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Supercar (TV series): Wikis

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Supercar
Supercar titlescreen.jpg
"Mike Mercury" flying Supercar in the opening title sequence.
Genre Adventure
Children's
Science fiction
Format Supermarionation puppetry
Created by Gerry Anderson
Written by Gerry Anderson
Sylvia Anderson
Reg Hill
Hugh Woodhouse
Martin Woodhouse
Directed by David Elliott
Bill Harris
Alan Pattillo
Desmond Saunders
Voices of Sylvia Anderson
Grayson Gold
David Graham
George Murcell
Cyril Shaps
Composer(s) Barry Gray
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Gerry Anderson
Editor(s) Gordon Davie
Cinematography John Read
Camera setup Single
Running time 25 mins approx. per episode
(excluding advertisements)
Production company(s) AP Films
Distributor ITC Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel ATV
Picture format Black and white
Film (35 mm)
Audio format Mono
Original run January 28, 1961 (1961-01-28) – April 29, 1962 (1962-04-29)

Supercar was a children's TV show produced by Gerry Anderson and Arthur Provis's AP Films for ATV and ITC Entertainment. 39 episodes were produced between 1961 and 1962, and it was Anderson's first half-hour series. In the UK it was seen on ITV and in the US in syndication (the first Anderson series to be shown overseas). The format uses puppets in a technique called supermarionation, a name that was first seen in the closing titles of the last 13 episodes.

The plot of the show concerned Supercar, a vertical takeoff and landing craft invented by Rudolph Popkiss and Horatio Beaker, and piloted by Mike Mercury. On land it rode on a cushion of air rather than wheels. Jets in the rear allowed it to fly like a jet and retractable wings were incorporated in the back of car. Retrorockets on the side of the car slowed the vehicle. The car used "Clear-Vu" which had an inside television monitor that allowed the occupant to see through fog and smoke. The vehicle was housed in a laboratory and living facility at Black Rock, Nevada, U.S.A. In the show's first episode, "Rescue", the Supercar crew's first mission is to save the passengers of a downed private plane. Two of the rescued, young Jimmy Gibson and his pet monkey, Mitch, are invited to stay and live at the facility and share in the adventures.

The series inaugurated what would become an Anderson trademark, the launch sequence. Every one of his series up until Space: 1999 would include these – in Supercar's case, the charging of port and starboard engines, the activation of an interlock, the opening of (overhead) hangar doors, and finally the vertical take-off.

Contents

Episodes

Series history and production

After Granada Television failed to renew Four Feather Falls, Anderson approached Lew Grade of ATV. Grade asked Anderson to reduce the budget by half. After working through the night, Anderson returned the next morning, with the budget reduced only by a third. Grade commissioned the series immediately.

The music for the series was composed and conducted by Barry Gray. The opening and closing theme song vocalist for the first season is Mike Sammes, for the second season Sammes's vocal group The Mike Sammes Singers re-recorded the theme.

There were two working models of Supercar, the larger hero model was made of light-weight wood and Plexiglass (Perspex) and measured about five feet in length. The smaller model, used in distance shots, was about nine inches in length. The vehicle was designed by art director Reg Hill.

As photography on the series was getting underway, creator Gerry Anderson wed production assistant and voice actor Sylvia Thamm. After a brief mid-day ceremony the couple returned to the studio to help complete the opening title sequence.

Many of the first 26 scripts for Supercar were written by brothers Martin Woodhouse and Hugh Woodhouse, at the rate of one complete 'shooting (camera-ready) script' per week, in order to fit Anderson and Grade's cost and production schedule.

Anderson always claimed that he invented a futuristic vehicle as an excuse to reduce the amount of walking the puppets had to do, which could never be made to look realistic. This was finally taken to its conclusion in Captain Scarlet, in which the puppets are almost never seen walking.

The complete series is available on DVD in the United Kingdom, Australia and North America.

The series name was used in Italy in the Eighties for the local airing of Knight Rider, as the original Supercar series was practically unknown.

Big Bang Comics paid tribute to the show with their character Mike Merlin, in honour of Supercar's leading hero, Mike Mercury[citation needed].

Comic book

Supercar was the first Gerry Anderson series to be adapted as a comic book in America, with the Gold Key company releasing four issues between November 1962 and August 1963.[1]

External links

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