DVD review: “Stingray” (1964-1965) 

“Stingray” (1964-1965) 

Television

Thirty nine Episodes

Created by: Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

Featuring: Ray Barrett, Robert Easton, David Graham, Don Mason and Lois Maxwell

Opening Theme:

“Stand by for action, we’re about to launch Stingray

Stingray Stingray
Stingray Stingray

Marineville i am calling all battle stations, Anything can happen in the next half hour

Stingray Stingray”

Released recently on DVD is the 1960s English television series “Stingray” (1964-1965) created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson whose biggest hit among their creations was “Thunderbirds” (1965-1966) using their own technique known as supermarionation (a portmanteau of the words “super”, “marionette” and “animation”). The characters were played by electronic marionettes with a moveable lower lip, which opened and closed in time with pre-recorded dialogue by means of a solenoid in the puppet’s head or chest. The productions were mostly science fiction and they also made extensive use of scale model special effects.

Stingray, a nuclear-powered combat submarine, is the flagship of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP), a branch of the World Security Patrol (WSP) responsible for policing the Earth’s oceans in the mid-2060s. The WASP is based in the self-contained city of Marineville, located several miles inland somewhere on the West Coast of North America. It is connected to the Pacific Ocean via a tunnel leading to an “ocean door”, through which Stingray is launched. General quarters alerts are sounded by rapid drumbeats played over the base’s public address system. In emergency situations, the entire base can be lowered into underground bunkers via giant hydraulic jacks while fighter aircraft and interceptor missiles are launched to counter threats. Stingray is piloted by the square-jawed Captain Troy Tempest. He is paired with Southern navigator Lieutenant George Lee Sheridan, nicknamed “Phones” for his secondary role as Stingray’s hydrophone operator. Troy and Phones board Stingray from the Marineville stand-by lounge by sitting on twin seats that are then lowered into the submarine via injector tubes. They answer to the “hoverchair”-bound Commander Sam Shore, whose daughter, Lieutenant Atlanta Shore, works in the Marineville control tower and is enamoured of Troy.

Overall, fans of Gerry Anderson’s work will not be disappointed, the DVD is well presented with good video, sound and extras, wrapped up with good menus. As far as the content goes, it’s typical Gerry Anderson material with a crazy sci-fi plot, plenty of action and technology being used to save the world. Each show runs for 30 minutes, and being designed to hold children’s interest, crams plenty into the short running time. Given the continued success of Stingray and Thunderbirds, it seems the Gerry Anderson got the balance about right, I certainly enjoyed watching Stingray again, although because of the similarity of the episodes, it’s not something to watch in one sitting. Thunderbirds is better, but Stingray still has plenty to offer.

Episodes

Stingray: Investigating the loss of a submarine, the crew of Stingray are captured by their new enemy, King Titan of the Aquaphibians.

Emergency Marineville: Marineville goes to battle stations as a missile is launched. Counter measures are launched and the missile is destroyed before it hits. Troy and the Stingray are ordered to investigate with air squadrons in support. The search centers on an abandoned island when another missile launches also successfully destroyed before impact. Troy and Phones discover the mouth of a cave, following it they discover a secret base but are captured. Marina is then tortured till Troy gives up secret information about Marineville defenses. The occupants of the base use the information …

The Ghost Ship: The sunken wreck of an old sailing ship suddenly rises to the surface and begins sailing. WASP are contacted and told the ocean liner Atlantis has gone missing after reporting the sighting of an ancient sea galleon. The Stingray is sent to investigate. In an unusual move Commander Shore accompanies them on the mission. Stingray arrives at the location to find it shrouded in fog. From nowhere they see the galleon reported by Atlantis. The Commander and Phones decide to board the galleon. Initially they find no one till they encounter a trap set by an unknown creature … 

Subterranean Sea: Scientists drill through the ocean floor to find another sea underneath. WASP sends Stingray to investigate, after Commander Shore orders Troy and Phones to cancel a scheduled vacation. The Stingray crew discovers a weird place where water rapidly disappears then reappears.

