Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967) is a British childrens sci-fi/horror puppet series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, in which security organisation SPECTRUM are embroiled in a war against an invisible martian race known as the Mysterons. Having unwittingly pissed off the entire race of invisible martians by attacking their base seemingly unprovoked, the Mysterons clone their own base and occupants and have vowed to destroy the human race in retaliation by making inefficient elaborate plans to cause disasters. One of SPECTRUM’s agents, Captain Scarlet, having been killed by the Mysterons, cloned into a pawn of theirs, then falls off a funky looking car park in the sky and becomes SPECTRUM’s greatest asset against the Mysterons; a man who heals so quickly that nothing can kill him.
With 2017 being the 50th anniversary of Captain Scarlet, a new Blu-Ray release of the series has commenced with the first volume of four having landed on 23 November. Unfortunately, while the picture quality (sourced from the A+B negatives) is fantastic, the audio is slightly more of a mixed bag.
The series is part of the ITC library, which was owned by Polygram during the 90’s - they had a tendency to dispose of “unnecessary” materials, so it’s fairly likely that the English audio masters had been destroyed before it changed hands to Carlton in the late 90’s, who were later absorbed into ITV Global.
In lieu of that, audio for the new restoration has been sourced from (according to the BD’s sleeve) a variety of 16/35mm optical tracks and 1/4" tape backups (the existing Carlton/A&E/Shout DVD releases seem to use a similar source). The episodes sound quite good…except the shows pilot and first episode (which makes it stick out even more) sounds horrific, probably having been pulled from a poor optical source, yet it seems to be the best that exists in its entirety to this day.
A 1980 compilation film featuring the episode was made for syndication in the US. It has slightly higher quality audio for the episode but is butchered by added sound effects, music and several cuts. After flopping and being notoriously hated by both the fans and the series’ creator, the compilation film found success in the UK, having been released on VHS along with the rest of the series.
I made a comparison between the two sources here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpEZVKutJF0
I’ve attempted to restore some of the episodes poor audio by splicing in any untampered audio I could find from a PAL VHS copy of the compilation film (which unfortunately only amounts to around 9 minutes). You can use MKVtoolnix or similar to mux the file to the Blu-Ray version of the episode - PM me. 😃
Looking at clips sourced from the 90’s BBC broadcasts, it seems that HQ audio for the episode was lost sometime before 1993. Although ITV broadcast repeats of the series throughout 70’s and 80’s, I don’t have any recordings of any broadcasts earlier than the 2001 BBC2 broadcast, which used Carlton’s digital SD restorations. I’m not sure if earlier broadcasts have sounded either better or worse - only info about them I’m aware of is that they may have used crap 16mm prints.
I’m wondering if in future I could possibly attempt to remove some of the additional music using the shows OST to cancel the music out - is that possible in, say, Adobe Audition or even at all?