The Mickey Mouse Club is an American variety television show produced by Walt Disney Productions that ran from 1955 to 1996. It was first televised from 1955 to 1959 by ABC, featuring a regular but ever-changing cast of teenage performers. The Mickey Mouse Club was created by Walt Disney. The series was revived, reformatted and reimagined several times after its initial 1955–1959 run on ABC, first in 1977 for syndication and later (1989–95) for seven seasons on the Disney Channel. Contents
1 The 1950s series 1.1 Cast 1.2 Major serials 1.3 Music 1.4 Show themes 1.5 Scheduling and air times 1.6 Cancellation 1.7 Australian tour 1.8 Syndication 1.9 Reunions 2 1970s revival, The New Mickey Mouse Club 2.1 Serials 2.2 Theme days 2.3 Troubled syndication run 2.4 Cast 2.5 Theme song and soundtrack 2.6 Distribution 3 1989–95 revival (MMC) 3.1 Scheduling and air times 3.1.1 Format 3.2 Skits 3.3 Music Videos 3.4 Live Concerts & Performances 3.5 Theme days 3.6 Mouseketeer roster 3.6.1 Seasons 1–7 (1989–95) 3.6.2 The Party (Former club Members) 3.6.3 Seasons 1–2 (1989) 3.6.4 Seasons 3–5 (1990–92) 3.6.5 Seasons 4–7 (1990–95) 3.6.6 Seasons 6–7 (1993–95) 4 See also 5 References 6 External links
The 1950s series
The Mickey Mouse Club was Walt Disney's second venture into producing a television series, the first being the Walt Disney anthology television series, initially titled Disneyland. Disney used both shows to help finance and promote the building of the Disneyland theme park. Being busy with these projects and others, Disney turned The Mickey Mouse Club over to Bill Walsh to create and develop the format, initially aided by Hal Adelquist.
The result was a variety show for children, with such regular features as a newsreel, a cartoon, and a serial, as well as music, talent and comedy segments. One unique feature of the show was the Mouseketeer Roll Call, in which many (but not all) of that day's line-up of regular performers would introduce themselves by name to the television audience. In the serials, teens faced challenges in everyday situations, often overcome by their common sense or through recourse to the advice of respected elders. Mickey Mouse himself appeared in every show not only in vintage cartoons originally made for theatrical release, but in opening, interstitial and closing segments made especially for the show. In both the vintage cartoons and in the new animated segments, Mickey was voiced by his creator Walt Disney. (Disney had previously voiced the character theatrically from 1928 to 1947, and then was replaced by sound effects artist Jimmy MacDonald.) Cast 1956 cast photo. Front row; L–R: Annette Funicello, Karen Pendleton, Cubby O'Brien, Sherry Alberoni, Dennis Day. Row two: Charley Laney, Sharon Baird, Darlene Gillespie, Jay-Jay Solari. Row three: Tommy Cole, Cheryl Holdridge, Larry Larsen, Eileen Diamond. Row four: Lonnie Burr, Margene Storey, Doreen Tracey. Back row: Jimmie Dodd, Bobby Burgess.
Mickey Mouse Club was hosted by Jimmie Dodd, a songwriter and the Head Mouseketeer, who provided leadership both on and off screen. In addition to his other contributions, he often provided short segments encouraging young viewers to make the right moral choices. These little homilies became known as "Doddisms". Roy Williams, a staff artist at Disney, also appeared in the show as the Big Mooseketeer. Roy suggested the Mickey Mouse ears worn by the cast members, which he helped create, along with Chuck Keehne, Hal Adelquist, and Bill Walsh.
The main cast members were called Mouseketeers, and they performed in a variety of musical and dance numbers, as well as some informational segments. The most popular of the Mouseketeers comprised the so-called Red Team, which consisted of the following:
Nancy Abbate (first year only) Sharon Baird Bobby Burgess Lonnie Burr Tommy Cole Dennis Day (first and second year) Annette Funicello Darlene Gillespie Cheryl Holdridge (joined in second year) Cubby O'Brien ★ Karen Pendleton ★ Jay-Jay Solari (second year only) Doreen Tracey
★ Cubby and Karen were initially "Meeseketeers" because they were the youngest of this group.
