Wednesday

Remember This? Fireball XL5

Fireball XL5 was a science fiction puppet show for kids back in the early 60's, so it was right in my wheelhouse. I think it probably was my favorite, with Thunderbirds being a close second. Fireball XL5 followed the adventures of square-jawed Colonel Steve Zodiac and his crew (including a cool see-though robot co-pilot). Of course, it looks patently ridiculous now in all it's shaky black and white glory, but when I was a 5 or 6 year old - hoo-wee! Action-packed! It was, I believe, the only Gerry Anderson series to be shown on US network TV (NBC), although other shows like Stingray and Thunderbirds were syndicated in the US. 

Gerry Anderson produced many other shows in the same genre, with his Supermarionation puppets of varying sophistication; the mouth movements synchronized electrically to the dialog track. For all it's childish storytelling, there were some genuinely cool ideas - the ship could separate for landing on other planets, the previously mentioned robot crew member, and the "rocket sled" reusable launch platform for XL5 itself.


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