1 9 6 1 – 1 9 6 2 (UK)
39 x 30 minute episodes
The heroes in this series were five characters who lived and worked in an isolated laboratory set deep in the heart of the Nevada desert at Black Rock.
This was the home base of the ‘Supercar’ – a multi-terrain super vehicle, the brainchild of fatherly mid-European cliché, Professor Popkiss and balding British boffin Doctor Beaker, his assistant.
The eccentric scientists hire Mike Mercury (the hero of the series) a fearless and courageous test pilot to put ‘Supercar’ through its paces.
Tall, blue-eyed, firm-jawed and well built (all heavily caricatured features) his skills and daring were often called upon throughout the various adventures to save his friends and fight crime.
The right-hand-man of Popkiss (pictured at left), the stammering Doctor Beaker, was often shown as a slightly confused man – although his prowess as a scientist was renowned.
He spent most of the series inventing new devices for Supercar which were often used in rescues and adventures, and on other projects which often led to a call for help to Supercar to effect a rescue.
In ‘The Sky’s The Limit’ he used his new invisible-making paint to foil an attempt to steal Supercar.
Jimmy Gibson was a ten year old boy who joined the team in the very first episode, after he and his brother Bill crashed into the sea in an aeroplane and were saved by Supercar. His voice was provided by Sylvia Anderson.
Jimmy’s pet was a mischievous (and talking) monkey called Mitch, who often played key roles in the stories. His tricks often led to danger for himself and the rest of the team and the need for Mike and ‘Supercar’ to come to the rescue. In ‘Space For Mitch’ he even managed to set off a rocket with himself on board.
Masterspy was the Sydney Greenstreet-style villain of the series, who kept trying to steal the fabulous Supercar itself in order to use it for his own criminal ends. Tall and bald-headed, with a deep menacing voice, he operated from a base in a New York apartment and employed all sorts of people to help him in his scheme.
His aide was the incompetent and worm-like Zarin who provided comic relief, and gave rise to the line “Zarin, you fool”. Their British counterparts, Harper and Judd completed the quartet of evil.
Supercar had eight rockets which could be controlled from afar by using the special remote-control device. On land it hovered just above the surface, it had folding wings for flight, and when underwater it had a periscope.
Its unique ‘Clear-Vu’ system allowed the pilot to “see” – via a cockpit display screen – through clouds, fog or storms.
Supercar was Gerry Anderson’s fourth puppet series (after Twizzle, Torchy the Battery Boy and Four Feather Falls) but the first of the Supermarionation science fiction shows that he became famous for.
Supermarionation was Anderson’s term for the realistic style of puppetry he developed. The technique featured a cast of eighteen inch high marionettes that blinked, moved their eyes and seemed to speak. They were suspended by control wires that triggered machinery hidden inside them.
Realistic walking was the hardest thing to reproduce which is why the cast of Supercar were always sitting down. The controls wires are also the reason Supercar had no roof. Take a look in the close-ups if you get to see it.
With beauty and grace as swift as can be
watch it flying through the air
It travels in space, or under the sea
and it can journey anywhere
It travels on land or roams the skies
through heavens stormy rage
It’s Mercury-manned and everyone cries
“it’s the marvel of the age!”
Supercar, Supercar, Supercar!
George Murcell (1)
Cyril Shaps (2)
Mitch the Monkey
Rescue | Amazonian Adventure | Talisman of Sargon | False Alarm | What goes up | Keep it cool | Grounded | Jungle Hazard | High Tension | A little Art | Ice Fall | Island Incident | The Tracking of Master Spy | Phantom Piper | Deep 7 | Pirate Plunder | Flight of fancy | Hostage | The sunken Temple | Trapped in the depths | Crash Landing | The Dragon of Ho Meng | The Lost City | Magic Carpet | The white line | Supercar take one | The runaway train | Precious cargo | Operation Super Stork | Hi-Jack | Calling Charlie Queen | Space for Mitch | The sky’s the limit | 70 – B – LO | Atomic Witch Hunt | Jail Break | The day time stood still | Transatlantic Cable | King Kool