The Trap (Captain Scarlet)

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"The Trap"
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode
A man in the foreground, operating a machine gun, fires at a man in the background who is wearing a jet pack. Behind the man in the background is the wall of a castle.
Goddard opens fire on Captain Scarlet as the Magnacopter flies to safety. The explosions in this scene were created with Cordtex and petrol gel.
Episode no. Episode 7
Directed by Alan Perry
Written by Alan Pattillo
Cinematography by Ted Catford
Editing by Harry MacDonald
Production code SCA 17[1]
Original air date 10 November 1967
Guest appearance(s)

Voices of:
Gary Files as
Captain Holt
David Healy as
Air Commodore Goddard
Jeremy Wilkin as
Morton
Distillery Attendant

Episode chronology
← Previous
"White as Snow"
Next →
"Operation Time"
List of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episodes

"The Trap" is the seventh episode of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, a 1960s British Supermarionation television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Written by Alan Pattillo and directed by Alan Perry, it was first broadcast on 10 November 1967 on ATV Midlands. In this episode, the Mysterons plan to assassinate Earth's air force leaders.

"The Trap" is Pattillo's only contribution to Captain Scarlet. The episode includes a number of scale model and special effects sequences, the filming of which posed several challenges for production company Century 21. Footage from "The Trap" was later incorporated into the flashback episode "The Inquisition".

Plot[edit]

Air Commodore Goddard, working with Spectrum, is organising a conference of the world's air force leaders to discuss anti-Mysteron defence. While flying to Cloudbase through a thunderstorm, Goddard and his pilot, Captain Holt, are killed when their XQR plane crashes after being hit by lightning. Mysteron reconstructions of Goddard, Holt and the XQR continue the journey. Due to poor visibility, Melody Angel (voiced by Sylvia Anderson), Goddard and Holt's escort, is uncertain what has happened to the XQR. On arrival at Cloudbase, Goddard announces that in the interest of secrecy, he is changing the location of the conference to the isolated Glen Garry Castle in Scotland. Transmitting to Earth, the Mysterons cryptically warn that the "wings of the world will be clipped".

Having been dispatched to Glen Garry by Colonel White (voiced by Donald Gray) to evaluate the security at the castle, Captain Scarlet (voiced by Francis Matthews) removes a portrait in the conference hall to find a secret alcove containing Holt, who is standing at the controls of a machine gun. Goddard holds Scarlet at gunpoint and explains that when the conference begins the delegates will be massacred. After Symphony Angel (voiced by Janna Hill) arrives in a Magnacopter with the delegates, she too is captured and is imprisoned with Scarlet in the dungeon.

Believing the XQR to have been destroyed, Melody takes off from Cloudbase to find proof and quickly sights the plane's wreckage. Remembering the Mysteron threat, White realises that the air force leaders are in mortal danger. Unable to contact either Scarlet or Symphony, he dispatches Captain Blue (voiced by Ed Bishop) to Glen Garry.

Scarlet and Symphony are released from the dungeon by the castle's caretaker, Morton. Just before the conference starts, Scarlet bursts into the hall and shoots Holt through the portrait, taking a bullet in the process but saving the delegates. Symphony, Morton and the delegates evacuate to the Magnacopter while Goddard mans a second machine gun on the battlements. Arriving in a Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle, Blue radios Symphony to warn her that the Magnacopter will be in Goddard's sights as soon as it takes off. Obtaining a jet pack from the SPV, the injured Scarlet draws Goddard's fire as Symphony clears the area. Goddard ultimately guns down Scarlet but is killed when Blue destroys the battlements with the SPV's cannon. Scarlet recovers from his injuries.

Production[edit]

Script editor Tony Barwick asked Alan Pattillo to write for Captain Scarlet because Pattillo had been a regular writer on Thunderbirds.[2] However, commitments to other projects meant that Pattillo was able to submit only one script for the new series.[2] The castle setting was influenced by Gerry Anderson, who according to Pattillo "always liked to have a Scottish subject in his series."[3] Pattillo's script called for technically-complex puppet sequences in which all ten marionettes playing conference delegates appear in the same shot.[3][4] Due to the large number of guest characters the wardrobe department was required to make several new military uniforms.[4]

Glen Garry Castle was adapted from a scale model that had previously been used as McGregor Castle in the Stingray episode "Loch Ness Monster" and Glen Carrick Castle in the Thunderbirds episode "30 Minutes After Noon".[5] The model was expanded considerably for its appearance in "The Trap".[6] The seats in the conference hall had previously appeared in the Stingray and Thunderbirds episodes.[6] The character of Morton is played by a puppet that was modelled on actor Robert Mitchum.[4]

