London’s Cartoon Museum has announced a small “In-Focus” capsule exhibition of art from the worlds of the legendary producer Gerry Anderson and the classic British comic of the 1960s, TV Century 21, opening on 3rd March and running until 4th June 2023.
This exhibition is a tribute to the man who, along with his team including his wife, Sylvia, revolutionised the world of puppetry with his advanced technique of Supermarionation, as well as the wider world of science fiction.
(To be clear, this is not a full-on huge exhibition. It’s in an In Focus space, a display of ten pages including two rarely/never seen items, including a page of “Twizzle”. Perhaps this will lead to a bigger event in future? Let’s hope so).
While his career began in the 1950s, Anderson’s Supermarionation success began with Supercar in 1960. Following that, Fireball XL5 was popular across the globe. Which in turn led to the creation of the first colour children’s TV show ever made in Britain, Stingray. By 1965 Anderson’s team reached the pinnacle of their puppetry productions with Thunderbirds – a show which remains part of the cultural fabric of the UK and beyond.
Anderson’s innovation didn’t stop there. In the mid 1960s, to capitalise on the nationwide obsession with this new and interesting style of television, the weekly comic in a novel newspaper format TV Century 21 was launched. It updated readers across the country on the adventures of their favourite heroes. It also paved the way for future comic tie-ins with Anderson shows, with titles such as Countdown, TV Action, with Anderson strips such as “Space: 1999” in Look In, and the 1990s titles, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.
This micro exhibition at the Cartoon Museum will take visitors back in time to a more magical period of retro-futuristic glitz, glamour and adventure, showcasing classic comic artwork based on the worlds of Gerry Anderson. It’s an opportunity to relive the nostalgia of crowding around worn-out comics and dodgy TV sets, and to pay homage to the man who raised generations of children from the 60s to the 2000s on tales of science fiction and intrigue.
“Dad was a lifelong innovator and was incredibly passionate about creating great worlds and characters,” notes Jamie Anderson, son of Gerry Anderson and Managing Director of Anderson Entertainment, “and bringing them to life on the screen in as big a way as possible. Legendary artists and writers have been, and continue to be, inspired by the characters and vehicles he and his teams developed. Comics have helped expand the universe and give additional life to these wonderful shows.”
The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420,000 visitors, and built a nationally important collection of 4300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18,000 items. It runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50,000 children and adults have attended cartooning, comics and animation workshops at the museum.
The Cartoon Musuem’s current main exhibition is This Event is a WORK event!, featuring the work of The Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, which runs until 16th April, and SKINT: Cost of Living Creations with W. Heath Robinson, which runs until 26th February 2023. The Cartoon Museum will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the classic Aardman Animations film The Wrong Trousers with an exciting never-before-seen exhibition opening in September.
Anderson Entertainment is a content production company set up by the late Gerry Anderson. Today, with Gerry’s son Jamie – a respected writer and producer – as its managing director, the company develops its own IP and projects from Gerry Anderson’s personal archive and manages Gerry Anderson’s estate and existing works.
Anderson Entertainment has also developed brand-new content for delivery across a variety of viewing and audio platforms and has an e-commerce offering, The Official Gerry Anderson Store which makes licensed, exclusive merchandise available to Anderson fans across the globe.
• Gerry Anderson’s Century 21 Exhibition 3rd March – 4th June 2023, The Cartoon Museum, 63 Wells Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1A 3AE
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