Television Mail Supplement

in late 1965, the British Television Mail broadcasting trade paper published one of their supplemental issues and this particular one dealt exclusively with Thunderbirds and the ever burgeoning Supermarionation empire. At the time of publication, Thunderbirds had just premiered on British television, hot on the heels of AP Films' previous hit series, Stingray, and the future seemed to hold even greater promise. So the Television Mail sent a number of its finest over to the Slough Trading Estate to get the skinny on all aspects of the Andersons' operation, including the difficulties posed by working with puppets and miniature sets, and the ever increasing quality of the special effects work seen in the handful of episodes that had been aired by then.

TV Mail front
The supplement's front page

This being an industry publication, the bulk of the articles concentrates on the technical side of the operation and therefore throws a hitherto unknown light on proceedings. John Read, for example, gets to talk extensively about the cameras and filmstock he uses, and the inordinate amount of light needed to light the small sets properly. In another article we get a detailed rundown of the equipment that comprised the ubiquitous video assist pioneered by AP Films and a third tells us exactly which instruments Barry Gray employed to lend his unique style to the Thunderbirds soundtrack. The supplement ends with two short pieces, one highlighting the opinions of two young viewers and the other giving a short exposé of AP Films' efforts in the area of children's magazines.

Next to the aforementioned articles, the original magazine contained a number of adverts from companies that provided for AP Films' special needs such as the specially drawn thin wires that controlled the puppets, the charges that were used for the rocket effects and more mundane things such as back projection and editing facilities. However much I would have liked to replicate the original faithfully, its layout did not lend itself very well to that of a web page. Therefore, I have peppered the coming pages with a selection of these ads in order to try to stay as close as I could to the 'atmosphere' of the original magazine.

Last but not least, thanks go out ot the inimitable Theo de Klerk who not only managed to procure a copy of the publication but also graciously decided to make it available in its entirety. I have said it before and in other places but I'll say it again: without him and his tireless efforts at collecting and preserving all things Supermarionation this website would definitely not be what it is today.

Here then, are the contents of Television Mail's Thunderbirds supplement.