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back to article Dalek designer Ray Cusick passes away aged 84

The designer of iconic Dr Who villain the Daleks has died. 84 year-old Ray Cusick died in his sleep over the weekend, reportedly of heart failure. Dr Who Magazine broke the news with a Tweet. It's with great sadness that we report the death of Ray Cusick -the designer of the Daleks. Half a century on, his iconic design lives …

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Black Helicopters

Re: Dalek genius

Real Daleks don't climb stairs; they level the building.

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@Eadon

"The genius of the old designers was brought about by limitations and improvisations."

Oh so true... Last week I watched 'Return of the Jedi' again and even there these things pop out, especially when compared to the last 3 movies.

During the scene with the Rancor you see Luke, Han and the rest standing on a sort of "sand glider" (I don't know the official name). Several times you get close-ups, for example the moment when Luke walks the plank. If you then focus your attention to the surroundings you'll suddenly notice that this vehicle is battered; it has bludgeons on it, scratches and even some damage here and there.

Put differently: the vehicle actually looks as if its being actively used. When looking at the modern movies you won't get that little bit of detail anymore.

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Pint

Re: Dalek genius

No.. he will only be Ex-Terminated when he reaches heaven.. sorry.. retrieving coat..

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Thumb Up

Re: Dalek genius

No need to apologise I thought this was a good twist of humour!

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jai
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Stop

Re: Mos Eisley

the thing about Mos Eisley, is that "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy". And a hive of scum and villainy shouldn't be spartan and empty. It's s'posed to be a hustly bustly spaceport, oozing with ne'erdowells and skullduggery occurring at every corner. That's why Han Solo is there. That's why Luke and Obi Wan go there to try and book passage off Tattooine without the Imperials noticing.

Yes, photographically, the original looks better, desert cities should be soulful and bleak, but story-wise this is the kind of place where gun flights and someone getting their arm cut off in a bar go unnoticed as long as you tip the barkeep. That kind of place shouldn't have soulful ambiance, they should be seething with... with... well, with scum and villainy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dalek genius

I like it when we get to upvote Eadon.for a change. Leaves a warm feeling.

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Headmaster

Re: @Eadon

"During the scene with the Rancor"

Sarlacc.

The Rancor is the creature in the earlier scene, beneath Jabba's Palace.

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Headmaster

Re: @Eadon

... said without rancor, eh?

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Happy

Re: @Eadon @ShelLuser

It's a funny sort of a mix...

The more "anyone can make this" like the early series of Dr Who, shopping trolley wheels and cardboard sets.. the more the people seem to like it...

But the better it gets with CGI, the more amazing it is, and the more sort of more disconnected it becomes from people being able to do it.

I think the shift is from participating, or a realistic ability to do so, and then to spectating......

But then there is the age thing too....

We got to see the entire Dr Who series, played back to back, non stop, over something like 2 months or so...

And that was really good....

They even played the non color stuff in black and white... AWESOME!!!!!

I think I was about 5 or so when it started on TV in Australia..... and I remember it....

I dunno...

Fertilising ones imagination is good...

Being brain washed by never ending, ever brightening, flashing lights... of more and more disconnection from people, reality and opportunisitic thinking.

The average kid spends like 14 hours in front of the TV, for every hour they spend with their parents.

Throw the "God of Demanding Your Attention" out and take out the dinner table and throw in a work bench...

"Kids, we are going to make a wooden row boat, and then go fishing......"

And the first one to say, "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh why, we can watch it on TV," gets beaten.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dalek genius

"I like it when we get to upvote Eadon.for a change. Leaves a warm feeling."

Like you've just pissed yourself.

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Pint

Daleks

I will raise a glass to Ray as his invention was truly frightening for a young lad watching Dr Who in the 60/70's.

However, the Daleks were never really the same to me after I watched this on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWiq-0rf_bA

Also, Spike Milligan did a wonderful parody of them - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXMiHczfJHM

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Re: Daleks

Victor Lewis Smith has a lot to answer for. Still, given the other content of TV Offal, the Sons of Kaled got off Lightly. R.I.P. Ray.

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Thumb Up

Re: Daleks

"PUT IT IN THE CURRY!"

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Anonymous Coward

I thought

It was Davros that invented he Dalek.... Exterminate Exterminate Exterminate.....

Damn, everyone related to my childhood programming is dying off, that's sad.

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Pirate

Re: I thought

Same thoughts here. Tempus fugit, and temps perdu - I'm still afraid of Daleks too!

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Happy

My salt and pepper shakers ...

though only two or three years old and made of nicely finished stainless steel, are Dalek imitations - bought in Singapore!

Darleks are celebrated the world over! Still!

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From somewhere behind the sofa

Farewell!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: From somewhere behind the sofa

Never was a sink plunger so terrifying

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Meh

Re: From somewhere behind the sofa

It was the Cybermen that did for me...

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Re: From somewhere behind the sofa

Me too. I was terrified of those damn things. Forty years ago.

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Re: From somewhere behind the sofa

I remember watching the first ever episode, even the theme music sent me off behind the sofa. Bit of a squeeze as it was against the wall!

Phil.

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Alien

Re: From somewhere behind the sofa

> Never was a sink plunger so terrifying

Someone* recently said it was about the voices, and I have to agree - they go about committing acts of atrocity in a completely calm manner, basically until the Doctor comes along - and suddenly there's an "angered" upward inflection that wasn't there before.

* not sure, but a sufficiently insightful comment to have been Nick Briggs.

// "Eggs eggs eggs"

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SmartyPantsCantLeaveItAlone

Dr, Who?

