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CAPTAIN SCARLET and the MYSTERONS UNOFFICIAL WEBSITE

by Chris Bishop      

 

 

UPDATES:  June 22, 2014; New information added

 

"Gentlemen, I cannot elaborate. Captain Scarlet will live...  He will continue the fight against the Mysterons.  Perhaps sooner than you think."

Captain Blue (voice by Ed Bishop) in the episode "Point 783".

 

CAPTAIN SCARLET- CAPTAIN BLUE - COLONEL WHITE - CAPTAIN BLACK - LIEUTENANT GREEN

 CAPTAIN OCHRE - CAPTAIN MAGENTA - CAPTAIN GREY - CAPTAIN BROWN - DOCTOR FAWN

DESTINY - SYMPHONY - MELODY - RHAPSODY - HARMONY

 

SPECTRUM PERSONNEL:  CLOUDBASE STAFF OFFICERS

 

 
Sources:  TV Century 21 material (Annuals, books and magazines), Engale Marketing's Century 21 magazine, Issue 15, Winter 1995, Fleetway Magazines, Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons book by Chris Drake & Graham Bassett, Complete Book of Captain Scarlet by Chris Bentley… all related to TV Century 21 material - Photo-montages provided by dedicated fans.) * Gerry Anderson the authorised biography, by Simon Archer and Stan Nicholls, Legend books, 1996 - ** UFO and Space 1999, by Chris Drake, Boxtree, 1994 -  *** text taken from Sci Fi Online interview by Keri Allen).

 

Spectrum designation:

Captain Blue

Rank and attributions:

Senior staff officer, colour-coded Captain.  The usual partner of Captain Scarlet.

Real name :

Adam Svenson

Place of birth :

Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Date of birth:

26 August 2035

Height:

6 Ft. 3 Ins.

Weight:

196 lbs

Eyes:

Blue

Hair:

Blond

Puppet specifications:

Captain Blue’s facial characteristics were generally thought to be based on Ed Bishop. In ‘The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet’, by Chris Bentley (Carlton Books, 2001), Terry Curtis, the sculptor who made the puppet, revealed that Captain Blue was ’a kind of version of myself’, although Sylvia Anderson had told him to base the puppet’s features on a likeness of the actor who provided the voice - Ed Bishop. 

 

 

 

 

Personal history

 

 

Adam Svenson was born a year after the Atomic War of Europe, which lasted from 2028 to 2034.   The eldest son of a wealthy family from Boston, his father was a successful financier.  The family fortune ensured he had a first-rate education and Adam was very successful at school; winning a full scholarship to the renown Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the early age of 16.   Here he gained first-class honours degrees in economics, technology, applied mathematics, aerodynamics and computer control.   It seemed as if Adam was destined for a successful career in the family business, but he disappointed his father by choosing a very different career that appealed more to his yearning for an exciting, action-packed lifestyle.

 

Adam enrolled in the World Aeronautic Society in 2055, at the age of 20, and whilst serving there received training in military-based strategy and piloting skills, in order to become an aircraft test pilot. Possessing courage and drive, Adam was acclaimed as a fearless pilot.  In 2057 his superiors at the WAS, observing his energy and courage, believed that his inherent  qualities could be put to better use and transferred him from the job of test pilot to that of an active field agent in the security department.  At first dismayed by this change in his career, Adam soon realised the challenges this new job provided.  The WAS’s security was persistently being compromised by the infiltration of enemy agents, and saboteurs, so with the help of twenty hand-picked officers, it was his job to take care of the problem.  He did so with enthusiasm, determination and ruthlessness.

 

Hampered by unseen forces, and always unsure if the people working alongside him were double or triple agents working for the enemy, Adam suffered many setbacks on the way to achieving his target. In his first six months of joining the WAS security department,  three assassination attempts were made on his life by Bereznian agents, but he finally succeeded in bringing the reign of sabotage and spy infiltration to an end, proving his ability to get results despite the odds against him.

 

Adam Svenson’s success at the WAS, as well as his strong personality and vitality, brought him to the attention of the Spectrum selection committee in 2065, and he was amongst the first men to be approached with the offer of the rank and colour code of Captain Blue – a new challenge that Adam accepted.

 

 

 

Personality profile

 

 

Trustworthy, perseverant and loyal to a fault, Captain Blue is the ideal Spectrum officer.  He demonstrates an ability to work for Spectrum in many capacities and has, when the situation demanded it, replaced Colonel White as the commander of Cloudbase (‘White as Snow’) and Lieutenant Green as Communication Officer (‘Avalanche’). It is Blue who is given the task of driving the eccentric lunar vehicles when Spectrum investigates Mysteron threats on the Moon.  

