Local resident and library staffer John Lavalie, and five of his friends, have just published a book called RED WHITE and WHO: the Story of Doctor Who in America.
I interviewed John about his book and his fascination with Doctor Who and Whovian fandom.
My first question was, “Why are you a fan of the British show Doctor Who?”
His answer was very similar to my reasons for being a Whovian.
Our ‘first Doctor’ was Tom Baker who played the fourth Doctor in the 1970’s and early eighties. We both liked the low tech productions that encouraged the viewer to use their imagination and become more engaged.
And the show was so different from what was on American television at that time.
For those of you who are not Whovians, here is a summary.
The Doctor is a Time Lord, a time traveler that also regenerates into new bodies. So far there are have been 13 Doctors. This is a particularly useful device to keep a series going for decades.
My second question was, “Why did you and your friends write RED WHITE and WHO: the Story of Doctor Who in America?”
The six friends thought there should be a book about the unique American experience viewing the BBC Doctor Who series.
Unlike Great Britain and other countries where the entire country saw the episodes at the same time, the U.S. market was sporadic. Not all television stations around America purchased the programs and they were often broadcast out of sequence.
But, then came the Star Wars films and the popularity of television series like Battlestar Galactica.
The Doctor Who series took off in America in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Interestingly John told me that there are about 700 original Doctor Who episodes. But, 97 are missing.
Recently some of the missing episodes were found in Nigeria. As a devout watcher of Doctor Who, I always felt I was missing some plot lines, especially in the early reincarnations of the Doctor.
Third, I asked John what else his book covers besides broadcasting history.
The book provides a history of Doctor Who fandom in America, with the success of the series came fan cubs, conventions, gaming and merchandising.
If you are interested in participating in a fan experience, the library is hosting a Doctor Who event on Saturday March 31st.
Drop in any time between 10a.m.and 3p.m. and meet the authors of the book and other Whovians. Costumes are optional but welcomed.