THAT WERE ACTUALLY MORE EXCITING THAN THE MOVIE !
THAT WERE ACTUALLY MORE EXCITING THAN THE MOVIE !
A brief look at the evolution of the Dalek Toys
from 1964 to present.
Dr Who without Pepperpots
A universe without Daleks is scarcely worth thinking about
At the time, there was so much adversity to Dr Who by the BBC management, that without the Daleks, it is (with all probability) that the show would have been scrapped short of completing its first season.
Saying that, its youthful strong willed producer (Verity Lambert) might have discovered new ways to save the show, (which could have given it a little more staying power) but it would still only have stemmed the inevitable and seen the show promptly cancelled, perhaps within three seasons at best.
Bare in mind, its hard to imagine Dr Who being any sort of huge success without the Daleks. People forget that these Nazi Pepperpots were not only the most successful monsters in Dr Who but they were also the first of many moralistic tales about the abuse of power and science, opening the flood gates for a whole plethora of monsters.
But the Daleks clinched it first. Take a thousand year war between two races, followed by centuries of nuclear fallout and you have radiated mutant human beings, withered to that of mere octopuses, dependent on their travel machines to throw their weight around. And for a children’s Tv series, (akin to Bill and Ben and Juke Box Jury), this was pretty heavy science for kids, who had just missed the more adult orientated Quatermass serials a few years earlier.
Basically, the Daleks are us, taken to the absolute extreme of far right neo socialism values, which had thrown us into a second world war, in the first place. Of course, it takes two to tango and Nazis wouldn’t be Nazis without a suitable nemesis. Divide and conquer. Exterminate the other. That is essentially the Daleks.
Without this moralistic format, Dr Who would have strictly spiralled into various historical romps, such as the Romans, Marco Polo and so on. Good stories in their own right but too many historical tales would have made Dr Who too bland for fans of American science fiction and difficult to sell overseas to the USA etc.
Without the Daleks, the ailing Doctor would have had to contend with things like the Zarbi, basically a bunch of blokes in giant ill conceived Ant costumes and that would have killed the show off for sure.
So its with heartfelt thanx to Verity Lambert for standing her ground, allowing Terry Nations story the green light, thus permitting Ray Cusick, Bill Roberts and Shawcraft to create the most successful monsters in Television history. Who would have thought, that these angry pepper-pots would become as famous as Santa and a British institution in their own right.
Its all about teaching the kids
because one day, they will inherit the Earth,
perhaps one day the U*N*I*V*E*R*S*E !
With a Little Help From My Friends:
The True Origins of The Daleks?
On the 23rd of November 1963, Dr Who came to our screens amidst the chaos of President Kennedys assassination in Dallas the previous day. With a public still reeling in grief over this brutal death, there was little thought to noticing a little sci-fi show on BBC 1, about some old codger and his granddaughter, who kidnap two teachers, whisking them back in time to the stone age, in a rickety old metropolitan police box, to fight off cave men.
And had the series continued on that vain of historical interlopes, it is likely that Dr Who wouldn’t have lasted much longer than a few episodes. However, that was all to change, with the subsequent introduction of the Daleks in the second story, which not only captured the imagination of children across Britain, but anchored the family unit for half an hour every Saturday night, creating the highest Tv ratings that BBC 1 had ever seen. Over nine million viewers tuned in to watch the Doctor fight the metallic monsters, so it was only inevitable that they would return again and again and thus make Dr Who one of the BBCs longest running television serials and the Flagship show of the Beeb.
With their sudden success, “Dalek-Mania” soon swept across England as every toy manufacturer in the land spat out Dalek toys, playsuits, books and comics and so on, culminating in two big budget movies starring Peter Cushing as Dr Who.
And at the heart of all this, was the Daleks creator, a welsh writer by the name of Terry Nation, who literally become a millionaire overnight. But not it seems, without a little help from his friends.
As we shall see...
Nation has often been vague about where the idea of the Daleks actually came from. If you ask many a famous writer, you might get a similar response. A sort of vague look into the horizon, a rubbing of the chin and then some convoluted story that has no meaning. “They just came to me!” He would often say. When interviewed in 1968 by Alan Wicker, his stock answer was “I needed a villain, and the Daleks just appeared somehow.” Take the money and run like a thief! was another popular expression he used to bandy about. But perhaps there was more to this expression than Nation was letting on. After all, that’s what makes being a writer fun, to be inspired by the writings of say HG Wells or John Wyndham and to be just as successful as them. Ultimately, that’s what we writers do, we build upon one idea and create something new. Case in point, The Daleks. Lets just suppose for the remainder of this blog, that they were not just some divine idea that popped into Nations head. There was no Eureka! moment at the type writer. If anything, lets just suppose that the Daleks were a culmination of ideas, solidified by Nation but ultimately lets just suppose, that like many writers on the skids, he lifted the idea from somebody else.
