Edge Of Destruction

.Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara are sprawled across the floor of the TARDIS console room after some kind of accident. The TARDIS itself won’t let them exit, and gives very vague readings as to what may be outside. And something appears to be affecting the minds of its occupants…could that something be the TARDIS itself, trying to warn them of their own impending doom?

written by David Whitaker
directed by Richard Martin and Frank Cox
music not credited

Guest Cast: none

Broadcast from February 8 through 15, 1964

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

Marco Polo

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS lands in the Himalayas in 1289, and promptly breaks down, stranding the Doctor, Ian, Susan and Barbara. Fortunately for them, a caravan is passing through and they are able to secure shelter. Ian and Barbara are impressed to learn that their new benefactor is none other than Marco Polo himself, on his latest passage to Cathay from Venice. But they are less enthused when Marco reveals that he intends to take the Doctor’s “flying caravan” to Peking as a gift for Kublai Khan, who will hopefully be impressed enough to continue to grant Marco safe passage. The Doctor and his companions continue traveling with Marco and his own suspicious companion, the Mongol warlord Tegana. Susan befriends a young girl named Ping-Cho, who is being transported to meet her future husband in an arranged marriage. The Doctor doesn’t give up hope that he will have an opportunity to recover the TARDIS, but he may have to travel with Marco for months to sieze it.

Order this story on audio CDwritten by John Lucarotti
directed by Waris Hussein and John Crockett
music by Tristram Cary

Guest Cast: Mark Eden (Marco Polo), Derren Nesbitt (Tegana), Zienia Merton (Ping-Cho), Leslie Bates (the man at Lop), Jimmy Gardner (Chenchu), Charles Wade (Malik), Philip Voss (Acomat), Philip Crest (Bandit), Paul Carson (Ling-Tau), Gabor Baraker (Wang-Lo), Tutte Lemkow (Kuiju), Peter Lawrence (Vizier), Martin Miller (Kublai Khan), Basil Tang (Foreman), Claire Davenport (Empress), O. Ikeda (Yeng)

Broadcast from February 22 through April 4, 1964

Notes: Guest star Zienia Merton would later become a semi-regular cast member on the 1970s ITV science fiction series Space: 1999, as Moonbase Alpha crewmember Sandra Benes. The master tapes of this episode were destroyed by the BBC in the early 1970’s, and no video copies exist, though it has been released as a narrated, audio-only story on CD.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

The Keys Of Marinus

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS lands on the planet Marinus, a world whose seas are filled with acid and whose beaches are sand fused into glass. They investigate a fantastic building, but at the same time something else is investigating the TARDIS – a tall creature in what appears to be a black skinsuit. Inside the building, more of these creatures are encountered, and Ian saves a man who’s being threatened by one of the beings. The man, Arbitan, tells the Doctor and his friends the story of the Conscience, a machine that was built to be the perfect impartial judge and evolved into a device that eliminated crime from Arbitan’s society by controlling the thoughts of the population. But when a rebel group aided by the Voords arrived, four of the Conscience’s five keys were hidden to prevent the Voord from ruling over Marinus with its mind control. Arbitan enlists the Doctor’s help to search for the missing keys, and to make sure he has the time travelers’ help, he prevents them from reaching the TARDIS. They undertake a lengthy quest across Marinus, through lawless frozen wastelands, enduring moving vegetation, and visiting a ruined city whose inhabitants use hypnotic means to trick visitors into seeing an opulent palace. They even find a counterfeit Conscience key. But when they return with the four keys, they find Arbitan dead and the Voords in control.

written by Terry Nation
directed by John Gorrie
music by Norman Kay

Guest Cast: George Couloris (Arbitan), Martin Cort, Peter Stenson, Gordon Wales (Voords), Robin Phillips (Altos), Katharine Schofield (Sabetha), Heron Carvic (voice of Morpho), Edmund Warwick (Darrius), Francis de Wolff (Vasor), Michael Allaby (Larn), Alan James, Anthony Verner, Peter Stenson, Michael Allaby (Ice Soldiers), Henley Thomas (Tarron), Raf de la Torre (Senior Judge), Alan James, Peter Stenson (Judges), Fiona Walker (Kala), Martin Cort (Aydan), Donald Pickering (Eyesen), Stephen Dartnell (Yartek), Dougie Dean (Eprin)

Notes: This episode marks the first time that the TARDIS is actually seen materializing on screen. William Hartnell was absent from episodes 3 and 4 to take a brief vacation, so those episodes focus instead on Ian and Barbara’s adventures.

