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The Doctor is In (Vidette-Messenger)

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The Doctor is In

Who's this Who?

Doctor Who is the central character in the longest-running sci-fi television show ever.

The Doctor is a time traveler from the planet Gallifrey. Accompanied by a series of human companions — most very attractive young women —The Doctor zips from time to time and planet to planet on an endless series of adventures.

The program debuted more than 25 years ago on the British Broadcasting Corporation in England as a program for older kids.

But it caught on and became a favorite with fans of all ages in Britain and abroad.

Most of the episodes have played on public television in the United States.

He may play on public television. But Doctor Who isn't standard BBC fare.

He's sci-fi, not Shakespeare; pop culture, not high culture.

The Doctor is a Time Lord, a sort of super creature who can travel through time and space.

The Time Lords are pledged to merely watch the events they witness as they flit through space and time.

But Doctor Who is a renegade of sorts; he can't help getting involved and trying to assure the victory of good over evil.

His vehicle, the TARDIS (for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), careens from prehistoric times to the faraway future.

It looks like a British Police Box, which looks like a strange phone booth to us Americans.

The TARDIS was supposed to change to fit its surroundings each time it lands in a new place or time. But a circuit on The Doctor's pilfered TARDIS went on the blink during his first adventure and the ship has looked like a police box ever since.

The TARDIS is "dimensionally transcendental," so when people step inside they travel to another dimension.

In practical terms, that means it's much larger inside than outside.

Also, the machine's steering mechanism is off-kilter, so The Doctor is usually plunged into a the midst of an adventure because the TARDIS lands in a place and time different from the one Doctor Who was aiming for.

The Doctor is a bit transcendental himself.

When his body wears out or is seriously damaged, he regenerates into a new form (and is played by a new actor.)

Each time, he emerges with a slightly different personality as well as slightly different looks.

The first Doctor Who, played by William Hartnell, was a dapper, eccentric and cranky older gentleman.

Patrick Troughton played the second incarnation of the Doctor as a cosmic hobo.

Jon Pertwee was Doctor Who in his third regeneration. He was more of a man of action and a tinkerer with a penchant for gadgetry.

The Doctor most familiar to many Americans is Tom Baker, who portrayed Doctor Who in his fourth "life." Baker was the Doctor Who most Americans saw the first time they caught the series, and he played the role for a long time.

With his 17-foot-long knit scarf, floppy hat and wild hair, Baker's Doctor Who was eccentric and flamboyant.

The fifth incarnation of Doctor Who, played by Peter Davison, was a younger man and a sort of reckless innocent.

The sixth Doctor, portrayed by Colin Baker, didn't last too long.

Right now, he is in his seventh incarnation. Played by Sylvester McCoy, the newest Doctor has the humor, charm and wit of some of his predecessors.

The Doctor already was 745 years old and a seasoned time traveler when he made his television debut.

His TV adventures began in contemporary time when the first show was broadcast in 1963.

But he was soon zipping off to the past and future.

The early adventures took Doctor Who and his com through caveman days, Century Earth, the French Revolution and the OK Corral.

But BBC officials found that historical programs didn't draw the same high ratings as the adventures m space and into the future.

So in his later years, The Doctor has spent more time traveling to distant planets.

He's battled the forces of evil and help the good guys pull off their victories against a wild variety of adversaries.

The serial still is produced by the BBC and plays on WITW, Chicago's Channel 11.

What Channel 11 traditionally does is play a new series of programs, then replay older ones again until another new set of shows is available.

Local Doctor Who fans will soon get the chance to sample the latest programs.

On March 1, the 25th anniversary season will start at 11 p.m. on Channel 11.

Fans plan to band

Pat Randle

VALPARAISO — Ken Kaylor loves Doctor Who.

He's met plenty of people, from teens to parents, who love Doctor Who.

"I've always met people at work who watch. Now, I'm manager at Taco Bell and I even have customers who come in because they know I'm a fan."

He figures there are other hidden Who-lovers out there who would get a kick out of meeting fellow fans.

That's why he's starting the Doctor Who Admiration Society in northwest Indiana.

The group will have an organizational meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sandlin's Books, 70 Lincolnway.

Folks who can't make the meeting can leave their names at the store if they want more information, Kaylor said.

"I'm not sure quite what it's going to be. We'll find out at the first meeting," Kaylor said.

He's got a couple of theories about why he and other fans are so fascinated by the show.

"You can't compare the special effects on Doctor Who with what you see on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', " he said.

