Thunderbirds Creator Dies
Most puppeteers will know that during the Christmas season Gerry Anderson passed away at the age of 83, on December 26th.
Gerry, the film and television producer, created a studio that became one of the greatest puppet film organisations that was known throughout the world, and many of the series of iconic programs that were made are still being shown in many countries.
The early programmes such as ‘Torchy the Battery Boy’,‘Twizzle’ and ‘Four Feather Falls’ were typically puppet style figures. Later the series became major works based on international rescue pursuits, featuring more naturalistic characters, curious creatures, and monstrous flying craft. The puppets were often based on well known film stars. It is interesting to know that Gerry admitted that it was a mistake to make naturalistic characters.
Despite the fact that the programmes were made with puppets, he never really liked them; the only puppet that he liked, and did keep, was ‘Parker’, from ‘Thunderbirds’, his favourite series. It was the last puppet character that I created, and the time that I left the studios. Gerry’s ‘Parker’ was sold in Japan for £38,000, the highest price paid at that time for a puppet in an auction; more recently another Parker was sold for £50,000.
The Anderson studios provided many well known puppeteers years of work, making puppets and manipulating them creating them.
The creators of special effects had their own studios and were one of the most talented groups of special effects creators in the film industries, many of them continued to produce masterpieces of special effects for some of the finest major cinema films. The writers and the actors were also some of the leading film and television personalities.
Two years ago, at the last ‘Fanderson Event’, I was invited as a special guest; sadly Gerry was very ill and found it difficult to remember people. The event was extraordinary in many ways, with writers, actors, creators and other specialists involved in the films related to the creation of the various programmes, spent many hours signing books, photographs and other objects. There were remarkable extraordinary hobbyist copies of puppets and the various crafts seen in the programmes. Gerry and the other guests provided talks and interviews to packed audiences. People of all ages, young and old, travelled from many parts of the world to join the event.
It was wonderful to see so many people young and old alike that have, and are inspired by the programmes. Some of the many talented hobbyists ultimately found themselves working in the studios and special effects departments. The ‘Fanderson’ organisation and the world wide following of fans will certainly make sure that the legacy of Gerry Anderson and the team that created the films will continue into the far distant future.