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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 10:01am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Been a year of anniversaries (like any year, I suppose). Today marks fifty years since CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS first aired on ATV.

The show, set in 2068, saw astronauts land on Mars after detecting radio signals. The unseen Mysterons, native to Mars, prepare to welcome the earthmen - but, predictably, the humans interpret the Mysterons' welcome as a hostile acts. Shots are fired, the Mysterons retaliate, and Captain Black, one of the crew, is killed.

The Mysterons then begin a war against earth. With powers of regeneration, they can reanimate dead bodies and place them under their control (they do that with Captain Black). Captain Scarlet is another agent they do it to, but after falling to his 'death' at the end of the pilot episode, he awakens free from Mysteron control, his resurrection having made him indestructible. Captain Scarlet, part of worldwide security organization SPECTRUM, leads the fight against the Mysterons.

Firstly, I watched this as a kid. And it may well have been the first show where things weren't black and white. Sure, I rooted for Captain Scarlet, but even to my unsophisticated childhood mind, the Mysterons were not the bad guys, not in the truest sense of the word. They had merely protected their territory following a hostile act. I didn't want to see them win, but I was aware they weren't 100% bad.

This was the first Gerry Anderson show where the puppets' heads were in proportion to their body size. Each episode was 25 minutes long.

I have to say, as good as this was, and it had high production values, it was lacking in one area for me: running time. THUNDERBIRDS had 50 minutes to "play with", which led to proper build-up, character development and execution. The characters in CAPTAIN SCARLET weren't quite well-developed (not like I wanted) and some episodes did feel rushed. It worked within the parameters of 25 minutes, but I so wish it could have had longer.

Also, and this was the way things were at the time, there was no conclusive ending. So many 60s shows never ended conclusively. We live in an age where it seems 90% of shows get a proper ending, but so many shows of yesteryear just ended. I am sure there are exceptions.

Overall, I am fond of the show even if THUNDERBIRDS remains my favourite. I wanted to become a pilot after seeing the all-female team the Angels (defending the earth with Scarlet), but I won't get into that...

And, of course, it gave us some great vehicles. Here's the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (on the left) and the Spectrum Saloon Car:






Edited by Robbie Parry on 29 September 2017 at 10:05am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 10:25am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The CENTURY 21 comic later forced all the Anderson Futures into a single period. Pretty crazy to think of FIREBALL XL5 and CAPTAIN SCARLET happening at the same time!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 10:27am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

True.

I haven't read much of CENTURY 21, just a dozen or so copies I bought at a car boot sale. I was fairly pleased with the "shared universe" of some characters, e.g. the Mysterons were active in Marineville in one strip.

I liked references to Gordon Tracy having been a WASP agent - and Lt. Green having worked in the radio tower at Marineville.

But it is crazy to think of everything happening at the same time.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I loved this as a kid and had the three Dinky Toy
vehicles!Not as good as Thunderbirds,Stingray or
Fireball XL-5 though! Regarding Stingray,i recently
bought a rather smart Stingray t-shirt via the Gerry
Anderson Facebook page with Stingray viewed from above
leaving a white yellow and blue stripe across the
chest,and a WASP badge on the sleeve.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 11:52am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Setting aside the change in the proportions of the puppets, CAPTAIN SCARLET and STINGRAY make a pretty good fit. But FIREBALL is obviously much further in the Future. If they're going to get mushed together, might as well add FOUR FEATHER FALLS to the mix!
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 12:31pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I was more familiar with the imported Dinky Toy versions of the Captain Scarlet vehicles, than of the show itself since it never was syndicated in my area (to my knowledge) in the time between THUNDERBIRDS and UFO.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 1:26pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Timed as the series were, most of them were past my toy buying days, but I did have a foot long plastic XL5 that I loved.

As an "adult" I was able to accumulate more.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 1:55pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

You really should have tried to have been born later, Mr Byrne. Maybe 1980 (the 80s was great for toys!). ;-)

That would, of course, required you to work on MAN OF STEEL at the age of 6. No pressure!
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 2:04pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

But then we'd miss those classic X-Men comics!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 2:49pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

When I turned 60 I started playing a game in my head. What if I was 40 instead?

Well, it didn't take long to realize how much I would have missed. The first ten years of Marvel. The original STAR TREK. The best of the Bond movies. All those Supermarionation shows.

Too much!!

