Super-marionation is a motorised puppetry technique, employed in many Gerry Anderson television programmes, in which the voice boxes are more easily synchronised with the motions of the puppets's mouths than can be done with conventional marionettes.
The motorisation of the puppets was done with solenoids, according to Marc Frattasio, and the large sizes for those used in previous Gerry Anderson productions made the heads cartoonishly large and out of proportion to the rest of the puppets. A drawback to the smaller solenoids used in the puppets of Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons was their reduction of the weight of the puppets and thus reduced stability of the same on strings. The puppet crew got around this problem by keeping the puppets nearly motionless.
Usage before Captain Scarlet
Though it is not clear whether the process was used in either Torchy The Battery Boy or Four Feather Falls, it was definitely used in Supercar, one of the earliest of Gerry Anderson's action-adventure science fiction programmes. The programmes known to employ super-marionation, BEFORE its usage in Captain Scarlet, were these:
- Fireball XL5,
- Stingray, the first Gerry Anderson-Arthur Provis colour programme, and
Usage after Captain Scarlet
The only two Gerry Anderson programmes known to employ super-marionation AFTER Captain Scarlet were these:
- Joe 90, which employed fewer such puppets than previous such programmes, and
- The Secret Service, which marked the transition to live action and effectively brought an end to the usage of super-marionation.
The process was employed in the Dire Straits video "Calling Elvis," and Trey Parker and Matt Stone, best known in the United States for their cartoon South Park, duplicated, nay parodied, the technique in their feature film Team America World Police.
|The cast and crew of OCS and NCS|
New Captain Scarlet