Growing up in a Chuck Jones-ian Saturday morning world, puppets were just lame. After all, what, to a 5-year-old mind, could match the peerless humor and drama of an Acme fill-in-noun here falling on a hapless coyote or “What’s Opera Doc”? When the Supermarionation Thunderbirds aired late morning, it was time to turn off the TV, watch the black and white picture shrink to a dot and go outside.
Fast forward a few decades to another Saturday morning. Flipping around the satellite channels, there appeared ‘Thunderbirds are GO!” a 1966 movie version of the original series. Oh what the hey, we thought, let’s watch.
We were dazzled by the eye candy. The movie was, well, very movie-like, with multiple camera angles and sophisticated model making. The most delightful aspect was the futuristic pop art design of the buildings, clothing, rooms and air and spacecraft, all created with joyful, playful minds and hands. Really F.A.B.
Next Saturday, maybe we’ll catch all of the 1968 followup, “Thunderbird 6.”