Captain Scarlet revamps

J. Lester Novros II
based on research by Chris Bentley, Stephen Brown and Lynn Simpson

Leaving the disproportionate puppets of Stingray and Thunderbirds behind them, the Century 21 puppet workshop embarked upon the creation of a brand-new generation of Supermarionation puppets as production geared up in the Autumn of 1966 for the start of filming on Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons. For this spectacular new series – which, it was hoped, would emulate the success of Thunderbirds – a cast of over 60 marionettes had to be created to populate Captain Scarlet's 21st Century world, from doctors, pilots and army officers, to truck drivers, fashion designers and Delta Petrol attendants.

production number
series logo
regular cast appearances
captain scarlet
captain blue
colonel white
lieutenant green
destiny angel
rhapsody angel
symphony angel
harmony angel
melody angel
captain ochre
captain grey
captain magenta
doctor fawn
captain black
episode title
1The Mysterons
2Winged Assassin
3Big Ben Strikes Again
4Point 783
5Manhunt
6Operation Time
7Renegade Rocket
8White As Snow
9Seek And Destroy
10Spectrum Strikes Back
11Avalanche
12Shadow of Fear
13The Heart of New York
14Fire At Rig 15
15The Launching
16Lunarville 7
17The Trap
18Model Spy
19Dangerous Rendezvous
20Special Assignment
21Place of The Angels
22Crater 101
23Expo 2068
24Traitor
25Flight 104
26Noose of Ice
27Codename Europa
28Flight to Atlantica
29Treble Cross
30Attack On Cloudbase
31The Inquisition
32Inferno

As with the previous Supermarionation series, the main cast of Captain Scarlet puppet characters was supported by a large repertory puppet cast of 'revamp' marionettes: puppets who could be used and re-used as necessary according to the requirements of the each new script. With a costume change and, occasionally, a different coloured wig, each of these puppets could take on any variety of suitable roles, moving from episode to episode much as an actor would do in repertory theatre, assuming a different character each week. Just as if these puppets were Century 21's 'actors', so they were cast for their roles from a directory of photographs, the Supermarionation version of the actors' directory Spotlight. Many of these puppets went on to appear in the later Supermarionation productions, Joe90 and The Secret Service, for which many new puppets were also created. Even the puppets who had been cast in the major 'regular' roles in Scarlet later went on to appear as different characters in those two series.

With the advent of home video, over the last fifteen years or so, a number of the more easily-recognisable revamp puppet characters have, to many fans of the Century 21 Supermarionation series, taken on an importance and identity on a par with that of the regular characters — so much so that a number of them can be individually named for their strongest 'performance' (Goddard, Kruger, Jason Smith, Kramer, Angela Davis and Reverend Shepherd to name just a few) and every fan knows exactly which puppet is being discussed. This recognition of revamp puppet characters was highlighted at the Sylvia Anderson puppet auction at Phillips in September 1995, where many of the 41 revamp puppet heads being offered sold for startlingly larger amounts of money than had been expected by the organisers.

Including the 14 regular cast puppets, we have identified 63 different puppets used in Captain Scarlet, the majority of which made multiple appearances in the series. Although they were all originally identified by number (inscribed in the back of the puppet's head) during filming, we have assigned character names to the puppets according to the role for which they will be most familiar to viewers (which, in some cases, is a role from one of the later series, rather than Scarlet). We have compiled a complete list of each puppet's Scarlet roles, so far as can be determined from what can be seen on screen and other photographic reference (in a number of the crowd scenes, it is simply impossible to tell which puppet is which when they have the backs of their heads to the camera!). For certain puppets, this list is supplemented with additional information about subsequent notable appearances in Joe90 and The Secret Service, so as to help clarify the identity of the puppet.

Whereas the puppets portraying the main characters in the series had a variety of alternative heads created for them ('smiler', 'frowner', 'blinker' — Scarlet even had a 'grimace' head for that "I've just been shot" look in The Mysterons), all of which were duplicated to enable the simultaneous shooting of two separate episodes on the two Century 21 Studio puppet soundstages, the revamp puppets were mostly all one-offs, although a few did have 'blinker' heads created if their characters had to be seen opening/closing their eyes — otherwise, the appearance of being asleep or dead was achieved with Plasticine eyelids overlaid on the puppet's eyes.

Under individual headings for Regular Cast and Revamp Cast, the puppets are listed in order of appearance in the body of the episodes (i.e. not the title sequence), and a table detailing the episode-by-episode appearances of the regular cast puppets appears on the right.

Chris Bentley, Stephen Brown & Lynn Simpson
this page is based on material originally published in FAB #31