14 January 2013
The finest TV shows and collectables of Gerry Anderson ...
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons – or just Captain Scarlet – was the eighth puppet-based series by Gerry Anderson and was first broadcast on ATV Midlands between September 1967 and May ’68.
Set in the year 2068 – which, terrifyingly, actually doesn’t seem that far away now – the series followed the continued fight between Earth and a race of Martians known as the Mysterons. Unfortunately after their city on Mars is accidentally attacked by human astronauts (perhaps they were holding the map upside down) the Mysterons declare war on Earth.
Thankfully though the worldwide security agency Spectrum and its super agent Captain Scarlet helps to protect our precious planet from invasion. Not only does Captain Scarlet have a rather natty hat, he also has the Mysteron healing power of ‘retro-metabolism’, which makes him indestructible… shame some of our favourite classic toys don’t have retro-metabolism too!
Compared to much of Gerry Anderson’s other output, Captain Scarlet has a much darker tone thanks to the slightly more realistic puppets, a touch more violence and the general plot about a war between planets. There was also an ill-fated computer-generated reboot called Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet, which was a bit rubbish really.
Perhaps one of the most commonly seen Captain Scarlet collectables is the Dinky 103 Spectrum Patrol Car. The bright red vehicle was often seen speeding through the streets in the series and the diecast version is a brilliant replica.
Another neat Dinky model is No. 105 Maximum Security Vehicle finished in a rather fine crisp white paintjob. The replica features opening hatches, drop down ramps and aerial to track down the Mysterons. It also came with an interesting box labeled ‘radioactive isotopes’ – dangerous stuff!
Something slightly more unusual is this Tri-ang 21st Century Auto Highway with ‘touch to drive’ Patrol Vehicles. The set comes with a pair of red and yellow plastic ‘magicars’ that zip around a slot car-style track, a bit like Scalextric. The box art is absolutely brilliant, showing the two cars speeding off in a trail of white smoke.
During the 1990s when Gerry Anderson series had a resurgence on BBC, Vivid Imaginations released a range of action figures featuring characters from the TV series, including Captain Scarlet, Colonel White, Captain White and Lieutenant Green.
The Century 21 Toys Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle is also a rather impressive beast. Finished in grey and white plastic with a friction drive it also has an ejector seat and shoots missiles to destroy those wicked Mysterons.