Gerry Anderson was a big part of my childhood in the UK, in the 1960's and early 70's - he was the creative mind behind a series of Sci-Fi puppet shows (yes, puppet shows) such as Supercar, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet, and of course Thunderbirds! The shows are pretty groan-worthy these days, of course, but at the time they really caught my imagination, and those of probably millions of other kids.
I think my favorite was actually Fireball XL5, which has aged particularly badly, but was great when I was six or seven years old! The thing that set the shows apart was some nifty concepts, and even though the marionettes were generally caricatures with big heads and so on, they were made more "realistic" by motorized, synchronized mouth movements through Anderson's "Supermarionation" process. It also had a groovy theme song!