picks up jaybees gauntlet
I'm not sure how old I was , but I was an evil and sullen child. Spent most of my days being bullied, and withdrawing until one final attack actually put a crack in my skull - not a happy memory. I withdrew even further, considered death very often and watched a lot of television while reading books, ignoring the world.
One fateful day the program I normally watched was off the air and enraged ( as was normal in those days with anything that upset me ) I stood up and began furiously flipping channels.Nothing,nothing,wait ! what's this? Nope, just a bad robot killing some stupid guard , nothing, oh, some dead guy with white hair, ruffles and a weepy girl-ugh- moving on,nothing- oh, there's that weepy girl again , she seems to have gotten over the dead guy pretty quickly and found herself some mustached army man.......WHO IS THAT ?
The WHO in question was creeping around a hallway in a nightshirt and I was struck by the way he moved , the only thing that kept coming into mind was ....an alley cat, one of those long , lean, light footed strays that we sometimes run across that somehow manage to survive year after year and have developed their own personal style and grace. I know that sounds crazy and maybe sort of insulting- but there it is. I have a fondness for those stray tom cats and admire their pluck.
And then I saw his face- what absolute joy ! He was so thrilled to be where he was,doing what he was doing and it was so totally genuine that you couldn't help be be infected with it. His eyes, his smile and all those expressions, I found it all so fascinating and realized that my palm was itchy -a sign that I wanted to draw that face , but he wouldn't be still long enough to do anything about that. Then he opened his mouth and spoke. That was it , that was the moment that Mr. Tom Baker completely sank his curly hooks into me.
I watched that whole episode standing up, book in one hand and the remote in the other , arguing with myself , " This is nonsense , I'm watching a children's show !! Go away stupid robot , where's that guy ? What is wrong with me ? OH !! HE'S BACK !!! " and wondering who this man was that somehow had the power to completely render my remote control finger useless.
Then came the credits , ' Tom Baker ', who the #@&^%* is Tom Baker ? I spent the next several months having a beautiful LOVE / HATE relationship with Tom Baker and we argued -A LOT.
I was unhappy , didn't know how to be happy and had become very comfortable in this state of mind , but HE wasn't going to let me get away with that. Every episode that I watched this arguement was running in the background of my thoughts: "Come on, you know you want to do this ." ," No I don't , go away and leave me alone Tom Baker ."," Oh pooh, just relax and be silly . it's fun and you might like it. " ," No I won't , your silly and your show is silly and i don't know why i watch you ."
At this point he would begin marching back and forth in front of me ( on the television screen of course, not in my living room . I was sullen not delusional )" You watch me because I'm fun and deep down you want to be silly and have fun too ! Besides, this scarf and floppy hat make me look rather dashing, don't you think ?" I'd peek at him over the top of my book and admire the view." Yes, yes, you're a silly, sexy beast in a floppy hat . Now off with you , your thirty minutes are up and i have to go be sullen."
" Fine., but I'LL be back tomorrow, same time , same place ."
" Of course you will , you silly man and I'll be right here watching you because you have put some sort of spell on me ."
Crazy ? YES ! Did it work ? Yes, about the second run through of those three seasons that PBS had to show , I suddenly and very unexpectedly burst out laughing at ( of all things)" Had a hard day in the catacombs, have we? " from "The Masque of Mandragora". That was probaly the first time in almost two years that I had laughed out loud and it felt pretty damn good. Tom Baker had won the arguement and I gladly bent to the will of my new found prince , I haven't stopped seeking silly fun, never again considered death an option and am a much better person for having done so. I still owe Mr. Baker and have no clue how to repay him.
After all this time of thinking that " robot " was my first Tom Baker sighting, I now know that it wasn't. It was in fact " Frankenstein: The True Story ". I remember that sea captain, even after all this time-MORE than thirty years later . I remember being very unhappy that he died and I was only about 8 or 9 years old when it aired over here on televiision. i haven't seen it since but i remember. That was the first curly hook.
OK-I FOUND an old copy of Frankenstein and stand corrected- He jumped ship and left it to the monster
for some reason my childs brain thought the monster killed him and tossed him overboard-WRONG GUY !!!