This page documents a video documentary that was promised to be released years ago, but never was. Why? I do not know. I have not heard from director Jeff Smart since mid-2004. But since there are some interesting photos and information on this page, I'll leave the page here...
...and who knows? Maybe this documentary will someday be released.
Publicity Release dated 12 February 1999
Throughout the 1960's and early 70's, the Films and Television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson set new standards in science fiction production.
From the early puppet shows, through to the sophisticated live action programs, it fell to the production team to create a vision of the future that did not yet exist!
With this in mind, aspects of production often overlooked in other series of the time, were carefully determined, from the design and creation of props, models, puppets and fashion conscious costumes, to the selection and filming of suitably futuristic locations.
Many of the things that appeared in the various series are now lost to history. However certain relics of this unique future survive today, each with it's own story to tell.
Whether safely in the hands of collectors and fans, or left to an uncertain future, one thing is certain... THE FUTURE WAS FANTASTIC!
The Future Was Fantastic is a new 90 minute video production featuring the Props, Models, Puppets, Costumes, Designs and Locations as seen in the Television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.
Filmed using Digital Video equipment, and presented in a 60's "Century 21" style, the video features many fascinating, interesting and unusual aspects from each production, many which have never been seen before.
- We see what has become of the places where the programs were filmed, some of which have not survived the test of time.
- We meet the people who worked on the series and those collectors and fans who have rescued and restored puppets and models.
- We investigate the sometimes-chequered history of certain items - some with amazing and bizarre tales of survival throughout the years.
THE FUTURE WAS FANTASTIC!
"The Future was Fantastic" is produced and presented by longtime Anderson fan and filmmaker Jeff Smart. Jeff's last Anderson inspired film effort was over ten years ago with the short film " Nosey Parker is Go!" a puppet spoof featuring everybody's favorite Thunderbirds character, Aloysius "Nosey" Parker. Since that time Jeff has worked on many television shows, commercials and film projects as a director and visual effects supervisor, and currently works in the field of Computer Animation and Digital Visual Effects, (- though exactly why he works in a field is unclear?)
LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS
The locations manager for the project is Sam Mitchell. Sam is a writer whose previous associations with the world of Gerry Anderson include writing the Derek Meddings book "21st Century Visions". He is also a leading expert on ITC series locations (at least that's what he tells us!).
WHAT'S THE SCORE
Music for the production is composed and created by Chris King. Chris has 2 loves in his life, making music and remaking puppets (he used to have three but he kicked her out). Chris has personally built his own professional sound recording studio (the Abbey Road of the midlands!) where he has created music for a number of ITV programs and has previously worked on many albums with rock legend Gary Numan.
ART FOR ARTS SAKE
Mike Trim was part of the visual effects team at AP Films/Century 21 Productions back in the Sixties, and created many of the vehicle designs for the series. Luckily Mike rescued many of his original designs from obscurity (the bin!) and presents for us a very special insight into the ideas behind his designs and the way things worked at the Century 21 studios. Mike is an accomplished artist amongst whose best known work is the distinctive cover he created for the Jeff Wayne "War of the Worlds" album. He is also known to regularly beat artistic skills into children in his role as an art teacher (and is currently in hiding, still being pursued by angry modelmakers who slaved away to create models of his designs all those years ago).
THE FUTURE WAS FANTASTIC!
Various people have kindly contributed their time and property to the production of this video, so that others with similar interests may get some enjoyment from seeing items they may not have seen before. Needless to say, without their contributions, this video could not have been made, (meaning that you wouldn't be reading this now!).
THE CAR'S THE STAR
- Courtesy of Peter Nelson of Cars of the Stars, we get a close-up look at the full size FAB 1 car- it's huge, try parking this monster in Tesco's car park!
- UFO fan Tony Read shows us his Fosters's car (which was parked in Tesco's car park and has a dent to prove it!) and his Quest lookalike - a story you wont believe!
- We find the full size "Gabriel" car from Secret Service, after a tipoff from a fan.
