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Spin and Marty was a popular series of television shorts that aired as part of ABC's Mickey Mouse Club show of the mid-1950s produced by Walt Disney. There were three serials in all, set at the Triple R Ranch, a boys' western-style summer camp. The first series of 25 eleven-minute episodes, The Adventures of Spin and Marty, was filmed in 1955. Its popularity led to two sequels: The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty in 1956 and The New Adventures of Spin and Marty in 1957.
The serials were based on the 1942 novel Marty Markham by Lawrence Edward Watkin. The shows' success led to the Spin and Marty comic books of the late 1950s. The first season's 25 episodes with bonus material were released on DVD by Disney in 2005.
Premise and major characters
The series starred David Stollery as the rich, orphaned Martin "Marty" Markham and Tim Considine as the poorer Spin Evans, the most athletic and popular boy at the Triple R Ranch. When the pampered Marty first arrives at the ranch in a chauffeur-driven limousine, his contemptuous dismissal of the dude ranch as a "dirty old farm" and evident fear of horses result in his ostracism by the other boys, led by Spin. By the end of the first series, however, Marty overcomes his fears and wins acceptance, becoming close friends with his erstwhile foe, Spin. Supporting roles include Sammy Ogg as their jokester sidekick Joe Simpson, and B.G. Norman as Ambitious, Marty's first friend at the Triple R. The second serial adds Annette Funicello and Kevin Corcoran to the cast as Annette and Moochie, respectively. The third serial adds Darlene Gillespie, and quickly turns into a showcase for song and dance sketches as part of a "Let's put on a show!" storyline reminiscent of Mickey Rooney–Judy Garland movies. All three serials also co-star Roy Barcroft as Triple R owner Col. Logan, Harry Carey, Jr. as popular counselor Bill Burnett, and J. Pat O'Malley as Perkins, Marty's butler and the Triple R's assistant cook. In the first two serials, Leonard Geer played Ollie, the wisecracking (and wise) stablehand in charge of the horses.
The series featured a couple of songs, Triple R Ranch song ("Yippee Yay, Yippee Yi, Yipee Yo"), as well as a song about Slue-Foot Sue ("Buckaroo"), named for Pecos Bill's tragic love story. Among the musical pieces featured in the third series was a cover of the Disney song Nowhere in Particular by Perkins and Sam the cook.
A TV movie focusing on updated versions of the eponymous characters, The New Adventures of Spin and Marty: Suspect Behavior, was made in 2000. However, it bore almost no resemblance to the original. It was based on the Paul Zindel novel The Undertaker's Gone Bananas. Stollery and Considine made cameo appearances.
DVD release and comic books
A DVD version of the 1955 season, The Adventures of Spin & Marty, was released in December 2005 as part of the fifth wave of the Walt Disney Treasures series. Hosted by Leonard Maltin, it includes the complete first season of 25 episodes, plus bonus features such as interviews with David Stollery, Tim Considine, and Harry Carey, Jr., on the 50th anniversary year of the series' original telecasts. Maltin wrote of Considine's and Stollery's roles, "The key to the serial's success was ... Tim and David seemed genuine, and boys and girls related to them. The series may seem low-key to a modern generation raised on video games and the internet, but it was that unhurried pace and simple storytelling that captured the hearts and imaginations of an entire generation".
Western Publishing published comic book adventures of Spin and Marty beginning in 1956, first under Dell Comics Four Color title (#714, 767, 808, 826), then under their own title (#5-9), then in Four Color again (#1026 and 1082). The comic books continued even after the television series had ended, such as issue number 7 in September, 1958 (pictured): Stollery and Considine, by then 17 years old, are depicted on the cover in their Spin and Marty characters, as they confront danger at the Triple-R Ranch. Disney included this cover with its 2005 DVD release. Gold Key Comics would later reprint some of these stories in their titles, such as the Walt Disney Showcase comic book issue of 1975, "The Treasure of Old Fort Resolute".
In October 2006, Stollery, Considine and Corcoran were all honored as Disney Legends.