Joe 90 revamps

Chris Bentley, Stephen Brown and Lynn Simpson

When the Century 21 puppet workshop embarked upon the creation of a brand-new generation of Supermarionation puppets for the start of filming on Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, a cast of over 60 marionettes had to be created to populate Captain Scarlet's fully-realised 21st Century world. As with the previous Supermarionation series, the main cast of puppet characters were supported by a large repertory puppet cast of 'revamp' marionettes: puppets who could be used and re-used as necessary according to the requirements of each new script. With a costume change and, occasionally, a different coloured wig or change in skin colour, each of these puppets could take on any variety of suitable roles, moving from episode to episode much as an actor would do in repertory theatre, assuming a different character each week. Just as if these puppets were Century 21's 'actors', so they were cast for their roles from a directory of photographs, the Supermarionation version of the actors' directory Spotlight.

production number
series logo
regular cast appearances
joe mcclaine
prof. ian mcclaine
sam loover
shane weston
ada harris
episode title
1Most Special Agent
3Splash Down
4Operation McClaine
5Three's A Crowd
6International Concerto
7The Big Fish
8The Unorthodox Shepherd
9Relative Danger
10Business Holiday
11King For A Day
12Double Agent
13Most Special Astronaut
14Arctic Adventure
15The Fortress
16Project 90
17Colonel McClaine
18The Race
19The Professional
20Attack Of The Tiger
21Lone-handed 90
24Test Flight
25Mission X-41
26Child Of The Sun God
27Trial at Sea
28Viva Cordova
29See You Down There
30The Birthday

When production began on the next Supermarionation series, Joe 90, it made economic sense (in terms of both the budget and production schedule) to continue to use the Captain Scarlet puppets and, in time, supplement these with new puppets who would also go on to appear in the final Supermarionation series, The Secret Service. Two of the Captain Scarlet revamp puppets were given a complete make-over to appear as regular characters in Joe 90 ( Sam Loover and Shane Weston), while the other three were newly created for the series.

Whereas the puppets portraying the main characters in the series had a variety of alternative heads created for them ('smiler', 'frowner' and 'blinker'), all of which were duplicated to enable the simultaneous shooting of two separate episodes on the two Century 21 Studio puppet soundstages, the revamp puppets were mostly all one-offs, although a few did have 'blinker' heads created if their characters had to be seen opening/closing their eyes — otherwise, the appearance of being asleep or dead was achieved with Plasticine eyelids overlaid on the puppet's eyes. However, as some of the Joe 90 revamp puppets had originally appeared as regular characters in Captain Scarlet (most notably Colonel White, Captain Ochre and Captain Grey), these puppets also had a variety of facial expressions available to the puppeteers — indeed, on at least two occasions, two different heads created for the same Captain Scarlet regular character, appear as two separate revamp characters in the same Joe 90 episode Lieutenant Green in King For A Day and Dr. Fawn in Viva Cordova).

The first part of this Century 21 Supermarionation Puppet Catalogue covered the puppets that appeared during the course of Captain Scarlet's 32 episodes. This second part features those puppets that appeared in Joe 90. Including the five regular cast puppets, we have identified 70 different puppets used in Joe 90, all but 17 of which had previously appeared in Captain Scarlet. The majority of these puppets made multiple appearances in the series. Although they were all originally identified by number (inscribed in the back of the puppet's head) during filming, we have assigned character names to the puppets according to the role for which they will be most familiar to viewers — be it from an appearance in Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 or The Secret Service.

The following catalogue lists each puppet's Joe 90 roles, so far as can be determined from what can be seen on screen and other photographic reference (some puppets are shrouded in darkness, have their backs to the camera or are so out of focus that they cannot be identified). For certain puppets, this list is supplemented with additional information about previous appearances in Captain Scarlet and subsequent roles in The Secret Service, so as to help to clarify the identity of the puppet. A table detailing the episode-by-episode appearances of the regular cast puppets appears opposite.

Chris Bentley, Stephen Brown & Lynn Simpson
Mervin Brand
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First seen as Macey in Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons – Big Ben Strikes Again, but better-known from that series as Mervin Brand in The Launching, this puppet later appeared in The Secret Service as Mark Slater in The Deadly Whisper.
this page is based on material originally published in FAB #34