Give or Take a Million episode summary
Marc J. Frattasio
Tracy Island
Here is Tracy Island. Tracy Island is located in an isolated region of the Pacific Ocean. It is the home of the Tracy family and the secret base of International Rescue. Tracy Island was probably made from plaster and/or paper mache molded over a wood and wire substructure. The model is positioned in the water tank which the Andersons built for Stingray. This tank had one low side over which the water flowed out to simulate a horizon. Note the painted cyclorama backdrop behind the model island.
Main House
This is the Tracy family's main residence on Tracy Island. The Tracys actually have three homes on Tracy Island, this place, the so-called 'round house', and the so-called 'cliff house'. The Tracy house, like most other model structures used in Thunderbirds, was made from wood and artist's board (a kind of stiff card) with clear acetate windows.
This small motorized trolley conveys the crew of Thunderbird 3 through a tunnel connecting the rocket's launch silo with the Tracy house. This is some kind of modified model railroad flatcar. The figure of Alan Tracy is a painted plasticine sculpture.
Round House
The round house conceals Thunderbird 3's launch silo. The round house is a typical Thunderbirds structure made of wood, artist's board, and transparent acetate. The Thunderbird 3 shown here is one of the smaller versions of the spaceship made. Note the black numeral '3' under the white 'Thunderbird' on the upper fuselage of Thunderbird 3. This particular model appears to have been the only version of Thunderbird 3 to have had this marking.
TB3 Going Up
Here goes yet another relatively small version of Thunderbird 3, one without the black '3' on the fuselage. The pyrotechnic rocket motors seen here are special gunpowder charges that were made for the Anderson special effects team by Schermuly Pistol Rocket Apparatus Limited. It is possible that TB3 is actually upside-down in this shot and is being lowered down instead of being pulled up. Rockets were often filmed upside-down to simulate a smoother ascent and to keep the smoke and flames behind the rocket.
This is the Centerville Children's Hospital. Saunders Automations and the Harmon Department Store have teamed up to deliver a cargo rocket full of toys to the young patients on Christmas Day. The children's hospital building is a typical Thunderbirds structure, made from wood, artist's board, and transparent acetate. Note the trees made from natural twigs and colored lichen. The sign on the fence used Letraset dry transfer lettering.
This blockhouse is at the rocket launch facilities of the Saunders Automations company. Saunders Automations make pilotless cargo rockets which can transport goods across a ballistic flight profile. The Saunders Automations blockhouse is is a typical Thunderbirds structure made of wood, artist's board, and clear acetate. The sign on the metal screen fence used Letraset dry transfer lettering. How much do you want to bet that Saunders Automations was named for director Desmond Saunders?
Test Launch
This is an pilotless cargo rocket which has been test launched from the Saunders Automations launch facility. Once again, the rocket exhaust is a Schermuly no-thrust gunpowder charge.
Test Rocket
Here is the Saunders Automations test rocket in flight. This is a simple wooden model. Often, Gerry Anderson's discarded metal cigar tubes were used in models such as this to protect the wooden model structure from the hot pyrotechnic rocket motor. This model is suspended in front of the night version of the rolling sky backdrop. I believe that there were day, night, and space rolling sky backdrops.
Test Drop
This is the cargo pod which has just been dropped by the test rocket. The parachute looks like the Zero-X escape unit parachute built for the Thunderbirds Are Go! feature film. The parachute appears to be rigid thermoformed plastic with wire shroud lines. The cargo pod is probably a simple wooden shape.
Cargo Pod
This is the puppet scale cargo rocket cargo pod model. This thing was made of wood for the most part and features operating doors.
Here is International Rescue's space station, Thunderbird 5. Many people think that only one Thunderbird 5 model was made and it was reworked and redetailed several times during the production of Thunderbirds. As Give or Take a Million was a later episode, produced near the end of the series, this is probably the most highly detailed version of Thunderbird 5.
This view of the main Tracy house on Tracy Island shows the swimming pool that conceals the launch site of Thunderbird 1. The miniature swimming pool is of course filled with real water which has been dyed a light blue color to give the illusion of depth.
The Tracys have at least two private aircraft that they use to conduct business on the mainland. This two passenger jet is sitting on the Tracy Island runway. This wooden model was also used in Edge of Impact and End of the Road.
The helicopter on TV is shown delivering components of the Saunders Automations robot cargo rocket to the Harman Department Store. The Harman Department Store is Saunders Automation's partner in the rocket present delivery Christmas promotion for the children's hospital. This helicopter may look familiar to you. It was used in Thunderbirds Are Go! and also in the Captain Scarlet Place of the Angels episode.
Cliff House
Here is an unusual night view of the round house on Tracy Island. The cliff face under the round house conceals Thunderbird 2's underground hangar. Several table-top models were made of various sections of Tracy Island Base.
Here is the Harman Department Store. The Christmas rocket will be launched from the roof of this building on Christmas Day. This particular Thunderbirds structure is made up of small plastic tool boxes! Plastic tool boxes became a common skyscraper construction material in Captain Scarlet. Not only were these tool boxes transparent, they stacked well, they could be furnished like miniature rooms, and they blew up convincingly!
Roof Top Launch Site
A small portable launch facility has been set up on top of the Harman Department Store roof by Saunders Automations for the Christmas Day rocket launch. Note the Airfix H0/00 scale travelling crane kit positioned between the cargo rocket and the light tower.
International Rescue have agreed to participate in the charity promotion. Not only have they agreed to host a patient from the children's hospital at Tracy Island Base on Christmas Day, they have also agreed to overfly the hospital as the presents are delivered by the cargo rocket. This is one of the smaller models of Thunderbird 2 in front of the rolling sky backdrop.
Christmas Rocket
This is the special cargo rocket. Of course, it is the exact same model as the Saunders Automations test rocket. However, it has been provided with special Christmas markings. The rocket is suspended on thin wires in front of the rolling sky backdrop.
Christmas Parachute
This is the Christmas rocket's cargo pod. Of course, this is the exact same model seen in the earlier rocket test sequence but note that the parachute has been provided with special Christmas markings.
Night Street
Here is a typical night time Thunderbirds street scene. The buildings at left and right have windows made of transparent plastic tool boxes. Note the 1/25 scale plastic automobile kits parked in the foreground. The snow is probably baking soda, table salt, or flour.
Rosenthal Toys
This scene represents what we would call 'product placement' today. Those Thunderbird models on the tables in front of Jeff Tracy and the Tracy's young guest are actually J. Rosenthal friction drive toys which you could have bought at any decent toy store back in 1966!
Snow on Tracy Island
Here is an unusual sight at tropical Tracy Island. Brains has invented a device that makes a kind of artificial snowfall. The snow is probably baking soda, table salt, or flour.
This page published originally at the Supermarionation sfx WebSite
text ©1996 Marc J. Frattasio; not for reproduction for profit without his express permission