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Hooked on 'Doctor Who'

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1982-08-23 Tampa Tribune.jpg


Ron Katz would like for Bay area "Doctor Who" fans to come out of the closet and into the Doctor Who Fan Club of America.

If you don't know who Doctor Who is, then you haven't been watching WEDU, Channel 3, at 8 on Saturday nights.

For the past year, WEDU has followed the adventures of Doctor Who. an alien who travels through time and space fighting off tacky monsters with his wits and a keen sense of humor. The good Doctor is a 760-year-old time lord with two hearts whose mode of transportation is a time machine that looks like a British police call box.

The series, a fixture on British television for 19 years, is fast becoming a cult favorite for thousands of American "Whovians" — the term for "Doctor Who" fans.

And Katz, along with pal Chad Roark, are the founders of the nation's largest Doctor Who Fan Club.

They are in the Bay area this week to promote the series. They were hosts of a "Doctor Who double feature that kicked off a WEDU fund-raising drive Saturday night.

More than $10,000 was pledged to WEDU during the programs.

Katz and Roark will be at Haslam's Bookstore on 2025 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg today to promote Doctor Who paperback books.

"We think the country is on the verge of a 'Doctor Who' explosion," said Katz. "More and more people are discovering the 'Doctor Who' mystique. The show is off-the-wall, funny. brilliant and played with such a sense of humor that it's enjoyable to watch and fascinating to talk about."

Katz, a Denver businessman (real estate, clothing stores and catering), has teamed with Roark, a graphic designer, to form a profit-making club that sells S5 memberships, T-shirts, key chains, visors, games, buttons, bumper stickers, pins, frisbees and posters.

All of it is in the name of Doctor Who, the wacky science fiction cult hero.

Katz and Roark say they founded the club a year ago, shortly after a Denver public television station began airing the series.

"I was hooked the first time I saw it," says Katz. "Some may dismiss it as a kid's show, but there's some things going on on 'Doctor Who' that are very hip, very adult very high camp."

"It takes a while to catch on to it though." says Roark. "You may not appreciate it at first. but give it a chance and watch two or three episodes."

"Doctor Who" began in 1963 on the BBC. It was a low-budget effort, played tongue-in-cheek, which evolved into a sophisticated science fiction series.

Over the years, five different actors have played Doctor Who. The programs on WEDU feature Tom Baker as the Doctor. Baker recently left the series after seven years.

From its earliest days. the show was a hit. American science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison has called it the greatest science-fiction TV series ever produced.

The programs, originally aired as half-hour serials, have been-edited into 90-minute shows. WEDU has the rights to 41 episodes.

But Channel 3 has had problems with the distributor. Lionheart Inc. The series is supposed to be aired in sequence. There is a logical, progressive order to the shows. But WEDU program director James-Stasko says the distributor has jumbled the order of the shows, making the series difficult to follow.

Katz said that in most of the 83 markets where Doctor Who is currently airing, the series is shown in sequence.

"Doctor Who" is also carried on many cable systems via WOR-TV, a superstition out of New York.

Katz says the club has attracted more than 2,000 members in Denver alone. And advertisements over WOR-TV in New York have uncovered pockets of "Doctor Who" fans from North Carolina to Temple Terrace.

Katz says they may eventually make money off this effort. but Roark says the most important thing they're doing is spreading the word that Doctor Who is hip and that it's all right if you watch it

"It's a hip thing to do and you're not alone if you like Doctor Who," he said.

Those interested in joining the ranks of the Whovians can write to the Doctor Who Fan Club of America. P.O. Box 6024. Cherry Creek Station. Denver, Colo. 80206.

Caption: Tom Baker plays the title role in most of the "Doctor Who" segments seen on WEDU. Channel 3.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Belcher, Walt (1982-08-23). Hooked on 'Doctor Who'. The Tampa Tribune p. 1-D.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Belcher, Walt. "Hooked on 'Doctor Who'." The Tampa Tribune [add city] 1982-08-23, 1-D. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Belcher, Walt. "Hooked on 'Doctor Who'." The Tampa Tribune, edition, sec., 1982-08-23
  • Turabian: Belcher, Walt. "Hooked on 'Doctor Who'." The Tampa Tribune, 1982-08-23, section, 1-D edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Hooked on 'Doctor Who' | url= | work=The Tampa Tribune | pages=1-D | date=1982-08-23 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Hooked on 'Doctor Who' | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 March 2023}}</ref>