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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 29 September 2017 at 9:13pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Has anyone here seen the CGI animated Captain Scarlet series that came out over 10 years ago?
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 30 September 2017 at 12:00am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I have seen it Rick,it was shown on a Saturday morning
here,during a kid`s show called Ministry Of Mayhem,it
was also split into two parts which meant it was not
really publicised,you had to record the whole kid`s show
and then it was split in two.The tv schedulers really
did a number on it!From what i remember it was ok,but
not as good as the original,but that may have been my
rose tinted specs!I did get the series cheap on dvd a
while back but have yet to re-watch it.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 September 2017 at 7:10am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Has anyone here seen the CGI animated Captain Scarlet series that came out over 10 years ago?

I saw the trailer, which told me it was not my cup of tea.

Around that same time, I also finally saw the first episode, which for some reason had not been broadcast in my part of Canada. I was horrified -- horrified, do you hear?? -- to learn "we" really HAD launched a completely unprovoked attack on the Mysteron base on Mars. What the heck was Gerry Anderson thinking?

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Joe S. Walker
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Posted: 30 September 2017 at 9:55am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

The Mysterons had their own comic strip in TV TORNADO. It had nothing to do with the show and I liked it much better, it was unusual and eerie.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 30 September 2017 at 11:50am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Gerry must have had something against Mars'
inhabitants,the film Thubderbirds Are Go! was on tv
today(It's international Thunderbirds day) and the crew
of the Zero X blast the crap out of the indigenous rock
snakes!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 30 September 2017 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

The Mysterons had their own comic strip in TV TORNADO. It had nothing to do with the show and I liked it much better, it was unusual and eerie.

***

I presume it didn't show their true form?

Never heard of TV TORNADO, but I shall Google it. 
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 30 September 2017 at 5:32pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

TV Tornado was published by City Magazines, publishers of TV Century 21, and began in January 1967. The following month they launched another new title called Solo.

Starting with issue 16, Solo began to carry material that was designed to tie-in with the forthcoming Captain Scarlet series, although initially no mention of this was made. It began by carrying stories of strange happenings and accidents which soon evolved into a four-page section called "Spectrum News". This included more "news" stories plus a two-page strip called "Mark of the Mysterons" and a revamped cover logo:


Eventually they revealed that this was all to do with the new series. The final issue of Solo, number 31, carried the first instalment of a new strip called The Mysterons which appears to spoil some of the plot of the first episode of Captain Scarlet which was still a couple of weeks away. Unusually, the same strip also appeared in that week's edition of TV Tornado (36) which had a change from its normal painted covers:


The story continued the following week in the newly-merged TV Tornado and Solo.

The Mysterons regained their physical form in the strip and it was rather odd!


The strip came to a somewhat abrupt ending in issue 58 and TV Tornado's final issue was number 88 at which point it merged with TV21.

Lew Stringer's excellent Blimey! blog has more info about both Solo and TV Tornado:





Edited by Robbie Moubert on 30 September 2017 at 5:43pm
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 12:15am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Thank`s for that Robbie M,very interesting!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 2:45am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Great links, thank you.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 6:15am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

The Mysterons regained their physical form in the strip and it was rather odd!

Ah, there's a writer sitting at his typewriter and not giving any thought to the fact that some poor artist is going to have to DRAW what he comes up with!

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Joe S. Walker
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 6:56am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I think the eerie thing about the Mysteron strip was that there were no human characters, that I remember. Not only were the Mysterons the lead, and not at all humanoid (I like that character design!), but they only met other aliens. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 6:59am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

What I found intriguing about the Mysterons was how faceless they were. We heard their voices, we never saw them. They retained their mystique.

I once again refer to an interview Gunnar Hansen (who played Leatherface in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) conducted, about how the decision was made not to show Leatherface's real face because it would never have lived up to fans' expectations.

I want "my image" of what the Mysterons look like (I have one in my head) to remain.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 7:03am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

By the way, Haynes used to exclusively cover car models, but they have, in recent years, published guides to fictional vehicles. I might buy this:

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 8:18am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Those manuals were pretty useless! My first car was a
mini,my first bit of maintenance, the first instruction
was 'Remove the escutcheon plate' with no diagram or
description of what it was! I did manage to replace the
radiator and alternator without the 'Help' of the manual!
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 01 October 2017 at 9:35am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

"I think the eerie thing about the Mysteron strip was that there were no human characters, that I remember. Not only were the Mysterons the lead, and not at all humanoid (I like that character design!), but they only met other aliens."

**************************

I'm afraid you're misremembering. Humans featured quite prominently in the strip.
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