Friday, 29 June 2012


One tends to think of memory's magical kingdom as having
fixed boundaries.  Only shadows of the past are allowed residence and
interlopers are strictly forbidden.  However, the sentries can be fooled
and intruders may sneak in under the cloak of familiarity if they bear a
close enough resemblance to a recognised inhabitant.

"Okay, Gordie, you've
lost the plot.  What are
you blathering on about
now?" you may well be
thinking.  Simply this.  If
you're around the same
age as me, you may well
remember the CAPTAIN
SCARLET merchandise
that was available back in
the '60s, particularly the
DINKY diecast vehicles
like the SPV, MSV, and
SPC.  (Although, now-
adays, it's usually re-
ferred to as the SSC.)

I had all of them - and still retain the set I acquired many years ago
as replacements for my originals.  I've had them for far longer than I ever
owned their predecessors, although it doesn't actually feel like it.  It's almost
as if there's never been a period in my life when I was without them, and that
the ones I have today are the very ones I had as a kid;  hidden in a cupboard
somewhere for all those years 'til I rediscovered them after a long period
of neglect.  That's not the case of course, it just seems that way.

However, there are other ways to fool the mind, and here's what I
hope is an interesting example of such an instance.  Back in the early
'90s, THUNDERBIRDS enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity when
the BBC broadcast all 32 episodes on network TV for the very first time.
Previously, back in the '60s (and with most subsequent repeats), they were
shown in various TV regions on different days and times.  Amazingly, the
'90s screenings were a huge success, spawning a level of merchandise
to rival that which was available during the show's heyday.

The BBC tried again with STINGRAY and CAPTAIN SCARLET, but
met with a more muted response from viewers.  However, having anticipated
the same kind of enthusiastic reaction that INTERNATIONAL RESCUE
had enjoyed, toy manufacturers launched all sorts of items to tie-in with
the expected demand for all things GERRY ANDERSON.

Such an item was the SPV 'play
pictured in this post.  Now, here's
the thing:  I obviously bought this
as a collector's piece, not to play
with - and I purchased it while
living in my present abode, with
where one would naturally assume
I would associate it.  But no, when-
ever I cast eyes on it, I seem to see
myself, as a kid, sitting on the
doorstep in the back garden of my
old house, playing with this exact
same vehicle - even 'though this
specific toy didn't exist at the time
and wasn't made until around a
 quarter of a century later.

So vivid is the image that it does indeed seem like an actual memory -
as opposed to what is obviously merely my imagination, facilitated by
the fact that I associate the familiar design of the vehicle with a particular
period from my past.  In short, it's a perfect fit - and seems more at home
in my memories of 1968 than of when I actually obtained it.

Funny how the mind can play such tricks, isn't it?  I believe it's called
'false memory syndrome', which is perhaps where 'deja vu'-type
feelings spring from.  Anyone got any similar experiences they'd care to
share?  Feel free to let loose in the comments section.



baab said...

oooops ,I meant captain blue.

Kid said...

baab said:

I had the original with the small captain scarlet that sat in the door or was it captain white.
I also got a captain canavarel costume to go with it.
My parents did try to get the real mccoy but there ye go.
My brother had the joe 90 vehicle ,but he got the joe 90 case which was absolutely splendid.
I have a funny feeling you may own a joe 90 case?

I had to comment on this,but I cannot think of anything that I own which does this,but the thought is there and I may return.............


baab, I tried to publish your comment, but somehow it was deleted instead, so I've cut & pasted it from my email inbox and resubmitted it.

It was Captain Scarlet in the seat. Later Dinky versions had fixed seats instead of descending ones - probably a cost cutting exercise, 'though perhaps it was because the earlier ones were easily broken by clumsy young fingers.

I never had a Joe 90 case, 'though I intended to buy a Vivid Imaginations one in the '90s - they were snapped up before I could. I used to own a Man From U.N.C.L.E. case in the '60s 'though.

Feel free to return - it's (usually) always good to hear what others think.

Anonymous said...

I never saw any Captain Scarlet toys. I did have a Supercar paper cut-out set, and, later, a Fireball XL5 Space City play set. Many years later (about 1979-80), I saw some die cast toys on sale in stores. They were the spacecraft and other vehicles from Space:1999, UFO, and maybe Thunderbirds.

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