 

Blue is the ideal field partner for Captain Scarlet and is also his best friend.  Although very self-disciplined, Blue does sometimes display wilfulness, especially in support of his friend (‘Special Assignment’, ‘Renegade Rocket’).  On duty, he inspires those working alongside him; off duty, he retains his forceful, sceptical, possibly over-confident personality (‘White as Snow’), but has developed a seemingly endless patience with his fellow officers.

 

Blue loves outdoors activities, taking every opportunity to travel down to the east-coast of Australia, where he enjoys water-skiing, surfing and deep-sea fishing.

 

Captain Blue appears to have romantic feelings for Karen Wainwright (Symphony Angel), which he sometimes allows to cloud his judgment.  These feelings are obviously reciprocated by Symphony. 

 

 

 

 

About Symphony Angel

 

 

If there could be said to be ‘evidence’ of a relationship between any of the major characters in the TV series, it would be between Captain Blue and Symphony Angel (And it is certainly the most common relationship described by fanfic writers within the fandom).

 

In the early episode ‘Manhunt’, Blue admits to having given Symphony ‘a medallion’ for her birthday and Captain Scarlet encourages him not to worry as “Symphony will be all right” when the Angel goes missing, and is believed to have been captured by the  Mysterons’ Agent, Captain Black.  But even this reassurance does not stop Blue urging his colleagues to storm into the Culver Atomic Station in search of her; threatening to go in alone when Scarlet points out their orders are “to wait”.  Finally, during the colonel’s debriefing session back on Cloudbase, Blue is shown as being somewhat over-protective of the Angel pilot by answering the colonel’s question “How are you feeling, Symphony?” before she can get a word in.

 

The penultimate episode ‘Attack on Cloudbase’ could also be used as evidence that there is a relationship between the two Americans, as Blue apparently confesses his feelings to Colonel White when the latter asks him, “What’s wrong with you, man?  Are you in love with the girl?” after Blue has burst into Cloudbase’s Control Room, once more demanding to be allowed to rescue Symphony – this time after her plane has crashed in a desert.  However, the evidence of ‘Attack on Cloudbase’ is not as clear-cut as it might at first seem, given that the incident turns out to be a dream of the dehydrated and obviously concussed Symphony Angel.

 

What is evident is that Symphony has feelings for Captain Blue, because when he and Captain Scarlet arrive to save her, she is repeatedly calling his real name and in the closing scene, when she explains to Colonel White and her friends just how frightening the dream had been; she tells everyone “You were all different somehow…”– everyone it seems, except Captain Blue, who asks, “How was I in your dream, Symphony?”  only to be told, “You were just… Adam.” - at which point the puppets are seen gazing at each other until Captain Scarlet breaks the spell with his comment, “Sounds to me as if it wasn’t so bad.”

 

 

 

About his family

 

Blue's uncle facing a killer bird ('Redbills Island')

 

Official TV21 sources describe Adam Svenson as ‘the eldest son of a wealthy financier’.  From this it is usually deduced that he has at least one younger brother.  As Blue is said to have been born in Boston, Massachusetts, it is assumed the family lives there.   Beyond that nothing is known.  

 

The TV/Century 21 magazine introduced an uncle named Matthew (no last name divulged)  in one comic strip, 'Redbills Island'.  In this story, Uncle Matthew is an ornithologist, writing a story on birds nesting in a remote island - birds that the Mysterons, coincidentally enough, decide to Mysteronise to use as weapons.  However, as it is the case for any relatives presented in comic strips,  some fans might not view these characters  as part of the official background, as they do not consider comic strips as ‘canon’.

 

The names of Captain Blue's parents, as most commonly used in fan fiction, are pure ‘fanon’.  Chris Bishop created the characters of John and Sarah Svenson and gave Captain Blue three siblings – two brothers (Peter and David) and a younger sister (Katherine) for her story A Symphony in Blue’. 

 

All these Svenson family characters have been used by other authors, notably by Marion Woods, who gives them prominence in a number of stories (especially: ‘The Passengers’, ‘Seasonal Adjustments’ and 'Masquerade').

 

John Svenson, as seen by Marion Woods for 'Masquerade'

 

Chris Bishop also created Blue’s maternal uncle, Michael Ellis, a lieutenant in the Boston police department for 'A Symphony in Blue'.