Broadcast from April 11 through May 16, 1964

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

Mothra Vs. Godzilla / Godzilla Vs. The Thing

GodzillaIn the aftermath of a powerful storm, rescue and recovery teams are cleaning up Kurata Beach on Iwa Island. Reporter Ichiro Sakai and photographer Junko Nakanishi and discover an unusual blob floating among the debris. Meanwhile, at another beach, a mammoth egg is floating offshore and a team of fishermen is sent to pull it onto the beach.

Professor Miura examines the egg, which is at least three stories tall, trying to shrug off questions from Sakai. Self-described “Great Entrepreneur” Kumayama orders Miura to leave the egg alone, since he purchased it from the islanders and plans on exploiting it for financial gain. Later at the hotel, Junko, and Muira are discussing the sale of the egg, and Muira says there’s nothing that can be done. They spot Kumayama entering the hotel and follow him to a room. The businessman turns over the contract for the egg over to Shiro Torahata, the president of Happy Enterprises, who unveils plans for a tourism center featuring the egg, where they will easily make at least “a billion dollars!” They are interrupted by the Shobijin, two young girls about a foot tall, who plead for the egg to be returned. They try to capture the Fairy Twins, but they manage to escape. Sakai enters the room, mistaking the rowdy search for the tiny girls for a fight.

Sakai meets Muira and Junko in a glen near the hotel, where he tells them he overheard the plans by Torahata and Kumayama. The twins approach the newspaper people and the scientist, and ask them to return the egg to Mothra Island. The island had changed dramatically for the worse as a result of nearby nuclear testing. A recent hurricane had caused the egg to wash away. The fairies advise the three that if the egg hatches the creature inside could cause “great damage” while foraging for food. Mothra, also known as “The Thing” also wants the egg returned. The reporters and the scientist are surprised to find a giant moth in the brush behind them.

At the construction site, Sakai, Junko, and Muira are trying to convince Kumayama and Torahata to turn the egg over to the islanders. The two businessmen will hear nothing of it, until they see the Shobijin, who are being carried in an ornate case. The girls again plead for the return of the egg, but instead the entrepreneurs offer to buy the girls to include them as part of the tourist attraction. The reporters and the scientist leave, taking the twins with them. Back at the hotel, Sakai promises to write a negative story about the business venture, but admits public opinion is powerless against the law. The Shobijin slip away. The three return to the glen, just in time to watch Mothra and the twins fly off.

The villagers who sold the egg are demanding payment in full for the remainder of the contract that has not yet been paid. Kumayama calls Torahata and advises him about the villagers’ demands. Torahata is willing to loan Kumayama the money the villagers demand if he uses his share of the company as collateral to secure the loan. Kumayama reluctantly agrees. Sakai is frustrated with the public ambivalence to his articles about the egg. Editor Arota pushes Sakai to try harder and be more compelling. Arota receives a newstip that Kumayama is trying to hatch the egg. Junko rushes in and tells Sakai that Muira needs to see him urgently.

Muira decontaminates Sakai and Junko, who are both radioactive. He tells them the mysterious blob they discovered following the storm is also radioactive. They return to the beach which has since been drained of floodwaters, to test for radioactivity. Junko has been trying to take a picture of the property, but the land has been moving. The ground heaves, and steam is released from underground. The Geiger counter ticks madly. A giant tail emerges from the ground, followed by the rest of Godzilla. He shakes off the dirt and walks off toward Nagoya.

In the industrial sector, Godzilla crashes through oil pipelines and belches his terrible atomic fire. An army of fire trucks heads to the fires as residents try to evacuate. Looking behind them in panic, they watch the beast pull down a giant tower. As he continues through Nagoya, he trips and falls onto a pagoda, wrecking it as he tries regain his footing. U.S. military officials conferring with Japanese officials say they will use the Frontier Missile, “the newest and most powerful rockets the unit has ever developed.” U.S. warships offshore try to contain Godzilla to a beach using the missiles. Godzilla is temporarily stunned, but gets up again to continue his rampage.

Muira, Sakai and Junko are sent to Mothra Island to ask for the creature’s help in defeating Godzilla. Because of the devastation to their island caused by nuclear testing, the islanders and the twins are hesitant to implore the Thing to help them. But Junko and Sakai appeal to their humanity and compassion. The Shobijin appeal to Mothra to assist, who agrees. But Mothra is dying and will not return. However, a new Mothra will be hatched from the giant egg.

