Tag Archives: Patrick Troughton

In Search of… Atlantis

17 Aug

August 17, 2011

Atlantis is the fabled sunken city. First described by Plato in 360 BC, it has fascinated scholars and adventurers alike. To this day, its very existence is debated.

Is Atlantis real?

How should I know?

Where was Atlantis?

It all depends on who you ask. Theories abound that place Atlantis anywhere from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic to just off the Florida Coast. However, the theories all agree on one important point. Atlantis is underwater. 

Atlantis has historically been hard to find. Before the age of underwater breathing apparatus, most of the explorers searching for Atlantis got to a depth of about twenty feet before they could hold their breath no longer and had to come up for air. The ancient philosopher Crantor wrote in his texts that “be it in humble surf or raging torrent, Atlantis is farther than I can throw a rock at a seagull. Oh brave seeker, row out a little farther than the end of the jetty.” One thing is for sure- Atlantis is farther out than you could comfortably wade, and most pleasant beaches have long been thoroughly explored, though that fact does nothing to discourage the may Atlantis seekers who get large grants and then spend the summer in the islands “searching for Atlantis” in the sun.

What was Atlantis?

Again, it depends on who you ask. Classical mythology holds that Atlantis was a major naval power that conquered many cities. Other accounts hold that it was a center of arts and philosophy. Still other accounts claim that it was an inter-dimensional alien city. Trust me, what ever it was, it was not that.

Why did it sink?

Theories abound, most of them a little kooky. They range from earthquakes and natural disasters to wrath of god or evil aliens, or, according to Nancy Pelosi, the Tea Party. (In her speech of July 2011, Ms. Pelosi said that “voting for the Republican debt plan is what sunk Atlantis.” New York Times) Most classical accounts claim that it took only a day to sink, which seems a little hasty. On the other hand, look at Pompei.

Who were the people of Atlantis? 

Is there any proof of Atlantis?


Are there other sunken cities?

There are legends of many other sunken cities across the globe. Other than Atlantis, the most famous sunken city is R’lyeh. Noted explorer Howard Phillip Lovecraft and famed cartographer August Derleth have different opinions of R’lyeh’s location.

Lovecraft said that R’lyeh is located at 47°9′S 126°43′W in the southern Pacific Ocean. August Derleth later placed R’lyeh at 49°51′S 128°34′W in his own writings. Both locations are close to the Pacific pole of inaccessibility (48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W), the point in the ocean farthest from any land. Derleth’s coordinates place the city approximately 5,100 nautical miles (9,400 km), or about ten days journey for a fast ship, from the real island of Pohnpei (Ponape). Pohnpei also plays a part in the Cthulhu Mythos as the place where the “Ponape Scripture”, a text describing Cthulhu, was found.

It is recommended that sailors avoid R’lyeh as it is the home of the evil god Cthulhu.

The city is a panorama of “vast angles and stone surfaces … too great to belong to anything right and proper for this earth, and impious with horrible images and disturbing hieroglyphs.” The geometry of R’lyeh is “abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours.”

R’lyeh is sometimes referred to in the ritualistic phrase “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”, which roughly translates to “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”.

Do you have any final words about Atlantis?

Yes. Thank you for asking.

You’re welcome.

Either Atlantis is a sunken city rich in gold and ancient artifacts or Plato was full of it. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Assuming Atlantis was real, it was most likely a slum. Leave it alone.

The Saturday Comics: Doctor Who

11 Jun

June 11, 2011

Doctor Who may not need an introduction but it does need an explanation.

It is a British science fiction show that debuted in 1963, coincidentally on the same day that President Kennedy was shot. It is about a mysterious alien time and space traveler known only as The Doctor and his rotating cast of assistants. Early on the lead actor, William Hartnell, became too old and sick to continue so the part was recast and Patrick Troughton took over as The Doctor. What was really slick was that the producers didn’t just have him continue as the same character, they hit on a way of keeping the show running, potentially, forever. When Patrick Troughton joined the show, he didn’t just slip into the same part. The Doctor “regenerated” into a new version of himself. It was a great way to explain why he looked different and allowed the new actor to bring something new to the role. No matter who plays the part, it is still the same character introduced in 1963, with all the memories and experiences but with a brand new personality. Really, it was a great way to keep the series fresh. All in all, eleven actors have played him on TV, Peter Cushing played him in two feature films, and some others have done non-canonical versions as well.

You can check out some clips of him here, from The Late Night Movie House.

The strips below are a sampling of the first four actors to play the role. While Doctor Who has always (and very unfairly) been called a kid’s show, the comic strips below are positively juvenile and not the best representation of the show. In many cases they are based not on any real knowledge of the show and feature characters who may never have been in the program. I’m also including some strips featuring The Doctor’s biggest foes, the Daleks. They became so popular that they rivaled The Doctor and nearly had their own American TV show. How popular are they? Check out these fangirls:


Can you imagine better plumbers?

I freely admit all the flaws in these strips but I still have some affection for them.

William Hartnell

Patrick Troughton (easily my favorite Doctor)

Jon Pertwee

Tom Baker

The Daleks

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