Gerry Anderson: A Personal Fanboy Tribute

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 26, 2012 in Television |

A 70s child holding an Eagle toy from Space:1999

Sadly my guess is that most fanboys under the age of 40 will never quite appreciate Gerry Anderson the way that I might, because I think his very best work was aimed at children. So if your childhood started after say 1975 this shows that he made wouldn’t quite have the same magical qualities. So for those of you who are too young even at age 40 let me take you back to back to the year 1975 when I was only ten years old:

A Space:1999 comic book cover

If you were a sci fi fanboy in 1975 the world was a very sad place. At this age the only thing out there for me were re-runs of the original Star Trek television series, and frankly even by the mid-70s Star Trek started to show its age. Another thing to keep in mind is that Star Wars didn’t come out until 1977 — so the sci fi fans world in 1975 mostly consisted of re-runs of shows from the 60s like Lost in Space. Also in 1975 VCRs were just coming on to the market so the choice to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn’t something you could do when you just felt like it.

Opening from the first episode of Space:1999

So into this void something wonderful happened: On September 13th, 1975 the television series Space: 1999 debuted and as a ten year old it was the coolest thing in the universe. Unlike previous Gerry Anderson which starred puppets Space: 1999 was a live action show — although the series was crammed with Anderson’s mecha from amazing looking spaceships to a groovy moonbase that pretty much had everything except for a disco lounge. Another nice thing about the show was that the special effects were A+ all the way, so what you were looking at looked as good as a feature film of that era.

Space:1999 makes the cover of Dynamite magazine

Another nice thing about the show was that even if the science fiction itself was a bit weak, as a ten year old you could really see yourself as a thirty-five year old living out your future days on Moonbase Alpha. The show was also very relevant to its time and touched upon issues like nuclear power, and maybe not so relevant issues like creepy monsters that lived in spaceship graveyards. For two years of my life Gerry Anderson was able to make me run to my television and watch a world of wonder that was beyond anything that I’d see in my suburban childhood.

Space:1999 had great mecha

Watching that show (and any other show that he did) you can tell that making these shows was a labor of love for Gerry Anderson. Every detail in every show he ever made was done with love — from the fashions in the show — to the always dramatic music — to the countless interesting cars, aircraft and spaceships that would be shown off with great care in every episode. Anderson also had a talent for attracting talent, which is part of what a great producer does.

Gerry Anderson

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