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Retro : Days of Innocence : 'DISNEY DRIVE-IN' FILLS SATURDAY AFTERNOONS WITH THE STUFF BABY BOOMERS WATCHED GROWING UP

October 02, 1994|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Disney Drive-In," the Disney Channel's new Saturday afternoon showcase, is supposed to be for the kids. But don't tell that to baby boomers. For anyone who grew up in the '50s and '60s, "Disney Drive-In" is a trip down memory lane and a chance to visit such old friends as Spin, Marty, Moochie, Annette and the Hardy Boys.

Beginning this week, the Disney Channel will offer old-fashioned movie matinee entertainment. Back in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, kids would flock to a movie theater to see a cartoon, serial, short and then the main feature. The "Disney Drive-In" is a tribute to those moviegoing days.

The series will feature classic Disney films, specials and television shows created by the Walt Disney Studios in the '50s and '60s. The matinees begin each Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with an episode of the Disney TV series "Zorro," starring Guy Williams as the aristrocratic Diego de La Vega, who becomes the legendary masked rider and hero of the oppressed in early California.

"Zorro" originally aired on ABC from 1957 to 1959. Though the series was shot in black-and-white, the Disney Channel has colorized all the episodes.

Following "Zorro" at 2 p.m. are series that appeared on the old ABC "Disney" show, such as "'Texas John Slaughter," starring Tom Tryon; "The Saga of Andy Burnett," with Jerome Courtland; and "The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca," with Robert Loggia.

The Western adventure "Texas John Slaughter," scheduled for the first Saturday, aired during the 1958-59 season. Tryon, who later became the best-selling novelist of "The Other," "Harvest House" and "Fedora," plays a peaceful man who wants to settle down and marry. But first he has to tame the area's lawlessness, so he joins the Texas Rangers. "Texas John Slaughter," which also featured Robert Middleton, Norma Moore and Harry Carey Jr., was the biggest hit for the "Disney" series since "Davy Crockett." The Disney Channel will air all 17 episodes.

At 3 p.m., "Disney Drive-In" presents serials from the original "Mickey Mouse Club," including "Spin and Marty," "Annette" and "The Hardy Boys."

"Spin and Marty" is first out of the starting gate. The action-adventure deal focuses on two boys and their experiences at summer ranch. Tim Considine stars as the down-to-earth Spin, David Stollery stars as the rich and snobbish Marty, a.k.a. Master Martin Markam, and Kevin Corcoran is the irrepressible Moochie. And who could forget Skyrocket the horse?

Rounding out the matinee will be classic Disney features. This Saturday is Part I of the entertaining period adventure "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh," starring Patrick McGoohan of "The Prisoner" as a mild-mannered vicar who defies the heavy taxation of King George III by becoming a pirate and a smuggler.

The movie was released theatrically in Europe in 1962 as "Dr. Syn: Alias the Scarecrow" and frequently appears on TV under that title. NBC's "The Wonderful World of Color" aired the film in three parts in early 1964. The Disney Channel also is presenting "Scarecrow" over the next three weeks.

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