17 December 2012
Find out how Shane got the part of Scott Tracy and what he thinks to Thunderbirds collectables. ...
Canadian actor Shane Rimmer is best known for providing the voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds but he has a long history of working on various Gerry Anderson projects, including Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe 90 and the UFO. Alongside this he’s had numerous roles in live action films, including Dr. Strangelove, The Spy Who Loved Me and Star Wars.
During Hullywood Entertainment’s recent Moviebuffs toy fair in York, we were lucky enough to catch up with Shane and ask him about the collectables based on Thunderbirds and his memories of working on the show.
THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO...!
First of all we, of course, asked him about the numerous Thunderbirds toys and collectables. “I’m surprised that people are still collecting the toys,” he told us. “The show is now 40-years-old but you always see collectables at conventions.”
Perhaps the most surprising thing for Shane was that, at the time, he just thought it would be a standard job. “I had no idea at the time that it would be so big, I thought it would be two weeks work and that would be it.
“I also had absolutely no idea exactly what the show was going to be. I was just handed a script with no names on and I didn’t even realise that Gerry Anderson was involved or really know who he was. But he had seen some of my work on the BBC and thought my voice would be a good fit. I did the audition and then got the call to say I would be playing someone called Scott Tracy.”
Although the show was shrouded in secrecy Shane did know some snippets of information. “Obviously I knew they were puppets but they were keeping everything under wraps because there was so much competition among different shows at the time. As soon as new innovations came out, people would quickly jump on the bandwagon but Gerry Anderson had a great knack of putting things together in a new way.”
As well as being a huge hit in the UK, Thunderbirds became one of Gerry Anderson’s biggest global hits, as Shane explains: “Thunderbirds was the show that really broke Gerry Anderson into America and this was helped by Lew Grade who brought a bunch of Gerry’s shows across the pond because until then we could not watch European shows on American TV. Initially they just showed it as a trial but the response was so huge they had to put on all 32 episodes.
“But it wasn’t just America where it was popular and it was also a great hit in Japan. A lot of Japanese programmes for kids have teams of super heroes or people working together and I think they liked the similar theme in Thunderbirds. Also in Japan they created some amazing toys and they liked to experiment with different colours too. It’s interesting to see the difference between Japanese toys and the western ones.”
Surely after working on the show, Shane must have some pretty rare Thunderbirds pieces? “I still have some of the Thunderbirds collectables, including one of the puppets, which is incredibly rare,” said Shane. “Not a lot of people know that for the show they were actually three different versions of each character: a close-up one, a mid-shot one and a long distance one to use in the cockpit of the vehicles.
The vehicles themselves were actually not that big, surprisingly. In fact, they weren’t that much bigger than some of the toys so the puppets had to be quite small to actually fit inside some of them.”
MAKING A COMEBACK?
Finally we asked Shane if he thinks the show could ever make a comeback. “I would love them to bring Thunderbirds back because it was such a great show but I just think it would cost too much now. I know they tried to bring Captain Scarlet back a few years ago as a computer generated show but I don’t think that really worked. People loved the puppets and the vehicles and I don’t think it works without those. I’m sure if they did create a new Thunderbirds it would be just as popular and the toys would be great too!”