Thunderbirds – 21. Cry Wolf

Directed by David Elliott

Teleplay by Dennis Spooner

First Broadcast – 27th January 1966

On the surface, Cry Wolf doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s fundamentally a lighter story about teaching a couple of children a lesson which ends up going a bit wrong. There’s not much impressive machinery or seriously large scale disasters going on. The premise is a little more warm and fluffy in comparison to other episodes, at least to start with anyway. But is there more to this episode than just being ‘that one with the kids’?

Thunderbirds episode all about two children… because if you include children in the show, children will enjoy it… I guess… To be fair, I absolutely loved this episode when I was a kid so maybe it does work. The Hood’s back too… is he really going to start attacking children?

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If you don’t know or understand the fable about the boy who cried wolf, you were probably disappointed when you discovered there aren’t actually any wolves in this episode.

So the story kicks off on a barren mountainside in Australia. We know that because the kid stuck on the ledge has an Australian accent of sorts. He doesn’t know how he got there or how to get down. It’s genuinely intriguing stuff. The near ‘cold open’ style works really well for Thunderbirds and I’m surprised it wasn’t used more often in the classic series to just plunge straight into a dangerous situation with no context at all.

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The boy tries to reach for his bag. Presumably a child’s hands were filmed for these insert shots.

Every so often the kid kicks a few rocks down as if he were losing his footing, adding to the tension effectively even though the ledge doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

The boy reaches his bag and pulls out a walkie-talkie. He immediately calls International Rescue. Smart kid. Sylvia Anderson is providing the voice of the child as she has done in every other instance since Supercar when a child has spoken. She does a great job considering she’s also having to wrestle with the Australian accent.

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John picks up the call on Thunderbird 5. Can we all just appreciate how cool his hair is?

John reports in the call from Australia but doesn’t know any facts except for a rough location. So Scott sets off, excited to be heading to the land down under… watch you don’t bang your head on that pipe on the way out Scott. Things have certainly kicked off quickly this week! What’s the catch? Well although John is concerned that the kid might fall from the ledge but other than that this is a pretty low risk situation.

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The little boy yells for help and his voice echoes across the mountains in a way that doesn’t quite sound natural.

Scott is already three minutes away from the area. Tin-Tin has come to join in the fun back at base. Nobody else is that interested though and haven’t bothered to turn up…

Scott is soon overflying the area, opening his hatch to look outside. His view is clearly just back projected footage. He also has his monitor to take a look at.

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Here’s a rather nice shot of Thunderbird 1 whizzing through the mountains. The music helps to make this search rather tense.

The boy soon hears the sound of Thunderbird 1’s jets which he probably could have heard miles away considering how quiet the area is. The weird thing is that he doesn’t act all that surprised. After all, we know that he wasn’t expecting the real International Rescue… You can also tell Scott isn’t terribly happy. He actually sounds disappointed that the kid hasn’t broken both of his legs or anything. Announcing that he can handle this one solo, this mission is a landmark for the series in that it’s the only operation that Thunderbird 1 and Scott take on solo… because Scott is usually incapable of doing anything for himself.

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The boy still isn’t the slightest bit concerned that the game might just have back-fired a bit…

Thunderbird 1 comes in for a landing, and there’s a jarring difference between the smaller model that gets into position, and the larger model that actually touches down. It’s a darn nice shot though.

Quick as a flash, a simple rope is thrown down the mountain and the boy starts climbing up. A pretty simplistic approach even for Scott, but it works. The kid expresses his gratitude but isn’t terribly emotional about it all.

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That’s because it wasn’t Scott who rescued him but another little kid in a makeshift International Rescue uniform and a Thunderbird 2 cart! Plot twist! Christine Finn is voicing the boy but doesn’t quite reach the Australian accent that Sylvia Anderson manages. There are many questions about what’s happening here…

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Scott’s running through most of those questions in his head right now as he watches from the bushes…

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Yeah these boys, Tony and Bob Williams, are in trouble now… so one question which we’ve already covered is why wasn’t Bob at all surprised when the real Thunderbird 1 showed up? And secondly, why wasn’t it the first thing he mentioned to Tony when getting pulled up the mountain? I know that until the last second we’re supposed to believe that Bob genuinely did need rescuing and that we’re meant to feel as confused as Scott does, but there just certain things that the boys do which don’t make sense… Then of course there’s the obvious question about how Tony and Bob were able to create their own version of Thunderbird 2 and their own uniforms when no photographs of International Rescue are supposed to exist. That’s slightly easier to answer when you consider a photograph was taken of Jenkins in an I.R. uniform in The Impostors, and that there are presumably eye-witness reports that roughly describe what the International Rescue equipment looks like without the need for photographs.

