Titan Goes Pop
|"Titan Goes Pop"|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Alan Pattillo|
|Written by||Dennis Spooner|
|Original air date||6 December 1964|
"Titan Goes Pop" is the 29th episode of the British Supermarionation television series Stingray, originally aired as episode 10 on 6 December 1964. It was written by Dennis Spooner and was directed by Alan Pattillo.
Agent X-2-Zero kidnaps a pop star visiting Marineville and brings him before Titan as hostage.
At Marineville Commander Shore is given a special message ordering him to go to Marineville Headquarters. Once he arrives, he discovers that Duke Dexter, famous singer, is going to appear at the WASP’s recruiting show at Marineville. However, it all must remain top secret or there will be hundreds of fans at the gates of Marineville.
Unfortunately for them, Duke Dexter and his manager are seen discussing the WASP recruiting show on television.
Meanwhile, Surface Agent X-2-0 has been trying to find out as much as possible about what’s going on. He reports to Titan, explaining to him what he knows. He believes that Duke Dexter is a very important person, so Titan orders X-2-0 to bring Duke to Titanica.
So X-2-0, in disguise, is able to talk to Duke’s Manager. X-2-0 claims he is “X of security”. After their talk, the manager goes to Commander Shore trying to think of a way to smuggle Duke into Marineville. Troy enters the room and Commander Shore gets an idea.
Troy dresses up like Duke Dexter and distracts the fans outside Marineville who think he is the real Duke and chase him. This allows Duke Dexter to enter into Marineville without being noticed. However his manager feels it would be better if Duke stays somewhere, not too far from Marineville, where he would not be bothered.
Surface Agent X-2-0, still in his disguise, takes Duke to the Island of Lemoy and looks after him. X-2-0 makes some food for Duke, which has been drugged. Once unconscious X-2-0 takes Duke to the city of Titanica.
Duke’s manager rings him from Marineville, but with no reply, he, Troy and Phones head out in Stingray to the Island of Lemoy. Once they get there they discover that both Duke and ‘X of Security’ are gone. They pickup another vessel on long range scanners and decide to go after it. Unfortunately a stabiliser breaks loose in Stingray and they all become stranded in the sea.
At Titanica, Titan is listening to Duke as he tells who he is. Titan asks Duke if it is true whether people go crazy when they see him and rip his cloths, when Duke says yes, Titan believes that Duke is causing people to destroy each other and believes him to be an ally.
They re-drug Duke and take him back to Lemoy where he is left alone. Once he is discovered he tells his story, but Commander Shore believes it was all a publicity stunt. So Duke goes on and performs at the recruiting show, which is being watched by the stingray crew. Titan, his Guards and X-2-0 watch the event from Titanica on a TV and Titan says victory will be his in no time if Duke continues his fan craze.
There are very few differences between Dennis Spooner’s script and what the end result looks like. There are however major scenes that have been cut, including one where the Heads of WSP discuss sending the letter that Commander Shore receives at the start of the episode. Other scenes include a montage where we see how the news that Duke was going to perform at Marienville is leaked out. Along with the newspaper, the episode would have featured radio mast or telephone wires sending out signals, and a telephone switchboard with numerous hands switching the leads.
Paul O’Brien relates the episode to ‘Beatlemania was in its hysterical early days, and Duke's appearances brilliantly mimic Elvis Presley’s effect on late 50s audiences’. He notes that at this stage in the series ‘the characters were well established with the viewers’ and ‘[Dennis] was able to have some fun sending them up.’ He compares Commander Shore and King Titan as ‘[representing] the older generation’s incomprehension’. He goes on to praise production and use of models, ‘Several other episodes are let down by close-ups of smaller versions which should only have been used for medium or long shots, so it’s nice to see the big version in all its glory.’ He does however describe the scene evolving Troy running as ‘a total failure and looks like the puppet is being stretched on a rack'. Vincent Law states that 'Titan Goes Pop' ‘sends up teen culture' and describes the episode as a classic.