Voyagers Guidebook is very proud to present two full pages dedicated to the original Meeno Peluce Fan Club. One of the MPFC's founders, Debbie Sheldon (On Meeno's right in purple vest) discovered this website and saw her name listed on the Notes and Tidbits page. Debbie was part of a small group of fans that helped to keep Voyagers! on the air a little longer than expected. Which, rest assured, fans today are entirely grateful!
Debbie got into contact with me and kindly and graciously donated all of her materials for me to scan and display on-site. She also agreed to an interview! I have to say that fans of Jon-Erik Hexum, Meeno Peluce, and Voyagers! are the best fans out there.
Voyagers Guidebook requests that if any of the original Fan Club members for either Jon, Meeno or Voyagers! sees this page, please consider donating any memorabilia and/or scans you have to keep all the original Fan Clubs in memory. Or even if you have a story to share, I'd be happy to read it and even post it online! Thanks! Please Email me.
Debbie Sheldon expressed interest in hearing from fellow fans, maybe you have additional questions for her. You can always send her a message here.
Visit the Meeno Peluce Fan Club Album to view all the photos and save them full size.
Debbie is only posting her own recollections, opinions and impressions as being part of the MPFC and getting to visit the Voyagers sets, Meeno and Jon-Erik Hexum. So, after 20 odd years, she apologizes in advance if there are any inaccuracies.
Q: Whose initial decision was it to create the Meeno Peluce Fan Club?
It was Meeno's decision! It happened like this: three of us, including myself, Vanessa Sundstrom and Tracy Graham saw that Meeno was going to be making an appearance at a convention and we decided to attend to see him as we had all become fans of Voyagers! We went up to his table where he was sitting with his Public Relations person, Scott Taylor.
As we talked with them, one of us asked the question, do you have a fan club? He replied, No, start one! His PR man asked us if we'd be interested in doing so and we thought about it (for about 5 seconds!) and said, okay! He promised to send us an official letter of permission and to work with us to get it started. That's how it began!
Why did you choose to make a Fan Club for Meeno Peluce?
Debbie: The three of us had been watching Voyagers! since it came on the air. We thought Meeno was talented and so much fun to watch that we were excited to go see him at the convention (Creation Convention, I believe) and tell him how much we enjoyed his performance.
It never entered our minds to start a fan club until we spoke with him. When he asked us, we knew there must be hundreds of other fans out there that would love to have news about him. He deserved a fan club, and he was so gracious and down-to-earth as we talked with him that we just said yes!
Q: Was Jon-Erik jealous? ;) What did he think of this young boy getting a Fan Club before him?
Debbie: I can't read minds, but I never saw any signs of jealousy in Jon-Erik. He did not impress me as the jealous type. We asked the studio about starting a fan club for him, but they said they were going to start a studio club so we dropped the idea. The one time we met him I got the feeling he was very happy for Meeno.
Meeno and Jon-Erik on the Voyagers! Back lot alongside Meeno's Trailer. Despite the age difference, they looked very friendly toward each other. No egos there! Many fans like to presume their relationship reflected that of their characters. PB & J – Partners and best buds forever.
Jon and Meeno in costume as Bogg and Jeffrey – playfully wrestling and chilling out on the set.
Q: How was the fan club structured? Did you have monthly/bi-monthly newsletters? Was it nationwide?
Debbie: We began by putting an advertisement in Starlog magazine that the MPFC was being initiated.
We received letters almost immediately from both children and adults all over the country. As the club grew, we also sent in listings to other Teen magazines and newsletters.
The club grew quickly. We decided to put together a fan club kit that would include Meeno's biography, an initial welcome newsletter page from Meeno, an autographed picture, membership card, and a fan club button.
We made the button ourselves, Scott sent us an official biography to use, Sondra gave us a stack of autographed pictures, and one of our new members actually did a sketch to use on the front of our newsletter.
The newsletters then came out monthly and had such sections as 'In the Meentime', giving news of what Meeno was doing, and reviews and synopses of various of his performances, a pen pal section, a quiz or challenge section (for instance, matching quotes with episodes, etc.), and several other sections.
We also set up tables at conventions to promote the club. When we had these ideas together Meeno's mother invited us all to the set to have lunch and spend the day so we could show her and the others what we had and finalize their permission for everything. She also asked us if we would help answer Meeno's fan mail. He got cartons and cartons full of mail every week.
We began picking up the fan
mail from him and sent out autographed pictures and club invitations
with the answers. It was a lot of work, but it was fun. We also got
frequent updates from Sondra. She was the most gracious lady we could
have imagined and everyone was very cooperative with us.
Q: How long did the fan club last?
Debbie: The listing in Starlog was in March of 1983. The club lasted until early 1985, I believe. We had hoped to follow Meeno in his career, but he was acting less and less, and a set of unfortunate circumstances in our personal lives kept us from continuing also. We got fewer and fewer memberships, and the club kind of petered out in early 1985. We had planned to put out a memory book of Meeno's career, but it was never realized.
