11 October 2014

Thunderbirds 3 Recreated in Balloons to Celebrate the Show’s 50th Anniversary

Thunderbirds started filming half a century ago this year and although it was not first broadcast until 1965, events are already starting to happen to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.  And how do many choose to do that? Why, with balloons of course!

The Wesleyan University in Indiana, Indianapolis was the scene of a giant, 30 foot reproduction of Thunderbird 3 – made entirely from balloons.  Artist Brian Getz completed the replica, made of 2,400 balloons in just nine hours.  Unsurprisingly, it is the largest Thunderbirds model ever to be made out of balloons. Although it is 100% homage I doubt it would inspire quite as much confidence if someone suggested its use in an international rescue!

The original design for Thunderbird 3 was inspired by the Russian Soyuz space craft and itself was six foot in height.  This helped to give viewers back then some of the most realistic special effects seen on television to that date. However, although it was built with meticulous care, Thunderbird 3 was rarely filmed – it was usually original stock footage which was used in its appearances on the show.

In the episode Give or Take a Million, Jeff Tracy says that the spacecraft stands 287 feet (87m) high, although that has led to much debate among aficionados as the sheer size stated by Mr Tracey as its launch pad could not have taken something of that size! We do know the dimensions of Brian Getz’ creation of course – it fits quite comfortably in its temporary home in Indianapolis.

Thunderbirds fans will have much more to look forward to over the next year, which will culminate on the fiftieth anniversary of the show’s first broadcast on 30 September 1965, less than two years after the first episode of Doctor Who was aired.  This show has some longevity and fans have been thrilled to hear that a new series, Thunderbirds Are Go, will be coming to our TV screens next year.  For now though, we can make do with this wonderful balloon creation to celebrate.

Photographs by Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft USA