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Anyway, night has fallen and we’re at the home of the Williams family. Their house was also seen as Grandma Tracy’s house in Move – And You’re Dead.

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This is Tony and Bob’s father, Mr Williams. He has one smoking pipe in his hand and another on the table next to him. As with many Supermarionation families, Tony and Bob’s mother is no longer around – a remarkably common trend. No doubt this decision was taken so that Scott would sympathise with the Williams boys moreso what with having no mother around himself. If you want to infer that then I suppose this is indirectly the closest thing we have to any information about what happened to Jeff’s wife and the Tracy boys’ mother. She isn’t mentioned in the slightest in the show itself so pretty much all we have is this assumption that Scott identifies with Tony and Bob because of similar circumstances. It’s a long shot I must admit. Williams’ desk might be the same one used by Captain Blacker in The Man From MI.5.

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Scott’s made himself comfortable while laying down the law that this whole thing has been a waste of his time. A very concerned Tony asks, “What are you going to do to us, Mr Tracy?” That’s a bit weird to hear in this day and age…

Scott announces that he’s going to take the kids back to Tracy Island to teach them why International Rescue’s time shouldn’t be wasted… even though their schedule is free enough to start giving guided tours… Williams just goes along with it because he’s happy to be shot of the kids for a while. Now of course the whole idea of this is for kids watching the show at home to experience the tour of Tracy Island through Tony and Bob and have a jolly nice time watching it… unfortunately that’s as far as my explanation goes for why Scott chooses this course of action of all things. It just doesn’t make sense to expose the secrets of International Rescue like that. Even if they don’t really learn any technical details, it still puts the boys in grave danger of being interrogated by some crooked villain desperate for information. So far this just doesn’t feel like a real Thunderbirds episode but some kind of weird spin-off story written to make kids buy more toys… which is also the point of it really.

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It turns out Scott has been there the entire night as the sun is out in this shot of the house, wasting yet more of International Rescue’s time which is apparently very precious to them…

Williams waves Thunderbird 1 off while his kids are taken away to a completely undisclosed location… The two kids are sat in some brand new seats in the Thunderbird 1 cockpit positioned below Scott’s pilot seat. In The Uninvited, Lindsey and Wilson are seated in Thunderbird 1’s winch control area, while in Thunderbirds Are Go, Brains is seated behind Scott in another area concealed by a panel.

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Jeff is getting into the spirit of the thing, even though Jeff would never normally stand for this kind of time wasting nonsense… keeping in mind that he genuinely gets annoyed at Scott in Atlantic Inferno for wasting time putting out a massive fire. It’s quite nice to see a line up of all the boys in uniform though.

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The boys are asked to wear blindfolds so that they have no idea where the island is which at least is a smart move… even though they already know the Tracy family are behind International Rescue. This combined with the fact many other people know exactly which island the Tracys live on such as Tim Casey and Eddie Houseman… so the whole thing isn’t really much of a secret anyway if someone manages to put two and two together… I guess it’s cute that Tony and Bob are wearing little suits and bow ties for their special trip…

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Thunderbird 1’s landing sequence as seen in The Perils of Penelope and Edge of Impact reappears here with the addition of this close up shot which may have originally been filmed for Edge of Impact seeing as it’s similar to this shot from that episode.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Grandma Tracy is trying to give everyone diabetes…

For the first and only time we get to see the monorail which connects the hangars of Tracy Island. It’s the same monorail car seen in The Uninvited but turned upside down. The puppet set is also the same but Alan is using the winch control from the TX-204 in Trapped In The Sky to operate the vehicle.

