Blunderbirds are go! Thunderbird Parody
Today is a travel day for me, so here is a blast from the past, straight out of the archives!
A few weeks ago, some friend and I were talking about childhood memories, and we started discussing in ernest some of our favourite times. For me, one of the biggest enjoyments was getting up early on a saturday morning, and watching Thunderbirds the Gerry Anderson puppet show that had me glued to the television set for 50 minutes.
For those of you not familiar with the show, here is how Wikipidia describes the program :
Thunderbirds is a British mid-1960s television show devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and made by AP Films using a form of marionette puppetry dubbed “Supermarionation“. The series followed the adventures of International Rescue, an organisation created to help those in grave danger using technically advanced equipment and machinery. The series focused on the head of the organisation, ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, and his five sons who piloted the “Thunderbird” machines. Perennially popular, the series is still shown today and has inspired a number of subsequent television programmes and films.
For me, watching the introduction montage was a call to a brand new weekend, and after years of getting up to watch this program, the theme song and dramatic action still cause me a slight shiver of excitement.
And I was really lucky to be able to live out that ritual for many years to come. Back in Melbourne Australia, Channel Nine let the show in its 6am timeslot for near 30 years, and it was not uncommon for my friend and I to rush back to my house after a night of clubbing, to wind down the night by watching another exciting adventure of International Rescue. Later on, when I set up my own place, I would wake up at 6am o a Saturday morning, roll over to catch he credits, call out the name of the episode, before flicking the TV set off, and getting back to sleep. Some how, knowing what episode was playing made the rest of my morning sleep that much more enjoyable.
Thunderbirds was Gerry Anderson’s most successful show, seen around the world. I never saw the puppets as puppets, but as the characters themselves, like people do Kermit, or Miss Piggy. The show would spawn effects artists who would go on to the silver screen, and when I started my formal training in cinematography, I constantly would bring up the in-camera techniques used by the Thunderbirds team to create the action packed sequences unseen on television until recently. I’d like to think that a whole new generation discovered something new from my bringing in a new example of effects work every week.
So, when I saw this skit forst played in the late 80’s on Australian television, I grabbed a beta cassette and recorded as many segments as I could. Now doing a quick search, I see that someone got a copy of my tapes, an placed them on You Tube More love to be shared.
So, here it is. Blunderbirds, created and voiced by the D-Generation, the same people who brought you The Castle, and Frontline. They might call themselves Working Dog now, but for me, they will always be the D-Generation, whose love affair with Thunderbirds is more than my own. Their original Thunderbirds skit was created for a university comedy review, where a TV scout signed them up to write a local comedy show. After all, they went back to the well three times, producing three skits based on the show. Here is their last incarnation
Originally played as part of a local afternoon Tv series “Our House” these skits where the crowning achievement of the failed series. After years, I’m very happy to be able to present them here.
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Tags: Australian TV, Blunderbirds, Channel Nine, D-Generation, Frontline, Gerry Anderson, Jane Turner, Jason Stephens, John Harrison, Magda Szubanski, Marg Downey, Michael Veitch, Mick Molloy, Nick Bufalo, Our House, Rob Sitch, Santo Cilauro, Scott Tracy, spoof, Stingray, The Castle, Thunderbirds, Tom Gleisner, Tony Martin