The Catacombs Jif Alien Attack


In 1977, the year after Space: 1999, Gerry Anderson made a UK advert for Jif Dessert Toppings. Inspired by Anderson's series Thunderbirds, it featured puppet characters of "Intergalactic Rescue" who launch giant spaceships (in the shape of the Jif fruit syrup containers) at an invasion of alien dishes such as rice pudding and semolina. The music was Barry Gray's theme from Thunderbirds, and many of Anderson's previous collaborators worked on the advert, including voice artist Ed Bishop. The special effects were by Brian Johnson, Nick Allder and model maker Martin Bower. The exterior moonbase shots look just like Space: 1999. One of Bower's Alphan buildings is clearly visible behind the launch silos. On top of one of the hills is another Alpha building, the atomic fuel store, repainted in green.

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The dish model below was displayed at the Space City Exhibition (1979-1981). It is now owned by Keith D Feucht, who kindly contributed these pictures.

It is 13 inches (33cm) tall, and the dish is 14 inches (36cm) wide. Originally it was motorised and turned slowly round. It was in a poor condition, missing the tube between the base and the radar dish ball, and not knowing it's origins, Keith restored it, adding small kit details and repainting the model. Among the original kitbashed details visible are Airfix Eagle shoulder pads and engine cylinders.

If the ball at the base of the dish looks a little like the Death Star, it is accidental- the advert was first shown in cinemas before a new film called Star Wars.

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Thanks to Keith D Feucht, Wayne Oates