Century 21 Films, the team behind new episodes of the original Thunderbirds TV series and other Supermarionation-inspired projects, have just launched a new web site to mark the 60th anniversary of the term – and marked it with a new video.
They’ve also announced a rare sale of some unique Supermarionation-related items.
The site features a treasure trove on various series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and many others, including series by series guides and much, much more.
60 years ago, Supermarionation launched onto TV screens in the form of a marionette western called Four Feather Falls. While it wasn’t called Supermarionation on screen – and nor was the first series of Supercar – it did feature a new form of electronic-marionette which in turn was labelled in press literature ‘Super Marionation.’
Soon, it was decided to put that caption on screen, and at the end of every episode of the second season of Supercar an understated credit told us that this show had been ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’.
For Fireball XL5 it was decided to put this credit boldly up-front, and the rest is history.
“Over the last few years we’ve been very proud to become – with the aid of a few old hands – the current producers of Supermarionation, officially recognised by ITV,” says Stephen La Rivière of Century 21 Films.
“To celebrate this important anniversary, we’ve launched a new website, which in time will, we hope, become the ultimate online Supermarionation resource. A place not for opinion polls and click-bait, but for solidly researched information about the shows based on the years of research we’ve collectively done as a team.
“Although we’ve tried to include as much as possible in our various books and documentaries, commercial products never allow everything you’d like to include and so it brings us great pleasure to be able to start sharing things that we didn’t have an outlet for previously.”
For example, recently, the episode of the prestigious detective drama Endeavour that featured the fictional Moon Rangers series extracts filmed by Century 21 for has been shown around the world. Always great lovers of Supermarionation, the new site includes Moon Rangers in Japanese.
“Our Supermarionation ventures continue with lots of work going on behind the scenes,” says Stephen. “It’s a slow process, but we hope in time the wait will have been worth it.”
As with any such projects, costs are inevitably a factor – prompting a just-announced sale of Supermarionation-related rarities.
“Unfortunately, we still have many maintenance costs to meet in order to keep our Supermarionation collection a working one,” Stephen explains. “Occasionally we reluctantly let items from our productions go in order to keep the overall collection functioning. Recently, we’ve had more costs than usual as we move towards our ultimate goal and so once again we’re looking to raise some money.
“We don’t have a list of items, but we have sold comparatively little in all, so if there’s something that may be of interest that you’ve seen on screen please let us know.”
One thing that has been made public is the opportunity to purchase copies of some of associate producer Andrew T. Smith‘s personal script pages from the production of the anniversary episodes. You can find information on those here on eBay.
Four Feather Falls, Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons, Joe 90 & The Secret Service are ™ and © ITC Entertainment Group Limited 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1999 and 2020. All Rights Reserved
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.