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Doctor Who fundraiser attracts new generation of nerds

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"We're all Whovians."

Katie Carleski was referring to herself and her three boys in tow — ages 5, 8 and 9 — though, really, she could have been talking about the entire crowd of well over a hundred people gathered at the Corvallis Odd Fellows Hall Saturday morning for a viewing party of the "Day of the Doctor" 50th anniversary special.

Bow ties, suspenders, scarves and felt hats were aplenty as some dressed as Doctor Who, the alien protagonist in the long-running British science-fiction series of the same name.

Corvallis High School's Spartan Robotics Team 997 hosted the fundraiser, harnessing the cult following of "Doctor Who," a series that generations grew up with in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and that a new generation discovered with the show's relaunch in 2005.

"I introduced them to 'Doctor Who' about a year ago," Carleski said about her four kids. "My 4-year-old thinks it's a little creepy, though, so he's staying at home today watching the older episodes with dad."

When the doors opened at 10 a.m., fans trickled in to claim their seats, buy snacks and watch demonstrations of the robot that the CHS students built and competed with earlier this year. The screening was free, but robotics club members sold movie popcorn, home-baked treats and other concessions, and raffled and sold "Doctor Who"-themed merchandise. The 50th anniversary special began at 11:50 a.m. and was broadcast globally at the same time.

"'Doctor Who' has a really large fan base, and the people who are fans of it are diehard fans," said CHS senior and event coordinator Rachel Ponstein. "I know that a lot at school watch it on their own, but there wasn't really a way for all of us to get together as Whovians to share it."

The television series that explores technology and time travel clicks for students who build robots in their spare time.

"It's a fun show because it has action and humor," Ponstein said minutes before the screening, "and it definitely has that nerdy aspect that all us robotics kids have, and apparently everyone in that room has. … Who doesn't love time-traveling aliens?"

A fellow Whovian, who happens to be the business manager of Corvallis Odd Fellows, suggested the event a little over a month ago when she realized that there were no public screening parties scheduled in Corvallis.

Rachell Carlisle said that she came up with the idea because she and her son, a new member of the robotics team, watch the series together.

"I'm 46 and I've been watching 'Doctor Who' since I was 10 or 11," she said. "Now we watch it together."

Corvallis Church, which holds its Sunday service at the Odd Fellows Hall, donated the use of its tech equipment, Odd Fellows provided the space, parents and New Morning Bakery donated concessions, and Matt's Cavalcade of Comics donated one of the pricier raffle items: a replica of the newest version of Doctor Who's multifunctional tool, the sonic screwdriver.

Virtually everyone in attendance loves the television series, but not everyone saw eye-to-eye on their favorite Doctor Who. Eleven actors have played the character and, in fact, the transition from one actor to another is written into the plot.

Robotics club member Madison Headley arrived dressed in a waist coat, scarf and felt hat of the fourth Doctor, who was played by Tom Baker. Her friend, Sabrina Myers, accompanied her clad in the iconic white button-up shirt, bowtie and suspenders of the current Doctor, played by Matt Smith.

Even Katie Carleski's three boys held allegiance to a certain Doctor: 9-year-old Robert says the eighth Doctor is his favorite, 8-year-old Calvin prefers the 10th, and 5-year-old Benny likes the bowtie of the 11th Doctor.

All of the Doctors make for a great storyline, according to Robert:

"I like him because he time travels and travels different dimensions and saves the world."

Caption: Dr. Who 1 Dr. Who 2 Dr. Who 3 Dr. Who 4

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  • APA 6th ed.: Fuqua, Canda (2013-11-24). Doctor Who fundraiser attracts new generation of nerds. Corvallis Gazette-Times .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Fuqua, Canda. "Doctor Who fundraiser attracts new generation of nerds." Corvallis Gazette-Times [add city] 2013-11-24. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Fuqua, Canda. "Doctor Who fundraiser attracts new generation of nerds." Corvallis Gazette-Times, edition, sec., 2013-11-24
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