In fact, the zippers show on the bad guys on some of the earlier programs, he said.

But despite its creaky special effects, the show has plenty to intrigue adults, Kaylor said. He was hooked from Day One.

"I came home in 1981 on a Sunday night. I work at restaurants, so I was working late. I wasn't ready to go to sleep, so I turned on the television and saw this funny-looking guy wondering around with a robot dog and an attractive girl. I kept watching."

Because The Doctor can go anywhere and any time and because he can actually die, the show is always an adventure for the viewer, he said.

"Usually, when you watch a television show, you know what's going to happen. With Doctor Who, you don't."

The other draw, he said, is that the show is spiced by British humor instead of American earnestness.

The character is a quirky guy who relies on his brains instead of a hero or anti-hero in the traditional style and the humor grows out of that, Kaylor said.

"British humor is different from American humor. And The Doctor's companions are always very attractive."

But most of all, it's the whole concept of time travel, he said.

"It appeals to me because of the idea of The Doctor out there roaming the universe," he said. "I'd like to believe, although I know it's not at all likely, that maybe there is something or someone like that out there."

He's the Dr. Who super fan

VALPARAISO — Ken Kaylor of Valparaiso has an amazing array of Doctor Who stuff.

His prize collectibles include an orange-red Dalek toy that actually moves, British "colouring" books, a Doctor Who sweatshirt and cap set and a game that lets people play the roles of the characters in the program and head off on their own adventures.

Kaylor owns Doctor Who togs, including a 17-foot-long striped scarf like the one Tom Baker sported when he played Who.

He's found all of the Target paperback book series. Each ones sum up an episode of the serial.

"They're almost done with that. The first book that's a story not based on a program will be coming out this year."

He's got hundreds of magazines, from Doctor Who Monthlies and Doctor Who Weeklies produced by Marvel Comics to British fanzines produced by and for the program's fans.

In fanzines, articles and letters dissect the show, the actors and the scripts. Writers debate the fine points.

They also make their arguments on the big issues, like who was the best Doctor and who was the wickedest villain.

They're a lot of fun to read, Kaylor said.

He's collected his Whovian paraphernalia at conventions for fans of the program, comic shops, bookstores and mail-order houses.

The conventions, which feature actors from the show, draw lots of fans and lots of dealers.

"They try to do something special for the Doctor Who fans every year. The only reason I subscribe to Channel 11 is Doctor Who."

There are conventions of Doctor Who fans, where the actors who play The Doctor, his fellow travelers and some of the bad guys apipear.

"In 1983, for the 20th anniversary, they had the 'Ultimate Celebration.' All the living Doctors were there and 18 of the companions."

Kaylor was there. He got lots of autographs.

He also made connections that have helped him, ever since, find the magazines, books and other articles he's looking for, he said.

"I go up to Larry's Comics in Chicago at least once every three months to get the fanzines because he has a lot of things I can't get anywhere else.

"And when my wife and I travel, I stop in if there's a store I know of. I always look in the phonebook to see if there are any comics stores in town and go to them."


The seven faces of Doctor Who include Tom Baker, center, and counter clockwise from the top, Jon Pertwee, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Patrick Troughton, and the original, William Hartnell.

Ken Kaylor sits amidst the plethora of Doctor Who paraphernalia he has collected. The toys, magazines, books and more that Kaylor has found at conventions, comic shops and bookstores through the years are on display in the window of Sandlin's Books. Kaylor is starting a local Doctor Who Appreciation Society scheduled to hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sandlin's.

Ken Kaylor's collection includes a toy version of one of The Doctor's arch-nemeses, the evil Daleks, left, and a replica of the TARDIS, the time-traveling machine that looks like a British police box, right. The Dalek is a particularly rare collectible — and the toy actually works.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Randle, Pat (1989-02-18). The Doctor is In (Vidette-Messenger). The Vidette-Messenger p. 1C.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Randle, Pat. "The Doctor is In (Vidette-Messenger)." The Vidette-Messenger [add city] 1989-02-18, 1C. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Randle, Pat. "The Doctor is In (Vidette-Messenger)." The Vidette-Messenger, edition, sec., 1989-02-18
  • Turabian: Randle, Pat. "The Doctor is In (Vidette-Messenger)." The Vidette-Messenger, 1989-02-18, section, 1C edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Doctor is In (Vidette-Messenger) | url= | work=The Vidette-Messenger | pages=1C | date=1989-02-18 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 July 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Doctor is In (Vidette-Messenger) | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 July 2021}}</ref>