Sad news broke that Designer Ray Cusick, the true father of the famous and popular ‘Doctor Who’ scourge of the universe, the Daleks, has passed away.
Doctor Who Magazine broke the news on twitter that Ray Cusick passed away.
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 on.
— Doctor Who Magazine (@DWMtweets) February 23, 2013
Ray Cusick was born in 1928 as Raymond Patrick Cusick in the Lambeth area of London, England. Cusick had become interested in being an engineering while still at art school in secondary school, attending evening classes to make up for miss technical classed. His father wanting him to follow a more regular carreer told his son to study to become a civil engineer. So Cusick took civil engineering courses at Borough Polytechnic.
Not finding this to his liking, Cusick enlisted in the British Army and found himself stationed in Palestine during the relocation and moving of Palestinians in the first formation of the state of Israel. Cusick completed his tour as quickly as possible finding serious distaste for the experience. On his return to England he completed a teacher training course, but then obtained a nine-month position in repertory theatre at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cardiff.
While teaching art in 1959, Cusick saw a flyer stating Granada Television was in need for technical and prop designers for a new show, Chelsea at Nine. Soon after Cusick joined the BBC as a staff designer. He became responsible for a large number historical sets, dioramas, and props for the then new and popular BBC series, Doctor Who.
It was in the second serial of the 1963 Doctor Who , “The Daleks” written by writer Terry Nation, which introduced the Daleks for the first time. Originally Cusick had not been assigned the job of designing the Daleks. That task was assigned to a then still wet behind the ears BBC in-house designer; the soon to be renowned epic film-maker Ridley Scott.
But fate would come in and change that due to scheduling conflicts with other shows Ridley Scott had been scheduled to work on. The design of the Daleks was now up to Cusick. And his contribution would forever place a mark on the concept of evil in a science fiction television series to be something so muted you wouldn’t even think It would be a threat. To generations of little british kids, it sent them flying behind the couch in fear. The design will forever be remembered with the shrill modulated electronic cry of their signature quote, “EXTERMINATE!”
Cusick worked for the BBC up until his retirement as art 1988. Cusick will forever be remembered in science fiction history the world over in giving life in visual form to the diabolical genetically engineered eugenics promoting “Master Race” spouting sociopathic gushy alien villains in a pepper shaker tank with long eye stalk periscope, egg beater for a vaporizer ray, and black plunger of death.
In a video obituary from the BBC World news, the BBC and current voice actor of the Daleks shows just how much Cusick’s iconic design meant to modern pop culture in science fiction, particularly in the UK.