If I remember my DOCTOR WHO history correctly, a DALEK's 'sink-plunger' appeared on the programme on December 21st, 1963, but it wasn't until the following week (28th) that the pepper-pot perpetrators of planetary pulverisation appeared in their full glory and subsequently took the kiddie-contingent of the country by storm. MARX TOYS were amongst the first to jump on the merchandising bandwagon that followed, with an assortment of friction-drive, ball-bearing and battery-powered bump 'n' go plastic playthings in varying sizes and colours. (Silver and black initially, with red and yellow ones a few years later.)
Although the demand for these toys was huge, it has to be admitted in the cold light of adulthood that they weren't entirely accurate in terms of detail. True, they captured the essence of the aggressive aliens perfectly and were even used as stand-ins in the programme itself, but could hardly be considered as exact reproductions of their TV counterparts. (Though Marx were not the only manufacturers of Dalek merchandise whose product differed from their cathode ray tube incarnations.)
At least, that's the generally-held view of collectors of these popular 'metal' mutants. However, a few years back, in the pages of DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE, I spied an early production sketch by designer RAY CUSICK, which suggested a possible means of propelling the Scions of SKARO around the BBC studios. Take a good look at the drawing below - doesn't it seem remarkably similar to the Marx Dalek to you? Look at the shape of the head - it's almost a dead-ringer for the Marx version. (It's also got the same lights as the movie version - a couple of years before the big-screen adventure had even been thought of.)
So, to all those inclined to write off the Marx Dalek as an inaccurate representation of the Doctor's arch-enemies, perhaps it's now time to re- evaluate that assessment. The fact that it bears quite a resemblance to an approved (in appearance, if not in propulsion) production sketch by the actual designer means we can safely regard the most sought-after toy of Christmas '64 as an 'official', if variant, member of the Dalek ranks.
Obviously, as has been seen down through the years, Daleks come in various versions, and each one is as valid as another. I can't help wondering, though, if the terrifying tin-pot tyrants would have been as successful if either of the following two designs had been approved by the suits in charge. Perhaps the whole future of the programme would have been different - if, indeed, it would even have had one.
So, go on - dig out your Marx Dalek today (if you're lucky enough to own one) and give him pride of place once more on your shelf or sideboard. No longer need he play second-fiddle to his later brothers and cousins. No hiding him behind the rest of them, mind - stick him up-front where he rightfully belongs.