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Encyclopedia > Supermarionation

Supermarionation (standing for super marionette animation) is a puppetry technique devised by the British production company AP Films and used extensively in its numerous action-adventure series, the most famous of which is undoubtedly Thunderbirds. A puppeteer is a person who manipulates an inanimate object—a puppet—to create the illusion of life. ... AP Films (APF) was a British independent film production company of the 1950s and 1960s. ... Thunderbirds was a 1960s Sylvia and Gerry Anderson television show which used a form of puppetry called Supermarionation which followed the adventures of International Rescue, an organisation designed to help those in grave danger using technically advanced machinery. ...


A common misconception is that this technique is a form of animation, which it is not. The system used marionettes suspended and controlled by thin wires. The fine metal filaments doubled as both suspension-control wires for puppet movement, and as electrical cables that took the control signals to the electronic components concealed in the marionettes' heads. 12 frames per second is the typical rate for an animated cartoon. ... Phillip Huber (L) and David Alexander of the Huber Marionettes perform with marionettes hand-made by Huber for scenes for the feature film Tillamook Treasure 2005 Marionette in Prague A marionette is a type of puppet moved by strings, as in a puppet show. ...


The heads contained solenoid motors that created the synchronized mouth movements for dialogue and other functions. The voice synchronisation was achieved by using a specially designed audio filter which was actuated by the signal from the pre-recorded tapes of the voice actors; this filter would convert the signal into a series of pulses which then travelled down the wire to the solenoids controlling the puppet's lips, creating lip movements that were precisely synchronised with the dialogue. Various solenoid actuators from Trombetta Motion Technologies A solenoid is a loop of wire, often wrapped around a metallic core, which produces a magnetic field when an electrical current is passed through it. ...


Because the marionettes could not be made to walk convincingly, most scenes depicted the characters either standing or sitting, or placed them in settings that allowed the use of vehicles and other mechanical transportation systems. The personal hovercraft used in Thunderbirds were one of the devices the producers used to overcome this problem.


Occasionally, close-ups of a live actor's hand would be inserted to show actions such as turning keys, pressing buttons, etc. This was affectionately parodied in the 2004 Thunderbirds live action feature film, in which director Jonathan Frakes included a brief shot of a puppet hand, suspended by wires, operating the controls of Thunderbird 2. 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Movie Poster for Thunderbirds Spoiler warning: Thunderbirds is a Universal Pictures release based upon the Thunderbirds television series of the 1960s, directed by Jonathan Frakes. ... Jonathan Frakes as William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation Jonathan Frakes (born August 19, 1952) is an American actor and director best known for his portrayal of Commander William Riker in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. ...


The control mechanisms were originally placed within the puppets' heads, which meant the heads had to be disproportionately large compared to the bodies, like many comic strip characters. The advent of miniaturised electronic components in the mid-1960s meant that, beginning with Captain Scarlet, a new type of puppet was designed, with a correctly-proportioned head and control mechanisms in the chest, connected to the mouth by narrow rods through the neck. This resulted in a far more realistic appearance for the puppets. This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, often referred to in shorthand as simply Captain Scarlet, is a science fiction television series produced by the Century 21 Television company of Sylvia and Gerry Anderson and Lew Grade and first shown in Britain (originally on ATV Midlands, but later the whole of the...


In many cases, the puppets were modelled on the actor voicing the role; two good examples are Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds, which closely resembled Sylvia Anderson, and Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet who looks like his voice actor Ed Bishop. Other characters were based on well-known film stars, such as Capt. Troy Tempest in Stingray who was based on James Garner, and Captain Scarlet, who was modelled on Cary Grant. Stingray also featured the only non-speaking Supermarionation puppet - the mermaid, Marina. Ed Bishop (1932-2005), as he appeared in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (where he played the Captain of the Aries 1B space-station-to-moon shuttle, in a role which first featured dialogue: the dialogue was later cut from his scenes). ... James Garner (born April 7, 1928) is an American film and television actor of partially Cherokee Indian descent. ... Cary Grant Archibald Alexander Leach (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986), better known by his screen name, Cary Grant, was a British-born American film actor. ...


The term was coined by Gerry Anderson, possibly in imitation of Ray Harryhausen's stop motion technique. Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson are most famous as the production team for several futuristic childrens television shows involving specially modified marionettes, a process called supermarionation. Their most famous production is Thunderbirds, which was produced by their production company, originally known as AP Films and later renamed Century 21... Ray Harryhausen (born June 29, 1920 in Los Angeles, California) is an American producer and, most notably, a special effects creator. ... Stop motion is an animation technique which makes things that are static appear to be moving. ...


