What do The Beatles and Daleks have in common (besides both popping up in the serial The Chase?) In the 60s they both had massive waves of popularity given the -mania suffix. The Daleks created by Terry Nation were originally supposed to just show up for the one serial (The Daleks,) but reality had other ideas as The Daleks quickly gained massive amounts of popularity. This popularity leads to a lot of delightfully weird British pop culture artifacts.
- The two Peter Cushing movies: The most well-known results of Dalekmania today are the two Doctor Who movies. Doctor Who and The Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth 2160 A.D (1966) (both available on Amazon Prime with Rifftrax commentary.) The first movie is a remake of parts of An Unearthly Child and the entirety of The Daleks. It is very slow and poorly paced making you feel all 1hr 23min of its runtime. The sequel, on the other hand, is much better. Being a remake of Dalek Invasion Of Earth there is a lot more action (also they wrote Ian and Barbara out of the movie and replaced them with the more interesting Tom and Louise.) Both films offer great set designs and seeing the 60s Daleks in full color is really fun even today where we have decades of Dalek stories produced in full color.
- I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek: This 1964 novelty Christmas song by The Go Go’s was an attempt to turn the genocidal pepper pots into a lovable singing group to rival The Chipmunks. (It did not work.) One of the problems is the Daleks are OOC to the extreme. Not once in the song does the Dalek mention Exterminating the human singer obsessed with celebrating Christmas with it. Instead, the Dalek expounds on how it wants things like “more plum pudding” and it keeps repeating “Merry Christmas, happy Christmas.” The other smaller problem is that The Dalek sounds like K9 The Robot Dog and not like a Dalek at all.
- An unmade American Tv pilot: Terry Nation (now his estate) has owned The Daleks since day one. A big part of Nation’s ambitions for his creation was to see them helm a show all their own. To this end, a script for a pilot to an unnamed Dalek Show was written up. This pilot called The Destroyers has two plot tracks. The first is about Sara Kingdom after surviving a Dalek attack running through a Jungle trying to stay one step ahead of the Daleks. The Second track is about David Kingdom (Sara’s Brother) and Mark Seven (an Android with a cool name) investigating the said attack and trying to find survivors. The show was supposed to be made in full color and on film, after almost getting the Greenlight to air on BBC2 (David Attenborough axed it citing not wanting to poach characters from BBC1) Nation attempted to sell the pilot to ABC to no avail. Audio Company Big Finish Productions later for their Second Doctor Boxset in 2010 produced a full-cast audio rendition of the pilot, as of this writing I have not heard it.
- Various toys: Some of the earliest Doctor Who merchandise came out as part of the Dalek craze. Companies such as Louis Marx, Selcol, Lincoln, and others made a lot of Dalek themed toys. This included pushing back wheeled Daleks, anti-Dalek prop guns, fillable Dalek models (so you can make them float,) and even things like a Bagatelle game. Fun Fact: some Marx Dalek toys were used in serials like Evil Of The Daleks (1967) and The Planet Of The Daleks (1973) to make the Dalek armies look bigger.
So have any of you caught the Dalekmania? What’re some of your favorite Doctor Who ephemera? Do you think The Daleks should have had a more successful career in music? Let me know in the comments.