Barry Gray: The Composer behind the Works of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson

Children who grew up in Britain in the 1960’s were the first to see the science fiction of the late Gerry & Sylvia Anderson (1929-2012, 1927-2016). These works included a very characteristic set of musical scores that were all composed by the late Barry Gray (1908-1984).

Barry Gray

Barry Gray (1908-1984)

The works to which we’re referring were mostly filmed using puppets in a format that Gerry Anderson dubbed as “Supermarionation”, but the later works were filmed with live actors. We’ve listed the main works below (excluding derivative works), which all have the music composed by Barry Gray.

Barry Gray’s music is characterised by the use of brass and percussion sections, as well as extensive use of leitmotifs. (A leitmotif is a short, constantly recurring musical phrase associated with a particular person, place, or idea.) His works also required the use of fairly large ensembles of musicians, as well as some unusual electronic instruments to produce some very unconventional musical notes and sound effects:

  • An ondes martenot, which was invented in 1928 by French cellist Maurice Martenot  in an attempt to replicate the accidental overlaps of tones between military radio oscillators. ondes_martenot
  • A swarmatron, which is an analogue synthesizer that uses a ribbon controller rather than a keyboard and is noted for its use of multiple oscillators that are linked through a ‘swarm’ control to create its distinctive sound and method of playing.jyniyot2wqop1gibpbci

A live concert of Barry Gray’s music was performed in 2016 in Brighton, UK. Below is a YouTube video discussing the music and instruments that Barry Gray used:

Barry Gary’s Opening and Closing Themes

Included below are YouTube videos of the theme songs written by Barry Gray:

Supercar theme:

Fireball XL5 theme:

Stingray opening & closing themes with snippets:

Thunderbirds opening & closing credits with snippets:

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons opening and closing themes:

Joe 90 opening and closing credits with snippets:

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun movie theme with other themes:

UFO opening and closing themes with snippets:

Space: 1999 first season opening theme:

Space: 1999 first season closing theme:

References

 

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2016 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Celebrity Deaths

The number of deaths among celebrities in 2016 has seemed quite high and the #SciFi & #Fantasy genres haven’t been immune as the year began with 2 significant deaths, continued from there and is ending with even more significant deaths. The affected franchises include #StarWars, #HarryPotter, #StarTrek, #Babylon5, #Thunderbirds, #Bewitched & more. Listed below are some of the beloved celebrities that have been lost in 2016. May they all rest in peace.

David Bowie (Jan. 8, 1947 – Jan. 10, 2016)

A very gifted musician, singer & composer, David Bowie also acted and played the character Jareth in #Labyrinth among others.

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Alan Rickman (Feb. 21, 1946 – Jan. 14, 2016)

The very gifted actor Alan Rickman will forever be remembered for playing the character Sevurus Snape in #HarryPotter. He also played Alexander Dane / Dr. Lazarus in #GalaxyQuest & much, much more. “By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged!” His untimely passing earlier this year remains a source of sadness for many. He will never be forgotten.

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Alethea McGrath (Jun. 1, 1920 – Feb. 9, 2016)

The Australian actress will likely be best remembered as the Jedi Temple librarian Jocasta Nu in “#StarWars: #AttackOfTheClones”, but did other works.

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Drew Henley (1940 – Feb. 14, 2016)

Drew Henley is likely best known for portraying the X-Wing pilot known only as “Red Leader” in “#StarWars: #ANewHope”. Unused footage of him from this film was used in “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story”, which opened in theaters on Dec. 16, 2016. He also appeared in #Space1999, Gerry Anderson’s #UFO & more.

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Lee Reherman (Jul. 4, 1966 – Feb. 29, 2016)

Among his various works. Lee Reherman played the uniformed mercenary in “#StarTrek Into Darkness” who gets sucked into space when Scotty blows open the airlock.

