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Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Gerry Anderson’s Supercar

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1) Credit Where Credit’s Due

supercar-credit-o
Although the end titles carry a credit reading, “From an original idea by Gerry Anderson and Reg Hill” the final result owes much to writers Martin and Hugh Woodhouse. Whilst under contract to the BBC, Hugh had devised a series called Beaker’s Bureau about the exploits of an eccentric genius called Doctor Beaker and his encounters with various villains. The BBC rejected the pitch and so elements, including Doctor Beaker himself, were incorporated into Supercar. In 2006 Martin and Hugh revised the Beaker’s Bureau idea and produced a pilot script and comic. Sadly, the project didn’t come to fruition before their deaths just weeks apart in 2011.

2) Character Designs

supercar characters

The main characters in Supercar were not designed in-house by A.P. Films. As with Four Feather Falls the faces were first sketched by an ex-Disney animator. Sadly, his identity is lost to history.

3) Supermarionation

blog-photo-superM
Promotional literature for the first series of Supercar revealed that the show had been filmed using a new process called ‘Supermarionation’. The phrase ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’ featured on the credits of every puppet production APF made from the second series of Supercar onwards.

4) Derek Meddings Joins APF

Derek Meddings Supercar
The second series of Supercar marked a turning point for APF with the permanent appointment of Derek Meddings as Director of Special Effects. Derek has previously worked on a freelance basis for APF painting backdrops etc, but from this point on he was the guv’nor when it came to blowing stuff up.

5) Supercar in Colour?

Colour-supercar

There was nearly another series of Supercar (possibly in colour). On the 8th March 1963 Television Mail reported, “Associated Television is to spend about £1,000,000 on telefilm production this year […] The company […] is preparing to go ahead with a new series called Sentimental Agent, another series of The Saint, a further 26 episodes of Supercar, probably another series of Fireball XL5 and a new project from AP Films involving an underwater world.”

Sadly, a new government bill forced ATV to scale back their production plans and in May 1963 Television Mail reported, “Grade has already had to effect a small measure of economy – namely a second series of Supercar.” And so Mike Mercury and co were consigned to history…

About the author: Stephen La Riviere is author of Filmed in Supermarionation – a History of the Future, and can be found on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/la_riviere

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