14 January 2013
Rob Burman says one last 'FAB' to Gerry Anderson who leaves behind a legacy of collectables. ...
It was with great sadness over the Christmas period that I heard on the news about the death of Gerry Anderson - a huge influence not only on my own life but also the world of collecting. Head to any swapmeet or auction and you’re bound to see one of the many toys based around some of his creations, whether it’s a Dinky Thunderbird 2 or a Pelham Puppet replica of Brains. Even after his death, we’re likely to see reminders of Gerry Anderson’s work well into the future.
On a personal note Gerry Anderson had a massive impact on my childhood and if you read my previous feature on Fireball XL5 - one of Anderson’s earliest TV series - you’ll know that my formative days were spent dressed in an ill-fitting Captain Scarlet costume and trying to launch diecast models into space. I think the appeal of Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5 or Stingray was Anderson’s ability to create believeable yet alien fantasy worlds either in space or under the sea. Despite the fact that these worlds were inhabited by slightly clunky puppets with wobbly walks, they seemed incredibly real and, as a youngster glued to the TV screen, I was totally engrossed in the adventures of the Tracy brothers or Captain Scarlet’s battle against the evil Mysterons.
Then, of course, there were the numerous toys based upon Anderson’s various TV series. I can remember being handed the Dinky take on Thunderbird 2 as a child on my birthday and being amazed by the level of detail. The fact it contained Thunderbird 4 was an even bigger surprise. The quality of the Anderson collectables is second-to-none, in my opinion, and not only is this because of the great work by model manufacturers, it’s down to the incredible source material created by Anderson for the TV shows.
Those of a cynical nature might say that now is a good time to be a collector of Anderson memorabilia because the attention surrounding his death could push up the price of some collectables, particularly the rare ones. However, I strongly believe there has never been a bad time to be a Gerry Anderson collector because the wealth of quality vintage toys and models available has always been superb. Never-the-less, I’ll be keeping an eye on the auction results over the coming months to see how the market reacts to the news of his death and whether there’s a sudden increase in auction prices.
Of course, what’s also so amazing about the likes of Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet is how popular they’ve remained, long after they were first shown in the 1960s. Remember in 1992 when Thunderbirds was shown again on BBC and suddenly every kid in the UK wanted a model of Tracy Island? Forget modern gadgets or gizmos, they all wanted a toy based on a TV show that many had written off when first broadcast.
Gerry Anderson died peacefully in his sleep on December 26th, 2012 aged 83. He’ll be sadly missed.