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The thrill stays...
on 15 April 2009
Captain Scarlet was something that I genuinely forgotten altogether, and only in the very late 1980s, when it was featured in the zany and innovative "night network" show syndicated by Channel 4, did the old memories return.
Such was the enthusiasm of the presenters for this bit of old fashioned show from the 1970s that they got Gerry Anderson (gasp) himself onto the show and got him to talk a bit about how it all came about.
It's really interesting to see how the stature of this man has grown so much over the years. Seemingly stuck in a medium that had some people in this business chuckling into their sleeves, he imbued everything he touched with a degree of professionalism and sheer artistry that left almost everyone else for dead.
You forget the fact that the action is puppet based very fast. It's kind of early manga (some folks here will HATE me for that) but in a certain sense, this thing about action films for kids very much came from these miniatures and Gerry Anderson owns this stuff as no-one else could hope to do.
Captain Scarlet was done after Thunderbirds, and the sets are better (probably) as well as the figures. The stories; they're rather dark, on the whole. An organisation called Spectrum is devoted to hunting down what amounts to terrible, unseen phantoms, whose true character is never entirely explained. We never see the enemy and they remain forever, tantalisingly out of reach of the camera.
The characters of Captain Scarlet, Colonel White, Lt Green, and the others are all rather touching; it's odd, because although quite often it's all rather heavy handed with references to duty and courage, and all the old school stuff, there are times when it's really quite... well uplifting. I don't care what you say about that.
It is very curious, but I was in the Army for a short time, and there was a real Sergeant White, Captain Black, and yes, honestly and truly, a Captain Scarlet. Though he DID work in personnel and had a foul temper, poor fellow. God knows what that name did for him! But It was all great stuff. This series has echoes in reality, though maybe that's after several drinks and too many videos. And far too many drinks. And... But there you go. I've told my kids goodness knows how many stories about how I met their mum while I was in the army and fighting the....
Oh never mind.
Definitely recomended. ...any excuse!