Two filming models of the XQR were made, to different scales.[7] As the effect of the lightning bolt hitting the XQR could not be created in-studio, it was instead added in post-production via optical printing.[8] The illusion of distant lightning bursts was created by flashing an arc welder, while the flames and smoke issuing from the crippled XQR were produced by Jetex fuel pellets attached to the side of the model that was facing away from the camera.[8] For the XQR crash scene, petrol gel explosives were detonated in the foreground to simulate the plane's destruction; the model was retained so that it could be re-used in later episodes.[9] A shot of the reconstructed XQR making its final approach to Cloudbase was filmed but later cut.[8]

The Magnacopter, which appears only in this episode,[10] was designed by Mike Trim, assistant to effects director Derek Meddings.[11] The puppet-size interiors were created by the Century 21 art department, who according to Trim could rarely reproduce the curves of his scale model designs as they built their sets mostly from "flat sheet" materials of limited malleability.[11] Rather than build a brand-new set for the Magnacopter's cockpit, to save time and money the art department adapted an existing set previously used in Thunderbirds.[12] Trim was forced to alter his design, which originally had a more streamlined look, to match the lines of this set.[11][12]

Director Alan Perry served as Captain Scarlet's body double for a close-up shot of Goddard jabbing a gun into the character's back, as well as a scene in which the incarcerated Scarlet picks up a spear with which to strike the dungeon ceiling, ultimately catching the attention of Morton.[6][13] Commentators Chris Drake and Graeme Bassett note the mixture of live action and puppetry that was used to create forced perspective in the dungeon scenes.[10] This included adding two small mice to the puppet set; doubling for rats, they were the only live animals to be used with puppets on Captain Scarlet.[6]

The shootout between Scarlet and Goddard posed a number of challenges for the effects crew. To simulate bullets slamming into the castle wall, a strip of Cordtex explosive was attached to the set and lit at one end, resulting in a series of miniature explosions as the flame travelled down the strip. The destruction of the battlements was achieved by filling the model, which was made of balsa wood and polystyrene, with petrol gel and igniting it. For the shot in which Scarlet is gunned down, the puppet was fitted with its "grimacing" head that was originally created for the series' first episode.[14]

The incidental music for "The Trap" was recorded by series composer Barry Gray on 27 August 1967 in a four-hour studio session with a 16-piece orchestra – one of the largest used on any episode of Captain Scarlet.[15][16] Music for "Model Spy" was recorded on the same day.[15] Two instrumentals from "The Trap" – "The Fate of the XQR" and "Castle Glen Garry" – are included on the CD release of the Captain Scarlet soundtrack.[17][18]

"The Trap" is the first episode of Captain Scarlet in distributor ITC's official broadcast order to feature the lyrical version of the end titles music performed by The Spectrum. However, the first episode to be produced with this version was "Lunarville 7".[5]

Reception[edit]

Chris Bentley, author of Captain Scarlet: The Vault, praises the episode's "atmospheric setting" and "tense, action-packed climax", calling the episode a viewer favourite.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bentley 2017, p. 100.
  2. ^ a b Drake and Bassett, p. 264.
  3. ^ a b Drake and Bassett, p. 265.
  4. ^ a b c Drake and Bassett, p. 266.
  5. ^ a b Bentley 2001, p. 71.
  6. ^ a b c d e Bentley 2017, p. 101.
  7. ^ Bentley 2017, p. 90.
  8. ^ a b c Drake and Bassett, p. 267.
  9. ^ Drake and Bassett, p. 268.
  10. ^ a b Drake and Bassett, p. 249.
  11. ^ a b c Bentley 2001, p. 22.
  12. ^ a b Taylor, Anthony; Trim, Mike (2006). The Future Was FAB: The Art of Mike Trim. Neshannock, Pennsylvania: Hermes Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-932563-82-5. 
  13. ^ Bentley 2017, pp. 32-34.
  14. ^ Drake and Bassett, p. 271.
  15. ^ a b de Klerk, Theo (25 December 2003). "Complete Studio-Recording List of Barry Gray". tvcentury21.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  16. ^ Bentley 2017, p. 96.
  17. ^ de Klerk, Theo (26 October 2017). "Barry Gray Discography" (PDF). barrygray.co.uk. p. 22. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 October 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  18. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Captain Scarlet [Original TV Soundtrack] Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
Bibliography
  • Bentley, Chris (2001). The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet. London, UK: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-842224-05-2. 
  • Bentley, Chris (2017). Hearn, Marcus, ed. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault. Cambridge, UK: Signum Books. ISBN 978-0-995519-12-1. 
  • Rogers, Dave; Marriott, John; Drake, Chris; Bassett, Graeme (1993). Supermarionation Classics: Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. London, UK: Boxtree. ISBN 978-1-85283-900-0. 
    • Captain Scarlet volume originally published separately as: Drake, Chris; Bassett, Graeme (1993). Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. London, UK: Boxtree. ISBN 978-1-852834-03-6. 

External links[edit]