The Fireball XL5 Great Alaska Earthquake Connection
by Michael R Dougherty
Were you watching?
What does "Supermarionation" have to do with the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake in Alaska?
Right after the quake, one of the first questions all of us survivors asked each other was "where were you when the quake struck?"
The answers to that question are as varied as there are stars in the sky, but one answer seems to come up more often than most.
While I wasn't watching TV at the time, either you were, you know someone who was, or you've heard someone say -
"I was watching "Fireball XL5" on TV.
Here's a nostalgic look back at this fun show
Fireball XL5 was filmed in "Supermarionation" using marionette puppets. That is, puppets controlled by strings.
This super fun children's TV show ran on KENI-TV (KTUU) channel 2 from 1963 to September 1965.
Fireball XL5 was the name of the spaceship commanded by Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol.
The show was produced in 1962 to 1963 by the husband and wife team of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. The title and name of the spacecraft came about because Gerry Anderson thought the motor oil product, "Castrol XL" had an interesting sound.
Fireball XL5 was a unique show in many ways. First, because it used marionettes as the characters, and it was a science fiction show for kids.
So it's no surprise that because Anchorage TV audiences only had two stations in 1964, that lots of TV's were tuned to Fireball XL5 when the earth began to shake.
Take a look at the short video above and find out why so many people were watching this fun show.
Or, if you were watching the show when the earthquake hit, I suspect that the short Fireball XL5 clip above brought back a flood of memories.