Loch Ness Monster: Admiral Denver fishing on Loch Ness is attacked by the monster. Back at WASP debate rages if the creature exists or if the admiral imagined it. To win the argument Shore orders the Stingray to investigate. Marina refuses to go and Atlanta steps in. They stay overnight at a castle overlooking the loch and during the evening they are woken by strange noises, a search reveals nothing of consequence. Next day they take Stingray out onto the Loch and encounter the monster. Taking evasive action they fire a missile. Rather than kill the creature, the missile exposes it as a…

Set Sail for Adventure: Admiral Denver finishes showing the team at Marineville his favorite naval movie. This sparks a debate if modern sailors were as tough as the sailors from the age of sail. To win the argument Admiral Denver arranges a galleon to be borrowed from the museum with plans to sail it across the Pacific. Troy and the Stingray are assigned escort duty, despite Denver’s emphatic desire to have no outside help. The ship runs into a very bad storm, and the admiral is injured by falling rigging. The Stingray loses contact with the ship sparking a major air search which turns up …

The Man from the Navy: During a training exercise Stingray is fired on by a submarine from the World Navy controlled by Captain Jordon. Despite Stingrays best efforts Tempest fails to shake the artificial missile and it thuds harmlessly into Stingray. On a nearby island an agent for the Aquaphibians makes a report back to King Titan about the successful test. Titan discovers another test is to be conducted and takes the opportunity to set a trap to destroy the Stingray and Tempest. The agents capture the World Navy sub and Jordon, then arms the dummy torpedo. The Stingray manages to avoid …

An Echo of Danger: Titan, leader of the amphibians decides that destroying Stingray is taking too much effort. He thinks that getting the crew replaced on Stingray could be just as effective. He instructs surface agent X20 to take charge of the operation. Stingray while on escort duty is drawn into a trap set by X20 that sees a vessel destroyed and Phones’ judgment called into question. At the enquiry the blame for the loss is placed squarely with Phones. Troy begins a desperate search for answers before his best friends career is washed up.

Raptures of the Deep: Although told otherwise, two men take an unsafe submarine to the ocean floor searching for a rumored forest of gems. As expected they quickly get into trouble and need rescue. As Stingray maneuver to help the trapped men, Troy himself gets into trouble. On the verge of death Troy has a strange encounter that sees him assume command of an undersea empire including the fabled gem forest. As his capital comes under attack things begin to crumble leading Troy realize all may not be as they seem.

Titan Goes Pop: Duke Dexter the world’s most famous singer will be visiting Marineville for a benefit concert. Titan, although unsure who Dexter is, decides he could be valuable to Titanica’s plans and arranges for him to be kidnapped. Surface agent X20 gets the opportunity to execute the plan by using the confusion created in Marineville by the waves of Dexter fans arriving for the concert. Dexter is interviewed by Titan leading to some unusual conclusions both for Titan and the Stingray team

In Search of the Tajmanon: Stingray is deployed to Africa to investigate a series of flooded underwater ruins that appear to have disappeared. Arriving at the site the crew discovers evidence of human intervention and narrowly avoid fatal trap when a bomb explodes under Stingray. Commander Shore believes the same people set the bomb and stole the temple complex and Troy and the team are ordered to solve the twin mysteries.

A Christmas to Remember: Troy visits Barry, an orphan of a former commander of Marineville. After telling Barry stories of his adventures on Stingray, Troy invites the boy to spend Christmas at Marineville, and the holiday progresses Troy talks Commander Shore into allowing Barry to go on patrol with the Stingray crew. During the patrol a series of strange events occur that catapult Barry to the status of hero just like his father before him.

Tune of Danger: Learning that a jazz group is to give a concert in the undersea city of Aphony, where Marina’s father lives, Surface Agent X20 plants a bomb in the group’s bass.

The Ghost of the Sea: Commander Shore keeps having nightmares about the time when he was crippled in a sea battle with an underwater craft five years ago and rescued by a mysterious stranger.

Rescue from the Skies: As part of his training to become an aquanaut, Lieutenant Fisher is given temporary command of Stingray and assigned target practice.

The Lighthouse Dwellers: Just as an aircraft begins its approach towards a new airfield, the light from a disused lighthouse comes on, confusing the pilot and causing him to crash.

