Strange Johnny Convergence Moment – #52 in a series

As an impossibly aggressive junior high school geek, I was obsessed with British sci-fi phenom Doctor Who, specifically the Tom Baker version, the “fourth Doctor”, known for his wild curls, huge, toothy grin and long, flowing scarf (no comments).

I watched the show religiously (thanks WVIZ-TV!), read the paperback novelizations, collected the short lived Marvel Comic (when that issue of Marvel Premiere featuring Doctor Who hit the newsstand at Lawson’s Dairy and Deli, I swear all of Grafton, Ohio must have heard my squeal of glee), and even had my mother buy a long scarf and floppy hat so I could play Doctor Who out in our huge, wooded backyard with my little sister Jennifer standing in for Sarah Jane Smith.

I even built my own K-9 unit out of wood, discarded TV antennae and silver spraypaint, impressing my step-father who had never seen me take any interest in woodshop projects before (or since).

Soon, I grew out of this obsession after being exposed to MTV in 1983, seeing Duran Duran, the Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen and later, the Smiths. Later, I discovered we got Doctor Who episodes years after they had aired in the UK, and Tom Baker had been replaced. All things Doctor Who passed away.

Flash forward to 2002 and I’m living in San Diego. One night, I’m eating at Ono Sushi in Hillcrest with a friend and I spot someone I recognized as a great character actor from several movies, including one I adored, “L.A. Story” with Steve Martin — I just couldn’t place the name with the face. It was killing me. British Character Actor Guy was eating with a male friend of his, laughing, talking and looking totally approachable. But what to say? “Hey there….GUY. I loved you in that movie you did! Ummm…wassernameagain?” Naw, I decided, let the poor guy suck on his raw fish in peace.

A year later, I’m surfing the web at work and stumble across a news story that a “new Doctor Who has been chosen”. A familiar smile of nostalgia crosses my lips and I click the link to see who got the job.

Richard E. Grant. British Character Actor Guy.

Crap! My chance to meet Doctor Who and I passed! Inside me, the geek from Grafton, Ohio who weighed 120 pounds soaking wet was beating the holy fuck out of my 170 pound 2003 version.

Of course, Grant was only the Doctor for one “internet only” animated version. This year, the BBC announced a new series of Doctor Who episodes will begin in 2005, with “Queer As Folk” creator Russell T. Davies serving as Executive Producer and general creative force. The new Doctor will be played by Christopher Eccleston, a regular on UK television.

If I see him at Ono Sushi, I’m buying his meal. Promise.

Note: Yeah, I know I’ve been slacking lately and this post is more or less a stop-gap, but work has finally slowed a bit, so I’ll be updating a little more often. Thanks for your indulgence.

About the Author

John C. Hughes

John C. Hughes began his Lost in the ’80s blog in 2005 and is now proud to be a member of the Popdose family, where he’s introduced LIT80s’s companions, the obviously named Lost in the ’70s and Lost in the ’90s, alongside the slightly more originally named Why You Should Like…

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