Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Spin and Marty

Many a boomer cut their TV teeth on The Adventures of Spin and Marty, a wildly popular serial that played on The Mickey Mouse Club; alas, I can't actually recommend watching it to anyone not clouded by a thick fog of nostalgia. Its summer-camp escapades involve the common, rugged Spin (Tim Considine) and the wealthy, nebbishy Marty (David Stollery) first hating each other then becoming fast friends, but they also reinforce every negative stereotype about '50s pop culture and its famous stodginess. Life at the Triple-R Ranch involves all sorts of activities that would cause faint hearts if pulled off today: the 11-minute segments cling tenaciously to the idea of making men out of boys, so that it's no surprise when the two stage a fight early on and the counsellors see to it that its endorsed as a boxing match. If that sounds like good, campy fun, be advised that it's torture, the kind of bland entertainment that's only leavened by against-the-grain readings. And though there are plenty of attitudes to mock (Marty's imperious off-screen grandmother raises the spectre of dominant women; a Chinese cook offers cringe-inducing comic relief), plus big fun to be had inserting homoerotic subtext, there's no denying that you have to provide the entertainment while enduring the artless, flavourless episodes. The two discs feature all of season one. The extras include Leonard Maltin intros to both discs, Tim Considine's screen test (for the role of Marty, ironically), archival photo and merchandising galleries, a brief featurette with Considine and Stollery's reminiscences, and an interview with actor (and Triple-R counsellor) Harry Carey, Jr., presided over by Maltin. (Disney/Buena Vista)