I'll never forget my first time. I guess we all remember the first time we saw Doctor Who. November 24, 1963 was everyone's first time, since that's when the first episode of Doctor Who aired. I'm not old enough to have seen that one. My experience was a little bit different. You see, I had quite a bit of experience with Doctor Who. I just hadn't seen him.

My first encounter with Doctor Who was as a kid with my older brother's computer. I was playing it, and stumbled a program that played some strange music and a spinning box floating among stars. When I asked my brother what it was, he said, "The theme song for Doctor Who." Never heard of him, but the song alone fascinated me.

A few years later, I was in a bookstore and saw a book on the shelf that caught my attention. It was an encyclopedia for Doctor Who. I bought it immediately. Finally, I could find out about this mysterious TV show with the cool music.

I couldn't tell you how many times I read that book. Looking back, it was a pretty comprehensive book with entries on everything from the Doctor to the TARDIS to the Cybermen. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. I read about the Daleks and the sonic screwdriver and how the Doctor regenerated. I knew everything about the show, except I never actually saw it. I didn't know how I would ever see the show, but I was determined to.

Years later, I was going through the TV listing when I saw "Doctor Who." There it was. But it was on once a week on a UHF station (that tells you how long ago it was) well past my bedtime. I went to every TV in the house, trying to tune into the station. The only one that even came close was in the living room with the antenna tuned just the right way. Patiently, I waited until the hour came, then crept downstairs and turned on the TV.

And there it was. The music I had heard years earlier. Not in a tinny computer speaker made of beeps, but in all its glory. And there was the spinning police box. And then there was Doctor Who.

Now truth be told, I'm not really sure which episode it was. The reception was terrible, and kept fading into static, and I watched every week from that point on, and they all turned into a blur of Daleks, Doctors of various incarnations, companions, K-9 rolling around, and weird stories. Pretty sure it was the Tom Baker era, but I think they didn't play them in order, because I saw Peter Davison, Pertwee, and a few black and white episodes. It was years before I got to see an episode on VHS, and the first time I saw an episode airing anywhere near contemporary was the TV movie, which I loved in my naivete, because I knew no better.

By the time of cable and BBC America, the show was off the air. When it returned, I was cable-free and had to have my brother send me a tape of the new episode, "Dalek." At that point, my addiction returned. And never stopped.

Happy anniversary, Doctor Who, my old friend.
When did you first see Doctor Who? Let us know in the comments.
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