Thursday February 3rd, 2011

Credentials: Captain of Stingray. Created by Gerry Anderson. Hero. Puppet.

The square jawed captain of everybody’s favourite submarine, Troy Tempest, was not a character to hog the limelight. Most of the best lines went to his sidekick Lieutenant George Lee 'Phones' Sheridan or the 'hoverchair'- bound Commander Samuel Shore. The glamour was added by Lieutenant Atlanta Shore, who had the hots for Troy and Marina, a mute sub aquatic slave girl who Troy was smitten with. Puppet love triangles don’t come much trickier.

But for all 39 TV episodes Captain Troy Tempest remained the star of the show -unlike the later Thunderbirds where geeky scientist Brains arguably grabbed the lime light from his pilot/astronaut co stars. After all Tempest was modelled on James Garner (apparently accidentally – go figure), who was one of the biggest TV and movie stars of the 1960’s. He was also the only character to be voiced by two people, actor Don Mason when speaking and pop sensation Gary Miller when he sang ‘Aqua Marina’ over the closing credits.

Troy was straight talking and fearless. His relentless fight against the human hating Aquaphibians (from whom he had rescued his favourite squeeze Marina) is the stuff of Supermarionation legend. The Aquaphibians were a race of sub aquatic warriors ruled over by King Titan of Titanica who was apparently modelled on Lawrence Olivier (voiced by Ray Barrett who also did Commander Shore).

Despite Troy and the crews best efforts the Aquaphibians were actually usually thwarted by the misguided efforts of Titan’s incompetent spy, Agent Two-Six-Zero, modelled on Claude Rains but sounding remarkably by Peter Lorre (and voiced by Robert Easton who also did ‘Phones’). Throughout his adventures Troy remained strong and focused. He was a true gentleman and a romantic - partial to candle-lit, conversation-free dining. He was a real hero’s hero and, as puppet’s go, as much in love with Marina as it is possible for one marionette to be in love with another marionette.

And, come on! Let’s be honest – Troy Tempest is the skipper of STINGRAY the coolest looking, most sophisticated combat submarine ever and the flagship of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP), a top security organisation based at Marineville in the year 2065. This little baby is capable of speeds of up to 600 knots and has advanced pressure compensators so she can submerge to depths of over 36,000 feet. Basically Stingray can cruise to the bottom of any part of any ocean in the world. Now if you were the sexiest mute sub aquatic slave girl puppet in the world during the mid sixties who would you go for the pilot of Supercar or Troy ‘the boy’ Tempest?
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