Several of the various Gerry Anderson shows are among those classic science fiction series to predict advances in technology that nowadays we all take for granted. One of the most obvious and rapidly-developing fields was that of personal communication, and many of these futuristic gadgets now look hopelessly outdated by modern standards! Nevertheless, we still love them, and here are some of our favourite Gerry Anderson communication devices!
#5 – WASP wristwatch communicators
Communication devices in the earlier Gerry Anderson series were rarely anything special or eye-catching; usually it was just a basic portable transmitter or a radio built into the star vehicle. The W.A.S.P. agents however made occasional use of wristwatch communicators, and even though we rarely saw them close up we also didn’t really need to. For kids the idea that your watch can also be a communicator is just plain cool, and a very easy element to utilise when acting out your own Stingray adventures in the playground with your friends! Perhaps that’s why wristwatch communicators have shown up in other popular series over the years – including Thunderbirds!
#4 – Joe’s transmitter
This small portable transmitter/receiver, linked to W.I.N.’s satellite network, is among the items Joe McClaine is issued when he ‘joins’ the organisation. Despite Joe being more interested in the gun than “that other thing” the communicator saved his life on several occasions thanks to incorporating a direct link to his father and Sam Loover, while also being able to contact other W.I.N. agents if necessary. As with many gadgets in Joe’s case, the transmitter appears on the surface to be nothing more than a very realistic toy – misleading more than one bad guy into thinking that they have captured a harmless child rather than the Most Special Agent!
#3 – Multi-com
While certainly more on the functional end of the design spectrum the multi-coms used by the officers of Precinct 88 are extremely versatile devices, predicting several of the features of modern smartphones. In addition to two-way audio contact the multi-coms also featured a screen for visual communications, and were also capable of recording audio – useful when you need to take a statement from a witness!
Sadly the multi-com never joined the Vivid Imaginations line of Space Precinct toys but the props themselves were so well-constructed and resilient that many of them have survived to this day!
#2 – Spectrum cap radio mics
Iconic and stylish, the Spectrum caps feature built-in flip-down microphones that enable the wearer to contact any other member of the organisation from any point on the globe. In another very cool touch, the wearer is instantly alerted to the identity of the caller when their tunic epaulettes flash the colour of that particular agent! An extremely useful tool (so much so that it was retained for 2005’s New Captain Scarlet), even if after fifty years we’re still not quite sure how the cap microphone knows when to swing into position when the wearer wants to call someone!
#1 – Commlock
Where would the Alphans be without their commlocks? These devices serve a variety of functions, including communications, opening doors, interacting with the computer, raising the alarm, and occasionally anything else the writers could think of! While not quite incorporating as many functions as a modern smartphone they represent a definite progression from Star Trek’s more famous communicator, and the functioning screen on several of the props is particularly impressive. As with almost everything on Alpha they’re beautifully designed too, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t still want a real one. Oh, and if all else fails, they’re always handy to lob at a rampaging monster!
What a lot of useful tech – but did we miss out one of your faves? Let us know your favourite Gerry Anderson communication devices in the comments below!