Q: Did you have regular fan club meetings?
Debbie: The three of us who started the club were best friends so we were always together anyway. A fourth member whose first letter was very impressive became our fourth club leader. Her name was Margo Coburn (now Margo May). She lived in Reno, NV, but we visited together often. We met with Meeno and his PR person and his mother at the studio and spoke with Meeno one other time at a house of some fans who lived two doors away from him. We also picked up the fan mail about once a month.
We had a fan club picnic in Griffith Park, which was attended by those who could make it to the area. This was about two blocks from Meeno's house. Because our membership was so spread out over the country it was impossible to have actual meetings; however, we corresponded with many of the members regularly.
Meeno's mother always sent us new updated photos and answers to questions, as did his PR person. We had a section in the newsletters where fans could ask Meeno questions and Meeno would send us the answers to be published. We also got answers to questions from James Parriott.
Q: It's amazing that you visited him on the set. Do you remember what episode they were filming at the time?
Debbie: We were invited to the set by Meeno's mother, Sondra. I'm sure she wanted to check out those who were going to run his fan club! She was so gracious and kind and could not have been nicer. We were pretty overwhelmed, too, at being invited!
We met Scott at the gate and had lunch with him, Meeno and Sondra in the commissary. The only thing I recall about that lunch, other than discussing the fan club and showing them what we were doing, was that Meeno had eggs and toast for lunch! The only reason I have any inkling of what they were filming is because of the blue shirt Jon-Erik was wearing, and also because I remember the set being the same room as used in The Trial of Phineas Bogg.
I know we were there around February 26 or so because it was Meeno's birthday. If my memory (this was 20+ years ago!) serves me right, they were filming 'Destiny's Choice,' and the room was the courtroom. In the pictures taken of us that day you can see that Jon-Erik has on the blue shirt he wore in that episode.
On the day we were there they were not actually filming, but doing what is called looping. It's like dubbing or voice-overs. Actually, that was a good thing for us because we got to spend more time with them! Another thing I recall is walking through the set area behind the actual set and stepping over a lot of ropes and equipment and Scott telling us to be careful.
*VG's Note: From the description of the outfits and sets (and Jon's outfit in the candid pics), the episode filmed was indeed, Destiny's choice. There would have been an abundance of wires and equipment, because most of that episode took place within a movie studio!
Q: The Omni cake sounds awesome! I always thought it would make a great cake subject. What did it look like and what was the cast's reaction to it?
Debbie: I have a picture of a second Omni cake just like the first one which I am sending on to the website. It was round with brown icing and other colors used for the dial and the globe. Meeno and Jon-Erik both loved it and I remember Jon-Erik especially being impressed and saying 'Awesome!' I remember Jon-Erik lounging on what I believe was a sofa and eating his!
Q: What was Meeno's first reaction to the fan club?
Debbie: The day we met him and he said in answer to our question of whether he had a fan club, "No, start one!", I think he was surprised and thrilled that someone wanted to do so. I got the impression he just thought it would be fun to have one.
Q: What kind of kid was Meeno? He seemed very intelligent and playful at the same time. What did you think of his family, and how did they feel about the Fan Club?
Debbie: Meeno was a wonderful kid. We did not talk to him directly on very many occasions, but the time we spent with him really impressed us. He was very quiet at first, then became a bit more talkative. He did impress us as being extremely intelligent, but one who loved to clown around and laugh. He was also very o both thanked us for starting the club and we felt as though they were both very happy that someone wanted to do so. They were also very humble and down-to-earth.
Q: How was Meeno's trailer? (I can almost imagine him allowing Jon to hang in it from time to time.)
Debbie: It's difficult to remember the inside of his trailer at all. I do remember there being a sofa and a table. It was not a large trailer at all. With seven of us in there it was pretty cramped (not that we minded!). We must have been in there about 20 minutes eating Meeno's birthday cake and talking, but for the life of me I cannot remember what we talked about! I think Jon-Erik did most of the talking. The picture of us with Meeno and Jon-Erik was taken just outside the trailer.
Q: I've read everywhere that Jon and Meeno were close, and Meeno himself has said they were good friends. What was your impression of the relationship between Meeno and Jon-Erik?
Debbie: My impression was that they got along very well and the day we were in Meeno's trailer they talked to each other more than anyone else. They seemed like two insiders talking about things they both understood. I think Jon-Erik was still young enough to speak Meeno's language. They both appeared to be fun-loving, but serious when necessary.
I got the impression that neither had a big ego or anything to prove, and that neither was jealous in any way of the other, but that both were having a good time doing the show and were enjoying sharing it together. Jon-Erik also seemed somewhat protective of Meeno. I recall him warning Meeno about something, but I can't remember now what it was. He acted like he really cared about him.about him.