Being a writer sucks. Particularly when nobody notices you even exist, even worse, when you rely entirely on it to pay the rent. Time and time again it seems, much like in the film and music industry, the only way to get ahead, is to plagiarise other artists work. Much like the law suit that ensued after the Kinks ripped off a guitar riff used by the Doors. Writers are just as notorious for lifting ideas off each other. Hence we now have copywrite laws to protect victims of such underhandedness, yet this practice still prevails.
No doubt, there are still times in a writers life when his back is against the wall, when the ideas simply don’t put food on the table and the alternative is to pack up and hitch a lift back to Nowheresville and die in obscurity and shame. Nation was a driven man and I believe he would rather die than risk absolute failure. With a wife and kids in tow, it might not come as a surprise, that he might have borrowed a few ideas off other writers, in order to maintain the bourgeois lifestyle he was accustomed to. Thus his biggest career break came when he was finally employed by comedian and writer Tony Hancock and this is where seeds of the Daleks were likely sown.
PING PONG BALLS.
Its no secret that Tony Hancock was a nightmare to be around. A constant drunk, it soon overshadowed his genius. Even comedian Spike Milligan noted he seemed to outrage everyone and push them away, sooner or later. However, as far as Terry Nation was concerned, beggars couldn’t be choosers and he worked alongside Hancock on various ideas for sketches. Usually this would entail the familiar surroundings of the local pub.
On one such drinking session, rumour has it, that Hancock suggested they do a sketch that included a robot shaped like a big upturned cone, covered in ping pong balls and a sink plunger for an eye.
FROM CROATIA, TO BEER PUMPS
And when it came to the actual naming of the Daleks, even that is of some debate. Writers of sci-fi are always on the lookout for weird and unusual names, particularly when it comes to naming things of alien origin. C3PO from Star Wars for example, was actually a grid reference from a ordinance map, that Director George Lucas drew upon. Contrary to popular belief, the very name Dalek may very well have come from the same source (the pub that is). Again when interviewed, Nation would rub his chin about where he got the name from. Was it from his collection of encyclopaedias? Or was it in fact, a Croatia word, meaning a far and distant place? Possibly. But then again, possibly not. The real origins are probably less dramatic and again surround the pub, which sounds a lot less exciting than Croatia, probably.
In most English pubs you cared to enter, there were a range of famous beer pumps called "DALEX". The Dalex brand was quite clearly labelled upon the base of the beer pump (or on the pump handles) and it is most likely that Hancock (or Nation) must have noted this, when eyeing up the buxom bar maid, while waiting for several pints of the good stuff.
BBC OR BUST
However, this robot idea never came to fruition, as Hancock’s drunken antics soon got the better of him, including crazy things like running around a train carriage naked one night, with Nation in pursuit, trying to get his clothes back on. To add to this frustration, Hancock saw little value in Nations ideas, often dismissing them in favour of his own, driving a wedge further between them.
So it was only inevitable that Terry would be fired, (and with a family to feed) Nation had little option but to come crawling back to the BBC (who had already asked him to do Dr Who), subsequently he would write the script for the first Dalek story and most likely drew upon all his experiences to pull it off and get that pay cheque and run like a thief. It was now or never time, BBC or bust and so Nation would need to crystallise his writing career once and for all, drawing (allegedly) upon Hancocks drunken ideas (about inverted cones with ping pong balls and sink plungers), throwing in some HG Wells for good measure and thus the Daleks were born.
CLOAK AND DAGGER AFFAIR
The idea of radioactive mutants in cone shaped machines resonated heavily with series producer Verity Lambert and despite fierce opposition from BBC stalwarts, (including head of BBC Drama Sydney Newman) she fought tooth and nail, to get that script the green light.
Soon Dalek production was underway, with Terry Nation hinting his (lifted) design ideas to Ray Cusack, over various phone calls during the Daleks development. Cusick was already an talented and accomplished designer anyway but drew heavily from Nations suggestions that the Daleks should have no recognisable human features. One night Cusick saw the Georgian Dancers performing on Tv and immediately phoned Nation about basing the Daleks movements on them. Nation apparently had seen the same show and stated he was thinking the exactly the same thing also but then again, he could have just taken advantage of Cusicks suggestion.
Soon things would escalate into a cloak and dagger affair, with Nation likely using Cusicks Georgian Dancers idea as a clever ruse, so not to arouse suspicion from Tony Hancock, who undoubtedly would have scuppered the whole production with a law suit, had he got wind of the Daleks construction.
Subsequently, Shawcraft Models were quickly employed to make the actual Dalek props and did a fantastic job of interpreting Cusicks interpretation, of Nations suggestions, lifted from Hancock (who may well have himself lifted the idea from somebody else).
With the subsequent rise of Dalek Mania (and millionaires being made overnight from Dalek Toys), Nation himself had already accumulated around four million pounds in Dalek related mechanise, never sharing any of his success with Ray Cusick or Shawcraft, let alone his poor drunken writing buddy Tony Hancock. Even script writer David Whitaker, (who was heavily involved in all Dalek related media), would only receive the standard fees, despite contributing more to the Dalek phenomena, than anyone else involved.