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Sylvia Anderson (Mar. 25, 1927 – Mar. 15, 2016)

Sylvia Anderson co-created many works with her former deceased husband Gerry Anderson, including #Thunderbirds, #CaptainScarletVsTheMysterons, #UFO, #Space1999, #Stingray, #Joe90 & more! She was the voice for Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds.

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Erik Bauersfeld (Jun. 28, 1922 – Apr. 3, 2016)

Erik Bauersfeld voiced Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortuna in #StarWars & more. His most famous line was, “It’s a trap!”

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Buck Kartalian (Aug. 13, 1922 – May 24, 2016)

Buck Kartalian portrayed the ape Julius in #PlanetOfTheApes and was also in “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”, as well as the #Batman TV series, #TheMunsters, #VoyageToTheBottomOfTheSea & more.

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Janet Waldo (Feb. 4, 1920 – Jun. 12, 2016)

Among her many works, Janet Waldo voiced the character of Judy Jetson in #TheJetsons, as well as Princess Susan in #BattleOfThePlanets.

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Anton Yelchin (Mar. 11, 1989 – Jun. 19, 2016)

The tragic accidental death of Anton Yelchin cut short what would’ve likely been a very long & brilliant acting career. He will forever be remembered for his portrayal of the character Chekov in the #StarTrek reboot.

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Jerry Doyle (Jul. 16, 1956 – Jul. 27, 2016)

Among his many works, Jerry Doyle played the character Michael Garibaldi in #Babylon5.

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Barry Jenner (Jan. 14, 1941 – Aug. 9, 2016)

Barry Jenner played the character Admiral Ross in “#StarTrek #DS9” and more.

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Kenny Baker (Aug. 24, 1934 – Aug. 13, 2016)

Kenny Baker will always be remembered for playing the droid character R2-D2 in #StarWars. He also played the character Paploo in “Star Wars”, as well as Fidget in #TimeBandits, a dwarf in #FlashGordon & much more!

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Gene Wilder (Jun. 11, 1933 – Aug. 29, 2016)

Gene Wilder was a brilliant actor. He played Willy Wonka in #WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory, Dr. Frankenstein in #YoungFrankenstein & was in many other films, including #BlazingSaddles, #SilverStreak, #TheWorldsGreatestLover, #StirCrazy & much more!

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Hazel Douglas (Nov. 2, 1923 – Sept. 8, 2016)

Among her many works that began in 1947, Hazel Douglas portrayed Bathilda Bagshot in “#HarryPotter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”.

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Tony Swartz (Sept. 24, 1943 – Sept. 27, 2016)

Tony Swartz played Flight Sergeant Jolly in the original #BattlestarGalactica TV, & more.

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Bernard Fox (May 11, 1927 – Dec. 14, 2016)

Bernard Fox may be best well known for his portrayal of Doctor Bombay in the TV series Bewitched, but he had many other roles.

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Liz Smith (Dec. 11, 1921 – Dec. 24, 2016)

Among her many works, Liz Smith played Grandma Georgina in #CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory (2005). She was also in the 1999 TV movie #AChristmasCarol, which starred Patrick Stewart as Ebeneezer Scrooge. She’ll also be remembered as the bizarre cook Letitia Cropley in the British comedy #TheVicarOfDibley and for many other works.

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George Michael (Jun. 25, 1963 – Dec. 25, 2016)

The world-renowned singer George Michael is included here because his music was a favorite of the character Deadpool & used in the #Deadpool movie.

 

Carrie Fisher (Oct. 21, 1956 – Dec. 27, 2016)

The legendary actress Carrie Fisher portrayed the pivotal #StarWars character Princess Leia Organa in the original trilogy, then reprised the role in “#StarWarsVII: #TheForceAwakens”. She had completed filming for the next installment, #StarWarsVIII, which won’t be released in theaters until Dec., 2017.

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Debbie Reynolds (Apr. 1, 1932 – Dec. 28, 2016)

The mother of Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds was a well-known actress who was too overcome with grief over the death of her daughter the day before.

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