007 ties to Gerry Anderson’s world of Supermarionation

For people of a certain age, memories of shows filmed in “Supermarionation” — elaborate puppet shows produced by Gerry Anderson — still bring a smile. The various programs, which include Supercar, Fireball XL-5, Stingray and Thunderbirds — had science fiction plotlines and lots of vehicles, from flying cars to rocket ships of all sorts to fast-moving submarines.

The man who made those vehicles move was Derek Meddings, Anderson’s special-effects guru. The Supermarionation shows gave Meddings more than ample opportunity to indulge his love of miniatures — and build up a body of work that spurred Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to bring him aboard on the Bond films, starting with Live And Let Die. Meddings’s work would get more sophisticated later on, but the opening to 1964’s Stingray shows how important the special effects man was to the show:

Meanwhile, somebody has to provide the voices for the puppets. On Stingray, one of them was none other than Lois Maxwell, Miss Moneypenny on the first 14 Bond movies. She voiced Atlanta Shore, an officer in the World Acqanaut Security Patrol and daughter of WASP’s bossman. This is a clip from something called The Incredible Voyage of Stingray, which was a compiliation of episodes. Maxwell’s character shows up a little after the 2:00 mark:

An even bigger success for Anderson, Meddings & Co. was 1965’s Thunderbirds, featuring the adventures of International Rescue, a mysterious outfit run by the (apparently very rich) Tracy family. Shane Rimmer, who appeared in three Bond films, including a decent-sized role as the captain of a U.S. submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me, was the voice of Scott Tracy, the pilot of Thunderbird 1.

Here’s a clip where Thunderbird 1 launches, with a little bit of dialogue for Rimmer:

One Response

  1. Strange that you forgot the most obvious link of them all : Gerry Anderson was approached by Eon for Moonraker …

    Apparently there is somewhere a script of that Anderson version ( I’ve read parts of it ) ..

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