On Wednesday 13th May, the White Bus Cinema in Southend On Sea was host to an evening of screenings of a number of Gerry Anderson productions on 16mm and 35mm film. Presenter at the event Mark Joseph gives his report of this rare opportunity.
Little did I realise that just months after discovering that I had a venue close to where I live that had a 16 and 35mm projection cinema that I would be hosting a Gerry Anderson On Film night.
I have been a collector of examples of Gerry’s work on 8mm,16mm and 35mm film for many years.
Whilst at the usual Wednesday night film evening I was asked if I would like to host a night dedicated to Gerry and of course using films from my collection. Well yes please. Oh and by the way you would be part of the Southend Film Festival (no pressure there then).
Obviously unable to show everything in one evening I chose examples for the different styles of programmes that Gerry made. Supercar “The Day The Earth Froze” on 16mm. Terrahawks “Play It Again Sram” on 16mm, Space 1999 “Journey To Where” on 16mm, and Thunderbirds “Trapped In The Sky” on 35mm.
To make the evening extra special fan Dan Cooper brought along replica puppets and models.
The evening was a sell out and we started with a brief compilation of Gerry’s work compiled by my son Andrew. This was well received and was the only digital part of the show.
I then gave an outline of Gerry’s early career and how his involvement with marionettes began.
A brief introduction to each film before it was shown was included.
And so to Supercar. This is one of the more unusual episodes that revolved around Mike Mercury’s birthday and a visiting alien who freezes time. Of course it’s all a dream. It was great to hear the audience react and laugh at this.
Next up was Terrahawks. Unusual to see a copy of this shown in 16mm and the quality was excellent. It looked and sounded much better than the DVD release, and again was well received by everyone with plenty of laughter at the many rye jokes.
After the break was Space: 1999. Chosen for quality and as an episode that features time travel it is one of the more unusual stories. Well received again and with a chuckle or two at the way our intrepid heroes were rescued using Morse Code. Bannockburn plus twenty-five (no day or time).
Then to the finale: Thunderbirds.
I have owned this original 50 year old 35mm print for some years and until this year I hadn’t seen it projected. After some filter correction (as it has gone a bit pink) the booming sound and full frame picture hit the screen. We all have seen “Trapped in the Sky” countless times, however, seeing it like this is a treat to be beheld.
Applause followed every film. The atmosphere was electric. Requests for more. Watch this space.
Ed: So perhaps we’ll be seeing another Gerry Anderson film screening night before too long?!