The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show


Sammy Ogg       Oct 30, 1939


Joe

Perhaps the most likeable serial actor at Disney was the easy-going Sammy Ogg. A professional with several film and television credits, Sam played the jokester Joe Simpson on all three Spin and Marty serials, and himself in Adventure in Dairyland.

Background

Sammy was born Samuel Burton Ogg at Lexington, Virginia, on October 30, 1939. His family moved to the Los Angeles area around 1945, where Sammy immediately began in radio, providing voices for a number of shows, such as Beulah, Life with Luigi, and My Friend Irma. He voiced the child lead in Red Rider and Little Beaver during 1950-51. When it came to films and television, his small stature and slight build allowed him to play much younger roles. His first screen credits were for The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952) and an episode of I Love Lucy, in which he played David Stollery's twin brother, though it seems he had an earlier uncredited bit in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

Sammy did the narration for the award-winning semi-documentary Navajo (1952), while continuing to appear in small roles for light-hearted films, like Mr. Scoutmaster (1953) and The Kid From Left Field (1953), where he worked with future Spin and Marty colleague Dee Aaker. He also did some action pictures, like Jack Slade (1953) and Prince Valiant (1954), but his career really peaked with appearances for eight different television shows in 1954-55, some of them in minor recurring roles. One of these was for a show filmed from July through September of 1955 called The Adventures of Spin and Marty.

Performance

Auditions for Disney's first Spin and Marty serial began on April 16, 1955, while the project was still called Marty Markham. With fourteen kids to cast, the competition for parts was heavy, but friendly, with many of the young actors interviewed recommending other boys to the casting directors. Nearly all of the boys selected were veterans of film and television, and many had worked with each other on earlier projects. Joe was one of the older (if not the oldest) boys on the set, and already knew how to ride.

The serial proved the single most popular part of the Mickey Mouse Club. Writer Jackson Gillis imbued all his supporting characters with unique personalities. One of the most successful of these was joking Joe Simpson, prankster, sometime poet and singer of comic songs, but also a good rider. Sammy fit the part perfectly, drawing enough fan mail that he won a chance to play himself during the second season in Adventure in Dairyland. Sammy and Annette Funicello traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, in June 1956, to film this semi-fictional serial about a modern dairy farm.


A month later, Sammy reprised his Joe Simpson role in Further Adventures of Spin and Marty. Having sparked a Wisconsin farmer's daughter (Mary Lu Delmonte), he now got to dance with cowgirl Melinda Plowman, while keeping up the hijinks with the other Triple R ranchers. The writing this time out, though not bad, didn't have the balance and appeal of the first season, and the supporting characters suffered most. Still, Sam got to demonstrate his athletic prowess at swimming.

Sammy returned to the Triple R in the summer of 1957 for The New Adventures of Spin and Marty. Writer Lillie Hayward slighted the supporting and minor characters even more for this final run of the series, her creativity being taxed by the demands of inserting Walt's favorite, Moochie, into every other scene. With five lead performers this time out, Sammy and other supporting players B. G. Norman (Ambitious) and Tim Hartnagel (Speckle) seemed to fade into the background.

Aftermath

Sammy continued to work steadily in films and television during and after his summers on the Mickey Mouse Club. He was in the Hepburn-Tracy film Desk Set in 1957, and also did episodes of Turning Point, Wagon Train and Schlitz Playhouse that same year. The following year he did three films, Rally Round the Flag Boys, Frontier Gun, and Andy Hardy Comes Home, while also appearing on Maverick, Studio 57, and multiple episodes of Dragnet. When not working, he attended Hollywood Professional School (HPS), graduating from there in 1958.

Sammy's easygoing nature and good sense of humor were real, but he also had a more serious turn of mind, as would become apparent in his adult life. He was popular with girls, including his frequent co-star Annette, whom he took out for several occasions. In late 1958 he attended a evangelical rally in Los Angeles, which he later credited for inspiring his adult career.

Sam's mom, like many parents of child actors, seems to have become a talent agent, representing many MMC alumni. It may be that hers was the motivating interest in Sammy becoming an actor, for upon reaching his majority he enrolled in LIFE Bible College in San Dimas, California. The newly ordained Reverend Ogg, who had met and married his wife Doris in college, took over his first congregation of the Foursquare Church in 1962. Since then he has mostly stayed out of the public eye, though he has taken part in an HPS reunion show during the 1980's, and in May 2007, appeared at an I Love Lucy convention with David Stollery. Sammy has two children and several grandchildren, and has retired from active ministering.

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