Supermarionation – The famous electronic marionettes are being exhibited in Bradford

A blend of the words, super, marionette, and animation, was a style of television and film production employed by British company AP Films in its puppet TV series and feature films of the 1960s.

Model of Thunderbird 2 used in the children’s television series Thunderbirds and the film Thunderbirds are Go!. On display at the National Media Museum in Bradford / Image source

They were created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and filmed at APF’s studios on the Slough Trading Estate. The characters in these productions were played by electronic marionettes with a moveable lower lip, which opened and closed in time with pre-recorded dialogue by means of a solenoid in the puppet’s head or chest.

Most of the productions were science fiction, supervised by Christine Glanville, art direction by either Bob Bell or Keith Wilson and music by Barry Gray. They also made extensive use of scale model special effects, directed by Derek Meddings.

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