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 rec-ognised 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. (Though nowadays it's usually referred to as the SSC.  Perhaps it was only Dinky who called it an SPC?)

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 manu-facturers launched all sorts of items to tie-in with the expected demand for all things GERRY ANDERSON.

Such an item was the SPV 'play set' by VIVID IMAGINATIONS, 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, whenever 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 (see what I did there?), 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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