The Bizarre History of the 1960s Scifi Puppet Series Too "Twisted" For TV

Illustration for article titled The Bizarre History of the 1960s Scifi Puppet Series Too Twisted For TV

If you were a fan of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's Thunderbirds series, then get ready for your mind to explode. A group of intrepid fans have discovered a marionette-style show from the Anderson era, which TV execs tried to suppress.

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The series Captain Stargood, clearly a naughty tip of the hat to the Andersons' squeaky-clean series for kids, is the brainchild of a group of retro-satirist fans who call themselves the Stargood Players. They've whipped up a couple of episodes of the series, creating all the fantastically cheesy sets themselves. You can even peruse publicity shots for the show (see one above) that are almost authentic enough to be convincing - except for those bizarre breasts.

The whole Captain Stargood concept resembles a goofy cross between Forbidden Planet and the British potty humor mag Viz.

According to the Captain Stargood site, which is packed with fun details and trivia:

Fresh from the success of a popular series of animated commercials, the shows creators, early-1960s wunderkind puppeteers and filmmakers Oswald Larsen and L. B. Laurence, were approached by network television execs anxious to cash in on the growing national fascination with the Space Race. A notorious megalomaniac, Larsen demanded and surprisingly received, total autonomy in the show's production. Apparently satisfied with the limited footage they were shown of the requisite spaceships and puppet derring-do, the team was given carte blanche for their production. The show debuted on time, and by some reports, fared quite well in the ratings.

Then someone actually sat down and watched the show.

Reports are sketchy on the exact chain of events which followed, but horror-stricken executives infamously later described what they witnessed as "unwatchable," "twisted," and "utter sh*t." Perhaps worst of all were the unauthorized commercial sponsorships interspersed throughout the show, for products wildly inappropriate for impressionable youngsters. One account blamed these unfortunate additions on L.B. Laurence's desperate attempts to recoup advance monies, which had disappeared under somewhat cloudy circumstances.

By this time untold thousands had been spent, but the increasingly detached and bizarre Larsen refused to alter what he now claimed was his "unflinching look at the world of tomorrow." Threatened with massive law suits, the two young filmmakers fled with what they could grab and disappeared, never to be heard from again. The networks, fearing massive legal action from concerned parents, promptly destroyed the remaining prints and set about attempting to disavow all knowledge of the show.

Over 40 years later, prints of some of these lost episodes began appearing under mysterious circumstances on the doorstep of N.Y.-based designer and illustrator Laird Ogden. He and fellow sci-fi buff Larry Basinait, along with the Stargood Players, are pleased to make them available again here after all these years…

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Nicely done. Can't wait to see the continuing adventures of Captain Stargood, especially if he manages to work those Blackhole Condoms into the plot.

via Captain Stargood Official Site

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DISCUSSION

Ok, this ain't cool. For those who read my blog or twitter they know that I have a quite saucy kind of humor, and this video is kind of my thing.

However.

Having checked out their web site, it's clear to me that this is NOT an honest artistic effort. This is viral marketing, paid by "Generic Cialis - Tadalafil". Except the big text link to their site that I see when javascript is turned off on my browser, it's a tell-tell situation that the writer/director is nowhere to be mentioned in the web site.

This is some clever marketing by Cialis, but really, I am more interested in honest short movies (no matter the amount of spicyness), rather than viral marketing that disguises itself.