Kumayama attacks Torahata, wanting his money back because the tourist attraction has failed. Pulling money out of the safe, Kumayama is shot in the back by Torahata. As Torahata tries to escape from the hotel, he is killed when Godzilla tears down the building. Godzilla smashes the egg’s incubator, causing the egg to roll away. Mothra shows up to protect the egg and the people of Japan, and uses a yellow dust to disable Godzilla. As he writhes on the ground, he blasts Mothra with his nuclear fire, mortally injuring the flying creature. Mothra manages to make her way to the egg to die.

With Mothra dead, Japanese Defense Forces attempt an attack on Godzilla. A line of electrical towers are powered up as the beast approaches. The “artificial lightning” serves only to annoy him, and he pulls some of the towers down. As the Shobijin sing to the egg, Godzilla struggles as he is trapped by nets and is zapped with more “lightning.” The high voltage overloads the system, shuts it down, and melts the towers, allowing Godzilla to escape his bonds.

The egg hatches! Two Mothra larvae emerge! They follow Godzilla as to Iwa Island. The larvae spin a cocoon onto Godzilla. He becomes fully cocooned by the spray and falls into the ocean. The larvae swim off to Mothra Island.

written by Shinichi Sekizawa
directed by Inoshiro Honda
music by Akira Ifukube

Human Cast: Akira Takarada (Sirou Sakai), Yuriko Hoshi (Junko Nakanashi), Hiroshi Koizumi (Dr. Miura), Yu Fujiki (Jirou Nakamura), Kenji Sahara (Jirou Torahata), Emi Ito (Shojibin), Yumi Ito (Shojibin), Yoshihumi Tajima (Kumayama)

Monster Cast: Godzilla, The Thing (Mothra), Mothra Larvae

Notes: This is the U.S. version of Godzilla Vs. The Thing. The movie was originally released in Japan as Mothra Vs. Godzilla in 1964. The Frontier Missile scene does not exist in the original Japanese language Mothra Vs. Godzilla; instead, Japanese audiences saw a scene of military officials laying plans and issuing orders for an attack on the approaching Godzilla.

LogBook entry by Robert Parson

The Aztecs

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS lands in the ancient empire of the Aztecs, a culture that has always fascinated Barbara for its mix of scientific and technological achievement and brutal savagery. Exploring with Susan in tow, Barbara quickly discovers that the Aztecs aren’t in the past tense here – the time machine has brought its passengers to the height of that civilization, a time when being caught in the temple vaults is punishable by death. When the Aztecs do discover the two women there, Barbara takes advantage of her and Susan’s “futuristic” appearance by explaining that they are the embodiment of the god Yetaxa and his handmaiden. Quickly installed as a god in the temple, Barbara decides to push history along a different course, declaring the Aztecs’ bloody human sacrifices will no longer be needed – over the Doctor’s protests.

Download this episodewritten by John Lucarotti
directed by John Crockett
music by Richard Rodney Bennett

Guest Cast: Keith Pyott (Autloc), John Ringham (Tlotoxl), Ian Cullen (Ixta), Margot van der Burgh (Cameca), Tom Booth (Victim), David Anderson (Captain), Walter Randall (Tonila), Andre Boulay (The Perfect Victim)

Broadcast from May 23 through June 13, 1964

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

The Sensorites

Doctor WhoIn the distant future, the TARDIS lands aboard a human spacecraft whose crew claims that they are under siege by creatures called the Sensorites, who can influence their thoughts. Captain Maitland warns the Doctor and his friends to leave immediately and assures the time travelers that they can do nothing for the ship’s crew, but by the time they return to the TARDIS, it’s too late – the lock has been removed and the doors cannot be opened. The Doctor resolves to help the human crew fight the influence of the Sensorites. The ship is boarded by spacewalking Sensorites, who are able to exert mental control over Maitland and his crew, though the Doctor and his companions are able to fight off that control, and they begin to show the humans how to do the same. But the Sensorites quickly detect that someone aboard has powerful telepathic abilities of their own, and they use that mind-link to open peaceful negotiations – through Susan. The Doctor and his friends, and the ship’s human crew, are invited to visit the Sensorites’ home planet, Sense-Sphere, where the Sensorites reveal their fear of humanity visiting their world to exploit it for the molybdenum on its surface. Worse yet, a previous human expedition to Sense-Sphere has come and gone, but many of its crew died after leaving the planet. When Ian falls ill, the Doctor discovers that the water is poisoned – and Ian is only the latest victim. But are the Sensorites – who claim that they are peaceful – behind the plot? Time is running out for the Doctor to find out.

