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It Was 25 Years Ago Today, The Gallifreyan Embassy Began…
It was a quarter of century ago today, as hard as it is for me believe, is when the Gallifreyan Embassy began. Unbeknownst at the time, it was the day after the Discovery Channel was launched. It was also the day after the launch of the space shuttle Discovery (STS-51-G) which marked the first Arab and Muslim in space (payload specialist Sultan bin Salman bin Adulaziz Al Saud). Yes, it was 1985. Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Commodore launches the Amiga personal computer while NeXT is founded by Steve Jobs after leaving Apple Computer.
Just two weeks before we went Back to the Future in the theaters, the Gallifreyan Embassy of Long Island officially began.
Doctor Who Series (Season) 22, Colin Baker's first as the 6th Doctor had completed in March. The first Doctor Who related news we had to report in our very first week was the passing of Valentine Dyall (The Black Guardian). A couple weeks prior to the club's first day, Carey Mulligan (Sally Sparrow) was born, although we and every other Doctor Who fan were completely oblivious to it at the time.
Although the new 6th Doctor's season (22) had already completed in the UK, many Gallifreyan Embassy members had not seen any of his episodes at that time as they had not been shown in the States yet (aside from the then producer, John Nathan-Turner bringing them to conventions). Members would come to our monthly meetings to see episodes that were transferred to VHS after often being shot off a PAL television screens. The result were headache-producing flickering grainy new Doctor Who episodes long before they finally came to PBS stations.
Our first convention was just a month into our existence in Manhattan with Matthew Waterhouse. Our first meeting was at a Holiday Inn in September where we rented a room to accommodate the crowd. Little did we know then that many of the people that came to that first meeting would become the foundation and backbone of the organization and many a friendship resulted from it which still prevails today.
The same September of our first meeting also saw the publication the Doctor Who novel, The Myth Makers and the Children's BBC (later to be rebranded as CBBC) was launched in the UK, the future home of The Sarah Jane Adventures, some 20 odd years later.
The following month, we traveled to PA for WhoEvent85 with Jon Pertwee, Colin Baker, Janet Fielding, Nicola Bryant, Anthony Ainley, Carole Ann Ford, John Levene, and Terry Walsh. It was our first Gallifrey convention before there was a Gallifrey convention.
The annual Children in Need appeal that year saw the current Doctor, Colin Baker along with current companion Nicola Bryant welcoming past Doctors and companions, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Nicholas Courtney, Carole Ann Ford, Janet Fielding, Richard Franklin, Louise Jameson, Adrienne Hill, Coroline John, John Levene, Maureen O'Brien, Ian Marter, Elisabeth Sladen, Peter Purves, Mark Strickson, and Matthew Waterhouse. Yeah, just a few.
So where were you in 1985?