 

Marion Woods created the character of Blue’s paternal grandfather (Stefan) whose close relationship with his grandson is one of great importance to Adam, (Sojourn) and a cousin, Eric Svenson.

 

These are not the only characters that appear in the fan fiction and other authors (for example, Sage Harper, 'Relative Troubles') have created alternative versions of the Svenson family.

 

The CGI series gives Blue an entirely different parentage and background: an un-named three-star General for a father who is a military advisor to the U.S. President and a family history of military service.   His mother Julia (née Jacobsen), is a nurse and he has two younger brothers – Luke and Benjamin – who are both in the U.S. Army.  He is said to have been born in Fort Hood, Texas and to have attended West Point Military Academy. He was awarded the Purple Heart for bravery, during the Global Terrorist Conflict.  

 

 

Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue

 

The relationship between Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue is pivotal to the original TV series; with the strong impression being that they are great friends and excellent working partners.  This has been used in almost all fan fiction; although sometimes it is taken as meaning they have a homosexual relationship.   There is no evidence to support that, and Blue’s relationship with Symphony could be said to make it unlikely.

 

The CGI Captain Blue is described in supporting literature as Scarlet’s ‘gung-ho battle-hungry friend’

 

In the early episodes of the New Captain Scarlet CGI series (1-13), Captain Blue plays a much less prominent role than he did in the original series.  Destiny Angel has become Captain Scarlet’s ‘unofficial’ partner. In the first episodes, the friendship between Blue and Scarlet appears to be far less trusting – with Blue expressing doubts that Scarlet is free from Mysteron control in ‘Instrument of Destruction – part 2’.  

 

In the second half of the series (episodes 14-26), Blue does feature more regularly and there are indications that he and Scarlet are friends – particularly in the episode ‘Storm at the end of the World’ where Scarlet shows great concern for his injured partner.

 

 

 

Other Interesting facts

 

It was the Captain Scarlet Annual (1967) that gave details of Adam Svenson’s full ‘career background’ (Winning a full scholarship to at Harvard University at 16, disappointing his father by joining the World Aeronautic Society, and so on…) The book also stated that he was transferred to the Security Department with the task of weeding out ‘enemy agents’ from the service.

 

The later 1993 ‘Official Captain Scarlet Annual’ states that Adam Svenson:

 

‘…won a transfer [from the WAS] to the U.S. Security Department to become an active secret agent.  With a force of 20 hand picked agents, he set about revolutionising his command in Eastern Europe – with such success that Bereznik, the breakaway dictatorship opposed to the World Government took exception to the improvements and on three separate occasions attempted to kill him.  Each time Svenson managed, by ingenuity and quick thinking, to save himself.’

 

There is no explanation of why this background information was changed.

 

The 1967 annual states that Blue enjoys an outdoor life and that his hobbies are: water-skiing, surfing and deep-sea harpoon fishing.   The 1969 TV21 Annual contains an interview with ‘Captain Blue’ about his hobby of ‘surf-riding’ which states he is the ‘current world record holder for the longest ride’: 5,000 feet set at Waikiki Beach, Oahu in 2064.  (This would surely have lead to a breach of security as anyone could look up the world record holder and thus identify Captain Blue of Spectrum.)

 

One source ('Thunderbirds calendar is Go', 1987) states that he was awarded the World Government’s highest military medal (the Valour Star) by the World President.  The only other recipient is named as Captain Troy Tempest of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol.

 

The headline ‘Hero Award for Captain Blue’ does appear on a later edition of the TV21 comic.  The story line includes the information that Blue is on his way to Unity City to receive the Medal of Honour for Bravery.  

 

 

The man who was Captain Blue

 

Ed Bishop

 

As mentioned above, Captain Blue’s facial characteristics were generally thought to be based on Ed Bishop. However, in ‘The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet’, by Chris Bentley (Carlton Books, 2001), Terry Curtis, the sculptor who made the puppet, revealed that he made Captain Blue as a version of himself, (although Sylvia Anderson had asked that the puppet’s features be based on Ed Bishop.)  The controversy will probably rumble on for years to come.

 

The actor who provided the voice, Ed Bishop, was born George Victor Bishop, in Brooklyn, New York on 11th June 1932.   He changed his name to Edward (Ed) Bishop on becoming a professional actor, to avoid confusion with another actor called George Bishop.

 

Educated in Peekskill, New York State, he graduated from High School in 1950 and after a short spell at Teacher Training College; he went into the United States Army in 1952 to do his National Service.   He worked in the Armed Forces Radio Services and first started acting in a local amateur theatre group.

