Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 43

Sunday 12th February 1984

Woke up at 8.30 and read my book. Got up at 9.30 and played on the videopac. Then I copied a picture of Doctor Who and a Tractator, then I read Eagle (It was no 100). After that I went outside and played football on the front garden, then at 12.00 I had dinner.

After dinner at about 1.00 me and mam took Poggy Doggy for a walk around the Mcleans estate and I had a go on a climbing frame in a field. The we came home and I went outside with the football. When I got sick I came back in and played on the videopac, then at 5.00 We had tea.

After tea I played on the videopac, then I played chess with Dad. After that I drew two pictures for a new fighting fantasy book called the Jewel of pebble village. At 8.35 I watched Ever decreasing circles, at 9.05  I had a bath, and at 9.20 I watched crufts. 10.05 Went to bed.

Right then, there’s one word in this dairy entry that still sends shivers down my spine and makes my head freeze with the memory of probably the very last childhood thing capable of giving me genuine, damaging, sleep-troubling terrors. And amazingly, it’s not Crufts.

No, it’s the Eagle.

Yep, the classic 1950s comic ‘for boys’, revived in 1982 as a colourful, contemporary take on traditional ripping yarns. We kids of the 80s still had Dan Dare and the Mekon, of course – and the latter provided a ready-made nickname for any of our school contemporaries proudly sporting the larger forehead. At least until the Tefal adverts came along, anyway…

…and we also had shambling private detective Joe Soap, shameless Grange Hill (ahem) ‘homage’ Crowe Street Comp, and crack footballing schoolboys Thunderbolt and Smokey. But it wasn’t any of these that gave me the screaming abdabs, oh no. It was…

…gasp…

…brace yourself…

….nghghghghg…

…DOOMLORD!!!

doomlord

Just looking at him now, I still feel slightly uncomfortable. As you can tell from the picture, Doomlord was the villain of a comic strip, but not one of the nice, cosy, ink-and-pencils comic strips that I found in Doctor Who Monthly. This was  – yikes! – a PHOTO STORY comic strip, so as far as I was concerned, Doomlord actually existed. And he killed people. Ruthlessly and mercilessly. 

In the original 13-part strip in 1982, Doomloard was a giant, robed alien whose spaceship landed in suburban English woodland, witnessed only by the intrepid, raincoated local journalist Howard Harvey. Harvey alone knew of Doomlord’s terrifying ability to suck the lifeforce from his victims (with a hand on the forehead that made their eyes turn deathly white), disintegrate their bodies and then assume their forms and memories to move undetected through the country, constantly shape-shifting and leaving a string of missing people in his wake…

eagle1

In 1982, I was genuinely scared of Doomlord. Which seems bizarre now, because in many ways I was a reasonably grounded and worldly-wise nine-year-old. But I was cursed with a hugely overactive imagination, and as far as I was concerned, Doomlord was REAL. He was DEATH ITSELF, and my Dad or Mr Millward or the weird bloke in Yarm Library were more than likely to be… yes, HIM, seeking me out to place that deadly hand on my forehead.

How would it feel? Would it hurt as my memories left me and the life drained from my tiny body, and would I scream unheard for help? These were thoughts that genuinely raced around my mind as I lay in bed at nights, unable to sleep with the sheer horror of it all. Little nutcase that I was.

By 1984 I was over it, and Doomlord – in a cost-cutting exercise, no doubt – was in traditional, non-scary hand-drawn form, rather than those grainy, black-and-white photos. But even now, in the darkness of the night, I still sometimes feel those piercing eyes boring into my very soul…

Anyway…! (blushes) the ‘picture of Doctor Who and a Tractator’ that I copied will undoubtedly have been taken straight from the cover of the new Doctor Who Monthly (see yesterday’s diary) and ‘The Mcleans estate’ was a then-quite-new housing development on the outskirts of Yarm. I went back to that very spot today… (yay, another special Wiffle Lever film!)

And Crufts?!?!? CRUFTS?!??! Since when did I watch Crufts on the telly? I suppose it’s more exciting than the Winter Olympics from Sarajevo. Here’s 1984’s Best In Show, the Lhasa Apso Ch Saxonsprings Hackensack…

crufts

I like to think that, given half a chance, he’d have given Doomlord a nasty bite on his scrawny alien arse.

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8 Comments»

  bobfischer wrote @

Ooooh, I like the weird way this dog picture has straddled two diary entries… wasn’t expecting that at all!

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

“In every dog we see today there is a part of yesterday’s dog and a hint of tomorrow’s dog to come” – Dr. Cameron Maths BSc

Though of course I will be amazed if your dog picture nudges into tomorrow’s entry as well.
Your willingness to return to various location with your camera for our entertainment/research is to be lauded, sir.

But what on earth was the giant, stubby red sink plunger that was rearing up out of the thoughtfully padded ground in the play enclosure? I am sufficiently intrigued to want to muster some fellow scientists for an expedition to discover its true nature and sinister purpose.

I would invite you along but as you are still frightened by smudgy old snaps of chaps in masks I fear you’d let the side down. I shall ask my white-coated lab assistant instead who is, of course, only a girl.

  C Troutman wrote @

By Jingo! Doomlord! I’d forgotten about him…
And I had that Space Spinner. It was silver if I remember correctly

  Fiona Tims wrote @

“When I got sick I came back in and played on the videopac,”

You seem to get sick a lot! Or is the meaning that you got sick of playing, rather than ill?

You big Jessie-afraid of the slide-and you say us Southerners are soft!!

  bobfischer wrote @

“But what on earth was the giant, stubby red sink plunger that was rearing up out of the thoughtfully padded ground in the play enclosure?”

Eeeet eees not Nelson’s Coluuuumn… eeet eeees Nelson’s willeeeee…

And yes, ‘got sick’ – no illness involved, just boredom! Clearly one of my stock phrases in 1984, along with ‘thick snow’ and ‘the first thing I did at school was’.

I definitely had that Space Spinner as well Mr Troutman, in fact I know all my Eagle comics are in a box in the loft, so chances are it’s in there! Yep, it was silver. Pretty aerodynamic as well as I recall, and capable of taking out Poggy Doggy from about 30 yards…

  bobfischer wrote @

And hey, that slide was steeper than it looked on the video.

  Niel wrote @

I can see a whole new book for you Bob. “The Good Playground Guide”. You travel far and wide and take your video camera to various playgrounds. Its a winner! You won’t get arrested or anything like that!

  bobfischer wrote @

I had a good look around to make sure there were no children about before I started filming.

I wasn’t scared of legal action, I just didn’t want them ganging up on me and nicking my camera.


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