The remaining Mouseketeers, consisting of the White or Blue Teams, were Don Agrati (later known as Don Grady when starring as "Robbie" on the long running sitcom My Three Sons), Sherry Alberoni, Billie Jean Beanblossom, Johnny Crawford, Jonathan A. Kahn (a.k.a. Tio Juan), Eileen Diamond, Dickie Dodd (not related to Jimmie Dodd), Mary Espinosa, Bonnie Lynn Fields, Judy Harriet, Linda Hughes, Dallas Johann, John Lee Johann, Bonni Lou Kern, Charlie Laney, Larry Larsen, Paul Petersen, Lynn Ready, Mickey Rooney Jr., Tim Rooney, Mary Lynn Sartori, Bronson Scott, Michael Smith, Margene Storey, Ronnie Steiner, Mark Sutherland and Don Underhill. Dennis Day was a Mouseketeer for two seasons; the others served for shorter periods. Larry Larsen, on only for the 1956–57 season, was the oldest Mouseketeer, being born in 1939. Among the thousands who auditioned but didn't make the cut were future vocalist/songwriter Paul Williams and future actress Candice Bergen.
Other notable non-Mouseketeer performers appeared in various dramatic segments:
Tim Considine Tommy Kirk Roberta Shore a.k.a. Jymme Shore Steve Stevens (not to be confused with musician of same name) David Stollery Judy Nugent Kevin Corcoran, a.k.a. Moochie J. Pat O'Malley Sammy Ogg Alvy Moore Julius Sumner Miller as "Professor Wonderful"
These non-Mouseketeers primarily appeared in numerous original serials filmed for the series, only some of which have appeared in reruns. Certain Mouseketeers were also featured in some of the serials, particularly Annette Funicello and Darlene Gillespie. Major serials
Major serials included the following:
Spin and Marty (three serials, starring Tim Considine and David Stollery in the title roles) The Hardy Boys (two serials, starring Tim Considine and Tommy Kirk) Corky and White Shadow, starring Darlene Gillespie Walt Disney Presents: Annette, starring Annette Funicello Adventure in Dairyland, featuring Funicello and Sammy Ogg, and introducing Kevin Corcoran as Moochie Jiminy Cricket educational serials (four Animated serials educating kids on various topics). The Adventures of Clint and Mac (starring Neil Wolfe as Clint Rogers and Jonathan Bailey as Alastair "Mac" MacIntosh.) Boys of the Western Sea
The opening theme, "The Mickey Mouse March," was written by the show's primary adult host, Jimmie Dodd. It was also reprised at the end of each episode, with the slower it's-time-to-say-goodbye verse. A shorter version of the opening title was used later in the series, in syndication, and on Disney Channel reruns. Dodd also wrote many other songs used in individual segments over the course of the series. Show themes
Each day of the week had a special show theme, which was reflected in the various segments. The themes were:
Monday – Fun with Music Tuesday – Guest Star Wednesday – Anything Can Happen Thursday – Circus Friday – Talent Round-up
Scheduling and air times
The series ran on ABC Television for an hour each weekday in the 1955–1956 and 1956–1957 seasons (from 5:00 to 6:00 pm ET), and only a half-hour weekdays (5:30 to 6:00 pm ET) in 1957–1958, the final season to feature new programming. Although the show returned for the 1958–1959 season (5:30 to 6:00 pm ET), these programs were repeats from the first two seasons, re-cut into a half-hour format. The Mickey Mouse Club was featured on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Walt Disney's Adventure Time, featuring re-runs of The Mickey Mouse Club serials and several re-edited segments from Disneyland and Walt Disney Presents, appeared on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cancellation
Although the show remained popular, ABC decided to cancel the show after its fourth season, as Disney and the ABC network could not come to terms for renewal. The cancellation in September 1959 was attributable to several factors: the Disney studios did not realize high-profit margins from merchandise sales, the sponsors were uninterested in educational programming for children, and many commercials were needed in order to pay for the show. After canceling The Mickey Mouse Club, ABC also refused to let Disney air the show on another network. Walt Disney filed a lawsuit against ABC, and won the damages in a settlement; however, he had to agree that both the Mickey Mouse Club and Zorro could not be aired on any major network. This left Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (later retitled the Wonderful World of Disney) as the only Disney series left on prime time until 1972, when The Mouse Factory went on the air. The prohibition against major U.S. broadcast network play of the original Mickey Mouse Club (or any later version) became moot when Disney acquired ABC in 1996, but no plans have been announced for an ABC airing of any version of The Mickey Mouse Club produced between 1955 and 1996 or for a new network series. Australian tour
