Movie Night: Doctor Who – The Aztecs (1964)

Year: 1964

Director: John Crockett

Production Company: BBC

Leads: William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 7.33.14 PMI’m a firm believer in entireties. I need to watch movies from the very beginning. I listen to entire albums. I have to read book series from the very beginning, and authors’ books in general in chronological order.

And of course, I absolutely must watch TV series from episode #1. I don’t have OCD, promise.

And so, naturally, when it came time to introduce Little Satis to Doctor Who, there really was nowhere else to start. We might end up getting on to the rather good “New” Doctor Who, but for now, it’s time to revisit the past.

Sadly, Netflix has a Doctor Who deficiency, and The Aztecs is the only episode(s) from the very first season. It meant that we really missed any introduction to the Doctor, his purpose and his shenanigans, and were expected to know quite a bit of background. As you can imagine, this bugged me, but alas, there is nothing to be done.

In brief, the Doctor and his companions – Susan, Barbara and Ian – arrive among the Aztecs prior to their invasion by the Spanish, and their eventual extinction. Emerging from a sacred tomb, the Aztecs take Barbara to be the reincarnation of a god. Sadly, Tlotoxil, the High Priest of Sacrifice, takes exception to Barbara’s insistence that human sacrifices are not necessary to bring on the rains. He denounces her as a false god, and goes to extremes to expose her for what she really is. Meanwhile, the High Priest of Knowledge, Autloc, begins to believe Barbara’s predictions of doom, and defends her against his own kind.

Ultimately the Doctor persuades Barbara to admit she’s not a real god; in shame, Autloc leaves the Aztec villages, and Tlotoxil gains control over all. Despite all that Barbara tried to do, he completes the sacrifice of the “Perfect Victim”, ending the eclipse that of course showed up at just the right time. The Doctor and his companions escape, sending the Tardis off into who knows where.

The Aztecs 7

Jacqueline Hill as the reincarnated Yetaxa.

It was difficult to come at this from the point of view of a child in the 1960s. By comparison to today’s media, or even to later episodes, the production quality, editing and acting was generally pretty poor, with wooden swords and shields and costume jewelry very obvious. However – there was nonetheless a sense of excitement, of something new and different about the show, and as the episodes progressed (it’s split into four parts) Little Satis and I were drawn in, and found ourselves very much immersed in the fabricated world of the Aztecs, cheesy though it might be.

Knowing what was to come, and the glory of the future doctors, it felt like a very suitable beginning. I wish we had been able to watch the very first episode, but until Netflix increases its canon of Doctor Who, that will have to wait.

Have any of you ever seen classic Doctor Who, and if so, what was it like that first time?

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Daily Photo: March 29, 2011

He was such a good cat…we miss him.

He was such a good cat…we miss him.

This was taken on a trip to England after we had left; my wife was visiting the friends who had taken our dear Shelby in. It was a bittersweet reunion; he was thin, and didn’t remember the person in whose arms he used to drool with satisfaction.


Camera: Kodak P712          ISO: 64          Aperture: ƒ/3.6          Shutter speed: 1/50

The Devil’s Details: And & And & And

getimage.phpA friend of mine wrote the other day the following:

We all know that that so isn’t how it works.

It amused me, but also seemed to be (as far as I can tell) grammatically fine. It led to the response:

I’m glad that that that that amused you.

Even better.

I came across this article the other day on Mental Floss. It has some further examples of grammatical weirdness:

  • The horse raced past the barn fell.
  • The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families.
  • The rat the cat the dog chased killed ate the malt.

And of course my favorite:

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.

In case you need help with that one, “buffalo” can mean the animal, the city, and the action “to buffalo” (i.e. to bully or intimidate).

But, I believe I have one to top all of that, and it’s true, too. Here is a sentence with the word “and” in it five times in a row:

There’s too much space between north and and and and and son.

Got it? No?

This relates to my grandfather’s business in North Yorkshire. When the eldest son came of age, he needed to change the business sign from North to North & Son. When the sign maker came back, the words had been crushed together:


Enraged, he returned to the sign maker the next morning with the words:

There’s too much [bloody] space between North and & and & and Son!

I never knew if they got it fixed.


Like this.