Tom Nabbe ’61- Disney’s Original Tom Sawyer

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Photo from an article in the Saturday Evening Post, June 28, 1958 issue.

Life’s been one big adventure for Anaheim High’s Class of ’61 graduate Tom Nabbe. The fun really started when his family moved to Anaheim just down the road from where Disneyland was being built. 

A 12-year-old red-headed, freckle-faced boy, Nabbe was selling newspapers at Disneyland when he heard that Walt needed someone to play the role of Tom Sawyer. Tom pestered Walt until he got the job. Nearly fifty years later,  Tom retired as a Disney Legend.

The story of his amazing career, which began as a fantasy and ended as the embodiment of the American dream,  is now available in his book:  “From Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend: The Adventures of Tom Nabbe.” 
The book is available via his website wp_000868TomNabbe.com or via Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

Oct. 21 – 7th Annual AHSAA Colonist Classic Car Show – Save the Date!

Save the date of Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 for the 7th Annual AHSAA Colony Classic Car Show.

The family-friendly event is a chance to view more than 100 unique vehicles and tour the historical Anaheim High campus.

Click here for more information.

 

2017 Golf Tournament & Auction – A Classic Colonist Day

Despite recent heavy rains, the 8th Annual AHSAA Golf Classic drew a large crowd of golfers and dinners. After a day of golf under a cloudy sky, attendees enjoyed dinner and bidding on an array of silent and live auction gifts.

Thank you to sponsors who helped underwrite the event and to the many volunteers who assisted on and off the course, including the AHS Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Team members.

Proceeds will help fund $16,000 in scholarships for the 2016-2017 school year.

Small Town Girl Makes a Name in Hollywood as Singer, Actress

Joy (Wurgaft) Lane – AUHS Class of 1945

LACE 1Anaheim High’s performing arts program gained a talented performer when Joy (Wurgaft) Lane, moved to Anaheim from Fullerton in 1942 at age 15. Joy was already a recognized dancer and singer who had appeared at the Golden State Theater in San Francisco, the Orpheum Theater and the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Born in 1927 in Santa Monica, to Robert and Irene Wurgaft, Joy was brought up in a household full of music and singing. Her mother had been a stage performer in her younger years and her father played the ukulele. They recognized a talent in their daughter and in 1934 took Joy to Hal Roach Studios for an audition.

She was cast as one of the child characters in the “Our Gang” comedies and, during her early years continued to appear in a number of movies, including “Hollywood on Parade” and the notable Laurel and Hardy’s “Babes in Toyland.”

Joy Wurgaft 1945family homeWhile at Anaheim High, Joy performed in plays and talent shows and was president of the Drama Club.  Her family lived in a two-story Spanish Mediterranean home at 319 N. Harbor Blvd., across from what is now Pearson Park. She said there was a rumpus room in the basement of the home and she often invited school mates over for parties. The family owned the home until the mid-60s, when it was sold to the Catholic Byzantine Church.

Her father was in the citrus business and was the sales manager for a large juice company and used his daughter’s image for crate labels. Mr. Wurgraft was also a member of the City of Anaheim Planning Commission and was among local businessmen who petitioned Walt Disney to building his Magic Kingdom to Anaheim.

A few years after graduating from AUHS in 1945, she took the stage name of Joy Lane.  She toured the country as a singer with band leader Ted Fio Rito and regularly appeared on television.

In the 1950’s, she had her own television show called “The Joy Lane Show.”  Over the next twenty years she continued with a successful singing career, performing throughout the United States and doing radio commercials.

Joy, who was often mistaken for Angie Dickenson, socialized with Hollywood’s elite and was friends with Lucille Ball. She recalls a time when she and her manager visited Lucille’s home in Palm Springs when she and Desi Arnaz were in the midst of divorcing. They played cards for entertainment, then travelled the next day to Lucille’s home in Beverly Hills, first stopping in Anaheim to pick up her son from her parent’s home.

She was also in New York when Lucille Ball opened on Broadway and visited her dressing room after her performance. Joy said she was always giving Lucy encouragement and helping boost her confidence because the comedic actress was nervous about singing on stage. The next day, Joy accompanied Lucy to a famous New York department store that was closed to the public while the two women shopped.

Joy currently lives in Southern Orange County and will be 87 years old on Sept. 19. She’s in a wheelchair due to MS, but still uses the computer every day and lives a full life filled with many memories of growing up in Anaheim and living the life of a singer and performer.

One of her many memories is singing “LBJ will make everything rosy for you and for me” to the tune of “Everything Is Coming Up Roses”  at a fund-raising party the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles for Lyndon Johnson who was running against Jack Kennedy for the Presidential nomination. The party was given by the incomparable Pearl Mesta, an American socialite, political hostess, and U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg (1949–1953).  Joy remembered that her dress was made of 2,000 fresh rose petals and she couldn’t sit down all day or the roses would turn brown.sc00002d95

From the small agricultural community of Anaheim to the Silver Screen, Joy is another Anaheim High graduate who can be traced to the Golden Age of Hollywood.