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Captain Scarlet's voice sounds just like Cary Grant. Intentional?

Absolutely. The voice belongs to British actor Francis Matthews, also known as Paul Temple in the BBC spy series TEMPLE. Matthews had been previously approached to work on STINGRAY and THUNDERBIRDS due to his well-known mastery of dialects and versatile voice, but always either was not interested or had not been available. As SCARLET was being planned, the Andersons decided they wanted a British voice for Captain Scarlet, a Roger Moore/Cary Grant type of voice; remembering Matthews was said to do a passable Grant impersonation, Matthews was once again approached to participate in an Anderson production.

When Matthews read for SCARLET and everyone realized the impersonation was even better than they'd heard, Gerry was determined to get Matthews to sign on this time. As Matthews remembers it, "Although Gerry didn't move heaven and earth to get me, he certainly came close. At the time of the first two recording sessions I had to be flown up and down to Manchester, where I was appearing in Coward's PRIVATE LIVES." Over the six weeks of recording sessions for the 32 episodes of SCARLET, many sessions were arranged around Matthews' schedule so he could participate and still fulfill other commitments.

Contrary to popular belief, the Captain Scarlet marionette was not sculpted to resemble Roger Moore, at that time the star of the very popular series THE SAINT, though that story has been widely circulated. Simon Archer's FAB FACTS, however, tells of a meeting between Matthews and Moore at a party where reportedly Moore complimented Matthews on his work on SCARLET and commented that "the puppet looks just like me." Matthews--who is most likely the model for Scarlet, despite the common claim that Scarlet was modeled on a young Cary Grant--was said to be quite amused.

Ironically, though CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS was the only Anderson production Matthews ever appeared in, and though Matthews took great pains after the series ended to avoid action-adventure roles in an attempt to prevent typecasting, Captain Scarlet remains his best-known role outside the U.K., something which Matthews says completely baffles and often bothers him. In recent years, however, Matthews has somewhat reluctantly grown accustomed to the measure of fame SCARLET brought him and even reprised his vocal role for the Scarlet puppet's appearance on the ITV children's show WHAT'S UP DOC when SCARLET returned to British television in a 1993 revival.


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