Sirki’s Summons – April 23: The Doctor, Flash Gordon & Mr. Freeze

Greetings from beyond the veil, Effendi! This was a busy date for the Prince in past years.

Next year, DOCTOR WHO, a cultural phenomenon, will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. For the first four years, the Doctor was played by veteran character actor William Hartnell. It was during Hartnell’s  incarnation that the world was introduced to now Iconic foes The Daleks and The Cybermen. He also encountered more ‘pedestrian’ foes, such as cowboys, gladiators and Mongol hordes during his time traveling tenure in the TARDIS. In 1966, due to a combination of failing health and growing tension with a new production team, Hartnell decided to leave the show, forcing producers to create the rationale of regeneration into a new person to explain the changing of actors. Hartnell returned for the tenth anniversary episode THE THREE DOCTORS (1972), but only on a video screen, with pre-filmed segments using cue cards, as his health and memory were failing. Finaly, Prince Sirki summoned him on this date in 1975 at age 67. A portion of his farewell to his granddaughter, Susan (Carole Anne Ford), from the final episode of DALEK INVASION OF EARTH, was used as a pre-credits segment to open the twentieth anniversary episode, THE FIVE DOCTORS (1982).

He won Bronze and Gold medals in 2 Olympics games. In 1933 he played the title part in the serial TARZAN THE FEARLESS. This would lead Buster Crabbe to other parts, including the heroes he’d be best remembered for, FLASH GORDON (1936) and BUCK ROGERS (1939). In three serials, Crabbe played Flash Gordon, waging war against the forces of the evil Ming the Merciless. He played Buck Rogers in between FLASH GORDON’S TRIP TO MARS (1938) and FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (1940). He’s the only actor to play the three top syndicated comic strip features – Tarzan, Flash Gordon & Buck Rogers. Crabbe passed away on this date in 1983, after suffering a heart attack.

While it’s probably true that he would prefer to be remembered as a director, to many baby boomers and fans of 60s TV, Otto Preminger will be remembered as the icy-cool Mr. Freeze on BATMAN, who’d exclaim in his thick accent, “Vild! Zimply VILD!”. His best remembered film role will no doubt be the commandant of STALAG 17 (1953). He was nominated twice for a Best Director Academy Award (LAURA (1944) and THE CARDINAL (1963)). He passed away on this date in 1986.

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