Monday, 30 March 2015


The eagerly-awaited new series of THUNDERBIRDS is on ITV next
Saturday night (April 4th) at 5 p.m., so while we're all waiting, here's a
look back at when the original incarnation was at its peak - in the pages
of Britain's best-selling comic, TV CENTURY 21.

It'll be interesting to see whether the amount of associated merchandise
which hits the toyshops will match that of the '60s, but I'm not sure I'll be
buying any this time around.  My house is restricted for space and I need
to conserve what little I have left for collectables from my childhood.  I'll
wait and see the quality, however, before I make up my mind for sure.

Personally, I always preferred FIREBALL XL5, and I wish they'd
colourise the episodes and re-broadcast them on TV.  That way, if the
show was a hit with the kids of today, I could look forward to loads of
cracking new retro-style 'must-have' goodies to add to my collection.

Anyway, will you be watching the new Thunderbirds to see if it's as
good as the one you remember from your youth, or will you be down
the pub with the lads, talking about fitba' and wummen?  Before you
decide, glance over these ten classic covers from childhood and re-
immerse yourself in the innocent joys of yesteryear!


Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I never bought TV21 when it looked like this (only picked up the version that went to the standard UK IPC/Fleetway format....not the best comic in that format imho) but these look excellent maybe a bit to "complicated" now for kids to even look at as they require a bit of reading (not meaning todays kids are thick, they are anything but - just the like to see thinks summarised more now) As for the TV show I wasn't aware r=there was a new one out (is it CGI ?) but I probably wont be watching it especially this Saturdays episode as there is a much more important event going on that day birthday and I will be out with my good lady ( after taking in the footy) in the West End for lunch and a few drinks.

Kid said...

It's a mixture of CGI and model shots, McScotty - actually looks quite good. Happy birthday for Saturday - what age are you now, you old reprobate? (And does your wife know about your good lady, or are they one and the same?) Try Una Storia above the Vodka Wodka in Aston Lane, but book first.

TC said...

Most of the Gerry Anderson shows were syndicated in the US, so their distribution was sort of hit-or-miss. I never saw Thunderbirds during its original run in the 1960's, because it was not carried by any of our local TV stations. Most of the other Anderson shows were, though, and I do remember Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, and Captain Scarlet. (And, later, UFO and Space 1999.)

I got the Fireball XL5 Space City play set one Christmas when I was six. Considering what it's probably worth now, I probably should have left it in the box instead of actually playing with it. (And, don't ask. I don't have it now. It was donated to a charity toy drive, along with Captain Action and Major Matt Mason.)

Fireball XL5 was shown on a nation-wide network, but, oddly, it doesn't seem to be as widely known in the US as some of the other Anderson shows. The two most familiar to Americans seem to be Thunderbirds and Space 1999.

I finally saw Thunderbirds, and liked it, when it was rerun in the 1990's. Although I hadn't seen it before, it had a nostalgic appeal, since it reminded me of those other marionette shows.

Kid said...

I think Thunderbirds in the '60s would've worked better as a half-hour show, TC - as it was originally intended and even shot for the first few episodes. Lew Grade wanted it to fill an hour slot 'though, and had Gerry Anderson add extra material to the finished episodes and extend those in progress.

John Pitt said...

And just wait till you see the new Lady Penelope, guys!

John Pitt said...

Well that's the first ton. Had 'em all bar the first 3. Sadly, only 4 more Daleks, eh? Still, lets stick with it, as I did until TV Tornado came out!

Kid said...

And David Graham has reprised his voice-role as Parker. Yippeee!

Kid said...

It was never the same without the Daleks, JP. And eventually Fireball was cut back to one page. The comic had a good run 'though.

TC said...

As I recall, when Thunderbirds was rerun in the US in the 1990's, it was in a half-hour time slot. I had heard that it was edited to fit, but the episodes did not look like they were badly cut. If the original versions were padded to expand them to one hour, that might explain why the half-hour reruns did not look as if they were missing anything.

Kid said...

Especially as, to allow for ads in that hour time slot, TC, the programmes would only have been around 45 minutes or so in duration.

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