written by Peter R. Newman
directed by Mervyn Pinfield (episodes 1-4) & Frank Cox (episodes 5-6)
music by Norman Kay

Guest Cast: Stephen Dartnell (John), Ilona Rogers (Carol), Lorne Cossette (Captain Maitland), Ken Tyllson, Joe Grieg, Peter Glaze, Arthur Newell (Sensorites), Eric Francise, Bartlett Mullins (Elders), John Bailey (Commander), Martyn Huntley, Giles Phibbs (Survivors)

Notes: Again due to actress Jacqueline Hill being on vacation, the character of Barbara is absent for much of The Sensorites. This episode leaves no doubt that the Doctor and Susan are from a world other than Earth; her description of orange skies and trees full of silver leaves was taken on board in numerous later novels, and was finally depicted – briefly – in the 2007 episode The Last Of The Time Lords. (Previous episodes that visited Gallifrey – which wasn’t named until 1974 – usually didn’t adhere to that description, likely for budgetary reasons.)

Broadcast from June 20 through August 1, 1964

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

The Reign Of Terror

Doctor WhoOffended by Ian, the Doctor is determined to return his two passengers to their rightful place and time. But neither Ian nor Barbara is surprised to find that, while they have indeed returned to Earth, the TARDIS has put them in the path of history again, this time bringing them to the eve of the French Revolution. The time travelers stumbling into a farmhouse being used as a staging area for opponents of the Revolution, where they are captured by the Revolutionary soldiers – except for the Doctor, who’s left for dead when the barn is burned down. A scraggly youngster helps the Doctor to escape, but his companions are rounded up and scheduled for execution. Ian learns of the presence of a British spy among the Revolutionaries, and this knowledge saves his life; Barbara and Susan are eventually liberated by forces fighting against the Revolution. The Doctor adopts a disguise to free his friends from prison, but by the time he arrives, they have all already gone their separate ways; the Doctor tries to convince Robespierre to put an end to the executions, to no avail. Eventually, all four of the time travelers’ actions get them rounded up and returned to prison to await execution once more – unless, of course, their sentences are delayed by Napoleon’s uprising against Robespierre…

written by Dennis Spooner
directed by Henric Hirsch
music by Stanley Myers

Guest Cast: Pete Walker (Small Boy), Laidlaw Dalling (Rouvray), Neville Smith (d’Argenson), Robert Hunter (Sergeant), Ken Lawrence (Lieutenant), James Hall (Soldier), Howard Charlton (Judge), Jack Cunningham (Jailer), Jeffrey Wickham (Webster), Dallas Cavell (Overseer), Denis Cleary (Peasant), James Cairncross (Lemaitre/Sterling), Roy Herrick (Jean), Donald Morley (Renan), John Barrard (Shopkeeper), Caroline Hunt (Danielle), Edward Brayshaw (Colbert), Keith Anderson (Robespierre), Ronald Pickup (Physician), Terry Bale (Soldier), John Law (Barrass), Tony Wall (Bonaparte), Patrick Marley (Soldier)

Notes: The scenes of the Doctor making his way to Paris on foot are the first-ever location footage shot outside the studio for Doctor Who…but they feature not William Hartnell, but a costumed extra made up to look like him.

Broadcast from August 8 through September 12, 1964

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

Soldier

The Outer LimitsTwo soldiers rush into a man-to-man fight to the death in the future – but a freak electrical discharge sends one of them plunging back through time to the 20th century. The soldier mistakes a newspaper man’s knife for a weapon and guns him down, immediately drawing attention to himself. Police arrive at the scene and a fierce fight ensues – only to end abruptly when the soldier collapses in sudden pain. A criminal psychiatrist, Kagan, is asked to examine the soldier, with whom no one has been able to communicate since his arrest. Kagan finally breaks through and discovers the true nature – and origin – of his charge, he begins trying to coach him on the ways of life during peacetime. Just as the soldier is adjusting to the life of a human being, his enemy finds a way back to 20th century Earth, still seeking nothing less than the destruction of his mortal foe, regardless of who gets in the way.

