Forty years after they played Spin and Marty on the "Mickey Mouse Club" serial, Tim Considine and David Stollery are still buddies.
"I would say, if anything, we are much better friends now," says Stollery (Marty), 54.
"Spin and Marty" and its sequel "The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty" were two of the most popular features on the "Club." Set at the Triple R summer ranch for boys, the serial found Considine playing the super cool, streetwise city kid Spin Evans, who became unlikely friends with snotty, rich kid Marty Markham. Veteran actor Harry Carey Jr. played the camp counselor and J. Pat O'Malley was Marty's veddy British valet, Perkins. Sailor was Spin's trusty horse and Skyrocket, Marty's gorgeous Palomino.
Considine says the two were pals even before "Spin and Marty," Previously, they worked together in the 1954 Greer Garson MGM film "Her 12 Men."
"It was my third picture in a row for MGM," says Considine, also 54. "We hit it off. I was kind of a bashful kid at the time. This had a zillion kid actors in it. They scared the hell out of me because they were so outgoing. He was kind of quiet and he shared a burning interest in cars. We have always had that common interest."
And, adds Considine, "We have the same wicked sense of humor. We can say things that are outrageous to each other and we think they are terribly funny. We can't understand why other people are offended. But we're not."
Their love of cars has carried over into their adult life. Stollery, Considine says, "is a helluva guy. Let me tell you a little bit about him because he won't tell you some of it. He's a brilliant designer. He designed the 1978 Toyota Celica. That was a landmark car. I am an automobile writer and I know this from my side. I have written about his work. It was a very important car for Toyota. He's brilliant."
"I was the director of the first North American research and development group for a foreign auto manufacturer in the United States in 1973," says Stollery, who owns Industrial Design Research Inc., "a little consulting firm" in Laguna Beach. "I have had some good opportunities come my way."
Stollery has nothing but praise for Considine's work. "He really stands out as a writer and not because he's a good friend of mine," Stollery says. "He's a good read, and here he is getting a new reputation in the auto press."
He had lost track of Considine for about 18 years and, "then we were reintroduced again at the 25th anniversary of Disneyland. Since then we have been very close friends."
Though it was a job, both Considine and Stollery had fun making "Spin and Marty." 'It was something a lot of people do remember," says Considine, who also appeared in "The Mickey Mouse Club" serials "The Hardy Boys" and "Annette." "It meant a lot to [kids] at the time. That's real nice."
"It was wonderful compared to all the other stuff we had done because usually you spent the entire day on a dark sound stage being quiet and sitting still, which was very unnatural for children," adds Stollery, who made his film debut at age 6 in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and starred on Broadway at 10 in a revival of "On Borrowed Time."
"When we did 'Spin and Marty,' it was the first time that we shot all the time on location," says Stollery, who also appeared in "Annette" and the Disney feature "Westward Ho the Wagons," which airs on the Disney Channel Oct. 21 at 3:30 p.m.
"We were at a ranch and shot outside. There was enough space that you could go out and ride a horse and practice your rope tricks or hike or something. They, of course, wisely for logistics, shot it in the summer so we wouldn't have any school. We could work a full eight-hour day."
"It was work," says Considine, who also played Mike Douglas from 1960-65 on "My Three Sons." "It wasn't all fun and games. But it was not bad work. There was a lot of fun to it. It was our childhood for a great part of the time. I got along pretty well with the people I was working with."
Originally, Considine was cast as Marty. "Tim has always been a confident person, not arrogant, but confident even as a child," Stollery says. "He didn't want to do Marty because he thought the kid was kind of nerdy and a spoiled brat. He wanted to play a part that was a cooler image, which was Spin Evans. That was a smaller part and his agent negotiated to have the part written up to equity. I heard about this about a year ago!"
It's only within that the past year the two have begun to make some personal appearances. Stollery says he was worried when they did their first movie memorabilia show that no one would remember them. But they were welcomed with open arms by fans. "We couldn't believe the response," he says.
The two recently reunited with Harry Carey Jr. for a "Spin and Marty Day" at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Griffith Park. "We filled the auditorium," Stollery says. "We couldn't believe it!"