Anderson's 'supermarionated' television shows were:

Secret Service was actually a hybrid of live-action and Supermarionation, using footage of live actors from a distance to depict driving, walking, etc. Production was cancelled by ITC owner Lew Grade before the pilot episode aired; the 13 completed episodes aired sporadically on ATV and other British broadcasters beginning in 1969. Despite the poor reception, Anderson has been quoted as calling The Secret Service his favorite Supermarionation series. Four Feather Falls was the third puppet TV show produced by Sylvia and Gerry Anderson, from an idea by Barry Gray. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ... Supercar was a childrens TV show produced by Gerry Andersons AP Films for ATV and ITC Entertainment. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ... Fireball XL5 was a science fiction-themed childrens television show produced in Britain in 1962 by the husband and wife team of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson through their company APF in association with ATV for ITC Entertainment. ... 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar). ... Cover from Stingray DVD box set (2001). ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ... Brains Thunderbirds is a mid-1960s Sylvia and Gerry Anderson television show which used a form of puppetry called Supermarionation. Cast, crew, and production notes Thunderbirds was the fourth and by far the most successful of the childrens series made by AP Films (APF) for the British television company... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, often referred to in shorthand as simply Captain Scarlet, is a science fiction television series produced by the Century 21 Television company of Sylvia and Gerry Anderson and Lew Grade and first shown in Britain (originally on ATV Midlands, but later the whole of the... 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (the link is to a full 1967 calendar). ... Joe 90 is a 1968 Sylvia and Gerry Anderson television show concerning the adventures of a nine-year-old boy, Joe McClaine. ... 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1968 calendar). ... This article is about the television series. ... 1969 (MCMLXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... Lew Grade, Baron Grade (birth name Louis Winogradsky) (December 25, 1906 - December 13, 1998) was an influential showbusiness impresario and television company executive in the United Kingdom. ...


In 1973, Anderson produced a pilot episode for another Supermarionation/live action hybrid entitled The Investigator but was displeased with the results, so no series resulted. This is the last known occasion in which a full Supermarionation production was mounted. 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ...


Two feature films based upon Thunderbirds were also made with Supermarionation: Thunderbirds Are GO (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1967). Thunderbirds Are GO (DVD cover) Thunderbirds Are GO! was the first feature film to be made from the highly successful Supermarionation series Thunderbirds. ... 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ... Thunderbird 6 (DVD cover) Thunderbird 6 was a spinoff film from the popular Thunderbirds supermarionation television series. ... 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (the link is to a full 1967 calendar). ...


A later show, Terrahawks, used hand-controlled puppets, mostly controlled from beneath using a system called Supermacromation, which was broadly similar to the techniques developed by Jim Henson. Refined supermarionation techniques were used in the South African children's science fiction show Interster in the late 1970s. North American DVD release of the series. ... For the company founded by Henson, see The Jim Henson Company. ... Interster (Afrikaans, Inter-star) was a weekly science-fiction puppet television show made for children and shown in South Africa from the late 1970s. ...


A recent US television advertisement for the Orbitz online travel service is styled to suggest supermarionation, though whether it could correctly be called by the term is open to question.


Team America: World Police, a 2004 movie by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is inspired by and uses the same style of puppetry as Thunderbirds. Stone and Parker, however, dubbed their version of the technique "Supercrappymation" since the strings controlling the puppets were intentionally left visible. Coincidentally that same year, a Thunderbirds movie was made, loosely based on the series. It was shot entirely in live action with computer effects, and attempted to mimic the popular children's movie Spy Kids. It was met with poor reviews. Team America: World Police Team America: World Police is a 2004 movie by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the Comedy Central television program South Park. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Trey Parker Randolph Severn Trey Parker III (born October 19, 1969 in Conifer, Colorado) is an American animator, screenwriter, film director, voice actor, actor and musician. ... Matt Stone Matthew Richard Stone (born May 26, 1971) is an American animator, film director, screenwriter, actor and voice actor. ... Brains Thunderbirds is a mid-1960s Sylvia and Gerry Anderson television show which used a form of puppetry called Supermarionation. Cast, crew, and production notes Thunderbirds was the fourth and by far the most successful of the childrens series made by AP Films (APF) for the British television company... Movie Poster for Thunderbirds Spoiler warning: Thunderbirds is a Universal Pictures release based upon the Thunderbirds television series of the 1960s, directed by Jonathan Frakes. ... Alexa Vega as Carmen in Spy Kids Spy Kids is a name of a movie trilogy released from 2001 to 2003. ...


In 2004, Gerry Anderson produced The New Captain Scarlet, rendered using computer-generated imagery techniques (= CGI). As a nod to Supermarionation, however, the show is promoted as being produced in Hypermarionation. Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson are most famous as the production team for several futuristic childrens television shows involving specially modified marionettes, a process called supermarionation. Their most famous production is Thunderbirds, which was produced by their production company, originally known as AP Films and later renamed Century 21... The pseudopod in The Abyss marked CGIs acceptance in the visual effects industry. ...



Gerry Anderson
Television
The Adventures of Twizzle | Torchy the Battery Boy | Four Feather Falls | Supercar | Fireball XL5 | Stingray | Thunderbirds | Captain Scarlet | Joe 90 | The Secret Service | UFO | The Protectors | Space: 1999 | Terrahawks | Dick Spanner, P.I. | Space Precinct | Lavender Castle | New Captain Scarlet
Feature Films
Crossroads to Crime | Thunderbirds Are GO | Thunderbird 6 | Doppelgänger
Companies/Techniques
AP Films | Century 21 Productions | Supermarionation
Notable Collaborators
Sylvia Anderson | David Lane | Barry Gray | Reg Hill | Derek Meddings | John Read

  Results from FactBites:
 
Supermarionation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (739 words)
Supermarionation (standing for super marionette animation) is a puppetry technique devised by the British production company AP Films and used extensively in its numerous action-adventure series, the most famous of which is undoubtedly Thunderbirds.
A common misconception is that this technique is a form of animation, which it is not.
Refined supermarionation techniques were used in the South African children's science fiction show Interster in the late 1970s.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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