BE SURE TO READ THE WHOLE POST … I’ve saved the best for the end.
In my last post, I exposed myself for the Dr. Christopher Syn / Scarecrow of Romney Marsh fan that I am. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it and talking about the subject and the star of the Disney version of the story (the best known version) starring Patrick McGoohan who passed away this past Tuesday. I even got involved in a very brief “flame” war with the guys at Appy Entertainment who defended (lamely) their fan devotion to McGoohan’s series The Prisoner. I’m actually a fan of The Prisoner, but I couldn’t admit that to them, so I’m admitting it here.
Before moving on to a TRULY GREAT STORY by Fanatic Gary Guzzo about the night that Disney premiered Dr. Syn alias the Scarecrow on the Wonderful World of Color, let’s quickly share some cool Scarecrow stuff for all you fanatics out there.
Click on the picture of the Walt Disney Treasures graphic here and you can order your very own copy from Amazon.
Many people commented on the creepy picture of Walt Disney with the Scarecrow masks that I posted last time. Click HERE and you’ll get to see the video intro that aired on television before the first episode. Brace yourself … Walt claims that Dr. Christopher Syn was REAL. I can’t find any other information anywhere that makes this claim. Everyone else says that the character began with writer Russell Thorndike and his seven Dr. Syn novels. But apparently, the Disney version is far more closely modeled after the 1960 novel Christopher Syn by William Buchanan, which made major revisions to Thorndike’s work.
That Scarecrow theme song, the one that everyone remembers, the one that you can’t get out of your head once it has invaded … if you want to hear the first few bars … click HERE. This will connect you with “www.drsyn.com” which is a good resource for Scarecrow stuff, but it certainly isn’t complete.
Fans of heroic fiction also tend to have or foster other more peculiar hobbies. In the interests of presenting something a little stranger, check out the Dr. Syn / Scarecrow Action Figure. Yes, it is real, but it wasn’t produced commercially, it was customized by people who do this as a hobby. A little weird, a lot fanatical … but in this instance, at least for me … very cool.
And I’ll have to admit to being a little sad that Ricardo Montalban passed away the same day that the death of Patrick McGoohan was reported. Montalban was a bigger star in most circles, so the loss of McGoohan got a lot less media attention.
And now, without further ado, a truly FANATIC story of titanic proportions. Put this fact in your back pocket. Use it to win bar bets if you want. I think it is TRULY AMAZING. I present it here in the words of terrific friend and fanatic brother-in-arms Gary Guzzo.
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I heard the news earlier today about Patrick McGoohan, and being the news junkie that I am, I must have read ten different obits……well, NOT different. Most only gave points to Mr. McGoohan for The Prisoner and only a few mentioned my favorite, ‘Secret Agent Man’ (it’s theme being included in Gary Guzzo’s Ten Greatest Songs Ever Written, by the way).
No one, with the exception of Dave Olbrich on his terrific blog site Funny Book Fanatic, mentioned the Disney Scarecrow show, and quite frankly I had forgotten it myself. Well…there IS a wonderful piece of trivia here that explains, even in my advanced state of geekhood, why I would have forgotten the Scarecrow.
You see, every Sunday night, my family would go next door to my Grandmother’s house to watch TV. NO…it wasn’t some Italian thing, it was because my grandmother had 13 children and they had all gotten together to buy her the first color TV I had ever seen. First one on the block, by the way. (hey…I was a poor Italian kid from Yonkers, OK?). Anyway…..we would go over on Sunday because Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color was on……AND it was in color, unlike much of the programming on TV at that time.
We had seen the promos for The Scarecrow on the previous week’s progam, and my sister Cheryl, being older and more hormone driven than I, was already in love with the Secret Agent Man, so she spent the week in teenage anticipation for Sunday’s show, while I, the kid that stayed in his room with his treasured comic books, had other plans. You see, my room did not only contain my four color friends, I had been given the old, cracked, Bakelite shelled Motorola family radio and it was on throughout my entire comic reading life.
As Peter Parker battled the Molten Man, Cousin Brucie, Scott Muni, Dan Ingram, and Murry the K played a soundtrack that enhanced the experience. And it was Murry who caused the rebellion that Sunday and caused me to throw a wrench in the weekly family tradition. There was no way I was going to Grandma’s on the night of February 9, 1964. There would be no color TV that night, it would forever exist in glorious black and white because at 8PM, a half hour after the Scarecrow started airing, I was sitting on the living room floor with my Mom, who had volunteered to endure the monochrome magic of that night’s Ed Sullivan Show, and sat with me as Ed introduced The Beatles.
And the whole world changed…..
To this day, I have only seen snippets of the Scarecrow, but now that Dave has educated me on the fact that a DVD exists, I am off to Amazon to grab a copy. I will watch it, most likely, with Meet The Beatles playing in the background. It just sounds right.
— Gary Guzzo
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Yes, you read that correctly. The night that Disney first showed Dr. Syn alias the Scarecrow (in color), at the same time The Ed Sullivan Show was airing its historic appearance of The Beatles (in black-and-white), February 9, 1964. That deserves a major fanatic YEEK! I don’t know what the ratings were, but I’ll bet The Scarecrow didn’t do very well.
Thank you Gary Guzzo for that AMAZING story that you can’t get anywhere else, unless you’re reading Funny Book Fanatic.
— Dave Olbrich (DWO) Fri. Jan. 16, 2009