Captain Blue (Captain Scarlet)

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Captain Blue
Captain Scarlet character
Captain Blue Old.jpg
First appearance "The Mysterons"
(Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons)
Instrument of Destruction, Part 1
(Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet)
Last appearance "The Inquisition"
(Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons)
"Grey Skulls"
(Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet)
Created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson
Voiced by Ed Bishop
(Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Captain Scarlet and the Return of the Mysterons)
Robbie Stevens
(Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet)
Information
Full name Adam Svenson (birth name)
Species Human
Gender Male
Occupation Spectrum officer
Significant other(s) Symphony Angel
(Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons)
Lieutenant Green
(Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet)
Nationality American

Captain Blue (born Adam Svenson) is a character in the British Supermarionation television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967–68) and its computer-animated remake, Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet (2005). He is a senior officer in the Spectrum Organisation, which is committed to defending Earth against the Mysterons, and is the best friend of Captain Scarlet.

Conception[edit]

Captain Blue was among the first characters to be conceived by series creator Gerry Anderson who, having determined that "Scarlet" would make for an unusual codename for the series' protagonist, resolved that his mission partner could be codenamed "Blue".[1] Script editor Tony Barwick, who commented on what he perceived as the series' "quite formalised writing", wrote Blue as "the foil, the nice guy" of Captain Scarlet.[2]

In a 1982 interview for Starlog magazine, Captain Blue voice actor Ed Bishop described his casting by the Andersons: "There was an actor in the series named Cy Grant [voice of the Lieutenant Green character]. We happened to have the same agent and Sylvia Anderson had called to ask about him. The girl at the agency said, 'You people use a lot of Americans on your shows and we have this American actor.' Sylvia told her to send me along. It's just as simple as that."[3] Gerry approved of what Bishop termed his "wall-to-wall corporate voice", judging it suitable for the role of a "smooth-talking co-star".[4]

Although Bishop believed that he was the template for Blue's likeness, the puppet sculptor, Terry Curtis, had in fact already made a rough modelling in his own image, and simply changed the hair colour from brown to blond at the direction of Sylvia Anderson (Bishop himself, like Curtis, was darker-haired).[5] The puppet's total cost was 500 guineas, or £525.[3] It has been suggested that Blue's blue-eyed and blond-haired appearance influenced that of Commander Ed Straker, Bishop's live-action role in the later Anderson series UFO.[3]

Appearance[edit]

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons[edit]

Blue, as depicted in the 1960s series, was born on 26 August 2035 to a Boston, Massachusetts financier.[6] After graduating from Harvard University, he embarked on a career as a pilot before joining Spectrum. Blue is courageous, hard-working and a natural leader, but also deferential to the commands of Colonel White. He regularly partners Captain Scarlet on missions and, although his best friend is indestructible, frequently fears for his safety. For example, in the episode "Winged Assassin", Blue attempts to prevent Scarlet from suicidally ramming the wheels of a Mysteronised airliner using an Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (SPV). He serves as acting commanding officer of Cloudbase during White's absence in "White as Snow", and stands in for Lieutenant Green as communications officer in "Avalanche".

Blue occasionally disobeys commands out of his own curiosity. For example, in "Renegade Rocket", he refuses to leave a military base that is being targeted by its own missile, electing to remain behind with Scarlet in an attempt to find the self-destruct code, and in "Special Assignment", being unaware that Scarlet's discharge from Spectrum is in fact part of the Captain's undercover mission, leaves Cloudbase without authorisation to find and reason with his friend. Physically active, Blue regularly practises surfing, water-skiing and deep-sea harpoon fishing.[6] A romance with Symphony Angel is suggested in some episodes: in "Manhunt", Blue is distressed by Captain Black's abduction of Symphony and is anxious to venture into a nuclear power station to rescue her, while in "Attack on Cloudbase", the two characters share a long gaze after Symphony experiences a disturbing nightmare about the base's destruction.

Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet[edit]

Blue's new likeness was based on that of Casper Van Dien as Johnny Rico in the film Starship Troopers (1997).[7]

In the 2005 remake, Blue is still a brave Spectrum officer and loyal companion; however, he is of stronger build and speaks with a rougher accent. He prefers to confront situations swiftly and has fewer reservations about using violence against the Mysterons than he did previously. He appears to have a romantic interest in Serena Lewis (the female Lieutenant Green), but this is never explicitly described as a relationship.

Reception[edit]

James Stansfield of the entertainment website Den of Geek describes Blue as Captain Scarlet's "trusty sidekick", adding that although the pair were equal in rank, Blue "was always the Robin to Scarlet's Batman".[8] The character's subservience to Scarlet has been acknowledged by Bishop, who suggested that Blue "got a raw deal, because he was very heroic, you know. He was very close to Scarlet, and I pulled him out of some very sticky wickets".[9] Cultural historian Nicholas J. Cull comments that Blue's nationality, coupled with his status as a "strong supporting character", is representative of a general shift away from the predominantly American protagonists of earlier Anderson series, including Thunderbirds.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Gerry (2001). Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons – Volume 5 (DVD). Carlton International Media and ITV DVD.  Audio commentary for "Attack on Cloudbase".
  2. ^ Bentley 2001, p. 31.
  3. ^ a b c Hirsh, David (February 1982). "Starlog Exclusive: Commander Straker Speaks! An Interview with Ed Bishop". Starlog. Starlog Group (55). ISSN 0191-4626. OCLC 474082490. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Archer, Simon; Nicholls, Stan (1996). Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Biography. London: Legend Books. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-09-922442-6. 
  5. ^ Bentley 2001, p. 17.
  6. ^ a b Bishop, Chris. "Cast of Characters: Captain Blue". spectrum-headquarters.com. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2007. 
  7. ^ Bentley, Chris (2008) [2001]. The Complete Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Episode Guide (4th ed.). Richmond, London: Reynolds & Hearn. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-905287-74-1. 
  8. ^ Stansfield, James (6 September 2012). "Top 10 Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons Episodes". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Ed Bishop (2000). "Interview from FAB 27 – Part 1". FAB (Interview) (27). Interview with Chris Bentley. Fanderson. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Cull, Nicholas J. (August 2006). "Was Captain Black Really Red? The TV Science Fiction of Gerry Anderson in its Cold War Context". Media History. Routledge. 12 (2): 202. doi:10.1080/13688800600808005. ISSN 1368-8804. OCLC 364457089. 
Bibliography