Now that the Christmas season is past, it’s time to reflect on some of the wonderful memories this season has left us. Family gatherings gift-giving, decorations and Christmas dinners all coalesce in our minds and give us another year of thanks. For Disney enthusiasts and lovers, like me, the Christmas season creates its own class of memories. From the Osborn Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, the parades, shows and of course, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney’s Magical memories are special indeed.
A special memory was created this year by Florida’s World Chapter Disneyanna Fan Club’s Holiday Party. The theme of this year’s party was “Disney goes to the Movies.” This unique event was held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Backstage Prop Shop. Originally 90 tickets were available and they sold out quickly. Next year, due to the enormous success, a larger venue and more tickets are planned. The party included “Remy’s Dinner buffet”, a sumptuous dinner as only Disney could provide. In addition there were two auctions held for the benefit of two charities that the World Chapter endorses, “Give Kids the World” and “Toys for Tots.” A silent and live auction with everything from Disney Memorabilia, to books, gift baskets and more was held and all proceeds given to Give Kids the World charity. Attending guests was also asked to bring in a new, wrapped toy for “Toys for Tots” program.
In addition to the above, a special treat was in store for party goers. How many remember the “Spin and Marty” serials from the Mickey Mouse Club in the mid-1950s? There were three serials in all, the first filmed in 1955 consisting of 25 eleven minute episodes, aptly named “The Adventures of Spin and Marty” It was so successful that two more spin-offs were produced – “The Further adventures of Spin and Marty” in 1956 and “The New adventures of Spin and Marty” in 1957.
The series was based on the 1942 novel “Marty Markham” by Lawrence E. Watkin. It follows the adventures of a spoiled rich kid, Martin Markham (Played by David Strollery) sent to a Western ranch by his grandmother. He encounters “Spin Evens” (Played by Tim Considine), a poor but popular boy at the ranch. Marty’s distain for the dirty ranch and fear of horses makes him a target of ridicule by the other boys. But by the end of the first series, Marty overcomes his fear of horses and gains acceptance by the other boys and becomes fast friends with his former rival, Spin. The show’s resounding success was because the issues faced by the kids back then are the same as the ones by today’s youth… gaining acceptance and making friends, dealing with ridicule, homesickness and overcoming fear.
On hand that night were guest speakers none other than child actors Tim Considine (baby boomers will remember him as the eldest son in the sitcom “My Three Sons” Mike Douglas) and David Strollery who starred in the series. With slide show and speeches, the actors gave all an insight as how it was to work on a Disney production set and their memories of Walt Disney himself. It was truly and memorable evening.
So what is the Disneyanna Fan Club? Like its vaulted companion, the Disney Company’s D-23 club, it is a club for Disney enthusiasts to share their love of all that Walt has given us. It is a non-profit organization that was formed in 1984 by a group of Disney fans that were part of another “for profit club.”. Its main focus goal is to provide Disneyana enthusiasts of all ages from around the world with news, information, and events that enhance their experience with, and love of, all things Disney. This is realized by the club newsletter, the “Disneyanna Dispatch” and with local Disneyanna Fan club chapters world-wide, members can trade information, learn more about their favorite collectables, hold group outings and activities, and enjoy everything Disney.
The club is also dedicated to sharing Walt Disney’s artistic legacy as well as Disney magic with those less fortunate. Through a series of charitable fund raising events, such as Give Kids the World and collecting toys for Toys for Tots, the Disneyana Fan Club helps to support inner-city arts programs and to assist families and children affected by major illness to find a little happiness at Disney parks. The clubs most popular events are the Disneyana Fan Club All Disneyana Conferences and Expos which are held at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts. Here, members receive information and can hear Imagineers, animators, entertainers, authors, and artists from every facet of the Walt Disney Company, along with many independent Disney experts. The club also hosts a Disneyana Fan Club Show and Sales, which are open to the public, offering vintage and collectable Disney memorabilia for all.
The Disneyanna Fan Club is the place to be for Disney fans. In fact, some of the Disney luminaries attending the party were Lou Mongello, author of the Walt Disney Trivia books, and personal friend of mine, internationally known Disney historian and author, Jim Korkis. To become a member of this wonderful organization, you first join the National organization, headquartered in Irvine California. Visit their site www.disneyanafanclub.org or call 714-731-4705. Once a member of the national club, you can now join any of the 26 worldwide chapters, each with its own activities and events. For example, in Florida it is called the “World Chapter,” in Ohio it’s the “Plane Crazy Chapter” and so on. I am happy to be a member of this club. It is informative, exciting and brings together like-minded Disney fans sharing their love of what Walt’s legacy has left us. Just call or visit the sight for information. In addition, you are able to help the less fortunate to enjoy Walt’s world, something that gives extra meaning during the season of giving, Christmas.
Contributed by: Bill I. (NDH #35). Bill is our resident historian.