“A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away…”
When I was ten I had my mother knit me a long multicolored scarf. I started wearing a trench coat and I took to carrying all sorts of odds and ends in my jacket pockets; a bit of string, magnifying glass, a magnet and some cool looking stones. Why you might ask? Because I wanted to be like my hero The Doctor.
I grew up watching Doctor Who every Sunday on PBS. I can’t really tell you which Doctor it was that I saw first, nor which story. The earliest memory that stands out of watching of watching the good old Doctor is the story “Genesis of the Daleks” at my grandparents. I believe we were visiting for some holiday or another, Christmas perhaps.
While everybody else was busy in the dining room, I sat in the living room, my dinner sitting on a TV tray, watching the good Doctor (the episode was “Genesis of the Daleks”, a rather dark story with parallels to the Nazi party, where nearly everyone who isn’t The Doctor or his companions are killed by the end of the story). I remember my grandmother entering the room and shaking her head over this “science fiction stuff” I was watching. Repeats of Star Trek often got the same reaction. But this was a different kind of science fiction. These were stories that often blended the fantastic with the horrific.
One of the main things that attracted me Dr. Who in the first place was some of its darker horror film influenced episodes, such as; “Pyramids of Mars” with its murderous robot mummies, “Seeds of Doom” featuring a killer plant and an arctic base, and “The Brain of Morbius” which was notably influenced by Frankenstein.
As a kid the monsters where a big draw for me, heck even as an adult they are. The show was (and still is) notorious for its non budget. But that didn’t stop the special effects team from coming up with some very creative monsters. There were diabolical robots (such as the Daleks and the Cybermen), strange monsters (the aquatic Sea Devils and their cousins the Silurans), and even killer mannequins (one of my favorite recurring villains, the alien spawned Autons).
But as great as all the monsters are they wouldn’t nearly so cool without The Doctor. What’s not to love about a guy with two hearts who travels the universe in a blue police box?
Join me next time as I begin counting down my Top 5 favorite Doctor’s from the show’s original run!