Alan shows them where some of the pod vehicles are stored… well most of them are pod vehicles anyway. Starting from the left we have the Mole, a yellow fire tender from City of Fire, the Booster Mortar from Edge of Impact which is vastly smaller than the rest, the back end of the Martian Space Probe transporter from Day of Disaster, the Firefly, the Monobrake, a regular truck which can be spotted at Marineville in the pilot episode of Stingray during battle stations, and the Trasmitter Truck. Also notice that the very last light at the end of the bay is out…

Coming straight through from the pod vehicle bay, Alan proudly presents Thunderbird 3. We get a good look at the 6 foot tall model in all its glory. The fact that the large ‘3’ stands vertically at the base of this model  rather than horizontally does bother me a little bit though… Now if you can ignore the fact that this sequence doesn’t contribute much to the story, it does teach us a little more about Tracy Island which is very rare indeed. It’s a chance to sit back and be in awe of International Rescue’s gear and gives the imagination something to work with when trying to figure out how the island functions and connects together.

The boys are pretty enthused by Thunderbird 3 which is more than can be said for the writers of the show apparently. Alan boasts that he’s in charge of it rather than Scott, but then there’s a very odd and awkward exchange with Scott about lunch being ready… I think there’s supposed to be some sort of joke being made here but I must be missing it… either that or Shane Rimmer really was just very confused by saying such an un-Scott-like line.

Grandma is extremely proud of the fact that she’s contributed to the child obesity crisis and world starvation in one swoop. The boys are all just sitting around watching, stunned by how much food Tony and Bob have managed to eat. Anyway, they’ve apparently learnt their lesson about not calling International Rescue without a good reason… how they got that from a tour of the island I don’t know, but it’s good of them anyway to be so mature. With that done and dusted Jeff repeats the lesson one more time and then sends them off in Thunderbird 2… because using Thunderbird 2 as a taxi service definitely isn’t a waste of time and resources or anything…

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Tony and Bob take the passenger chute down to Thunderbird 2 which at least spares us both of them going “weeeeee” as they slide down Virgil’s main access chute.

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With the blindfolds back on, Tony and Bob are ready to take a trip back to Australia. Virgil tries to sound as enthusiastic as he possibly can…

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It turns out Jeff had a blast, saying “when we haven’t got time to do things like that, well it’ll be a sad day.” Really? Because you’re not too keen on the idea in Security Hazard which is just a few episodes away…

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After some stock footage of newspapers being printed, we’re presented with the International Rescue false alarm spread across the front page. Once again the newspaper is dated Friday, December 24, 1964.

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Tony and Bob are thrilled to see the story, even though they should be feeling deeply sorry and embarrassed about the whole thing.

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Williams is at work on something super secret, so super secret we never actually learn what the point of it all is by the end of the episode. His round desk was also used by Professor Mattic on board Fireball XL5

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He’s not happy that the location of their home at ‘Charity Springs’ is printed in the newspaper because “somebody might start to suspect things.” I mean there’s nothing that suspicious about a family living in the middle of the Australian outback is there? Who would possibly want to cause trouble there?

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Oh bother… yes, The Hood is all over the story like a rash. He does indeed suspect something is up about the so-called weather station that Williams operates from his home.

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He’s so excited by the prospect that there’s something super secret to be stolen that his eyes light up. So now that The Hood is involved and it turns out Williams is doing something a bit secret, the real plot of the episode can start to kick in.

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A satellite is in a ludicrously high orbit above the Earth. The same model is later modified into the KLA pirate radio satellite in the episode Ricochet. It is made in part from a Vollmer oil tank kit.

The exterior and interior of the Central Office of the General’s Staff Command from The Impostors is re-used here as ‘Satellite HQ’ with the addition of extra control panels including a console last seen in Brains’ lab in Edge of Impact. Populating the office is Elliott from Edge of Impact, Chip Morrison’s father from Security Hazard and Kyrano’s doctor from Trapped In The Sky. Lieutenant Lansfield is played by a puppet which was also last seen on this set in The Impostors. He reports to Dunsley Tracker that the satellite is about to transmit its radio photographs down there.

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Sure enough, Williams is the guy in charge of Dunsley Tracker. The blue communication unit he’s using was last used by Brains to control his submarine in The Man From MI.5.

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The Colonel from The Impostors sails across the screen on the chair that moves up and down the big wall map for some reason.

