RALEIGH — It’s the year 2065 and the first manned mission to Mars is sabotaged. Two years later, as the subsequent mission approaches launch, Jeff Tracy’s International Rescue squad (Tracy’s five sons and their Thunderbird ships with ground support from London Agent Lady Penelope) thwarts a second sabotage attempt by their arch-enemy, The Hood, and the mission launches as planned. Six weeks later, the astronauts successfully arrive on Mars — only to be outgunned by giant red-eyed rock snakes! The astronauts flee back to Earth, where an equipment malfunction during re-entry causes their ship to plummet towards Craigsville, population 4,800. Can International Rescue save the day? To find out, join us for the cult classic “Thunderbirds Are Go!” (1966) at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on First Friday, February 7, at 7 p.m. Free.
“Thunderbirds Are Go!” was an offshoot of the British TV series “Thunderbirds.” The series and movie were filmed in “Supermarionation,” a portmanteau of “super,” “marionette” and “animation.” The term was coined by Thunderbirds co-creator Gerry Anderson to describe his process of filming marionettes lip-synching to a voice soundtrack. The puppets were created with motors in their disproportionately large heads to control their lips, activated by electrical signals that traveled down the puppets’ control wires in pulses from the specially filtered voice track. An unintended side-effect of the marionettes’ over-large heads was that they were unable to be made to walk convincingly, resulting in a Wall-E-esque vision of a future whose inhabitants are whisked from place to place via powered chairs, sofas or other contraptions.
Anderson’s wife, Sylvia, created the Thunderbirds characters, co-wrote the script, co-produced the film, designed the costumes, and voiced Lady Penelope. She was also responsible for a surreal musical interlude in which one of Tracy’s sons, Alan, dreams that he and Lady Penelope fly to an interstellar version of the posh nightclub “The Swinging Star” to be serenaded by UK’s “Peter Pan of Pop Music,” Cliff Richard Jr. David Graham will reprise his role as Lady Penelope’s chauffeur Parker in the computer-animated remake, “Thunderbirds Are Go!” slated for release in 2015.
This month’s Teen Science Café (6pm, Daily Planet Café) features NC State PhD student Emily Meineke and an up-close-and-personal look at insect predators (such as parasitic wasps), what she calls the unsung superheroes of the animal kingdom.
BOGO (buy one get one) adult admission to “Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution” every First Friday from 5 to 7pm. Found only in New Guinea and parts of Australia, birds-of-paradise are a case study in the power of evolution. This new exhibition highlights fascinating stories of groundbreaking research and adventure paired with amazing footage and photography from National Geographic. Prices: Free for Members; $6 for Adults; $4 for Children (3-12); $5 for Students, Seniors (65+) and Military.
The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 p.m. on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to witness a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, groove to live music from Rich Valley Road, wander through eye-catching exhibits, or enjoy food and beverages at the Daily Planet Café. Additionally, the Museum Stores offer after-hours shopping (till 7pm) and this month an opening reception for Gene Furr, whose show “Free and Untamed” runs February 7 - March 2 in the Nature Art Gallery. All exhibited art is for sale.