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The Fabulous Locations of Thunderbirds

Last month, we listed the most fabulous vehicles of Thunderbirds, the 1960s marionette science-fiction show about the Tracy family and their International Rescue organization, set in the 2060s.

International Rescue is headquartered on a remote island in the South Pacific, the most recognizable location of the franchise. But the Thunderbirds visited plenty of other fabulous locations, from Lady Penelope’s Australian ranch to the Paradise Peaks Hotel, high up in the Alps, to Cape Kennedy.

Let’s take a trip around the word of Thunderbirds!

Tracy Island

The best-known location of the franchise is the headquarters of International Rescue: Tracy Island. Situated somewhere in the South Pacific, its precise location is carefully kept secret.

Graham Bleathman drew a cutaway of the island, which was first published in Thunderbirds: The Comic 6 by Fleetway. It shows how the hangar bays of Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 3 are all connected to the villa — and it reveals the island has its own atomic power plant!

London International Airport

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London International Airport in “Trapped in the Sky” (1965)

In place of Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton, London has an International Airport that can be reached by an underground motorway.

City of London Heliport

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City of London Heliport in “Vault of Death”

London City Airport is never mentioned, but the city does have a heliport. In “Vault of Death” (1965), Thunderbirds 1 and 2 both land here as part of a rescue operation.

Dover Missile Base

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Skyship One crashes into Dover Missile Base in Thunderbird 6

Dover Missile Base is where Skyship One crashes at the end of Thunderbird 6 (1968).

French Riviera

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Monte Carlo, France in “The Man from MI.5”

Monte Carlo, France appears in “The Man from MI.5” (1966).

Solar Generator

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Solar generator in “Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday”

Professor Lungren built a solar generator to power the sleepy Mediterranean town of Monte Bianco in “Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday” (1966).

Paradise Peaks Hotel

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Paradise Peaks Hotel in “The Cham-Cham” (1966)

Perched high up in the Swiss alps, the Paradise Peaks Hotel is, according to Tin-Tin, “the highest hotel in Europe.”

Creighton-Ward Mansion

The Creighton-Ward Mansion is the Kent home of Lady Penelope. Built in the eighteenth century, it has been subtly modernized with infrared burglar alarms, inter-room video communications and a forensic lab.

Of course, there is a cutaway by Graham Bleathman, which reveals that the mansion is built on an underground stream, via which her ladyship could make a discreet getaway.

Lady Penelope’s Australian Ranch

Lady Penelope also owns a sheep farm in Bonga Bonga, Australia. Jeff Tracy spends his vacation here in “Atlantic Inferno” (1966).

The ranch may appear modestly sized above ground, but Bleathman’s cutaway reveals there are computer labs, a nuclear fusion generator and a concealed helijet hangar bay underground.

Atomic Irrigation Plant

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Atomic irrigation plant in “The Mighty Atom”

Located somewhere in eastern Australia, The Hood tries to steal the secrets of this atomic irrigation plant in “The Mighty Atom” (1965).

Saharan Atomic Power Plant

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Saharan atomic power plant in “The Mighty Atom” (1965)

After failing in Australia, The Hood attempts to infiltrate a nuclear power plant in the Sahara Desert in the same episode.

Seascape

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Seascape drilling rig in “Atlantic Inferno”

The Seascape oil and gas rig was destroyed in “Atlantic Inferno” (1966) as a result of a World Navy experiment gone bad.

New York Central

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New York Central in “The Duchess Assignment” (1966)

JFK and Newark have been supplanted by a new airport called New York Central.

Empire State Building

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Moving of the Empire State Building in “Terror in New York City”

In “Terror in New York City” (1965), an attempt to relocate the Empire State Building to make way for new development goes horribly wrong. The ground isn’t solid enough to carry both the tower and an atomic-powered mobile gantry that was specially designed to move it. Both collapse, leaving behind an enormous pile of rubble that traps two newsmen underground.

Thompson Tower

The Thompson Tower is one of the tallest in America. 3,000 feet (900 meters) high, it has 350 floors and is entirely self-sustaining. A person could go a year without needing to set foot outside.

Cape Kennedy

Cape Canaveral was renamed Cape Kennedy after the president’s death in 1963. In the real world, the name was switched back a decade later. In the world of Thunderbirds, it was apparently changed again.

“Sun Probe” and “The Perils of Penelope” (both 1965) show a Solar Control Center, from where space missions can be monitored.

Sentinel Base

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Sentinel Base in “Ricochet”

The Telsat 4 rocket is launched from Sentinel Base in “Ricochet” (1966).

Matthews Field Air Base

Matthews Field is the home base of the RTL 2 transport aircraft in “The Cham-Cham” (1966).

Meddings Uranium Factory

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Meddings Uranium Factory in “The Abominable Snowman”

The Meddings Uranium Factory in New Mexico appears in the second episode of the crowdfunded revival Thunderbirds 1965, “The Abominable Snowman” (2015).

The Swinging Star

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The Swinging Star in Thunderbirds Are Go (1966)

According to Lady Penelope, the Swinging Star is the most “fab” nightclub in California.

The Hood’s Temple

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The Hood’s Temple in “Martian Invasion” (1966)

The Hood lives in an ancient temple hidden away in the jungle of Malaysia.

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