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Joe 90
Joe90DVD1.jpg
Region 2 DVD release cover
Genre Action
Adventure
Children's
Science fiction
Spy-fi
Format Supermarionation puppetry
Created by Gerry Anderson
Sylvia Anderson
Written by Gerry Anderson
Sylvia Anderson
Tony Barwick
Pat Dunlop
Donald James
David Lane
John Lucarotti
Shane Rimmer
Desmond Saunders
Keith Wilson
Directed by Peter Anderson
Leo Eaton
Brian Heard
Alan Perry
Desmond Saunders
Ken Turner
Voices of Sylvia Anderson
Keith Alexander
Rupert Davies
Gary Files
David Healy
Len Jones
Martin King
Liz Morgan
Shane Rimmer
Jeremy Wilkin
Composer(s) Barry Gray
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 30 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Reg Hill
Producer(s) David Lane
Editor(s) Len Cleal
Norman A. Cole
Bob Dearberg
Alan Killick
Harry MacDonald
Cinematography Paddy Seale
Camera setup Single
Running time 25 mins approx. per episode
(excluding advertisements)
Production company(s) Century 21 Television
Distributor ITC Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel ATV
Picture format Film (35 mm)
Audio format Mono
Original run September 29, 1968 (1968-09-29) – April 20, 1969 (1969-04-20)

Joe 90 is a 1968 television series concerning the adventures of a nine-year-old boy, Joe McClaine, set in the years 2012-13. Devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, a single season of thirty 25-minute episodes was completed, and it was the last show to be made exclusively using a form of puppetry called "Supermarionation". It was created for Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment by Century 21 Productions (by this time also under Grade's ownership), and was first broadcast on the British ITV network by Associated TeleVision.

Contents

Plot

Joe Resnick is the adopted son of computer expert, Professor Ian "Mac" McClaine, inventor of the BIG RAT, (Brain Impulse Galvanoscope Record And Transfer), a device that allows knowledge and experience to be copied from the minds of top experts in their fields to another person. Mac's friend, Sam Loover, a secret agent for the World Intelligence Network (WIN), persuades Mac to let Joe use the machine to work for WIN. After the requisite skill is transferred, and provided Joe is wearing special spectacles containing hidden electrodes, he is able to fly jet fighters, perform surgery, and so on, while appearing to be just an innocent little boy in the eyes of his enemies.

Name

There is some inconsistency as to why Joe is called "90." According to the promotional information, when Joe joined World Intelligence Network (WIN) there were 89 agents based in London, making him the 90th. However, in the episode "Project 90" the BIG RAT is designated project 90 and Joe is named after this.

Analysis

As in Anderson's previous series, the show regularly featured rescue operations, secret worldwide organizations, complicated gadgetry, terrorism, and threats to the entire world. Professor McClaine, for example, drove an exotic flying car. The puppets featured were of the more accurately proportioned variety first seen in Captain Scarlet. Puppets from the preceding series were re-used for Joe 90, with the exceptions of the Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue marionettes. Also, some new puppets were constructed, including those for Joe and Mac. Many of the puppets also had versions with tanned complexions to portray darker-skinned people.

The darker and more violent style consciously introduced with Captain Scarlet continued into Joe 90. A typical example features Professor McClaine being kidnapped, held hostage and menaced with a drill in the episode "Project 90". This provoked criticism that the scenarios were inappropriate for a nine-year-old boy, although Mac explains his reservations in the pilot episode. The child hero is far more engaging for its intended audience, as well as allowing him to infiltrate places without arousing suspicion. In this way, it also predates other espionage films featuring children, such as Spy Kids.

To add to the realism, the voice of Joe was provided by boy actor Len Jones, rather than a young woman actress as was usually the case. The character of Joe 90 was innocent and childlike without his glasses, but often quite adult-sounding, and occasionally patronising when wearing them, due to the expert nature of the brain patterns he was using. As a normal boy he would address his father as "Dad", but with his glasses the name would be "Mac".

Mac was voiced by Rupert Davies (best known for playing Maigret), while Sylvia Anderson herself was their long-suffering housekeeper, Mrs Harris.

The series assumed that the Cold War would not continue into the 21st century (dismissing the theft by Joe of a Russian fighter plane in the first episode as merely a speculative scenario), although villains in the series often had Slavic accents. Episodes featuring such adversaries included "International Concerto", "Business Holiday", "Arctic Adventure" and "The Professional".

The show featured a theme tune and incidental music composed by Barry Gray, who also composed music for other Anderson productions.

For the series' original run, each episode began with a zoom-in shot of Joe's WIN glasses accompanied by a male voiceover. His words were, "These are Joe 90's special glasses. Without them, he's a boy; wearing them, he's an expert." This line served not only to establish the background to the series, but to warn young fans not to imitate Joe's exploits.

Episode list

Comics

The series got its own weekly comic, Joe 90 Top Secret, which lasted 34 issues (and included strips based on The Champions and Land of the Giants).[1]

The 1990s were marked by a considerable interest in old TV shows of the 1960s and 70s. Joe 90 was one of those that was among the repeats and was also the subject of a strip series in the Funday Times section of the The Sunday Times.

Voice Cast

Credits

  • Format byGerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson
  • Characters created by — Joeseph Herbert, Sylvia Anderson
  • Writers — Gerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, Tony Barwick, Shane Rimmer, David Lane, Desmond Saunders, Keith Wilson, Pat Dunlop, Donald James, John Lucarotti
  • Script Editor — Tony Barwick
  • Producer — David Lane
  • Executive ProducerReg Hill
  • Production Controller — Desmond Saunders
  • Production Manager — Frank Hollands
  • Directors — Desmond Saunders, Alan Perry, Leo Eaton, Ken Turner, Peter Anderson, Brian Heard
  • Music Composed and Directed byBarry Gray
  • Supervising Visual Effects DirectorDerek Meddings
  • Senior Visual Effects Director — Jimmy Elliot
  • Visual Effects Directors — Shaun Whittacker-Cook, Bill Camp
  • Puppet Coordinator — Mary Turner
  • Puppet Operators — Charmaine Wood, Wanda Webb, Rowena White
  • Lighting Cameramen — Julien Lugrin, Paddy Seale
  • Supervising Art Director — Bob Bell
  • Art Directors — Grenville Nott, Keith Wilson
  • BIG RAT by — Century 21 Film Props

References

External links

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