Monday, 17 September 2012

What Did John Tracy Do Wrong?

Let's face it: if Spectrum were looking for agents to fight The Mysterons now they'd have a much tougher time choosing code names.

Back in the days of Supermarionation, of course, it was all a lot easier.  Each agent was named after a colour - but of course the problem comes when you run out of the primaries and have to move on.

Captains White, Green, Black and Scarlett may all sound pretty impressive, but in the meantime since the 1960s the paint companies have got more creative with their tones, leaving today's secret operatives named Leutennant White-with-a-hint-of-apricot or Sergent Rich Havana - somehow having less of a decisive ring.

Even so the problems of Admiral Mango Melody fade into obscurity when compared to John Tracy, pilot of Thunderbird 5.  Based in outer-space.

There can be little or no doubt that Scott and Virgin (NB - i just realized that I typed Virgin instead of Virgil here - but was so amused by this surely Freudian slip that i kept it - i mean, surely no one believes that anyone on Tracy Island was having any form of rumpy-pumpy, with the possible exception of John who may well have been exiled for that very reason) were the favoured sons on Tracy Island.  They got to fly the coolest ships, hang around the pool with Brains and didn't have any of the having to put up with that annoying fish lady from Stingray that other rescuers had to do (you know the one, with her own song - Maaaariiiiinaaaa, aqua maaaaariiina: what is that strange, enchanting smell of fish, whenever you're neeeeeaaar...) .

Even Alan and Gordon had it better than John - which begs the question: what was it that John Tracy did that was so bad that they permanently exiled him to space?

Did he have body odor issues?  Halitosis?  Was he a fugitive from the law?

Maybe he'd had an illicit affair with Lady Penelope (strictly whilst Parker was away, you understand), or that girl who's role at Tracy Island was unclear (you know the one, hung around the island always wearing kimonos - her)

Perhaps there was some big family fall out after a rescue went wrong, or he was deeply jealous of Virgil and sabotaged Thunderbird 2

Or maybe he was just really irritating: always asking people to pull his finger, reminding people of every last thing they had ever said, refusing to stop eulogizing over obscure pieces of machinery (with accompanying slide-show)

But whatever it was: I hope that eventually the rest of the family managed to find it in their hearts to let him come back to earth before Lou Grade cancelled the series.

After all, family - and home - is the place that, no matter what you've done - they always have to let you come back...eventually.

NB: According to the record on Wikipedia the main reason that John Tracy was permanently stationed in outer-space was that even Gerry Anderson didn't like him very much...which goes to show that whatever he'd done - it must have been pretty bad.


Friko said...

Ahem, John Tracy? Wouldn't you expect him to have died of old age by now, Lou Grade's cruel behaviour notwithstanding?

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

well - the Tracy kids were quite young, Thunderbirds was a sixties show, so he could be in his 60s or 70s by now - but hopefully more popular with his family

Stephen Hayes said...

It must have been very very bad!

Titus said...

Surely you remember Captain Ochre? Confused me enormously as a child, as he was a kind of dirty yellow. Of course, I realise now why a 'Captain Yellow' would not have been the best person to fight the Mysterions with. And you haven't tackled the thorny issue of why all the Angels looked the same.

John's up there because he was an astonomer! He went to Harvard! He discovered a quasar! He chose up there. And Alan relieved him sometimes. I always thought it was Alan that had the most pants job (did Thunderbird 3 ever go on rescues?) and he was the youngest. Have you seen the film 'Thunderbirds are Go'? Brilliant dream-sequence in which Alan fantasizes taking Lady Penelope to a nightclub in space, and wears a moustache to emphasize how manly he is now. A bit unsettling, actually.

And kimono-girl is Tin-Tin, and she's loyal retainer Kyrano's daughter, and Kyrano is the brother of the evil villain with the light-up eyes. Do keep up.

Do you think Gordon was albino? Discuss.

God, I loved Thunderbirds.

Titus said...

Sorry, must add how much better the real explosions and fires of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlett are than CGI. Stunning, brilliant work. And the flying.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Stephen - yes indeed

Titus - to be fair i do agree that Thunderbird 3 was a bit of a waste of space, but although Alan's job might have been bad he didn't get sent into space.

According to Wikipedia Alan was certainly supposed to relieve John, but rarely did because of the aforementioned Gerry Anderson not liking the character - and as we all know Wikipedia is just oozing reliable facts and not a suspect source of knowledge at all......erm....

I also loved Thunderbirds, and Fireball XL5, and even Captain Scarlett. Not Stingray though - i never warmed to Aqua Marina

Titus said...

It's never a good idea to create a character that doesn't speak.