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Thanks for the fear

Even after 50 years they still make me nervous. Good job Mr Cusick.

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Alert

Somehow scarier in B&W

Daleks scared the tripe out of me as a small kid in the early 60s.

Men in suits?

Never!

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Everything you need to know about Daleks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWn_1yOFpfU

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Americanism.

"Cusick is survived by two daughters."seeing

So now El Reg is following the BBC and other British News outlets and using this annoying Americanism? I am not an expert on grammar, but as I had never seen this expression before a decade ago, and now I see it all the time, I am guessing it isn't grammatically correct? Whatever happened to leaves behind?

As others have noted, nothing was as scary as the Daleks, save perhaps those swamp men and the damned yeti, but only the Daleks still scare me today.

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“Americanism”

Connor, “is survived by” is not an Americanism, just as “leaves behind” is not an Anglicism. (Isn’t Simon Sharwood an Australian?) Whether either phrase is annoying or not is certainly in the eye of the beholder. One need not be an expert on English grammar to determine that both phrases are grammatically correct.

If one looks at obituaries in old newspapers, one can see that the phrase “is survived by” has been in use outside of the USA for well over a decade. For example, the obituary column in the July 4, 1913 issue of the Bay of Plenty Times uses both “is survived by” and “leaves to mourn their loss”.

Were I to hazard a guess, I’d say that the phrase “is survived by” has its origin in probate statutes.

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Silver badge

Re: Americanism.

Actually, I encountered "survived" in a similar context as a small child back in the 70s, learning about the wives of King Henry VIII: "Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived..."

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Re: “Americanism”

You may be right, I've just been looking at the BBC website's obituaries and although they seem to use it for every death today, they were also using the phrase back in the 90s but perhaps not as much. Certainly not that I noticed.

The grammar aspect was that I had heard phrases before such as:

"She survived her husband by ten years."

"Mr Smith was survived by his wife."

Yet in a whole article written in the past tense, as is normally the case with obituaries, the word 'is' in reference to someone that has died appears out of place and seems to grate on me. But as I say, grammar is not my strong point.

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Re: “Americanism”

Connor, the sentence “Cusick is survived by two daughters.” is in the passive perfect*; this is used in obituaries to keep the departed as the subject of a sentence. Rendering this sentence in an active tense would result in “Two daughters survive Cusick.”, which in my view would be more out of place.

If you find the present tense grating in an obituary, then would you prefer “Cusick left behind two daughters.” to “Cusick leaves behind two daughters.”?

* — The word “perfect”, with regard to verb tenses, retains its original meaning of completed, not the usual contemporary meaning of flawless.

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obligatory HGTTG quote

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term 'Future Perfect' has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be.”

D. Adams - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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The other impressive thing about the Dalek is that it's a semi viable design for a heavily armoured death-mobile that you could actually build with the technology we have available today.

No need for multi billion research projects on fancy walkers with unarmoured legs, just a set of wheels inside a belt of armour that would shrug off small arms. Swap out the fictional laser for an automatic shotgun (or something belt fed) and designate it a UAV (Unmanned Armoured Vehicle) with a remote control back to somewhere, or local autonomous control through infrared sensors if your feeling particularly like faithfully recreating the originals tendency to wipe out everything moving.

You could even do TASER, tear gas and CS spray versions for dealing with dangerous policing situations. Perfect!

It'd even work reasonably well for most buildings, thanks to the disability laws requiring wheelchair access and it wouldn't be particularly expensive to produce either because people have built far more complex things for robot wars.

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Anonymous Coward

Lost 2 great ones...

Over here, we lost Paul McIlhenny of Tabasco fame. IT angle - surely you want your food spicy, right?

So no pepper pots and no pepper sauce - bland TV and bland food....

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I guess...

We can finally stop hiding behind the couch then?

Quite a shame that he passed away. However I think one should be grateful that he passed away in his sleep. I can't think of a better, more peaceful, way to die.

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Facepalm

Unfortunately I can't take Daleks seriously any more, because of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sXpInWFVVo

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Thumb Down

"Terminated"?!!!

Just shameful =OC

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Pint

Thanks, Mr. Cusick

for adding so much to my world

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Headmaster

Ridley Scott

The allocated BBC designer for the first Dalek story was actually Ridley Scott (who was a BBC staffer at the time). However due to a scheduling conflict he was re-allocated elsewhere and Raymond Cusick did the design instead thus designing the Daleks.

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Headmaster

The real "Daleks" are the squidgy things inside the pepperpots

Just to be pedantic - the "Daleks" or "Dalek people" (as they were called when first introduced) are not the pepperpots themselves, but the shapeless squidgy things inside them. The story varies but, according to a very early episode, they were reduced to this state by a nuclear accident. The pepperpots are simply motorised wheelchairs to enable them to get around. Since the accident also left them very bad-tempered, they had their wheelchairs fitted with death-rays, armour plating and various similar useful accessories.

The Tardis itself was an ingenious way of getting by on a very restricted budget. They couldn't afford to get a realistic-looking spaceship (timeship?) made up, so they made do with whatever they could find in the props store, and then adapted the story around it. They found the wooden 'phone box in there, so they made up a story about a ship that changed its appearance to blend with the surroundings - except that the appearance-changing mechanism had broken and was stuck in 1960's England. Sometimes, an inadequate budget, together with a lot of ingenuity, can actually improve the story, as well as making it more durable.

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Pint

<WE ARE THE SUPERIOR BEINGS>

They were.

They still are.

Thank you Mr. Cusick for a childhood full of proper scary things.

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Pint

Thank you sir!

And RIP.

Condolences to the family.

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