Williams’ desk opens up to reveal a hidden segment with colourful buttons. The SP.I satellite spins as it whizzes around the globe… I’m guessing from the acronym it might just be for spying… A stream of photographs of the Earth fly out of the printer. I assume they’re a pretty big deal.

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Meanwhile, the kids’ spelling skills are brought into question. A fly buzzes around outside of their door and I have no idea whether it’s supposed to be there or not.

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Tony and Bob are planning their next International Rescue game. It looks very much like they’ve pinched the intercom from Jeff’s desk which was seen in Operation Crash-Dive. They’re heading up to the old mine on Dunsley Hill, and rather than using the radios Tony has a half-hour head start to get into jeopardy so Bob can come along in the Thunderbird 2 cart and rescue him. All kids who loved Thunderbirds dreamed of having games like Tony and Bob.

Bob lets his dad know they’re off to play and we’re reminded of the golden rule yet again that the real International Rescue are not to be contacted by accident…

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The Hood is watching the house like a complete creep. The camera pushes a bush out of the way in order to get to him.

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Tony is on his way out. Note the name ‘Williams’ is on the outside of the house. Seeing as there isn’t another house for miles around I wouldn’t have thought that was necessary.

The Hood guesses that he’s heading for the mine and intends to follow him wearing a mask which reduces him to the level of a pantomime child snatcher. The Hood shouldn’t be chasing children around, he should be burying people in the sand and leaving them in the middle of the burning desert like the psycho that he is.

Tony reaches the mine which has the same entrance structure, cart, and abandoned blue pickup truck parked outside the front as the mine seen in The Impostors. A very prominent sign informs us all that something bad is likely to happen…

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The ground is clearly giving way in a shot way more effective than the shot of the ground opening up in Pit of Peril.

The Hood has his mask on and is driving up to the mine in his jeep, also seen in additional material for Martian Invasion.

The Hood attempts to talk to Tony like a normal human being and it’s a bit weird. I doubt the guy has ever even met a child before. He suggests that Tony hides in the mine and for some reason the boy trusts the cold, dark eyes of this complete stranger… Mr Williams really is behind on the old parenting thing…

Bob drives the pretty awesome Thunderbird 2 cart down to the mine at startling speeds. Okay, it’s not the most advanced piece of tech ever seen in the series, but just admit that you wanted one when you were a kid.

The Hood’s creepy interrogations continue as he appears out of no-where and starts asking Bob questions about his dad and his work, pretending to be a government surveyor. Bob is even more chatty with the complete stranger, informing The Hood that his father is alone and working in complete secrecy.

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Bob escapes to find Tony in the mine much to The Hood’s annoyance. Now he must “deal” with them… he really has been reduced to panto villain now and it’s rather sad…

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The model set of the mine looks completely different to the much more detailed puppet set.

With a whip pan transition, Bob finds Tony hiding in the mine…

The Hood decides to be ruddy evil as usual and tries to blow up some children. The unstable mine begins to collapse and a screaming Tony and Bob start falling backwards.

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Some rather solid-looking figures of Tony and Bob fall head first down the mine shaft which is pretty darn deep. Not the most convincing shot and it’d lead to some rather serious injuries for the boys if it actually happened.

The Hood rushes off as the entrance to the mine is blocked by a rock fall. Tony and Bob are pretty well buried among timber and rock. They’re in a bad shape. Things suddenly got really serious for this light and fluffy episode.

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By the poolside on Tracy Island, things are pretty chill. Someone was foolish enough to give Gordon a guitar.

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Virgil is reading a jazz magazine from October 1963. They jest about things being so quiet that they should just pass emergency calls on to Tony and Bob… a pair of dead children for all we know… this is really light stuff…

It turns out that the satellite photographs are being used to search for enemy installations… how you could possibly spot such a thing from such distant photographs of the Earth I don’t know… anyway, Williams is relieved that the secret project is almost over so he can spend time with his kids… who just spoke to a stranger, walked into a dangerous mine and fell down a hole… yeah you need to spend more time with your kids…

The Hood swans into Williams’ house. For a top secret government base you’d have thought he’d have some sort of alarm on the front door. Somehow Williams got hold of Tin-Tin’s photograph of Eddie from End of the Road. For some other reason, Williams keeps a dangerous gas cutter lying around the house… this guy’s parenting skills are on top form…

Our villain is startled by the sudden appearance of a TV monitor. Williams interrogates the intruder. Menacingly, The Hood removes his disguise.

