Sunday, November 12, 2006

Childhood Role Models: Eldrad Must Live!

Hindsight, 20/20, all that.

Occasionally I run across a piece of nostalgia that causes part of my life to finally make sense. When I look at drag queens and see the type of drag they do, I can't help wondering what influenced their "look." After all, when you do drag you essentially reinvent yourself. Why do we choose the elements we choose?

Over the last ten years I've been piecing together my inspirations. Here's one that inspired me when I was six or seven years old: the gender-bending, sexy, somewhat odd but extremely skimpy "Eldrad" from the Doctor Who story "The Hand of Fear" (click on the pic for a larger view). I remember pretending to be "Eldrad" in the playground. Gosh, I REALLY wanted to be her, which must have been confusing for my parents. It's one thing to have a cheesy sci-fi monster as a role model. It's another thing when the role model is a girl with an electronically pitch-bended voice.

The story has finally been released on DVD so we can now see Eldrad (played by the very statuesque Judith Paris) in all her glory. Tales already abound regarding the havoc she created wearing this outfit on set...typical of the Philip Hinchcliffe era of the show, they pushed the boundaries in all directions; this was the only time they got ridiculously sexy.

Thanks to the running commentary we finally hear from her own lips what it was like to wear this costume: she had to be stitched into it, couldn't sit down, and couldn't eat or drink. It crackled loudly and bits of it kept falling off. But nobody said that being "striking" was easy.

So here's to Eldrad, re-released on DVD, turning a new generation of children into queens.


Anonymous said...

I found his very interesting - and it forced me to examine my own drag persona and it's influences.

Big hair - check
Big boobs - check
Higher than high shoes - check
Nails for days - check
Uncanny fashion sense - check.

Where did all this come from?

Hard to say. But it explains my early fascination with Lynda Carter, any female villian on Batman, Annette Funciello (post Mouseketeers, pre Skippy PB), space hookers from Star Trek, Endora, Barbie and - of course - my Aunt Dale.

Frightening really.

Adam Thornton said...

Big boobs, double-check! :)

I can certainly see the "female villian on Batman" connection, due to your vampy-and-fun drag persona. The Annette Funicello I think of is the Mousekateers model.

Your Aunt Dale?

Anonymous said...

My Aunt Dale is a WHOLE 'nother story...

I think the last time anyone saw her real hair was 1957. Since then it's been wigs, weaves, extensions, clips, etc, etc - all in a wonderful shade of red that I

I remember in particular a fabulous human hair beehive that was her pride in joy. It was at least 15 years old by the time I played with it as a child (sadly, my cousin cut it up for Halloween when he was 14. When she found out, he almost didn't make it to 15). Her makeup kit contained more colours than the Benjamin Moore store.

During the 80's, the woman single handedly kept Danier in business "I'll take it in every colour, matching shoes, bags and gloves please".

A recent visit (to deliver my dining room suite from Grandma - yea!!) saw the truck pull up. Out jumped Aunt Dale.

Now picture this - it is 8 am on a Saturday morning. They've driven 2 hours to get here, leaving Hickville at 6 am. She pops out of the truck in a cropped olive leather biker jacket, matching olive Docs, camo print cargo pants, an olive lace cami, a full face of makeup (including lashes), a push up bra, the latest Raquel Welch wig (in G130 - I nearly snatched it from her head), D&G sunglasses, nails and jewelry.

This being Saturday morning, she dressed "down"

She'll admit to being "over 40" - but we have photos from at least 6 decades, so I'll leave her to her little white lies.

The first time I took Craig home for a family function, she had a mass of spiral curls that went to her waist - and leather pants.

If you think I'm vampy-and-fun, I come by it naturally.

Anonymous said...

Think Annette in the beach movies - too modest to show her navel, groovy enough to surf without getting her hair wet.

Adam Thornton said...

I want to meet your Aunt Dale! For some reason I picture her as the character played by Susan Tyrell in "Crybaby."

I had my own cool aunt, aunt Julie, a smart and slinky rocker chick who took me to see Pink Floyd when I was 16. When two enormous jerk guys took our seats, she told them to get out or she'd throw them both over the wall of the stadium...and they obeyed.

Sadly she divorced my uncle and I haven't seen her since. But I'm holding on to her rare Floyd bootlegs, just in case she returns...