Well, we WOULD have called it cosplay … but it was 1983 and the word was still, in process of being dreamed up for a magazine article by Nov Takahashi and his friends in Japan. So we just called it fancy dress, or dressing up.
My friends* and I did it quite a bit in public – on city streets, at ancient monuments, around the parks and gardens of Britain. We even had a Logan’s Run on the London Underground. At the height of the IRA bombing campaign. (We were enthusiastic and creative but maybe not very smart… Nobody was arrested, although two of the Sandmen got a looong talking-to from the police because the balsa-wood replica guns they were waving around on the platform were just a teeny little bit too well-made and convincing.)
Certain sections of the media can’t resist anyone in fancy dress, so we also got invited to dress up on telly. This clip is from 1983, when Noel Edmonds’ show Time Of Your Life paid tribute to Gerry Anderson. It features many members of British Trek and Anderson fandom, in costumes from U.F.O., Thunderbirds and of course Stingray.
The costumes I made for myself and Steve, as Troy Tempest and Atlanta Shore in WASP uniform, are among my favourites ever. I did it all – uniforms, hats, boots, cutting and dressing the wigs, makeup, even Steve’s stick-on eyebrows. The costumers of the 1970s and 80s were just as inventive as those of today. We had to be: our equipment was pretty limited.
I am wearing what may well be my most epic wig ever. Not my fault – the makeup girl at the TV studio insisted on “giving it a little more height”.
No strings attached, of course.
* In this clip you can see Ann Bennett, John Murphy, the late Miri Rana, Jay Felton, Janet Ellicott and Fiona Anderson (no relation to Gerry!) among others.