I thought I would jump on the band wagon with Roger and review a book, too. In my case, the first Doctor Who book I ever received. To be clear, by “book”, I mean non-novelization. I’ll get to them elsewhere.
When I was a kid, I remember family members used to say how much I reminded them of my uncle, Al. This was indeed a compliment as my uncle is, and has always been, a highly intelligent man with a great sense of humor. One day, back in 1983, while he and his daughter were visiting us, we found ourselves wandering through the Staten Island Mall. I don’t recall where my parents were at the time, but he was with me when we walked into (the now long-dead) Waldenbooks. And there was the Holy Grail in book form waiting for me. And it only cost my uncle $3.95. (How far we’ve come!)
The Doctor Who Technical Manual by Mark Harris (official anniversary volume… was there ever a non-anniversary volume?) is one of only 2 books I own that show significant wear and tear. Most have spines that are so carefully preserved, they look unread. But not this one. This book traveled everywhere with me and it has the scars to prove it.
It opens with a fairly decent look at Time Lords and an explanation of the Doctor putting us firmly in the Tom Baker era. It then goes for a page of description of the TARDIS and its real life counterpart, the Police Box (both with measurements). We are given some stats on the console too, with top down view! Oh, how I wanted to build one of those! We get a few pages to talk about the Daleks with technical specs on several of the models (I, III and V) that have graced our screen along with Davros, his chair, and the Movellans (with specs on their blaster as well). Same goes for the Cybermen and Cybermats (types I, II and V). And no tech manual would be complete without K-9, the sonic screwdriver and the Whomobile.
The book also goes a bit esoteric with things like the TARDIS Tool Kit (with some never-before-seen tools), the giant Robot, the Quarks and the servo robots, the White Robots from The Mind Robber, the Skonnos Blaster, a space freighter and an Earth Titan Shuttle. An odd assortment indeed. Lastly, a set of images to cut out and build your own TARDIS. (I never did do that, come to think of it!) Best of all, 4 pages (count them… 4!) of full color photos. Clearly, it was a time when color photos were a novelty, apparently!
This book was amazing. It started a collection that has spanned a lifetime.
And now I present – Extras:
As if this book weren’t special enough for me, I did what DVDs would do years later by giving it an “extras” section. You see, coming by anything in the United States during those days of fandom was a rare treat. When something would turn up, I’d cut it out and try to preserve it. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe. Submitted here are articles I cut out of various papers and taped into The Doctor Who Technical Manual.
NY Times, Sept 1986. Take note of those center images. McCoy’s face covers times Doctor Who could be watched on TV. That image next to it… see 2 below…
Under that large article, were these 3, two about the sad passing of Patrick Troughton. Sadly, I cannot give credit to the newspaper that published them as I have no idea what it was.
This flyer is the very one given out at the Doctor Who USA Tour. I traveled out to Seaside Heights in NJ at the time to see this. That is what the New York Times article is showing in that center image.
Lastly, this is the console from the event! (I’m off to the side, but am far too dignified now to allow that into public viewing! Have a field day with that…)
The Doctor Who Technical Manual changed what fandom was for me. That day lives in my mind as clearly now as it did back then. And I couldn’t be more grateful. Thanks Uncle Al! ML