Saturday, December 08, 2007

My fantasy girlfriend - Rhapsody Angel

The first cut is the deepest, as someone once said - and so is the first love. My first love was Rhapsody. Well, I think she was. I confess I was a bit of a slut, and harboured lustful thoughts for all 5 of these lovely ladies. (I wonder - only ever-so-slightly guiltily - if even at the age of 7 I was starting to develop a little bit of a lesbian fetish?) I mean to say, they wore those slinky catsuits and they flew fighter jets - what more does a boy want in a woman?

OK, yes, they were made of wood (or fibreglass or something); but the childish imagination is prepared to suspend disbelief completely. For the duration of the show - and in my fantasies thereafter - they seemed completely real to me.

It can be difficult, after the lapse of so many years, to remember who was who. (For those of you who are already wretchedly confused, lost, this is a reference to a classic British kids' TV show of the late '60s/early '70s called 'Captain Scarlet', a sci-fi action adventure series staged with marionettes [the style aped by the South Park boys in 'Team America'] - a gimmick developed by the cracked genius, Gerry Anderson. The Angels were an elite team of female jet-fighter pilots for the hi-tech world security agency, Spectrum.) Destiny had the most memorable codename (the only non-musical one), and - if I recall correctly - tended to be the most prominently featured in the stories. But her cutesy French accent was irritatingly overdone, I found (or maybe I just hadn't developed my French fetish quite yet). No, the leading candidate for one's first erection was Symphony - a classic all-American blonde bombshell (never really my type - although I have learnt to give them a little more consideration since I discovered how well they can kiss). She had a little bit of a thing going on with Captain Blue as well. I think I was jealous for a while.

In a spirit of tokenism, other ethnicities were also represented. Harmony, the Asian babe, was a bit of a bland character but had a very appealing accent. Somehow one always struggles to remember the name of the African-American crew member (my objectionable Scots drinking buddy, The Bookseller, usually facetiously suggests something like 'Rhythm') - but I suspect it must have been Melody. Yes, I had a bit of thing for her too.

But my favourite must surely have been (at least, that's how I reconstruct my memories in retrospect) the redhead, Rhapsody ('real name' Dianne Simms - although I'm not sure that that ever came up in the series). That hair colouring is a congenital weakness of mine - something to do with the Irish ancestry, I dare say. I have just learned from one of the numerous Gerry Anderson fan sites that her features were supposedly modelled on the '60s supermodel, Jean Shrimpton. Maybe that explains it. That and the red hair. The hero of the series, Captain Scarlet himself, had a crush on her....... and there is a fan theory that they were actually having an affair (based, as far as I can gather, purely on this 'morning after' publicity shot of her wearing his hat!!).

Oh, the lost innocence of youth.......


Anonymous said...

This was a British show? Why so many American Characters?

And what are black people called in Britain? African-British?

The British Cowboy said...

Black people. Or Black British. Or Afro-Carribean.

Or more commonly, British.

Froog said...

Ah, we can always rely on the Cowboy - even mid-trial - to fill us in on these points of political correctness.

One day - when I'm feeling brave enough - I may tell the 'Nattily Attired Gentlemen Of Colour' story on here. Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

The American-ness is an interesting point. Although Gerry Anderson was British, and all of his shows were set in England (or very largely so), there were a lot of American characters. Even in UFO, an entirely Brit series, the commander of the anti-alien security force, S.H.A.D.O., was played by the American actor, Ed Bishop. And another American, the unfortunately named Shane Rimmer, provided a lot of the voices for the marionette shows. I suppose Gerry had an eye on the American market. Or maybe it just seemed to be a basic premise of 'futurology', that in 50 or 100 years America would be an even more dominant force in the world than it is today.

Anonymous said...

This was a children's show, huh?

And the show was named after a man, and the show's hero was a man, and yet here were all these women doing the work? Huh. Typical.

Forgive me. I have been doing housework all morning, which more often than not leaves me a bit... annoyed. I shouldn't take it out on you and your childhood fantasies. Especially after your heart-felt apology for the male of the species on my blog. I should be better behaved. ;-)

Froog said...

Yes, it's still a horribly sexist world, I'm afraid. Even more so when this show was first created - nearly 40 years ago!! (I learn that it was recently revived using CGI rather than marionettes. Will have to look out for that the next time I go DVD shopping.)

I daresay Gerry Anderson thought he was being quite enlightened in this: the Angels may have been rather subsidiary characters and blatant eye-candy (and very conventionally - wince-makingly! - 'feminine' when off duty), but it was an 'equal opportunities' kind of idea - the defence of the earth resting in the hands of a bunch of women jet pilots!! Awesome!!

I doubt if they inspired a generation of young girls to join the air force, though. It was really a very dark and violent show, and appealed to boys only.

Tone said...

The abundance of American Characters was to make the shows easier to sell to American networks for syndication. Simples.