Thunderbirds tv show

Thunderbirds tv show

Thunderbirds tv show
Thunderbirds are go! That was the well known opening announcement to the TV Sci-Fi puppet series created in the mid 1960s by Gerry and Sylvi Anderson.

It ran for 32 episodes during 1964 to 1966 and is considered by many fans to be Gerry Anderson's greatest creation. Over the years, it has generated masses of collectables.

Before Thunderbirds, the Andersons had already become well known and admired for their TV programmes. Their first was for children, a 52-episode series - The Adventures of Twizzle, along with others such as Torchy the Battery Boy.

It was new technology which gave the puppets moving mouths and almost invisible tungsten strings, replacing the old very visible control wires. Thunderbirds brought with it even more elaborate effects when it made its first appearance on the small screen in 1962.

Thunderbirds tv show

For two years viewers were transported into the future, to year 2065, to follow the adventures of a wealthy humanitarian and former astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John.

Thunderbirds" is the name given to the specially designed vehicles and equipment of a secret group called "International Rescue". This is a unique private emergency response service which can react to any crisis in sea, air, land or space.

They were based on Tracy Island, a gadget-filled hideaway in the middle of an ocean. There were five Thunderbirds, including an underwater vessel and a scout craft with a top speed of 7,000mph.

Thunderbirds tv show

To make the series more acceptable to viewers in the UK, the series also featured a British duo, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward and her loyal butler Nosey Parker. The two were the Thunderbirds' top undercover agents.

Penelope's choice of a vehicle was a pink Rolls Royce, driven by Parker, which was equipped with machine guns and a smoke screen. This was supposed to be a very useful car for espionage, with the registration number FAB 1.

The show was screened in almost 100 countries (and is still being shown around the world), quickly earning the Andersons an international following. Despite the success of the TV programme, a full- length film feature film Thunderbirds Are Go made in 1966 was a financial disaster. Some critics considered it ahead of its time.

Thunderbirds tv show

The original film posters are highly sought after now. The film was accompanied by a massive merchandising campaign promoting a huge selection of toys, posters and models of the various gadgets used by the International Rescue team.

With the huge interest in the TV series, along with the other Anderson productions, toy manufactures around the world inevitably produced a wide range of Thunderbird related toys and models, with one notable exception - Corgi Toys decided not to jump on this bandwagon.

The most popular toys must be the Dinky Toys Thunderbird 2, which in most cases carried the smaller Thunderbird 4 inside it, with the Dinky pink Rolls Royce FAB 1 also in demand.

Thunderbirds tv show
America and Japan took Thunderbirds to their hearts and produced many items and books about them, with many of the early ones now commanding good prices at specialist toy auctions.

There is strong interest for the models and props used for the TV series. These are frequently offered for sale at the popular TV and film-related auctions.

Apart from the models of the vehicles, playsets were also produced for fans. Many intriguing items were made such as Lady Penelope's Dressing Table Set, a Thunderbirds Are Go biscuit tin, and a Dutch company even produced cigar labels. A number of dolls were also made of the different characters.

One Matchbox success was The Thunderbirds Commemorative Set Collection, a limited edition issued in conjunction with the BBC in 1992. It generated some $70 million for the company. There have been dozens of other collectables, including toys, trading cards, badges, books, records, posters and videos.

Thunderbirds tv show

The good news for collectors is that because of the new Thunderbirds series being shown on BBC 2 this summer, a whole host of new models and merchandise is being issued. Jonathan Frakes, director of Star Trek will be directing the new live action Thunderbirds movie.

The scriptwriter is William Osbourne and it will be released in autumn next year.

It will be fascinating to see the commemorative items that will be created in the year 2065, the Thunderbird year of years. That's when their story really begins...

What does "F.A.B." stand for?

Perhaps the most frequently asked question by new Thunderbirds fans, the definitive answer came from Sylvia Anderson herself during her promotional tour for her book Yes, M'Lady. According to Sylvia, F.A.B. stands for... absolutely nothing.

It was something they made up on the spur of the moment during a writing session, Sylvia says - it was never intended to stand for anything other than to spell out the letters of a popular British slang word ("fab") during that era.

Many people have attempted to find other meanings ("Filed, Actioned, Briefed", "Fine - Acknowledge Broadcast"), but it never meant anything other than "fabulous".

Collectors Society


PO Box 12, Bradford,
West Yorkshire, email: Official Appreciation Society for the work of Gerry Anderson, endorsed by Anderson Entertainment Ltd., Carlton International Media Ltd., Space Productions Ltd., Carrington Productions International and Gerry Anderson Productions.

The club covers Gerry Anderson's television series and films, which includes Thunderbirds,

Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90.
More info on the creations of Gerry Anderson can be found at:
A mass of information and links to other sites selling Thunderbirds collectables.

The official Carlton TV Thunderbirds site which includes where in the world the series is being shown on TV and much more.  

Collectibles Coach


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