Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, often referred to as Captain Scarlet, is a 1960s British science-fiction television series produced by the Century 21 Productions company of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, John Read and Reg Hill. First broadcast on ATV Midlands between September 1967 and May 1968, it has since been transmitted in more than 40 other countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Combined with scale model special effects, characters are presented as marionette puppets in a filming technique that the Andersons dubbed "Supermarionation", a technology that incorporated internal solenoid motors as a means of producing mouth movements synchronised with pre-recorded dialogue.
Set in 2068,[e 1] the series charts the hostilities between Earth and a race of Martians known as the Mysterons. After a misunderstanding results in human astronauts obliterating their base, the vengeful Mysterons declare war on Earth,[e 1] initiating a succession of reprisal attacks that are countered by Spectrum, an international security organisation. Spectrum boasts the remarkable abilities of its top agent, Captain Scarlet, who comes to possess the Mysteron healing power of "retro-metabolism". This ability to return to life, even after suffering fatal injuries, essentially makes Scarlet "indestructible".[e 2]
Captain Scarlet, the eighth of ten puppet series that the Andersons produced in the 1950s and 60s, follows Thunderbirds and precedes Joe 90 and the little-seen The Secret Service. In terms of visual aesthetic, the series represents a departure from the style of Thunderbirds due to its use of non-caricatured marionette puppets of realistic bodily proportions. Re-run a number of times on British television and purchased by the BBC in 1993, the 32-episode series has been the foundation of merchandising campaigns since its first appearance, leading to the release of items such as toy dolls and other associated media, including novels and comic strips in the Anderson-related children's magazine, TV Century 21.
Soundies were an early version of the music video: three-minute musical films, produced in New York City, Chicago, and Hollywood between 1940 and 1946, often including short dance sequences. The completed Soundies were generally released within a few months of their filming; the last group was released in March 1947. The films were displayed on the Panoram, a coin-operated film jukebox or machine music, in nightclubs, bars, restaurants, factory lounges, and amusement centers.
Several production companies filmed the Soundies shorts: James Roosevelt's Globe Productions (1940-41), Cinemasters (1940-41), Minoco Productions (1941-43), RCM Productions (1941-46), LOL Productions (1943), Glamourettes (1943), Filmcraft Productions (1943-46), and Alexander Productions (1946).
Beginning in 1941, Soundies experimented with expanding its format, and filmed comedy Soundies with Our Gang star Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Broadway comic Willie Howard, dialect comedians Smith and Dale, and silent-movie comedians The Keystone Kops. Most of these films were non-musical, and were not as well received as the musical Soundies. Soundies abandoned the comedy-sketch idea, but continued to produce filmed versions of comic novelty songs. They were regularly described and reviewed in the entertainment and music trade publications, such as Billboard.