The Big Gun: An underwater race that lives beneath the floor of the Pacific Ocean, has developed a large “missile ejector” and is test firing it on small islands. Stingray is sent to investigate and manages to prevent an attack on the West Coast of the United States. The underwater race devises a trap designed to lure the crew of Stingray to its doom and to launch an attack on Marineville.

The Cool Cave Man: Troy Tempest is on standby duty while a ship carrying a radioactive isotope nears its port destination. He is supposed to rest. While he does so, he ponders how he should dress to a costume party hosted by Atlanta Shore. Suddenly, he gets a summons to help the stricken ship. Or does he?

Deep Heat: After a robot probe inexplicably disappears, the Stingray crew is ordered to investigate.

Star of the East: An Eastern dictator named El Hudat arrives in Marineville, wishing to become a member of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol.

Invisible Enemy: Troy and Phones rescue a comatose man and take him back to Marineville for treatment.

Tom Thumb Tempest: While waiting for the call to action in the Stand-By Lounge, Troy falls asleep.

Eastern Eclipse: Having been dethroned by the people of his Eastern nation, El Hudat’s twin brother, Ali Khali, arrives in Marineville.

Treasure Down Below: A ship with a load of gold disappears after hitting an iceberg. Meanwhile, the Stingray crew is enjoying a shore leave in Casablanca. While there, Troy Tempest is on a date with Marina while “Phones” is offered the chance to buy a purported treasure map for $500. “Phones” only has $200 but blackmails Troy by reminding him he has a date the next night with Atlanta Shore and gets the remaining money to buy the map. However, the map indicates the treasure is out of the way for Stringray’s return course to Marineville.

Stand by for Action: A film crew arrives at Marineville to make a movie on Stingray. Everyone will play themselves except Troy, who is to be replaced by an actor.

Pink Ice: Reports come in from all over the world about pink ice.

The Disappearing Ships: When three disused freighters that are to be blown up by remote control mysteriously vanish, Troy and Phones set off in Stingray to find them.

Secret of the Giant Oyster: After recovering a giant oyster, two explorers are captured by Troy in restricted waters.

The Invaders: The Stingray crew fall into a trap set by aliens at a weather station.

A Nut for Marineville: When a seemingly indestructible craft is sighted heading towards Marineville on a collision course, the eccentric Professor Burgoyne is called in to help develop a new super missile with which to destroy it.

Trapped in the Depths: When the insane Professor Cordo kidnaps Atlanta and takes her back to his undersea farm, Troy and Phones give chase in Stingray.

Count Down: As part of his plan to destroy Marineville, Surface Agent X20 infiltrates the base by posing as a professor who can teach mute people to speak.

Sea of Oil: The Stingray crew are sent to investigate the mysterious destruction of oilrigs.

Plant of Doom: Following the escape of his slave Marina, Titan plots revenge by planning to kill the Stingray crew with a deadly plant that gives off toxic fumes.

The Master Plan: During a Terror Fish attack, Stingray is damaged. When Troy goes to make repairs, an Aquaphibian poisons him with some purple liquid.

The Golden Sea: The Stingray crew is assigned to make monthly visits to Professor Darren and his team, who have developed a method for making gold from minerals taken from the sea bed.

Hostages of the Deep: When an undersea alien named Gadus kidnaps World Navy Admiral Carson and his wife from their remote island home, Troy, Phones and Marina head off on a rescue mission in Stingray.

Marineville Traitor: Commander Shore appears to be a traitor after Marineville’s security has been breached. This forces Troy Tempest to arrest his commanding officer and causes heartbreak for Atlanta Shore. However, just when the situation seems to be resolved, a complication occurs.

Aquanaut of the Year: After receiving the ‘Aquanaut of the Year’ award, Troy finds himself part of a ‘This is Your Life’ programme where he reminisces some of his greatest adventures.

The Reunion Party: While waiting for Atlanta and Marina, Commander Sam Shore shows to Admiral Denver films showing the previous missions that Troy Tempest and Phones had with the submarine Stingray.

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