SUPERCAR

 

Supercar, the marvel of the age! Pilotted by Mike Mecury and designed by brainiac Professor Popkiss, this phenomenal machine can fly and travel underwater, operating from its base in the Arizona desert. Popkiss`s assistant, Dr Beaker, orphan Jimmy Gibson and his pet monkey Mitch made up the rest of the Supercar team. Its not all sweetness and light, however; there are evildoers who want to steal Supercar`s secrets - chief among these villains is Mike Mercury`s recurring nemesis, Masterpsy.

 

 

 

 

 

Supercar was one of the earliest Gerry Anderson productions, and the first to use the now-famous "Supermarionaton" slogan, laying the groundwork for later successes such as Thunderbirds and Stingray.

 

Episode Guide

1 Pilot (Rescue) Thursday 14th September 1061
2 False Alarm Thursday 21st September 1961
3 The Talisman of Sargon Thursday 28th September 1961
4 What Goes Up Thursday 5th October 1961
5 Amazonian Adventure Thursday 12th October 1961
6 Grounded Thursday 19th October 1961
7 Keep it Cool Thursday 26th October 1961
8 Jungle Hazard Thursday 2nd November 1961
9 High Tension Thursday 9th November 1961
10 Island Incident Thursday 16th November 1961
11 Ice-Fall Thursday 23rd November 1961
12 The Phantom Piper Thursday 30th November 1961
13 Pirate Plunder Thursday 7th December 1961
14 A Little Art Thursday 14th December 1961
15 Flight of Fancy Thursday 21st December 1961
16 Deep Seven Thursday 28th December 1961
17 Hostage Thursday 4th January 1962
18 Trapped in the Depths Thursday 11th January 1962
19 The Sunken Temple Thursday 18th January 1962
20 Dragon of Ho Meng THursday 25th January 1962
21 The Lost City Thursday 1st February 1962
22 Magic Carpet Thursday 8th February 1962
23 The White Line Thursday 15th February 1962
24 Crash Landing Thursday 22nd February 1962
25 Supercar Take One Thursday 1st March 1962
26 The Tracking of Masterspy Thursday 8th March 1962
27 The Runaway Train Thursday 15th March 1962
28 Precious Cargo Thursday 22nd March 1962
29 Operation Superstork Thursday 29th March 1962
30 Hi-Jack Thursday 5th April 1962
31 Calling Charlie Queen Thursday 12th April 1962
32 Space for Mitch Thursday 19th April 1962
33 Atomic Witch-Hunt Thursday 26th April 1962
34 70 B-Low Thursday 3rd May 1962
35 The Sky`s the Limit Tuesday 10th May 1962
36 Jail Break Thursday 17th May 1962
37 The Day That Time Stood Still Thursday 24th May 1962
38 Transatlantic Cable Thursday 31st May 1962
39 King Kool Thursday 7th June 1962

 

Supercar - Length = 29 feet            Top Speed = 3000 mph                Purpose: Milti-environment travel

Pilot: Mike Mercury                        Designer = Profesor Popkiss

 

Episode 7 - Keep it Cool - Doctor Beaker is transporting a volatile experimental fuel across the desert in Bill Gibson`s truck; if it becomes hotter than 0c, it will explode. With a kind of inevitability, Mike Mercury`s perennial nemesis Masterspy waylays the truck and steals the fuel. Of course, he gets his comeuppance; Beaker and Bill stall him until sun-up, whereupon the fuel explodes - creating a handy smoke signal that Mike can use to track them down in Supercar.

It`s not hat this is an especially bad episode, its just that its not terribly inventive. For starters, the use of an experimental fuel as a plot MacGuffin had already appeared in an earlier episode, "What Goes Up". The sequence with Bill and Beaker stranded in the desert is a virtual reprise of the sequence with Mick and Beaker in "False Alarm". Masterspy crosp up again, and yet again, his arms are pretty ill-defined; he wants the fuel for .... what exactly ?. And having trussed up Bill and beaker, he then decides to stand around and gloat a lot. Okay, he`s not the only villain to have come a cropper because of this, but the annoying thing is, he realises that Beaker and Bill are trying to stall him - and starts gloating about that as well!!

Moreover, there`s no sense of tension in the situation - once we know the fuel explodes at 0c, its just a question of counting the minutes until it does so, taking Masterspy and Zairn with it. Yes, these aren`t meant to be action thrillers, but compare this situation with the chase sequences from "Grounded" - the plot of "Keep it Cool" is signposted in the opening five minutes, while "Grounded" keeps the level of tension up by not allowing an obviously defined path from Plot Point A to plot Point B.

 

Episode 6 - Grounded - Supercar`s in England t have a new remote-control device fitted at a respected electronics firm. However, a disgruntled employee of the firm decides to teach his bosses a lesson by stealing vital circuit boards from the device, forcing Mike to give chase. There`s one complication, however - the thief has sabotaged Supercarr so that it can`t fly - so Mike has to give chase by road. The race is on!

This is a great episode, inventive and entertaining from the very outset, with the opening scenes demonstrating a wonderfully cinematic feel thanks to some clever direction and cinematography. The characters are great too; Harper the disgruntled employee, and Judd the safe-cracker ( a clear precursor of Thunderbirds "Parker") form a great double-act. better yet, unlike the regular villain, Masterspy (and later Anderson villains like the Hood), Harper actually has a clear motivation for his actions - bitterness at being passed over for promotion.

 

The lengthier-than-usual "preflight check" sequence is especially entertaining, it reinforces the impression that Supercar is a real vehicle, unlike the more fantastic craft of later Anderson shows. Indeed, despite the fact that the puppets are more primitive than those of the later series, the present-day-England setting lends this episode a greater air of realism than, say, Stingray or Thunderbirds.

Little character moments also create a realistic feel, for example Judd`s chain-smoking - mind you, it also helps that they`ve got rid of Mitch the monkey for most of the episodes.

The episode culminates in a tense (well, tense by the standards of 50s kids TV) chase sequence, where Mike pilots Supercar down the Birmingham motorway at 150mph, speeding past the drivers of regular cars and trucks - obviously dating this to before the birth of Gatso speed cameras.