 

Once discharged from the Army, he started a course in Business Administration at Boston University, but in 1956 he enrolled in a two-year drama course instead, and graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the Theatre.

 

He was able to continue his studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) after winning a United States Fulbright Grant.   He stayed on in England, working on television and in the theatre, as well as in feature films, including parts in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Lolita’ (1961) and ‘2001: a space odyssey’ (1968) – although most of his scenes in that Sci-Fi classic ended up on the cutting room floor as the film was over-running.

 

In 1967, came the first of his collaborations with Gerry Anderson, when he was cast as the voice of Captain Blue, in the Supermarionation program, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.  He appeared in all 32 episodes of the series, as well as in the audio adventures released on record.   In his authorised biography, Gerry Anderson says:  ‘I was intentionally listening out of sight of the artists, as seeing them as they do the voices can throw you.  Ed has a wonderful voice, which he often refers to as his ‘wall to wall corporate voice’, and he was instantly taken on board to play the role of the smooth talking co-star Captain Blue.”*

Captain Blue and Commander Straker

 

In 1969 he worked with Gerry Anderson again, on the film Dopplegänger (Also known as ‘Journey to the far side of the Sun’) and was cast as Commander Ed Straker in Anderson’s first live-action production UFO.   

 

He appeared in all 26 episodes of the series, which was broadcast in the UK in 1970-71. 

 

Gerry Anderson explained his choice for the role by saying: ‘I wanted to get somebody who was a good actor, who would turn up on time, who was very workmanlike and who understood the British people – that guy was Ed Bishop.  I cannot say enough in support of the man; he is everything, I think, that a good artist should be.’**

 

Reviews of UFO were mixed; people associated Anderson’s shows with children’s adventure series and the storylines in the new show were far more mature.  This lead to many regional Independent TV companies scheduling it in irregular time slots; however the series did generate a positive response and plans were well underway for a second series, especially as, when it was syndicated in the US, it led the ratings in New York and Los Angeles for seventeen consecutive weeks.

 

However, for various reasons, the second series was never made and Gerry Anderson went on to make Space 1999 instead.

 

Bishop went back to America in 1972 and landed a vocal role in the animated Star Trek series, and a role in the movie Pets (1972). He then returned to England and continued to work in films and in roles in many TV series, most notably as the motor-mouth TV anchorman, Jay Garrick, in all six episodes of the cult LWT sitcom Whoops Apocalypse!  He was also busy with radio productions for BBC Radio 4.  He starred as Detective Elijah Bailey in an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel, portrayed Philip Marlowe in a series of six adaptations of Raymond Chandler's detective novels, and had a role as the American tourist, Al Clancy, in The Archers.   In October 2002, he starred as John F Kennedy in the programme Kennedy's Secret Tapes on the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

First version of the CGI Blue

 

 

He worked on numerous voiceovers for television advertising campaigns.

 

In 2000, Ed Bishop was called on by Gerry Anderson to once again voice Captain Blue, for a 4 minutes short movie reel to help promote a possible new series of Captain Scarlet – to be done in CGI animation.  Francis Matthews was also called back to do the voice of Captain Scarlet.  This movie was very popular at the fan conventions when it was shown, but people had to wait a few more years (until 2005) before actually being able to view the new CGI series called Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet. Sadly, however, neither Ed Bishop nor Francis Matthews were to be part of the voice cast – the producers feeling that their voices sounded too old for the characters. 

 

Politically active, Ed Bishop participated in the British protest against the Iraq war, in March 2004.

 

Ed Bishop was a frequent guest at many Sci-Fi conventions, and remained a firm favourite with the fans of the Anderson shows.  Asked in an interview if he had an interest in Sci-Fi, Bishop replied: ‘No, not really. I don’t have an overwhelming interest in the subject. It was an acting job… actors have to do this.  I keep going to conventions and getting fan mail from all over the world, it’s extraordinary.  It’s partially to do with sci-fi, as it does stretch the imagination.  Westerns and the cop genre come and go, but I think sci-fi sticks around. ***

 

Ed Bishop died on the morning of Wednesday, June 8th, 2005, aged 72. He was married twice and had four children, one of whom, his son Daniel, predeceased him.

