RIP Thunderbirds are go

December 27th, 2012 at 8:49 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

, puppetry pioneer and creator of the hit TV show , has died.

Anderson’s son Jamie said his father died peacefully in his sleep at a nursing home near Oxfordshire, England, after being diagnosed with mixed dementia two years ago.

His condition had worsened dramatically over the past six months, his son said.

Anderson’s television career launched in the 1950s.

Once Thunderbirds aired in the 1960s, “Thunderbirds are go!” became a catchphrase for generations.

I loved Thunderbirds. I even knew trivia such as Thunderbird 4 was (almost) always in pod four of Thunderbird 2.

And of course there was Thundebird 6 also!

A great pioneer show.

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23 Responses to “RIP Thunderbirds are go”

  1. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Such a great series, also loved Captain Scarlet.

    TB’s 1 & 2 were my favs. I had a large scale “annual” that came out at some point read that damn thing until my eyes bled.

    And the great mystery – FAB didnt stand for anything. Was a piss take on the 60’s expression.

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  2. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    Brains was my favourite character.

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  3. Azeraph (604 comments) says:

    Wasn’t six the spacestation? What was the big drill?

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  4. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    The Mole I think from memory Az

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  5. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    Thunderbird 5 was tha space station. The big drill was the Mole. Thunderbird 6 was an old bi-plane, as I recall.

    I even remember the names of all the Tracy brothers, and the craft they flew. Scott had Thunderbird one, Virgil had 2, Alan had 3, Gordon had 4 and John had 5, alternating shifts with Alan.

    The Tracy brothers had first names taken from some of the early nasa astronauts.

    (The live action movie version was a huge let down, it really was!)

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  6. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    I live with a real Thunderbird. Domestic Goddess works for an airline and has a hat just like dem, it even has wings. I call it her “Thunderbird Hat” bur she doesn’t have strings. RIP F-A-B.
    http://conzervative.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/thunderbirds-are-gone-r-i-p-f-a-b/

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  7. MT_Tinman (3,203 comments) says:

    And I thought my youth was misspent!

    I watched a documentary on the Thunderbirds recently and was entertained all over again.

    Mr Anderson was a great man, I’m sorry he’s dead.

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  8. 2boyz (262 comments) says:

    Enjoyed all his creations/shows, even now my kids (11 & 8) enjoy watching Thunderbirds & Captain Scarlet. Have been know to watch ‘Stingray’ but that doesn’t compare to anything else he did.

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  9. Rodders (1,755 comments) says:

    And Thunderbirds didn’t escape the notice of Britain’s leading comedians at the time either…

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  10. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    I still enjoy UFO, particularly the girls’ string vest costumes and purple wigs. Apparently Sylvia Anderson designed the costumes.

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  11. Azeraph (604 comments) says:

    I must be young as i was a Thunderbird rerun child of the seventies and an acolyte of the British comic 2000ad as well as Man from Atlantis and bill bixbie’s The Hulk. Stingray reruns, Dads Army, Faulty Towers. Now there’s just Mrs Browns boys for top British comedy and some strange Sci fi mixed in with equally strange American comedy.

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  12. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    Yeah, UFO was great. I remember my, and a fellow UFO fan’s, evening being made by the unexpected appearance of George Sewell (who played Col Alec Freeman in the series) in a Christmas panto in London I was attending with rather limited expectations.

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  13. Michael (910 comments) says:

    RoWiWoR – The Tracy brothers are indeed named after five of the seven original Mercury Astronauts – Virgil Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Alan Sheppard, Gordon Copper and John Glenn – that’s pretty cool. (Although Walter Schirra and Donald Slayton missed out.)

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    I remember my Dad coming home with Dinky diecast scale models of some of the spaceships and vehicles from Anderson’s series, and can still almost feel the heart-bursting thrill of actually holding in my hand Thunderbird 2, for instance.

    I still think UFO was better than anything else he did, though is puppet-based series were great entertainment also. I had a scale model Interceptor and a SHADO mobile. They’re probably all packed away somewhere back home. And I wanted to be Ed Straker more than anything in the world. Still wouldn’t say no if the chance arose. The series kicked off a lifelong interest in space exploration, and spurred me into winning a science fair with a project mapping UFO sightings in Wellington (there were a surprising number).

    What a great pity that we don’t get a chance to pay tribute to people who’ve impacted our lives until they’ve passed away. I just hope Gerry Anderson knew how many boys (mostly, I imagine) he’d not just entertained, but inspired, during his life.

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  15. CrazyIvan (90 comments) says:

    RIP Gerry Anderson – I grew up on many of the shows, wasn’t that big a fan of Thunderbirds, though it got a little more thought when I realised how much Rodney Hide looked like the Mask.

    I especially liked:
    – Captain Scarlet, with its plots where the humans never really succeeded.
    – Stingray with the weird talking fish-men, the base of apartment blocks that sunk into the ground and the mute Marina
    – Joe 90, where they kid and his professor father were always doing jobs for ‘Uncle Sam’ and was set in 2012!!
    – Space 1999, with Alan, the Australian pilot who kept crashing the Eagle spaceships,
    – UFO with its string vests, submarines that turned into aircraft and spaceships that could only fire one missile.

    Then there was gawd awful Terrahawks of the 1980s.

    Quick question -

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  16. Longknives (4,764 comments) says:

    Parker looked eerily like former Otago coach Laurie Mains…

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  17. Longknives (4,764 comments) says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysius_Parker

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  18. SGA (1,066 comments) says:

    @Longknives – Parker was one of my favorite characters – I seem to remember an episode where IR were trying to free someone from a vault(?) for the whole episode and he simply picked the lock (or maybe time has ravaged my memory). Somewhere I still have T1 to T4. T2 has T4 in it rather than the Mole.

    @CrazyIvan – Joe 90 and BIGRAT (and the loopy car thing) – yes, I was a fan at the time.

    But Captain Scarlett was always the “blackest” series of the lot (except for the Angels, of course).

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  19. Steve (North Shore) (4,564 comments) says:

    Always thought I would marry a rich bitch like Lady Penelope, but no I didn’t. She wouldn’t be able to stand the nonsense I get up to :)

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  20. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Talkback caller said Mr Andersons coffin should have been lowered into the grave with strings

    Sylvia Anderson treated him like crap and took their kids away from him

    But can’t believe he got so old. His health was appalling. He’d have flu’s for months

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  21. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Mrs away for a week. Purchased UFO online today, arrives Saturday. Nostalgia and beer coming up this weekend :)

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  22. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    “spaceships that could only fire one missile”

    I always thought the moon interceptors from UFO and the Eagles from Space 1999 were some of the great TV/movie spacecraft. The ‘lumpy’ look of the interceptors and the ‘container handling equipment’ look of the Eagles made them seem practical and believable, rather than the ‘let’s just make them look cool’ thing that most tacky SF goes for.

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  23. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    The UFO series remains my most favourite TV memory, and the opening sequence and title music are still exciting. I was so jealous when a friend was given a model of one of the Mobiles, complete with missiles that fired. I have the whole set, and I think it still stands up quite well today. Love those freaky costumes – ‘Century 21 fashions by Sylvia Anderson’.

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