He literally begins to work his magic on Williams… suddenly leaping closer to the camera just to scare the willies out of everyone watching.

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Williams manages to turn off the screen before collapsing over the desk. Interesting to note that The Hood’s powers can work even through a TV monitor.

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Despite their horrendous fall, the boys are in good shape. They’ve definitely managed to move and sit upright compared to the previous shot when they were lying in the debris face down. So of course, now they really do need rescuing and after some hesitation they put out a call to International Rescue…

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But John’s having none of it, believing the whole thing to be another game. Nothing gets past John.

Although he does miss the loud sound of bone-crunching rockfalls for some reason. Those kids’ legs would be crushed to pieces by this point.

John reports in being somewhat convinced by the story. Virgil is incredibly scathing of John’s naïvety. Yeah John, naff off. The only reference in the series is made to the Tracy boys’ collective childhood when Jeff says, “When kids play games, they really do believe them. I can remember things when you lot were youngsters.” I guess that’s a sweeping comment about all children really and doesn’t tell us very much. Scott’s disappointed in Tony and Bob, getting weirdly sulky about the whole thing. Did the children hurt your feelings Scott? Bless.

With Williams knocked out and the boys abandoned in the mine, things suddenly got pretty serious. Tony and Bob are facing a life and death situation while the security of Williams’ secret government project hangs in the balance. It’s a pretty good crisis.

The chief of Satellite HQ shows up. This is Colonel Jameson. He was last seen as General Lambert in The Impostors in charge of the same office. There’s an awful lot of crossover with The Impostors in this episode, suggesting a pretty tight production schedule. It is established that Dunsley Tracker is in the middle of no-where, although in a close up of the control panel it’s misspelled as ‘Densley Tracker’.

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Williams reports in the emergency. With The Hood’s hypnotic powers, Williams feels unable to use a gun to stop him. But he’s securely locked inside the room so the photographs are safe…

Except if you’re dumb enough to leave a gas cutter lying around. Hope that cheap wallpaper doesn’t end up burning the entire house down. The Hood is wearing the same safety goggles as the saboteur in Operation Crash-Dive.

The mine is still collapsing and John is just sort of standing around on Thunderbird 5… he really needs some hobbies…

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John reckons Tony and Bob have gone home for tea. Despite some of the more trivial lines they have to deliver in this episode, the voice cast still do an excellent job at keeping their performances sincere.

The Hood continues to make a mess of the wallpaper while Williams, Jameson, and Lansfield try to come up with a solution. With a 2-3 hour wait for people to get out to Dunsley Tracker that isn’t really an option. If only they’d been more prepared for a hypnotic bald maniac scenario… Williams is given permission to burn the precious photographs if all else fails but he realises that International Rescue only took 35 minutes to reach them. The distance between Tracy Island’s rough location off the coast of Chile and the location of Dunsley Tracker previously indicated on The Hood’s map is around 9000 miles. With Thunderbird 1 travelling at its maximum speed of 15,000 mph, 35 minutes isn’t a bad estimate at all.

More tension building shots of the abandoned mine slowly collapsing. Tony is oddly motionless as Bob panics about the roof collapsing.

Jameson contacts John in Thunderbird 5 who has been standing next to the radio for most of the episode and probably needs a sit down by now. Jeff has a eureka moment when he realises they’ve been a tad negligent by ignoring the boys. He declares that they aren’t a political organisation but need to help Tony and Bob. They’re so unpolitical that they decided to do the British Secret Service’s work for them last week in The Man From MI.5.

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Jeff places Scott in charge of rescuing Williams while Virgil and Alan have to go into the mine and recover Tony and Bob. Thunderbirds Are Go!

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Gordon is charged with maintaining radio contact with the boys… which should probably be John’s job but he needs a lie down after all the excitement…

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This guy’s lost interest in pretty much everything and just wants to get home.

