I've been watching "Fireball XL5" and was thinking about the cost of producing these shows vs. live action shows. As with live action shows, Gerry Anderson shows had to be written, directed, and filmed. They had scores with orchestras. They required the use of voice actors, and puppeteers. Plus, the puppets had to be made, and elaborate miniature sets had to be designed and manufactured.
It makes me wonder, at the end of the day, the cost of producing these shows relative to live action shows. It seems remarkable that he was able to do so many of them for such a stretch.
What a fascinating addition to 20th century pop culture.
Coincidentally, I watched "Thunderbirds Are Go" and "Thunderbird 6" just recently, and was wondering the same thing. For instance: What was the point of the marionettes? Did this save money? It seems that all that trouble would cost more money over the long run. Certainly the miniature sets would be cheaper to build, but with all the trouble it would take to get the puppets set up and sychronized, etc. I'd think it would be very time --- which IS money --- consuming.
Plus, it's just kind of weird and creepy. I'm glad it (the marionette thing) never really caught on, at least not on a large scale.
They could and did reuse puppets (especially in the later series - for instance Captain Scarlet was repurposed as a supporting player in The Secret Service), sets, stock footage and particularly music... all of which must have helped with the budget.
There was a Saturday-morning children's show in the late '70s-early '80s called "The Big Blue Marble" and one of its recurring segments was a marionette adventure where some marionette kids floated around the world in what looked to be a Mercury capsule, only with a hot-air balloon kind of thing keeping it aloft. Was that an Anderson production or a knockoff? And does anyone remember this or was there just too much gluten in my sugary cereal?
Can't answer your specific question about the costs Onya, but I have to say that the old marionette shows had a special charm to them which hooked me as a kid and still gives me pleasure today on DVD. So an episode of THUNDERBIRDS for example seems/ seemed a lot more "magical" than, say, SPACE: 1999 or UFO.
For me it's a bit like (not much, but a bit) jerky Ray Harryhausen monsters compared to people in rubber costumes. No competition. In one case an entire new universe is set up, and in the other the "reality" of it makes it more... unbelievabe.
It's just another art form like 2D animation, stop motion animation, etc. Marionette's have been around for thousands of years. Taking this concept and putting them into a sci fi universe was pretty ingenious at the time.
I don't know how much cheaper it was to produce. I imagine voice actors made a lot less money. While sets are much small everything had to be custom built. Not like you can just dress up your set with what is in storage. (Like they did with Kirks apartment in WOK)