Toon Talk: Walt Disney Treasures - Elfego Baca & The Swamp Fox and The Adventures of Spin & Marty
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As Seen on Television:
Mickey Mouse Club Serials
Spin & Marty were just the start; many serials were produced for the original Mickey Mouse Club daily show, including:
Easily the first kids' program that did not star a Kukla or a Bozo or their like, The Adventures of Spin & Marty made quite a sensation when the serial premiered during the first season of The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. Putting the Spin & Marty phenomenon into contemporary terms, it was the Spongebob Squarepants of its day: children ran home from school every day to take in the latest installment of the gang at the ol' Triple R.
The fourth and final of this year's Walt Disney Treasures collects the complete first season of Spin & Marty, totaling 25 episodes on two discs. If that seems like a lot, remember that the show was serialized, with one approximately 11-minute episode presented daily on the Mickey Mouse Club. Moreover, unlike the bigger-budgeted Disneyland series', Spin & Marty was only filmed in black and white, as it is presented here.
Produced in a simpler time, Spin & Marty is the type of program you don't find on television anymore, exemplifying a wholesomeness (only slightly square) that is sorely absent from modern so-called "familyâ€? programming. Building on the classic foundation of "rich versus poor,â€? the series is set at the Triple R Ranch, a western boy's summer camp where the lads learn all about ridin', ropin' and rodeoin'. Spin Evans (Tim Considine) is the most popular kid at the ranch - that is until he meets his match upon the limousine-driven arrival of one Martin Markham III (David Stollery), a spoiled rich kid. Marty's quick assessment of his new surroundings ("a dirty old farmâ€?) puts him at odds with Spin and the rest of the gang. However, through the gentle-yet-firm guidance of bunkhouse counselor Bill Burnett (Harry Carey, Jr.) and ranch owner Jim Logan (Roy Barcroft), plus the love of a horse named Sky Rocket, Marty's snobbishness eventually melts away. The bonds of friendship build in an almost imperceptive way throughout the series, a sort-of junior soap opera if you will.
As laid back as a lawn chair, the serial features classic camp moments such as a frog in a bunk, campfire sing-alongs (the oft-heard refrain of "The Triple R Songâ€?: "Yip-ee-ay, yip-ee-eye, yip-ee-ohâ€?), a haunted mine, and an infamous snipe hunt (which probably popularized this adolescent right-of-passage more then any other), culminating in a climactic rodeo competition. Comic relief is provided by ranch hand Ollie (Lennie "Well I'll be a blue-nosed gopherâ€? Geer) and Marty's British butler Perkins, played by Disney voice fave J. Pat O'Malley, who yearns to fit in with the other "cow pokersâ€?.
Although some segments are padded, those who enjoy the nostalgic will surely see why this was the most popular of the Mickey Mouse Club serials, making stars of Considine and Stollery and leading to two additional serials in the following Mouse Club seasons (The Further Adventures of Spin & Marty, 1956-1957, 23 episodes; The New Adventures of Spin & Marty, 1957-1958, 30 episodes).
Disc one's bonus features include the full episode of The Mickey Mouse Club (#25 to be exact) that introduced and previewed the serial, plus Tim Considine's Screen Test (for Marty, not Spin) and Merchandise and Behind-the-Scenes Galleries (including shots of Walt visiting the set).