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Jameson and his lieutenant have a quick little chat about the slight security leak that may have occurred to give The Hood knowledge of the project. Maybe next time the press shouldn’t be allowed to report on International Rescue false alarms and take photos of a top secret government station… maybe someone should have stopped them from doing that…

With The Hood’s rather over-sized cutting completed, Williams desperately attempts to destroy the photographs which may or may not depict enemy installations although frankly I don’t think you could tell. That’s a tremendously high kick for The Hood to manage.

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Try not to have nightmares kids about The Hood cutting his way through your bedroom wall and coming for you in your sleep. For a maximum security project you’d have really thought the walls would be a bit thicker.

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Despite not changing his expression whatsoever, Williams looks ruddy terrified – a testament to good puppetry and direction.

The Hood promptly knocks out his victim who falls over with great drama, leaving the photographs there for the taking. This is the last time ever that The Hood uses his hypnotic powers in Thunderbirds.

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Scott comes in to land. The lettering on the belly of this particularly model is clearly visible.

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As The Hood makes his exit with the photographs, Scott leaves Thunderbird 1 on his hoverbike. We don’t know where the bike is stored in Thunderbird 1 or how it leaves the craft, but one can guess it’s stored at the rear somewhere.

With his disguise safely back on, The Hood makes a run for it. Scott goes in pursuit on his hoverbike which is apparently capable of some remarkable speeds. Thinking about it, Scott should probably recognise the truck from the chase in Martian Invasion.

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Meanwhile, the majestic and enormous Thunderbird 2 comes sweeping over the mountains.

Virgil has popped his hat on briefly. He wasn’t wearing it when he took off and he isn’t wearing it in the next shot. Thunderbird 2 touches down magnificently.

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Virgil and Alan take their hoverbikes to the top of the mine shaft. It looks like there will be no pod vehicles in use today which is perhaps what makes this rescue less memorable compared to others.

Alan secures a harness attachment into a wooden timber which probably wouldn’t support their weight. The whole process of hooking on the line and securing it is done with a puppet hand rather than via a live action insert. A floor puppeteer would have been holding the very end of the arm to help out with the intricate work.

Using the super strong harness equipment, Alan and Virgil make their way down the mine shaft. It’s a pretty epic moment even if the technology isn’t particularly advanced.

They soon reach the bottom of the shaft and are able to use a device which can home in on transmissions from Tony’s walkie-talkie and locate the source, meaning the boys can be found.

Virgil and Alan have flashlights strapped to their shoulders which are pretty neat. The roof continues to collapse as they carefully make their way through the mine. This is tense stuff and beautifully lit.

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As the mine nears complete disintegration, the boys are found.

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Alan lifts up the fallen beam which is crushing Tony and Bob’s legs. Although one assumes it isn’t actually heavy enough to crush the boys’ legs or Alan wouldn’t be able to lift it alone. Tony is pulled out by Virgil first because let’s be honest, Tony is the nicer one of the two kids…

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Virgil gets to work on rescuing Bob. The fact both of them are wearing yellow sashes is pretty adorable… but never mind that, this is a serious situation!

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The remaining roof timbers splinter apart like crazy, the terrific sound effects doing so much work to imply the sheer weight of the rock about to fall straight through.

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Virgil, Alan, and the boys watch the the whole lot comes down on where Tony and Bob were sat just a few seconds before. Another nail biting rescue successfully completed! Now how do they get out of there before the rest collapses? We’ll never know.

Meanwhile Scott remains in pursuit of The Hood. His wing mirror completely changes shape and attachment when The Hood looks into it.

Starting to lose control of the vehicle, The Hood should really pay more attention to the road and his speed. He has an awful lot of car accidents when you think about it…

The truck plummets down the cliff and explodes on impact. Is this the end of The Hood? Scott reckons so. He heads down to the wreckage to collect the photographs…

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Luckily for The Hood, a tree caught him on the way down. This is it though, the final appearance of The Hood in the classic TV series. He pops up again in the Thunderbirds Are Go movie before presumably getting blown to bits in a helicopter, but his part is only very minor, he has no interest in International Rescue, and he doesn’t use his powers at all. His disappearance from the series comes pretty early on considering he’s supposed to be the main villain. Unfortunately the writers really struggled to find a place for this stereotypical pantomime-like baddie in a show that was reaching further and further towards more grown up and realistic stories. He had some glorious moments of nastiness in the series but his overall incompetence and inability to trump International Rescue in any struggle reduced his fear factor quite a bit as he kept on losing battles again and again. His disappearance from the series at this point marks a change in direction for Thunderbirds and the Supermarionation genre as a whole. The all-consuming malevolence and goofy comedy that The Hood brought is put aside for much more real and threatening dangers.

