The Mickey Mouse Club

The Mickey Mouse Club & the Mouseketeers

Author: Allen Butler

The year was 1955.  A new television craze was about to sweep across the young people of the nation. The Mickey Mouse Club, running on the ABC channel.

The stars of the show were of course the Mouseketeers, with their mouse ear caps.  In choosing the Mouseketeers Walt Disney had insisted that they be just normal kids, not actors, so that the children at home could relate with them more easily. 

Although the Mickey Mouse Club didn’t make its debut until October 3rd, 1955 (a day when children around the world sat down in front of their TV sets with their mouse ears on head and Mickey Mouse Club membership card clutched tightly in hand) the Mouseketeers had made their presence known to the world on July 17th, as part of the celebration for the opening of Disneyland.

These original Mouseketeers of course included Annette Funicello, who became the most famous of the Mouseketeers and also went on to star in the beach party movies of the 1960's with Frankie Avalon, another important cultural milestone.

Many other of the Mouseketeers would also move on to other things. Sharon Baird starred on many different children’s shows, such as Land of the Lost. Lonnie Burr went on to appear in dozens of films, tv shows and plays. 

But it is as the Mouseketeers that they first won the hearts of American children.  And no one can forget the “Head Mouseketeer,” Jimmie Dodd, who wrote many of the songs for the Mickey Mouse Club including the famous theme song. 

And of course there was “The Big Mouseketeer,” Roy Williams, an animator for Disney since 1930 and the designer of the mouse ear hats.

The Mickey Mouse Club lasted from 1955 until it was cancelled in 1959, during which time they produced 360 episodes. 

Later generations would attempt to capture the magic of the Mickey Mouse Club, first in the 1970's with the heavily disco influenced New Mickey Mouse Club and in the 1990's with the All New Mickey Mouse Club.

Neither of these incarnations quite captured the spirit of the original, though, nor made such a nationwide sensation.

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