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Toonhound presents...






It's A Puppet!
"Paul Starr" (Roberta Leigh / Wonderama)

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Paul Starr
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  producers: National Interest Pictures
                    / Wonderama
     puppets: marionette puppets
    episodes: 1 x 26mins pilot

   "Introducing Paul Starr - Space Agent!"
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    Paul Starr is a space agent working for the SBI. That's the Space Bureau of
    Investigation, to you and I. When ever there is danger, Starr blasts off from
    underwater headquarters in his spaceship SBI-5, to take on the threat,
    thwart the invader, and defend the Earth!

    This exciting, interstellar production was created and written by Roberta Leigh,
    who was at the time flushed with the success of her "Space Patrol" series.
    "Paul Starr" was another step up the sci-fi ladder for her, and her co-producer
    on the show, Arthur Provis. They had a bigger budget and colour presentation,
    to boot. In this pilot story, the head of the SBI is visited by the alien leader
    of Mars. Five of his atomic plants on the red planet have been destroyed.
    Our martian man believes that his rival, General Darinx is looking to take
    control of the planet. So Starr and his crewman, Lightning, blast off for
    action from Solar Cell 5...

    "Where ever there's danger, you'll find the men
     of the Space Bureau of Investigation!"

    With its roaring rockets, aquatic-looking aliens, whirring robots, interplanetry
    action and explosions, all the ingredients for TV success were present and
    correct. But alas, "Paul Starr" never received a series commission. You see,
    there was a sizable supermarionated elephant lurking around the production,
    in the form of Gerry Anderson and AP Films. Their team had already
    conquered the TV schedules with Fireball XL5 and Stingray, and those
    Thunderbirds were blasting off for action at the same time as Roberta
    Leigh's new pilot.

    SBI-5 from "Paul Starr" (Robeerta Leigh / Wonderama)

    It's easy to speculate that, if those Anderson series weren't omni-present
    "Paul Starr" would have been picked up, and soared. Oh, but then it
    probably wouldn't have been made in the first place, because, there's no
    escaping the fact that this was hugely derivative of those shows. There's
    "Stingray" all over that underwater base, and "Thunderbirds" in the protracted
    launch sequence. The robots have stolen Robert the Robot's electronic vocals
    too, and we've got a slick singing star (Jerry Dane) crooning over the end
    credits. Heck, there's even a rumbling bongo beat introducing the thing!

    "Paul Starr" is still very watchable. The show featured fab new, rubber-faced
    puppets, and that bigger budget is all up there, on the screen, for all to see.
    But AP got there first, and because of that, our space pilot never took off...


    broadcast info

    Alas, this series pilot was never broadcast in the UK...


    Paul Starr on DVD

    But, but, but this episode was made available as a fab hi-def extra on
    Network's "Space Patrol" blu-ray release. It's hard to come by now,
    but here's the link, anyway...

     UK DVD Space Patrol
               Region 2 / blu-ray / Network / 2008


    Roberta Leigh and Arthus Provis present
    a National Interest Pictures production

creted & written by:
music & lyrics:

music arranged by:
theme song sung by:
director of
camera operator:
puppets made by:

art director:
special effects:

Roy D Baker
Robeta Leigh, Arthur Provis
Robeta Leigh
Roberta Leigh
Tony King
Jerry Dane

Arthur Provis
Royl Lacey
Denis Skelton
Martin & Heather Granger
Martin Granger, Heather Granger,
Joan Garrick
Cyril Collick
Rolan Whiteside
Derek Freeborn
Jock Speirs
Brian Stevens
Patricia English
Dick Vosborough
Peter Reeves
Edward Bishop


     On the web

     Roberta Leigh
     Roberta's official site...

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© Roberta Leigh / Wonderama / F2012