Gerry Anderson, the genius puppeteer behind cult sci-fi classics Thunderbirds, Captain Scarett and the live action Space 1999, died today, Boxing Day 2012. He was 83, and still working on new animated series (in the summer he was devoting his time to Christmas Miracle, a children's CGI animated feature).
As someone born in 1962, my childhood coincided with a particular golden age of his films. I grew up with Stingray, Thunderbirds, Joe 90 and Captain Scarlett. One Christmas, when I was around 4 or 5, I received a Thunderbirds outfit which I proudly wore, ready to protect the world from megalomaniacs. I also received a slide projector with slides. Although these have been long lost, they're the type of memorabilia that would fetch a fortune on eBay these days. Or make an interesting exhibit in Edinburgh's Museum of Childhood. I also used to have Lady Penelope's pink limo toy car, and would play with it in an era where I wasn't aware of gender stereotypes, or the fact that she was criticized for smoking and wearing furs.
Gerry Anderson's characters were timeless. You could always see the string yet the plots could transport you to fantastical situations and locations. It's a long time since I watched any of the films but they formed a major part of my childhood. Rest in peace, Gerry.