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Who are they? Dr. Who fans, of course

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1987-11-20 Santa Cruz Sentinel.jpg

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POINTY EARS and troubles with Tribbles bore them. And how many times can you hear someone say "Jim, he's dead" or "Scotty, beam me up," anyway?

For a certain group of Santa Cruz science fiction fans, forget "Star Trek; " only "Dr. Who" will do.

Fans of the British Broadcasting Company-produced science fiction series will converge at 10 a.m. Saturday upstairs in Santa Cruz Public Library, 224 Church St. They'll watch classic "Dr. Who" videos, elect club officers, swap trivia about The Doctor...and Who knows what else?

"Dr. Who" was first aired in England in 1963. The show concerns the adventures of a member of the race of the Time Lords, Dr. Who, who travels throughout time and space in a vehicle called a tardis. (The local club calls itself The Tardis Trackers.).

It's a children's show in the U.K., although it has a devoted following of all ages worldwide.

Seven actors have played the role of "Dr. Who" since it began. Their physical differences make sense because the character can regenerate himself 12 different times, explains Ron O'Dell, an ardent fan.

Unlike American television shows, "Dr. Who" has storylines that span as few as two or as many as 12 episodes. The shows are filled with wry British humor, their fans say.

The shows are syndicated to the U.S. months after they have appeared in England. One episode runs about 25 minutes. Locally, the series can be seen at 7 p.m. weekdays and 11:15 p.m. Saturdays on KTEH, Channel 54. KTEH is a public broadcasting station.

"Dr. Who" is the most popular program on the station, outdrawing such other sci-fic faves as "The Outer Limits" and "The Invaders," according to Program Manager Karen Roberts.

Fans have their reasons for watching it.

"We make our own TV series so serious and the sets so big," said MaryLee Henry, a legal secretary who lives in Felton. "Dr. Who has fun, fun, fun."

"Dr. Who is like a renegade," explains O'Dell, 17. "His race doesn't like to interfere, but he thinks it's wrong to sit back and watch other species being killed.

"It's hard to say to non-fans what it is about the show that makes it special," he added. "The Doctor is just not your everyday alien."

"Renegade" might well describe O'Dell, who successfully took the high school equivalency tests two years ago and hasn't been to school since.

"I don't seem to agree with how they teach," he says.

He spends most his time at the terminal of his Commodore 64 computer, talking to friends of a computer bulletin board he runs and programming music on a synthesizer. He runs a general discussion bulletin board and one for people who want to play the fantasy game, Dungeons and Dragons. He hacks until the wee hours, and seldom rises before noon.

Many of the charter members of the Tardis Trackers met via one of the area's computer bulletin boards, in which computer users can write messages to one another.

Along with O'Dell, Santa Cruz High School student Matt Rothwell has helped organize the fan club. He writes articles for a "fanzine" to be published on another member's desktop printer. Rothwell wants to have the club declared a private, non-profit organization.

"I watch 'Star Trek,' but it's got the same plot and the same lines — Capt. Kirk gets lost, he meets a girl, he falls in love ..." said Rothwell.

Some Dr. Who fans do enjoy "Star Trek," although they say "Dr. Who" has more interesting plots — and better villains.

And like Trekkies, they're able to discuss the minutae of the TV series, down to the names of the episodes, whether they were in black and white, who played The Doctor and who was the producer.

Broadcast of the very first episode of "Dr. Who" was delayed 10 minutes because.pf the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, O'Dell noted.

They all have their favorite "Dr. Who."

Henry prefers Tom Baker, who played the role for seven years. She lined up to get nine autographs from him when he was at a "Dr. Who" convention several years ago. She had to get in line all over again for each autograph. "I spent my whole day waiting in line at this parking lot."

She started watching the show with her kids nine years ago. Now they're grown up, but she's still watching the show.

"I like Tom Baker," Henry said, "because he was the same person off screen that he is on screen."

For more information about the Tardis Trackers call 479-1527.


Caption: Who's for Dr. Who? From left, Jim Montoya, MaryLee Henry, Ron O'Dell, Matt Rothwell.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Slothower, Laurie (1987-11-20). Who are they? Dr. Who fans, of course. Santa Cruz Sentinel p. D1.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Slothower, Laurie. "Who are they? Dr. Who fans, of course." Santa Cruz Sentinel [add city] 1987-11-20, D1. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Slothower, Laurie. "Who are they? Dr. Who fans, of course." Santa Cruz Sentinel, edition, sec., 1987-11-20
  • Turabian: Slothower, Laurie. "Who are they? Dr. Who fans, of course." Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1987-11-20, section, D1 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who are they? Dr. Who fans, of course | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who_are_they%3F_Dr._Who_fans,_of_course | work=Santa Cruz Sentinel | pages=D1 | date=1987-11-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=30 November 2022 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who are they? Dr. Who fans, of course | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who_are_they%3F_Dr._Who_fans,_of_course | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=30 November 2022}}</ref>