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In Gerry Anderson's 'Thunderbirds'(1965-66), the Tracy brothers (Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan) would respond on the radio

"F.A.B."

meaning 'affirmative' or 'understood'.


There are many theories as to the meaning to this acronym. While watching 'The Right Stuff', I noted that Virgil Grissom would respond to the other astronauts with the phrase

F..... A, Bubba!

meaning 'affirmative' or 'understood'.

Given that this was a phrase used by the real Mercury Astronauts, five of whom were the namesakes for the Tracy boys, could this Gerry Anderson's source for the acronym?

  • 1
    Did you mean to say “Now, The movie ‘The Right Stuff’(1983) would not be considered the source,” or are you providing an answer to your question? – Adamant Aug 30 '16 at 6:33
  • Perhaps I should have said 'could not be considered the source' as the film was made in 1983, and the book was written in 1979, both after the t.v. show in question. – Scott Aug 30 '16 at 7:42
  • @Scott - Better to make it clear that the astronauts used this language in the 1950 and 1960s but that you learned of it from a film... – Valorum Aug 30 '16 at 8:18
  • @Valorum-Look man, I was really just asking a question. If you want to ask my question your own way, then please feel free on your own post. I think you have some good clarifications of what I wanted to know, but I did delete the expletive. I don't need a lesson on how to curse in a public forum. You really didn't need to veil it so lightly. – Scott Aug 30 '16 at 8:47
  • You might also want to have a read of meta.stackexchange.com/help/editing – Valorum Aug 30 '16 at 9:31
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If those real-life astronauts provided the show with any inspiration beyond their names, I can't find documentation to support it--in fact, quite the opposite.

Gerry Anderson says F.A.B isn't meant to be an abbreviation for any particular phrase; the real-life inspiration was "fabulous" ("fab" was a common slang in the 60s) and that's it.

FAB stands for absolutely nothing! In the Sixties when the series was made the abbreviation "fab" as in "fabulous" was all the rage and I just changed it a bit.

There's apparently a tie-in comic where F.A.B means "For Always Brothers," but I can't track down the source yet. Even that citation points out it's just one issue of a comic (whose writers probably had little to no contact with the TV show).

  • 3
    According to here: gerryanderson.co.uk/question/what-does-fab-stand-for - it stands for nothing. However ."..If it was an acronym, then the best suggestion we’ve heard for a potential meaning is “Fully Acknowledged Broadcast”. " – Longshanks Aug 30 '16 at 10:07
  • @Alistair86 I'm not clear on who the "we" is in that source. – BESW Aug 30 '16 at 10:11
  • According to his twitter bio - Jamie is 'Producer/director/writer, proud son of legendary #Thunderbirds creator GerryAndersonTV' – Longshanks Aug 30 '16 at 10:28
  • Yes he can. – Valorum Nov 14 '16 at 16:02
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Officially 'Nothing'

Potentially 'Fully Acknowledged Broadcast'.

Taken from What does FAB stand for?:

"This has got to be one of the most asked questions: What does FAB stand for in Thunderbirds? Well here’s the answer in one simple word: Nothing! In the 60’s the buzz-word was “fabulous”. This was shortened to FAB and used simply as a call sign like ‘Roger’ or ‘Ten-Four’ to acknowledge received instructions. If it was an acronym, then the best suggestion we’ve heard for a potential meaning is “Fully Acknowledged Broadcast”. So now, next time someone asks you what FAB stands for, you can give them the authoritative answer: nothing!"

The above was written by Jamie Anderson, son of creator Gerry Anderson.

  • 1
    Another popular theory back in the proverbial day was "Full Ahead Brothers". I always loved on in Captain Scarlet they had the acronym "SIG", which they explained clearly ("Spectrum is Green" as well as the negative, SIR for "Spectrum is Red") in the first episode, getting it out of the way straight off. – VBartilucci Aug 30 '16 at 19:02

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