(Jan 31 2009) PORTERVILLE, CA -- Back in 1978, Mr. Victor Mandella along with his son
decided to build their very own Scooby Doo van. One day while sitting in their back yard in Los Angeles they came up with the idea, but it didn’t really come together until they moved to Porterville 28 years ago.
“One of the first things I had to do was find a van that was as close to the one on T.V. and go from there, Mr. Mandella told the Post. But that took a little horse-trading. The person who had the van I wanted, wanted two 1956 Fords that I had. So we did a swap. I couldn’t have been any more excited. It was starting to really happen.”
Mr. Mandella who is 79 years old and lives on the East side of town shared with the Post he used to work on Motor Cycles and bikes while he lived in Los Angeles. Additionally, he did a little car and house painting and used those past trades in the initial build up of the Scooby Doo van. And then it sat for a while …
His second Miracle came when he was introduced to a couple of young people who lived on the Tule Indian reservation. “I was told they knew how to paint and design cartoon characters and by-golly they did a great job and to this day, I have only had to re-paint it once. And my son helped me with that.”
The Van – Well, it’s a 1957 Chevy Sports Van, and according to Victor, it has thousands and thousands of miles on it. He said, the Scooby-Doo van has been to many parts of California, let along Tulare County “and we get asked a lot to bring it to birthday parties for the kids. The kids just love it and I love doing it for the kids and still do.
“I can’t tell you how many times I had pictures taken of the van, many thousands, who knows. All I know is sometimes when I come back from shopping and walk back to the van, there’s always someone there waiting for me to come back so they can tell me their story about Scooby-Doo. Once they’re done I get to tell my story and then tell them about my Jesus and what He’s done for me.”
Mr. Mandella is a Christian and is more than willing to bring the Van to one of your special events. All he asks is to give him a least a weeks notice, gas for the van and a days wages. Please be generous.
To contact Mr. Victor Mandella for a special event (559) 756-2228
BTW – The person who identified Mr. Mandella and won the contest was Pastor Frankie from the Spanish Church of the Nazarene. Congratulations !