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Meeno Peluce Fan Club Memories – 2

It seemed as if Meeno's early childhood life mirrored the kinds of adventures his most famous character, Jeffrey Jones, would later have as a Voyager!

"What happens to a child, born in Amsterdam to American parents traveling on a five-year odyssey around the world, who, as an infant, lives in a windmill in Holland, rides camels across the deserts of the Far East and elephants up the mountains of India, and names himself (at age 3) while hiking on the lower levels of Mount Everest? A child who is nearly five years old before first witnessing such conveniences as hot-and-cold running water and light switches?"

Read more of Meeno's fascinating childhood biography, written by his former publicist, Scott Taylor.

Exclusive Interview with Debbie Sheldon (Part 2) Conducted by VoyagerG

Q: How long did it take to compile all the necessary information, pictures and fanmail/fan-postings that are found in the MPFC newsletters?

Debbie: I assume you mean how long did it take for us to do each one?  It really depended on what we already had and what we had to wait for. When we sent out our applications we also sent a paper to be returned by those who wanted to be included in our Center Stage section or the Write People Pen Pal section, so that information was always readily available.

The games and quizzes didn't take long to compile, maybe a few hours. The things that took the longest were "In the Meentime" and the Events schedules because we had to get that information from Meeno or Scott Taylor.

Sometimes it took them a little while to get back to us due to their busy schedules. We almost always had what we needed within two to three weeks and the newsletter came out each month.

Putting it all together, as crude as it was back in those days, really only took a day of typing, cutting and pasting. At some point I believe we had a contest to name the newsletter and the name that won was "The Meenozine."

I think we used that in later newsletters. Some columns were there in every newsletter, like "In the Meentime," and "Center Stage," but sometimes we had reviews of programs Meeno had been in, like when he guest starred in "Silver Spoons," or other TV shows, so some sections were intermittent.

Q: How many newsletters did the FC print within the two year run?

Debbie: The Meenozine came out every other month. Those six issues came with the club membership, and each year we had a contest for the cover sketch of Meeno so it changed from the first year to the second. Then as the club began to wind down a bit due to our personal situations and dwindling membership (at the end I believe we had about 36 members; at our peak close to 300) the last few newsletters started coming out a little late and not quite as often.

Q: Who was responsible for different sections of the newsletter? Who handled the fan mail? Who thought of the games and trivia? How did you divide the tasks amongst the club managers?

Debbie: I believe we were all responsible for everything. We got information from Meeno, of course. We all got together and pulled out the cartons of fan mail from Sondra and had kind of a fan mail answering party whenever we could. We'd combine it with a Voyagers! marathon usually. I think Vanessa and I did most of the quizzes. It was pretty unstructured, more like, "Hey I've got a great trivia question," or, "Why don't I write up a review of Meeno in this or that," and in it went. I know Vanessa did several of the reviews. Margo sent at least one write-up about a convention where we had a display table. It was all very democratic and fun.

Read Margo's Write up of the Convention.

We'd get together about once a week and put it together. I did the actual page make-up, word processing and putting it all together. Tracy and I did the copying. I recall sitting up in Vanessa's attic bedroom while she, Tracy and I made buttons on her button-making machine. The buttons were part of the membership kit. But it was definitely a joint effort. We all worked together and that's why it's hard to recall exactly who did what, but we had a great time meeting together to do it.

Jon-Erik Fan Letter

Sweet Jon-Erik was almost notorious for his letters, at least amongst his fans and to the people he wrote to. He had a large, loopy and dramatic scrawl – and wrote with an upward, positive slant, using whatever scrap paper he could find and most often the flip side was upside down!

Sloppy handwriting can be the sign of a busy person and Jon-Erik was constantly on the move. Jon's letters were short, sweet, often humorous, and to the point. However brief, he was kind and considerate in sending them to friends and fans whenever possible, keeping them updated on his latest projects.

Here is a scan of Debbie's letter from Jon-Erik. It was written on an upside down copy of a pink script for the final Voyagers! episode, Jack's Back.

Jon's Letter (pdf file)

Read more correspondences from the Jon-Erik Hexum Fan Club and Archive website: Letters from Jon-Erik.

Jon-Erik on the set with either a fan or photographer (Both!) during the filming of Barriers of Sound.

Q: And a final question. What do you think about the current Voyagers! revival during the recent years due to the Internet? Jon and the show were almost forgotten, as was Meeno's child-star career – but now everything we could find about them, plus the official DVD release is accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. You and the Meeno Peluce Fan Club did twenty-five years ago what we do today, but with different tools, and as you mentioned, a lot of hard work!

Debbie: Wow! What we could have done with the MPFC twenty-five years ago if we'd had the Internet I can only imagine (and I have quite an imagination!), but what the Voyagers Guidebook site and Jon-Erik's Fan Club site are doing today is a real indication, although I think a lot more work goes into this website than was needed simply to handle a fan club. I think the revival is wonderful.

I am stunned at the interest in these sites and at the attention they are getting from both old and new fans. Parents and adults who watched Voyagers! back in 1983 are now able to bring not only the show, but everything about the show to a new generation, when there is little for this generation that is wholesome, decent and teaches good values. Perhaps that's one reason the revival is so popular,  it is an oasis in the vast wasteland of TV and the internet.

I regret that I cannot show these programs to my students at school as they would not only learn so much about history by using the shows as a kick-off for further study, but would enjoy them immensely! Then they could go to your website and really get involved. Ah well, that's the dreamer in me. The best thing is that because of the Internet and the Voyagers! related websites, generations to come will still be able to enjoy all of this after my generation is gone.

Finally, I have a selfish reason for being happy to find this revival and website, and to find someone like Ginger. I am getting older and I have often wondered what would become of all my Voyagers! memorabilia when I move on to glory. I even thought of tossing it in the trash at one time because there was nothing more to do with it and it was just gathering dust on a shelf. I knew no one else who would care about it.

Now I know that there is a place where it can one day be preserved. Perhaps someone who does not have originals that I have can use them and enjoy them. This website will receive everything one day and I'm sure you can find someone who would like to have it all. It will never end up in the trash. Time passes, but as Bogg would say, "Time is our oyster!"

Long live Voyagers!

I want to sincerely thank Ms. Sheldon for sharing her time, memories, and wonderful memorabilia. It has now become a part of entertainment history that can be appreciated by fans the world over!

May all your landings be soft!