Rumour also had it, that when Tony finally saw his creations on Tv, he was understandably enraged but ultimately too devastated to act upon it.
Thus, within four years of "Dalek Mania" exploding across Britain, (and Terry Nation living the high life), Tony Hancock would emigrate to Australia and drinking heavily, eventually committed suicide in 1968. He left a note that read: "Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times."
Ultimately, if any of this was true, then Hancock should be credited for coming up with the Daleks, or at least contributing to the final Dalek design. If anything, the Daleks were not any one singular idea but a combination of talents that eventually culminated in what we know and love today. From Beer pumps and sink plungers, to heated arguments in the production office, the success of the Daleks and their credit has been of endless debate, with unsung hero’s still yet to surface for sure.
For these reasons, the entertainment business is at times, a cut throat culture best avoided and yet irresistible to the aspiring novice, until it is way too late. No more so than for the many writers that have succumb to its allure, like moths to the flame.
Star Trek: The Enemy Within
In this episode, a transporter malfunction splits our hero Captain into two Captain Kirks, representing Jekyll and Hyde. The nice Kirk goes about as his usual (altho dithering) self. His alter ego however has a great time stealing Sarian Brandy off McCoy and trying to rape Yeoman Janice Rand among other things. The story is eventually resolved and Kirks halves are put back together again and all is well. Even Spock tries to make light of the situation when he ends the story with the clumsy remark: "The Imposter had some interesting qualities, wouldn't you say Yeoman?"
Probably not the wisest thing to say to a woman, after she's nearly been raped (and its dated terribly) but lets put that line into context. To begin with, we live in an age where we think we are somehow all knowing and wise. Yet we still point nukes at each other and pulling down statues seems to be the latest fashion. Neo Feminism is part of that whole deal. Im all for equality but I cant be in the same room with a Neo Feminist anymore and heres why:
NEO FEMINISM & THE WOKE GENERATION
I once had a conversation about TOS (in the naughties) with a work colleague (at a bar in Brighton). I don't think she ever saw an episode and dismissed it as capitalist propergander. 'Just look at the starship they fly about in...' She said folding her arms. 'Its called ENTERPRISE!' She alluded that Trek was irrelevant in todays society and only evoked a mans future with mens philosophies based on greed.
She was of course an extreme feminist, part of the 'woke generation', so "woke" that she couldn't tell the difference between Star Trek and that Nazi piece of shit 'Triumph of the Will'. If she even bothered to watch Star Trek, I imagine it wouldn't have changed her opinion and she'd defo had a field day with the Janice Rand assault scene and Spocks dumb-ass comments about it. A line most likely added at the last minute by Gene but more likely renowned "serial killer" Fred Friedburger.
But to put Spocks dumbass line into perspective, Kirk and Janice had a 'thing' and this episode was part of a set up to establish this growing relationship. When Kirks evil side is put back, she walks on the Bridge to reconcile things with Kirk and the viewer is left with the impression that she still fancies him, (to which Spocks comment is supposed to be a way of teasing her affections and lighten the mood).
Watched in sequence the entire scene makes sense but in the age of extreme Neo-Feminism, it is easy to make more of this scene than there really is.
However, in real life, actress Grace Lee Whitney was actually sexually assaulted by an executive on the show (probably Roddenbury but could easily have been Friedburger, Shatner or even studio Desilu owner Desi Arnaz) but Grace never divulged his identity anyway and Gene is now dead.
She would later be written out of the series after just eight episodes. Shatner said it was because she was always drunk but it was most likely because of the 'incident'. So you can take this episode or leave it. Personally I think its one of the best stories on the Jekyll and Hyde theme and thus the attempted rape scenes are valid and altho Spocks final comments are supposed to make you laugh, it kinda backfires especially in light of what happened to Grace Lee Whitney. The scenes were probably not shot in order either, so this shot may have seemed like a good idea at the time but is used as a prime target for so called "woke activists", jumping on the Neo Feminist band wagon.
FREE LOVE & NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST
Bare in mind also, that the series was overshadowed by the relentless technical (and personal) problems behind camera, (Star Trek struggled to get shot at all). Bare in mind also that sexual assault walked hand in hand with casual sex, and the line would often be blurred by the cocaine and booze and thus was part of the landscape 1960's America and television even more so. That doesn't make rape ok but these were crazy drug fuelled times, when the world was literally on the brink of Nuclear Holocaust.
Ultimately this was the whole point of Star Trek. For nations to put aside their differences and work towards the exploration of space. Unfortunately its cast and crew were falliblle flawed beings, firmly stuck in the turmoil of the 1960's.
Never the less, the series has prevailed despite controversy on every level and over decade after the original series had aired, the world still hadn't blown itself up and Star Treks future was assured. By now all was forgiven, as Grace finally returned for Star Trek Phase II, later to become The Motion Picture.