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Here's Why Who's What's Happening

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1984-08-19 St Louis Post Dispatch.jpg


The question was not who, but why?

Why were hundreds of St. Louisans dressing up in costumes, imitating a robot dog and listening to panel discussions about E-Space this weekend?

The answer was Who — the inimitable Doctor Who. The good doctor of British — and now American — television has become a craze, a rage or even a cultural phenomenon, depending on whom you talk to.

This weekend, hundreds of St. Louisans are gathering for a Doctor Who fan club convention for three days at the Holiday Inn-Clayton Plaza. Billed as TARDIScon '84, the event features a cabaret act honoring the Doctor, as well as a "Whovian" version of the "What's My Line" game show, a costume contest, a sound-alike contest to imitate the robot dog K9. banquets, parties and a charity auction drive at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Four former characters on the show have come from England to honor the Doctor. (The Doctor actually comes from another galaxy). And the four are delighting fans with their British wit and charm.

They are actress Louise Jameson, who was a companion to the Doctor; writer and former companion an Marter; John Leeson, who provided the voice of the robot dog K9; and Nicholas Courtney, who played Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart with five of the six Doctor Whos who have played on the show.

Doctor Who first appeared in England in 1963. The show has become almost a 5:52 p.m. tradition, along with "baked beans and boiled eggs," Ms. Jameson said. It's a science fantasy family show especially beloved by children.

In St. Louis, Doctor Who hit the airwaves in 1983. It was an immediate sensation. Within three months, there were enough fans to start a club — 200 showed up at the first meeting, tan Mary Shapiro said.

Today the club — known as the St. Louis Celestial Intervention Agency Inc. (or CIA) — is 721 people strong.

The show airs at 10:30 p.m. Sundays on KETC-Channel 9. When the station had a fund-raiser last spring, St. Louis fans kicked in more than $57,000, said Ms. Shapiro.

Exactly who is Doctor Who? Fans can tell you best.

In recent months, Marter has attended fan conventions in Denver, Boston, Philadelphia and Tampa, Fla. Courtney said he has found that fans usually know more details than he.

Basically, the Doctor cruises through time and space in a battered police box known as Tardis (Times and Relative Dimensions in Space) facing one adventure after another. Doctor Who battles mad scientists, crazed tyrants and monsters, defeating them all. He often saves our planet from doom.

A portion of the St. Louis event's profits will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

Caption: Bill Anchors of Leavittsburg, Ohio, a dealer in "Doctor Who" keepsakes, standing before some of his wares at the Celestial Intervention Agency (CIA) convention in Clayton. The group makes no secret of its enthusiam for fantasy.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Gillerman, Margaret (1984-08-19). Here's Why Who's What's Happening. St. Louis Post-Dispatch p. 16E.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Gillerman, Margaret. "Here's Why Who's What's Happening." St. Louis Post-Dispatch [add city] 1984-08-19, 16E. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Gillerman, Margaret. "Here's Why Who's What's Happening." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, edition, sec., 1984-08-19
  • Turabian: Gillerman, Margaret. "Here's Why Who's What's Happening." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1984-08-19, section, 16E edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Here's Why Who's What's Happening | url= | work=St. Louis Post-Dispatch | pages=16E | date=1984-08-19 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=4 December 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Here's Why Who's What's Happening | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=4 December 2023}}</ref>