Captain Scarlet is the code name the Spectrum Organisation has assigned to Paul Metcalfe, a fourth-generation military officer and a former colonel in the World Army Air Force Special Forces. He is the title character of the television series programme Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons.
Paul Metcalfe, the Earthman military heroEdit
Born on 17 December, 2036, in Winchester, Hampshire, England, Paul Metcalfe is the son and only child of a World Army Air Force general officer and represents the fourth generation of his family to serve in either the World Army or the World Army Air Force combined service. (Since the super-marionation puppet that was originally sculpted for him saw repeat duty in The Secret Service, where it also represented the character of Paul Blake, agent of the Universal Secret Service, fans have speculated that this character is Paul Metcalfe's grandfather on his mother's side.) He is a trained historian, holding degrees from Winchester University in technology and mathematics as well as in history. Enrolling in the West Point Military Academy for its four-year course of training, he was "First Captain," or valedictorian, of his graduating class. Joining the World Army Air Force Special Forces, or "Red Berets," he rose quickly through the ranks and became the youngest full colonel in the WAAF's history and its top weapons expert. This achievement, which he notched before reaching the age of thirty years, brought him to the attention of the Spectrum Selection Committee. When it did, Colonel Metcalfe "retired" from the WAAF at the Committee's request.
Captain Scarlet, SpectrumEdit
When the Spectrum Selection Committee learned about Colonel Metcalfe from World Space Patrol Colonel Conrad Turner (see Captain Black) in the middle 2060s, it recruited him into its ranks, making him one of the first personnel so chosen. During his course of training, Captain Black became Metcalfe's teacher and friend on Australia's outback roads.
Metcalfe grew rather fond of the Spectrum code name he was assigned, Captain Scarlet, since his favourite colour is red. In the West Point Military Academy, his nickname was "Big Red," since "red," short for "redcoat," was a reference to the British trainees there and he himself was the top-ranked redcoat during this period.
Whenever he is geared up in his Spectrum uniform, Captain Scarlet can be said with some accuracy to be outfitted in "battle-lantern colours." He became one of Spectrum's top agents and had a great friendship with fellow agent Captain Blue. At the time, however, they were not field partners.
The Mysteron WarEditIn the spring of 2068, a mistaken, illegal, and unprovoked attack that his former teacher, Captain Black, made on the Mysterons's complex on Mars led to their declaring a war of nerves on Earth. Their first act of retaliation consisted of plans to assassinate James T. Younger, President Of The World Government of Earth. Captain Scarlet, by then a full-fledged senior Spectrum officer, was then "field-partnered" with another Spectrum senior officer, whose own code name was Captain Brown. Both were assigned to protect World President Younger; instead, when driving a Spectrum Patrol Saloon car on a mountain road, both fell victim to the Mysterons and were killed. The Mysterons, using their power of matter reversal, re-created exact likenesses of both men and took control of these. The Captain Brown likeness became a living bomb waiting for the Mysterons to detonate him; the Captain Scarlet likeness, an ice-cold assassin under Mysteron control. After the Captain Brown likeness barely failed to assassinate Younger, the Captain Scarlet likeness was assigned to take him to London. As both were on their way, the wreckage of the Patrol Saloon was discovered--and the corpses of both of the original Spectrum officers along with it. Colonel White, Supreme Commander-In-Chief, or CINCSPEC, of Spectrum, ordered the Spectrum Angels to try to force the Captain Scarlet likeness down. Instead, he and the World President ejected and he brought Younger, at gun-point, to a saloon, there to take him to the top of the London Car-Vu Sky Park Tower. Cornered, he tried to use Younger as a human shield. But Captain Blue shot him off the tower to his death and rescued Younger.
In the Cloudbase SickBay, much to the amazement of the original Captain Scarlet's colleagues in Spectrum, the Captain Scarlet likeness completely recovered from having been killed several times over--freed of the Mysterons's control, and with no apparent memory of his activities under the same; the original Captain Scarlet's personality had totally resurfaced to reassert control over his likeness. But even more amazing, this incarnation of Captain Scarlet had retained the Mysteron power of "retro-metabolism," his body converting energy to mass instead of mass to energy--a power which had rendered him virtually indestructible.
The model(s) for the puppetEdit
Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson did not use any one model for the likeness of the super-marionation puppet of Captain Scarlet; they commissioned his puppet's sculptors to base him upon several distinct models. Of these, the one considered to have the greatest import was actor Francis Matthews, who as detailed below provided the character's voice for the programme. Actor Cary Grant, whose voice Matthews imitated in character, was presumably one of at least two other models for the puppet; actor Roger Moore is commonly believed to have been a third.
The Francis Matthews connexionEdit
Gerry Anderson "came close...[to moving] heaven and Earth to get" Francis Matthews to provide the voice of Captain Scarlet. Matthews, who was then appearing on stage in a live production of Noel Coward's play Private Lives, provided Captain Scarlet's voice in imitation of actor Cary Grant; he became an extensive traveller between his engagement there and the recording sessions for ITC Entertainment.
Matthews was chosen for the character-voice role entirely on the basis of his ability to imitate Grant (who himself was British-born though he pursued the majority of his career in the United States) with an uncanny accuracy. Before Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, he had always been either uninterested in, or unavailable for, any previous Anderson projects or programmes. But when Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons came into development, Gerry Anderson refused to rest till he had secured Matthews's commitment, and this time he obtained it.
Captain Scarlet a robot?Edit
Unbelievably, the original plan for Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons was for Mysteron agents on Earth to be robots!
But after they had been toying with that idea for a brief period, the then Anderson spouses realised that making Captain Scarlet a robot would not engender audience identification with him to the degree that making him a virtually-indestructible clone, nay likeness, of a normal Earthman would.
The "hyper-marionation" programmeEdit
In Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, which is a "hyper-marionation" programme consisting mainly of three-dimensional CGI, or computer-generated imagery, actor Wayne Forrester is the provider of the title character's voice.