- We see archive stills and video of Straker's car as it existed a few years ago and trace the history of this and the recently discovered third Doppelganger car!
From the extensive collections of Derek Dorking and others we see original costumes from Space 1999 and UFO, and even see inside a Moonbase girl's catsuit! -(purrrrrrrrrrrrrr). Also, direct from the loft, we see for the first time anywhere, original designs created by Keith Wilson of the UFO alien and Franco Desica costumes.
PUPPETS UNDER THE HAMMER
Many puppets have come to light over the years, most recently with the auction of the Sylvia Anderson/John Read/Mary Turner collections at Christie's. Most of these have ended up in the hands of dedicated fans and collectors, many of whom have gone to great lengths to refurbish and repair the items, returning them to their original condition.
From the collections of Bob Bailey, Chris King, Martin Gainsford, Graham Bleathman, and others we see some familiar faces and some not so familiar including Destiny Angel, Captain Scarlet, Father Unwin, Joe 90, Jimmy Gibson and Alan Tracy and even a barmaid based on Sylvia Anderson!
We also have a look at what goes on inside their heads, with a look at the eye and mouth mechanisms that gradually improved over the years.
THE FUTURE WAS FANTASTIC!
- From the amazing Phil Rae collection, we see the biggest single collection of original Miniatures and craft from most of the Anderson series.
- Phil takes us on a tour of the large Sky 1 and Interceptor models from UFO, to an original 4 foot Eagle from Space 1999.
- We see the original Stingray that Reg Hill once owned, secondary vehicles from Thunderbirds and look at how they work and how they were filmed.
THE PLACES OF INTEREST
We take a look at the locations where things were filmed, and see how they fare in today's world, and the difficulties encountered during filming. We also have a look at some important sites such as Islet Park, Ipswich Rd., Stirling Rd., Pinewood and Bray studios where all the series were filmed.
FANDERSON TO THE RESCUE
On an urgent rescue mission to deepest, darkest (and definitely wettest) Wales, we follow the members of Fanderson led by Chris Bentley, who are on a mission to rescue the last remaining few objects and models from Space Precinct before the building they are stored in is demolished. It's a race against time, and a race against the elements as the whole lot of them get soaked in the attempt! (watch out for Chris's subtle impersonation of Kenny from South Park).
All this and a few other special surprises in store.
Please enjoy "THE FUTURE WAS FANTASTIC!"
Narrator Ed shares a joke, studio is in background
Ed Bishop and Jeff Smart at the end of the voice record for The Future Was Fantastic!
Jeff Smart adjusts Captain Grey's hat (what a slouch -- no wonder he wasn't in the series much)
Phil Rae demonstrates how the beak of the 44 inch Eagle detaches
Restorer Barry Davies repairs Grandma from Thunderbirds
Jeff adjusts the angle of Phil Rae's original UFO Interceptor
Chris King creates the theme tune for the opening titles in his recording studio
Model T Ford "Gabriel" seen in Secret Service and UFO, as it exists today
So what's this hidden away?
That sleek shape looks familiar even under that tarpaulin
Revealed at last - Straker's Car in 1999. Saved from the scrapheap and soon to be restored
Director Jeff Smart tests the door lock on Straker's car
Those doors are heavy, at least they still work!
Straker's car as it is today, prior to restoration in 2000
Original Sky One courtesy of Phil Rae
Derek Dorking talks about his original Moonbase catsuit (and we talk him out of wearing it!)
Century 21 designer Mike Trim takes us on a guided tour of his artwork from Thunderbirds to UFO
Mike Billington, Jeff Smart, and Tony Read during filming with Fosters Car in Nov 1999
UFO Star Mike Billington talks about Foster's Car
Unaware the camera is still running, Tony shows Jeff his appreciation for springing Mike Billington on him!
Here is the original announcement from 14 August 1998, featuring lots of information.
Here is the first update from 22 September 1998, showing some behind-the-scenes photos from some of the location shooting.