The Mickey Mouse Club & the
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
Neither of these incarnations quite captured the spirit of the
original, though, nor made such a nationwide sensation.