Download this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Harlan Ellison
directed by Gerd Oswald
music by Harry Lubin

The Outer LimitsCast: Lloyd Nolan (Kagan), Michael Ansara (Qarlo), Tim O’Connor (Tanner), Ralph Hart (Loren), Jill Hill (Toni), Allen Jaffe (Enemy), Marlowe Jensen (Sgt. Berry), Catherine McLeod (Abby Kagan), Ted Stanhope (Doctor)

Notes: After the release of the thematically similar movie The Terminator, writer Harlan Ellison filed a lawsuit against writer/director James Cameron over that movie’s similarities to this episode, leading to the on-screen credit in The Terminator acknowledging Ellison’s original story.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Demon With A Glass Hand

The Outer LimitsIn modern-day Los Angeles, faceless pursuers are hot on the trail of a man named Trent with a glass hand – a man who is only ten days old. A computer intelligence within Trent’s hand guides him, but only tells him precisely what he needs to know to survive and complete a mysterious mission; it can’t share any more information until he retrieves the hand’s missing fingers, which contain additional instructions. Trapped in a building that his pursuers have placed a force bubble around, Trent finds a human woman – oblivious to any knowledge of the conflict from a millennium into her future – and confides in her what little he knows. He’s from the future, where humans have simply vanished after a horrible war with an alien race. And somehow, he holds the key to reviving the entire species… but only if he survives his attackers’ constant attempts to capture him.

Download this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Harlan Ellison
directed by Byron Haskin
music by Harry Lubin

The Outer LimitsCast: Robert Culp (Trent), Arlene Martel (Consuelo), Bill Hart (Durn), Rex Holman (Battle), Steve Harris (Breech), Robert Fortier (Budge), Abraham Sofaer (Arch)

Notes: In interviews in Cinefantastique Magazine in 1994, Ellison claimed to be working on an episode of Babylon 5, Demon On The Run, which would have been a direct sequel to this story, featuring either Robert Culp or his son, actor Joseph Culp, as Trent, still eluding capture in the distant future. Ellison served as Babylon 5’s creative consultant for its entire run and even appeared onscreen in the role of a Psi Cop, but Demon On The Run was never produced. Demon With A Glass Hand was filmed on location in the Bradbury Building (not named for fellow SF author Ray Bradbury), which was also a key location used in Blade Runner.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Planet Of Giants

Doctor WhoJust prior to materialization, the TARDIS main doors open prematurely. Ian, Susan and Barbara struggle to close them, and the ship seems to make a smooth landing. Outside, the time travelers find the remains of an enormous earthworm and ants at least a foot in length. When Ian and Susan find a huge sign which is clearly from present-day Earth, and a gigantic matchstick almost hits the Doctor and Barbara, the conclusion is obvious – the in-flight accident has reduced the crew of the TARDIS in size. The planet on which they have landed is Earth, and everything from a normal human being’s footsteps to an ordinary housecat is a potentially lethal danger to the time travelers. Something caused the accident that shrunk them…but can they reverse the damage?

Season 2 Regular Cast: William Hartnell (The Doctor), William Russell (Ian Chesterson), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Maureen O’Brien (Vicki), Peter Purves (Steven)

written by Louis Marks
directed by Mervyn Pinfield and Douglas Camfield
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Alan Tilvern (Forester), Frank Crawshaw (Farrow), Reginald Barratt (Smithers), Rosemary Johnson (Hilda), Fred Ferris (Bert)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS arrives on the edge of the Thames, but when the Doctor and his friends step outside and look around, it’s obvious that London has seen better days. Susan hurts herself while climbing onto a crumbling bridge to look around, and Barbara stays to tend to her as Ian and the Doctor investigate a nearby warehouse, where they find a murdered man with a strange device attached to his head. A pair of desperate-looking men take Susan and Barbara to their hiding place, telling them it’s not safe to wander around London. The Doctor and Ian encounter a group of men wearing the same unusual headgear, commanded by Daleks. The Daleks have dominated Earth for over ten years, enslaving humanity in an effort to mine something of vital importance under the Earth’s crust. A resistance movement is fighting against the Daleks, but they need outside help from someone who has experience in beating the Daleks.

written by Terry Nation
directed by Richard Martin
music by Francis Chagrin

Guest Cast: Bernard Kay (Carl Tyler), Peter Fraser (David Campbell), Alan Judd (Dortmun), Martyn Huntley, Peter Badger, Reg Tyler, Bill Moss (Robomen), Robert Aldous (Rebel), Robert Jewell, Gerald Taylor, Nick Evans, Kevin Manser, Peter Murphy (Daleks), Peter Hawkins, David Graham (Dalek voices), Ann Davies (Jenny), Michael Goldie (Craddock), Michael Davis (Thomson), Richard McNeff (Baker), Graham Rigby (Larry Madison), Nicholas Smith (Wells), Nick Evans (Slyther), Patrick O’ Connell (Ashton)

Broadcast from November 21 through December 26, 1964

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]