MODESTO — Youngsters colored posters, ate cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday to Scoopy, the McClatchy newspaper mascot penned 70 years ago by Walt Disney.
The Saturday afternoon party filled the basement of the Stanislaus County downtown library with about 125 attendees.
It helped that there were cupcakes, plenty of crayons and 70 crowns. On a busy day downtown, the 3:30 p.m. party filled an empty time slot between the Dickens Faire at the McHenry Mansion across the street and the parade already setting up outside, said Patricia Roten. Her son, Zavier Roten, 5, clutched his carefully colored poster that no raffle ticket would prize from his grip. Hes keeping it, she said with a chuckle.
First in line for a picture with Scoopy was Heaven Farish, 8. She got to the library a half-hour early. I wanted to say happy birthday, she said, happily munching the first of a couple of cupcakes. Heaven was one of the first to get a Modesto Bee booklet chronicling Scoopys history that newspaper Publisher Eric Johnston read to the crowd.
Scoopys illustrious life began with a wartime deal between Disney and Eleanor McClatchy, who convinced her friend to draw the logo for a McClatchy Co. donation of $1,500 to the Army Relief Fund. As the Allies drove deep into Italy during World War II, Scoopy arrived with his pal Gaby the radio bee. They were later joined by Teevy the TV station bee and Flutey, who promoted the companys FM stations.
Gaby, Teevy and Flutey have retired, but Scoopy buzzes on sometimes in a very cool Scoopy-mobile, noted Bryce Wax, 7, waiting in line for a picture with the media celebrity. I like Scoopy because he is happy, Bryce said.
Hes always nice, chimed in sister Pearl Wax, 6.