March 17 to 20, 1971:
Mickey Mouse and his friends hoped a little Disney magic would help the Sisters of Marywood.
During its four days in Scranton, the traveling Disney spectacular called “Disney on Parade” had seven shows scheduled at the Watres Armory. The Friday, March 19, show was a fundraiser for the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who lost everything in a fire at the Marywood Seminary the previous month. The Friends of Marywood organized the fundraising show.
The 150-minute stage show featured eight stories based on Disney’s creations. For the piece that featured “Pinocchio,” the stage transformed into a 135-foot Italian street carnival with aerialists, trampoline artists, dancers and musicians. Another piece that drew big applause dealt with the Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own, Herbie, aka “The Love Bug.”
The show also featured two large choreographed dance numbers: “Barnyard Bash” at the end of the first act and then a “Fantasia” number that opened the second act and featured dancing hippos and alligators.
During the second act, Goofy performed with aerialists and did a few daredevil tricks without a net. During the “Snow White” piece, the audience screamed “Don’t do it” when the young princess was offered the poisoned apple from the disguised queen.
The show ended with a famed Disney song, “It’s Small Small World.”
That Disney magic worked. The March 19 benefit show raised $10,000 for the Marywood Fire Fund.
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast