• Network: ,
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 30, 1965
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3
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  • Starring: David Holliday
  • Summary: In 2065, former astronaut and millionaire Jeff Tracy forms an secret organization named International Rescue. Its mission is to intervene when human life is at threat and nobody else is able to help. They're based on a small tropical island in the Pacific. While it appears to all the world as a reclusive millionaire's retreat, complete with luxurious hillside house (appropriately in the International Style of architecture) and swimming pool, hidden beneath the house and inside a cliff face are various facilities for the enormous complex where their equipment is built, maintained and stored. The equipment, including the specialized Thunderbird vehicles, is designed and assembled by Brains, a brilliant engineer fiercely loyal to Jeff. Supporting the team is Lady Penelope, a famous society figure who secretly acts as their London operative, assisted by her butler, Parker.

    The five Thunderbird craft are piloted by each of Jeff's five sons, all named after members of America's Mercury program:

    - Thunderbird 1, piloted by Scott, named after Scott Carpenter. This ramjet-powered plane is their fastest aircraft, always first on the scene to assess the situation and coordinate the rescue.
    - Thunderbird 2, piloted by Virgil (after Virgil "Gus" Grissom." A fan favorite, Thunderbird 2 is the heavy lift air transport, responsible for carrying all manner of large and bulky machinery to rescue sites.
    - Thunderbird 3 is piloted by Alan (after Alan Shepard) or John (after John Glenn,) depending on who is on station in Thunderbird 5. 3 is the spaceship for International Rescue.
    - Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon (after Gordon Cooper), is a mini-submarine usually carried to sites inside Thunderbird 2.
    - Thunderbird 5 is manned by John and Alan on rotating monthly shifts. It's an orbital space platform where all communications around the world can be monitored and issues alerts to Jeff whenever trouble arises.

    International Rescue insists on complete secrecy. Their identities aren't known to anyone outside the organization and photography of their equipment is forbidden.

    Thunderbirds was produced by Gerry Anderson and was the culmination of his Supermarionation process, which used marionette puppets instead of live actors. Originally intended for children, the show still has a devoted fanbase of adult viewers, both in the United Kingdom where it originated and in the United States, where it was syndicated in the 1960s and 70s. The series spawned three theatrical features. Thunderbirds Are Go! and Thunderbird Six were produced soon after the series left the air, although neither met with box office success. In 2004, a live action feature of the same name was made without Anderson's involvement. It drew scathing comments from professional movie reviewers who compared it unfavorably to the original show.
  • Genre(s): Action & Adventure, Science Fiction, Kids
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