    Absolutely correct, and he was shown a complete lack of respect by Working Title. I don't blame Frakes for the dreadful Thunderbirds movie, the shit was fucked up at a much higher level. A real nice guy, and one of my favourite interviews with him was on the 1993 BBC documentary "More than 30 Years in the Tardis", where he explained his sadness that his youngest son was more of a fan of Doctor Who than his own work! Rest in peace Mr Anderson.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST


    by Dasinfogod

    Yes! The Secret Service - Father Stanley Unwin ruled! Who else but Anderson would come up with a super-spy cleric? It was also the last of the original Supermarionation programs (Terrahawks being a Supermacromation production - ha!)... Hey, Muldoon, thanks for posting the obit; a few days behind is better than no memoriam at all, eh? I had mentioned Anderson's death in the Star Trek thread back on Wednesday, and thought Herc might have picked up on it, but such is life at AICN.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 11:20 a.m. CST

    G.Anderson put in 110% in his Films. God Bless

    by blueant

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 12:04 p.m. CST

    A chunk of my childhood is gone

    by dimanes2

    Among other things, I spent a lot of time watching Space 1999 (and had a crush on Catherine Schell) and UFO (loved the Moonbase uniforms...silver mini-dresses and purple wigs). While I never got into his supermarionation shows, I liked the balls-to-the-walls creativity that he displayed and the worlds he (and his wife, Sylvia) created. RIP

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Thank you Gerry Anderson

    by LarkStew

    Can you imagine being 7 years old, waking up on Saturday morning and watching Thunderbirds... the Thunderbirds logo flying towards the screen, the lightning, the music, quick cuts of this week's episode, then the theme music, introducing the Tracys, then watching the episode unfold and the team rescue whoever got trapped that week with their fantastic machine and ingenuity. And the best thing was, despite being a children's show, it never talked down to you or treated you like a child, it was a full on action adventure series, made with such care and devotion pouring out of every frame. God I loved that show!

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 1:06 p.m. CST

    He brightened up my childhood

    by Con Shonnery

    I loved his shows, the puppets, the models and the wonderful explosions. Nobody could blow stuff up like Gerry Anderson. His shows may have been dismissed as children's shows but they had an epic quality about them and an amazing attention to detail. Unlike a lot of TV shows you saw where the budget went. As I got older I started building models and really began to appreciate the amount of work that went producing the models for his shows. And as I got older, his shows seemed to grow up with me. From the fun of Thunderbirds to the much darker and grown up UFO (as a young teenager I appreciated his effects work and appreciated Gabrielle Drake even more!) We've just had our new year's honours announced here and it's a disgrace he never became SIR Gerry Anderson. RIP, you will always be Sir Gerry to me.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 1:19 p.m. CST


    by Keith

    Gerry never really recieved the credit he deserved.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Stupid AICN

    by Keith

    Anyway, your comment, which I put in quote marks, which confuses the advanced technology of the AICN is almost certainly true. I suppose that because the Supermarionation stuff became a popular source of lampooning, people often didn't stop to consider the fact that the creativity for and execution of his shows were absolutely stellar. And considering that big budgets were hard to come by in the UK of the 60s, 70s and 80s, Anderson chose the route that optimized bang-for-buck (or punch-for-pound, I suppose) in terms of delivering large-scale, exciting stories without going down the cartoon route. This is why his shows were among the most-watched by kids in Britain (and elsewhere) for many years. And that's ignoring the live-action stuff, which demonstrated a commitment to making science fiction and adventure shows at a level of quality not being attempted by anyone else in the UK. (Even the Doctor Who and Blake's Seven of the era don't have the sheen of quality that Space:1999 does.)