 

 

The many faces of Captain Blue…  

Graham (left) and Joe (right) in 'Secret Service')

 

Lynn Simpson's two drawings

 

Although the original series finished after 32 episodes, the Captain Blue puppet made a few noticeable reappearances afterwards, heavily disguised under a dark wig, in another Supermarionation show, Secret Service, as professor Graham in the episode 'Recall to Service' and toymaker Joe in 'Mayday Mayday'.  The 'Secret Service' series also featured a huge number of appearances from other puppets from the 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' series, including Captain Scarlet himself, as a recurring character, the bumbling agent Paul Blake.

 

As with Captain Scarlet, Captain Blue has been drawn by many artists, usually for the Captain Scarlet comic strips than ran in the pages of various Century 21 titles (magazines and annuals).   Numerous artists drew the strips and amongst them were names such as Ron Embleton (the artist who created the ten panels for the ending captions of the TV series), Mike Noble, Barry Mitchell and Mike White, to name just a few.  

 

Blue also was also one of the five characters to be included in the beautiful poster drawn by Embleton for the Anglo Confectionary bubble gums cards, the other characters being Captain Scarlet, Colonel White, Lieutenant Green and (possibly, judging by the hairstyle) Symphony Angel.

 

In 1993, Graham Bleathman created the covers for two ‘graphic novels’ in which a series of Century 21 strips were reprinted.  Captain Blue graced the cover of the second book, along with Captain Scarlet, an Angel aircraft and a Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle.

The beautiful art of Mike Noble for the writing contest drawing in Fleetway's Thunderbirds Magazine

IIn the 'Thunderbirds' magazine, Issue 84, published by Fleetway in 1995,  Captain Blue became the subject of a beautiful drawing by renown Captain Scarlet's artist Mike Noble. Entitled 'What is Captain Blue's mission?', the drawing was to presented as the starting point of a writing context where readers of the magazine were invited to tell what they thought was the story behind the pictures, in less than 100 words.

 

An interesting portrayal of Captain Blue featured in the activity books produced by Carlton Books Limited, in 2001.  Although drawn in a ligne claire style, the artist of the 'Captain Scarlet Tattoo Book' still was able to capture the heroic essence of the character.

 

In the 80s, artist Lynn Simpson drew a series of Spectrum portraits, featuring Captain Scarlet, Colonel White, Captain Ochre, Captain Black and of course Captain Blue.  Years later, she drew another portrait of the dashing blond captain, for her series of 'Spectrum Gallery', for  the short-lived 'Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons' magazine, which was published between 1993 and 1994.

 

Captain Blue in 'ligne claire'

 

Detail of Embleton's poster for the Anglo Confectionary cards

Detail of Bleathman's cover

 

Mike White

 

Barry Mitchell 

 

CGI Captain Blue

The character of Captain Blue, created for the New Captain Scarlet CGI series, is not to be confused with the original Supermarionation character.  Very different physically, and with a different background, although they share the same real name, the CGI Blue also has a very different attitude.  There is really little resemblance between the CGI Blue – a gung-ho, Rambo-like character – and its smooth-spoken, much less impetuous predecessor;  although both characters share a similar kind of friendship with their own Captain Scarlet, and have the same heroic approach to facing danger in order to do their duty and save their friends’ life.  In that example, a close comparison can be made between the original Blue and the CGI character in the classic series episode, ‘Manhunt’ and the CGI episode, ‘Homecoming’.

 

With the character of Symphony Angel taking a very minor role in the new series, the odds for any kind of romance for Captain Blue are in favour of the female Lieutenant Green (Serena Lewis). In the episode ‘Swarm’  it is hinted that Captain Blue might have feelings for her – and that she might very well return them – when Blue demands permission to rescue the young woman from danger. He shows a similar concern when Green is kidnapped by her Mysteronised father in ‘Homecoming’.

 

At the end of the episode ‘Duel’, Blue and Green are shown chatting companionably together over a friendly drink, while Scarlet dances with Destiny Angel. 

Casting call!

 

Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Snow-White and the Huntsman, Rush) would just be the perfect choice for Captain Blue, should a live-action Captain Scarlet movie be done these days!  He's very tall, handsome, has just about the right height, eyes are blue and hair can be made blonder if needed be.  And he can act! 

 

At least, this is this webmaster's personal opinion.  What's yours?

 

 

CAPTAIN SCARLET- CAPTAIN BLUE - COLONEL WHITE - CAPTAIN BLACK - LIEUTENANT GREEN

 CAPTAIN OCHRE - CAPTAIN MAGENTA - CAPTAIN GREY - CAPTAIN BROWN - DOCTOR FAWN

DESTINY - SYMPHONY - MELODY - RHAPSODY - HARMONY

 

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