When I was six or seven years old, I found a flat piece of wood, maybe two feet wide and four feet long, and somehow attached an old car steering wheel to it. I’d sit on it, flat on the back lawn, and pretend it was Supercar and I was pilot Mike Mercury.
Launched in 1959-60 and broadcast in glorious black and white, Gerry Anderson’s Supercar was the first of his many “supermarionation” puppet TV shows, predating the more famous Thunderbirds by several years. Supercar was truly a boy’s dream — a combination car/boat/plane/rocket that seemed able to do anything. And way back in the early ’60s, I marveled whenever Mike Mercury would check the vehicle’s systems before each launch, engaging each engine in turn...9,000, 12,000, 15,000 rpm. Once the “interlock” was fully engaged, Mercury would press the “fire” button, each engine would ignite, the roof doors to the Nevada desert laboratory would open, and Supercar would rise vertically into the sky and off to a new adventure in a jungle, or into outer space, or into the Arctic. Whew.
Sure, the series had problems. I loved Mike, Supercar co-inventors Professor Popkiss and Doctor Beaker, and the villainous Masterspy and his assistant Zarin, but I detested ten-year-old, overly effeminate Jimmy and his friggin’ monkey Mitch, who played bigger roles in the series than I liked. And looking back now more than 40 years, the “marionation” really sucked. But none of this detracted from “the marvel of the age,” Supercar itself. Great theme song, too.
All 39 Supercar adventures are available in one, big DVD package. It’s the only Anderson series I care enough about to own.
Posted by Wally Conger, whose most exotic car was a used 1972 Mercury Capri; he entirely blew out its engine in spring 1978.