The Doctor Comes to Chicago, February 1983

I’m keeping the First!Masquerade entry on pause for a bit longer, as I am reminded of a lot of Significant Fannish Anniversaries coming up in the near future. I want to get to the point in the telling of my fannish history where I can use the Significant Anniversary of an Event to be the reason for blogging about it.

(Yes, we’ll see how long that idea lasts, shall we?)

When we last left Teenage!Jenn, I had just attended Sweatcon, the summer of 1982. That big dose of Doctor Who goodness, combined with the Sunday evening episode airings on Channel 11 (still only the Tom Baker episodes, although it was his full run and not just “Robot” through “Invasion of Time” (both available currently on DVD, but you can’t shop my link for them, since I don’t have any!)– and with an added dash of biking to the comic book shop in Mount Prospect (Moondog’s) that carried DW swag blended with a huge amount of not-necessarily-well-written fan fiction and the thrill of getting membership packages from both the Columbus and New Orleans DW fan clubs in the mail kept me quite distracted until the start of the school year.

I somehow ended up being president of the university’s science fiction club, despite my inability to talk about anything other than Doctor Who (oh, and Star Trek and Space: 1999 and the Beatles and the Monkees). Since as president I had to work the club’s info table at the Student Activities Fair, I decided the best way to recruit hapless victims new members would be to wear my Leela costume. Hoo boy! I had a lot of interest that evening. Several of the young gentlemen even joined the club! One youngling in particular was as obsessed about Doctor Who as I was. As he was only 14, though, and in the Integrated Science Program, he ended up being dubbed “Adric.” Still, he was much less petulant and much more hygienic than his namesake, not a bad sort at all.

Fall became Winter, and the big news went around– the New Fantasy Shop was having Peter Davison come for a signing! SQUEE!!!!!!! I didn’t find out about this through Larry’s Comic Book Shop, though. Larry and the New Fantasy owners (George and Mrs. Breo, if memory serves) were (bitter?) rivalries on the Doctor Who front. Each one competed to have the best array of merchandise at the best prices. Having Davison come for a signing was the New Fantasy’s one-uppance for Larry having had such a success with Panopticon the previous summer.

I found out (I think) over winter break, when I hit up Moondog’s for a post-Christmas DW fix. (I still have– somewhere– the 8 1/2″ x 14″ cartoon poster advertising it.) It took a bit of plotting to figure out how to get there– especially since having to deal with my mom getting married got in the way for awhile. I ended up conning a grad student who had a car and a slight crush on me to take me over to the store, as it was not easily accessible via public transportation. (I also got him to drop me at the el afters, so I could go home and visit the folks, and so that I wouldn’t have to potentially make a payment I wasn’t ready to part with, if you know what I mean and I think you do!)

The line outside the New Fantasy Shop

As you can see, there was a pretty good turn-out for the signing.

Another Shot of the Line

(Little did I know that the group of younglings at the right edge of the above shot would soon play an important part in my life!)

So, yeah, line city, but well worth it, I thought, because I was going to get to Meet! The! DOCTOR! And not just any Doctor– my Doctor! For I was by then rabid in my admiration for the Fifth Doctor. Eventually, I made it inside, where the wait was warmer, if nothing else.

The line inside.

We had to snake around a few times to actually get to Davison. (Note that he’s actually wearing his costume! He rarely did that– just at this signing and at the Ultimate Ripoff Celebration in Chicago.) While waiting inside, I scored a number of flyers for a number of local (i.e. right in Chicagoland) Doctor Who clubs which I folded up and stuck in my pocket.

K9 wants a word with his master....

As you can see, it was quite a patient line. hee!

I don’t remember now what I had Davison sign; I know, though, that his then-wife, Sandra Dickensen, signed my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book. (And, yes, she was as squeaky in real life as she was in the miniseries.) Here’s what they looked like signing my stuff….

Peter Davison gives me my first autograph of his.

Sandra Dickensen signing a book for me.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic for weeks after the event!

Next time: The Weekend That Changed My Life (1983)

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2 thoughts on “The Doctor Comes to Chicago, February 1983

  1. Hey, me too — Katy Manning and Terrance Dicks at a small 1-day show put on the by the DWFCA in March (April?) 1984. Got pics with both, but it wasn’t until 1989 that I scored an actual Doctor (oh please! not in the Biblical sense) — the Pert-man at that ‘travelling bus’ show after I’d moved to Dallas. He was literally the only guest, and seemed fairly cranky all weekend. The next year I met my wife at a WHO con, but try getting her to admit to that. 🙂

  2. Aw man, I remember seeing Peter Davison at, hrm, it must have been a Creation event in Boston in 1986. Now that I think of it, that was my first Who-fandom event and, damn, did I oscillate with fannish glee all the way through it. I remember him being amazingly patient through the almost-endless Q&A session.

    Gosh, now you’ve got me thinking about my own, very erratic, history with DW fandom…

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