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“Curse International Rescue!” Going out as melodramatic as he came in…

Back at the Williams homestead, the photographs and the family are safe.

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Please sit on the chair properly Alan. None of us need to see that. There are children present.

For one last little bit of fun to finish the episode off, Scott is asked to try out the boys’ Thunderbird 2 launch system. On the cabinet in the background is Elliott’s space helmet from The Impostors, although this mysteriously disappears when Scott is standing in front of it.

Just admit that you’ve always wanted to try this out too…

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Scott is flung off the slide on to the Thunderbird 2 cart. His smiler head which was often over used at the beginning of the series is attached here… well at least he’s enjoying himself…

Scott’s fondness for Grandma’s apple pies has made him a bit too heavy, giving the cart too much momentum and sending him flying out of control into the barn next door… a whip pan transition reveals he has picked up a bale of hay on the way through…

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The boys wince as Scott gracefully comes to a halt. You can see the floor puppeteer’s fingers holding up Bob’s arms.

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“The things I do for International Rescue…” What things do you do for International Rescue, Scott? We struggle to work out what your job is a lot of the time. Is this it? Who knows…

Cry Wolf is often criticised for being too cutesy and sweet, giving up a proper story in favour of trying to make kids at home play International Rescue just like Tony and Bob do so that they’ll spend their pocket money on Thunderbirds toys. I would certainly say that intention accounts for about half of the episode. But is that really so bad? It could have been so much more cringe-worthy than what we ended up with. What’s more, I absolutely loved Cry Wolf as a young’n. Considering Thunderbirds is such a good show for all ages, it doesn’t do any harm to have one episode with a bit of material made to appeal more to younger children.

The secret photographs plot brings the episode back to normality a little bit. More detail about the purpose of the project would have given the plot greater impact. It balances the light and fluffy aspects of the episode out with something a tad more serious. This results in a pretty average episode overall. There’s nothing excruciatingly bad about Cry Wolf, it just suffers from being rather vanilla. Mercifully it isn’t completely ruined by too much silliness and it obviously wouldn’t have worked if it had been done totally straight. Grown ups who read this blog need to give this episode another chance and you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more than you thought you would. It’ll remind you a little about why you loved Thunderbirds as a child.

Next week, we’re tackling Danger At Ocean Deep. When Ocean Pioneer I mysteriously disappears and an International Rescue assignment is hindered by communication trouble, you can be sure there’s some sort of connection resulting in deadly danger for the crew of Ocean Pioneer II!

2 thoughts on “Thunderbirds – 21. Cry Wolf

  1. Alan’s certainly not being proper sitting like Christine Keeler there, but it never occurred to me just how they made the characters more real by having them do silly things like that!

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  2. Just discovered this site and really loving the detail and care put into it!

    Going back to the comment about Scott’s awkward reaction in the monorail – surely it comes from the fact that Alan had just admitted that Scott comes along with him in Thunderbird 3 ‘just to keep and eye on him’ (or something like that) and Scott, obviously a bit narked off that Alan’s just casually dismissed his assistance, is grumbling about how Alan is the big astronaut and Scott is just a copilot.

    Also, I’m not sure how I feel about the immediate assumption that the Tony and Bob are prank calling them when they call for actual help – it almost feels like this episode would have helped having established that the kids were not as good as they were and had a history of making prank calls to IR (or casually disregarding Jeff’s request) as opposed to making the one call, getting a trip to Tracy Island and then needing rescuing straight away!

    Of course, if their Dad made them the radios and International Rescue is their favourite game, why hasn’t this situation happened before? Or couldn’t Brains have put together some radios for the boys that they could use without contacting IR? (after all he had no problem making a diversion detector for Colonel Casey…)

    I guess I have a problem with IR policing the airwaves and telling people what they can and cannot do when using radios!

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