|"Titan Goes Pop"|
|Episode no.||Episode 10|
|Directed by||Alan Pattillo|
|Written by||Dennis Spooner|
|Cinematography by||Paddy Seale|
|Editing by||Eric Pask|
|Original air date||6 December 1964|
|Guest character voices|
"Titan Goes Pop" is the tenth episode of Stingray, a British Supermarionation television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by their company AP Films. Written by Dennis Spooner and directed by Alan Pattillo, it was first broadcast on 6 December 1964 on ATV London.
In this episode, Agent X-2-Zero kidnaps a pop singer who is visiting Marineville and brings him before Titan.
Commander Shore (voiced by Ray Barrett) is ordered to report to World Security Patrol Headquarters, where he is informed that famous pop singer Duke Dexter is due to perform at the WASP's upcoming recruiting show in Marineville. Although the WSP commanders stress that Dexter's planned appearance is to be kept secret, word is soon leaked to the press and Marineville is swamped by hundreds of Dexter's fans.
Surface Agent X-2-Zero (voiced by Robert Easton) has been monitoring events from his house on Lemoy Island. Believing Dexter to be the most important person ever to visit Marineville, he reports to Titan (voiced by Ray Barrett), who orders him to bring Dexter to Titanica. Disguising himself as one of Dexter's fans, X-2-Zero travels to Marineville and tricks both the base personnel and Dexter's manager, Sandy Gibson, into thinking that he is an undercover agent called "X" who has been assigned to protect Dexter. To get Dexter into Marineville unnoticed, Gibson and Shore have Captain Troy Tempest (voiced by Don Mason) dress as Dexter to distract the crowds while the real singer arrives by helicopter.
X-2-Zero, still posing as "X", offers to provide Dexter with accommodation until the show and has him transferred to Lemoy. He then drugs Dexter's food to knock him out and takes him to Titanica by submarine. With Gibson unable to reach Dexter by telephone, Troy, Phones (voiced by Robert Easton) and Gibson travel to Lemoy in Stingray only to find that Dexter and "X" have vanished. They detect X-2-0's underwater craft on long-range scanners but are prevented from intercepting it when one of Stingray's stabilisers breaks loose, disabling the submarine.
At Titanica, Titan questions Dexter. He asks the singer whether it is true that people go crazy when they see him, which Dexter admits. This confirms Titan's mistaken belief that Dexter is causing the land people to destroy each other and that he has found an ally in the singer. He has Dexter drugged once more and returned to Lemoy. When Dexter is found, he claims to have been kidnapped by underwater beings, but Shore is convinced that recent events were all a publicity stunt.
In the closing scene, Dexter performs his latest hit, "I've Got Something to Shout About", at the recruiting show with the Stingray crew in the audience. Meanwhile, Titan and X-2-Zero watch a live broadcast of the event from Titanica, confident that if the craze around Dexter continues the land people will soon be conquered.
Several major scenes were cut, including one in which the WSP commanders discuss sending the letter that Shore receives at the beginning of the episode. The deleted scenes also included a montage showing how the press learn of Dexter's visit to Marineville: besides the shot of the front page of the Marineville Observer newspaper (which is retained in the finished episode), viewers were to have been shown a telephone switchboard with numerous hands switching the leads, as well as telephone or radio mast wires sending out signals.
Dexter's singing voice was provided by Gary Miller, who also performed series' end titles song, "Aqua Marina". Dexter's song "I've Got Something to Shout About" can also be heard in the episode "Set Sail for Adventure", which was filmed immediately after "Titan Goes Pop".
Simon Archer and Marcus Hearn, authors of What Made Thunderbirds Go! The Authorised Biography of Gerry Anderson, consider the episode to be one of the "highlights" of Stingray. Ian Fryer, author of The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson: The Story Behind International Rescue, believes "Titan Goes Pop" to be the series' "key episode" as well as its "funniest" instalment, describing it as a "fascinating and wildly entertaining spoof of the phenomenon of the pop superstar". He writes that Dexter's presence in Marineville is a "source of some great jokes" and that the exchanges between Titan and X-2-Zero feature "some of the best dialogue in the entire series". Fryer also comments on the episode's closing scene, arguing that Titan and X-2-Zero's clueless reactions to Dexter's performance "[echo] some of the fears of the more apocalyptic commentators of the '50s and '60s at the effects of popular culture on society." He compares Dexter's physical appearance to that of Elvis Presley and the character's vocal style to that of Buddy Holly or Adam Faith.
Vincent Law regards the episode as a parody of teen culture. Paul O'Brien draws parallels between "Titan Goes Pop" and Beatlemania "in its hysterical early days", adding that Dexter's appearances "brilliantly mimic Elvis Presley's effect on late '50s audiences"; he also suggests that Commander Shore and Titan "[represent] the older generation's incomprehension" of contemporary pop culture. He notes that Spooner was "able to have some fun sending [the characters] up" since by this point in the series they had been "well established with the viewers". O'Brien also praises the production and the use of scale 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." However, he describes the scene of Troy running away from Dexter's fans as a "total failure", commenting that it "looks like the puppet is being stretched on a rack."
In an otherwise positive review of Stingray's soundtrack, Anthony Clark of sci-fi-online.com criticises the song "I've Got Something to Shout About", calling it "truly dreadful" and "best skipped".
- Fryer, Ian (2011). "Script To Screen". FAB. No. 69.
- Fryer, Ian (2016). The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson: The Story Behind International Rescue. Fonthill Media. pp. 88–90. ISBN 978-1-78155-504-0.
- Bentley, Chris (2008) . The Complete Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Episode Guide (4th ed.). London, UK: Reynolds & Hearn. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-905287-74-1.
- O'Neill, Phelim (12 March 2015). "Supermarionation Box Set Review – The Biggest, Best, Most Spectacular Puppet Shows of All". The Guardian. London, UK: Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 14 October 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
- Archer, Simon; Hearn, Marcus (2002). What Made Thunderbirds Go! The Authorised Biography of Gerry Anderson. London, UK: BBC Books. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-563-53481-5.
- Law, Vincent (Autumn 2009). Farrell, Richard; Law, Vincent (eds.). "Bizarre Love Triangle". Andersonic. No. 8. p. 7.
- O'Brien, Paul (Spring 2009). Law, Vincent (ed.). "Something to Shout About". Andersonic. No. 7. pp. 34–35.
- Clark, Anthony (2009). "Stingray: Original Television Soundtrack – Soundtrack Review". sci-fi-online.com. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2018.