Although the series had been discontinued in the United States, many members of the cast assembled for highly successful tours of Australia in 1959 and 1960. The television series was very successful in Australia and was still running on Australian television. The cast surprised Australian audiences, as by then they had physically developed and in some cases, bore little resemblance to the young cast with whom Australians were so familiar. Mainstream television did not reach Australia until 1956 so the series screened well into the sixties when the back catalogue expired. Syndication
In response to continuing audience demand, the original Mickey Mouse Club went into edited syndicated half-hour reruns that enjoyed wide distribution starting in the fall of 1962, achieving strong ratings especially during its first three seasons in syndicated release. (because of its popularity in some markets, a few stations continued to carry it into 1968 before the series was finally withdrawn from syndication). Some new features were added such as Fun with Science, aka "Professor Wonderful" (with scientist Julius Sumner Miller) and Marvelous Marvin in the 1964–1965 season; Jimmie Dodd appeared in several of these new segments before his death in November 1964. Many markets stretched the program back to an hour's daily run time during the 1960s rerun cycle by adding locally produced and hosted portions involving educational subjects and live audience participation of local children, in a manner not unlike Romper Room.
In response to an upsurge in demand from baby boomers entering adulthood, the show again went into syndicated reruns from January 20, 1975, until January 14, 1977. It has since been rerun on cable specialty channels Disney in the U.S. and Family in Canada. The original Mickey Mouse Club films aired five days a week on the Disney Channel from its launch in 1983 until the third version of the series began in 1989. The last airing of the edited 1950s material was on the Disney Channel's "Vault Disney" from 1997 to September 2002. Reunions
Almost all of the original Mouseketeers were reunited for a TV special, which aired on Disney's Wonderful World in November 1980.
Several original Mouseketeers performed together at Disneyland in the fall of 2005, in observance of Disneyland's 50th birthday, and the 50th anniversary of the TV premiere of The Mickey Mouse Club. 1970s revival, The New Mickey Mouse Club
In the 1970s, Walt Disney Productions revived the concept but modernized the show cosmetically, with a disco re-recording of the theme song and minority cast members. The sets, though colored, were simplistic, lacking the fine artwork of the original. Like the original, nearly each day's episode included a vintage cartoon, though usually color ones from the late 1930s and onward. Serials
Serials were usually old Disney movies, cut into segments for twice-weekly inclusion. Movies included Third Man on the Mountain, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones and its sequel The Monkey's Uncle (both starring Tommy Kirk), Emil and the Detectives (retitled The Three Skrinks), Tonka (retitled A Horse Called Comanche), The Horse Without a Head (about a toy horse), and Toby Tyler (starring Kevin Corcoran). In addition, one original serial was produced, The Mystery of Rustler's Cave, starring Kim Richards and Robbie Rist. Theme days
Theme days were:
Monday – Who, What, Why, Where, When and How Tuesday – Let's Go Wednesday – Surprise Thursday – Discovery Friday – Showtime (at Disneyland, with performers usually at Plaza Gardens)
Troubled syndication run
The series debuted on January 17, 1977, on only 38 local television stations in the United States, and by June, when the unsuccessful series was discontinued, only about 70 stations in total had picked up the series. Additional stations picked up the canceled program, which continued to run until January 12, 1979; 130 new episodes, with much of the original material repackaged and a bit of new footage added, and a shortened version of the theme song, were produced to start airing September 5, 1977. The series has not had more than token reruns, unlike its 1950s predecessor, and while both the 1950s and 1990s series had DVD releases in July 2005, the 1970s series seems forgotten except by that short generation of youthful viewers for whom it defined the Club. Cast
The cast had a more diverse ethnic background than the 1950s version. Several 1970s cast members went on to become TV stars and other notable icons.
The show's most notable alumnus was Lisa Whelchel, who later starred in the NBC television sitcom The Facts of Life before becoming a well-known Christian author. Mouseketeer Julie Piekarski (born St. Louis, 1963) also appeared with Lisa Whelchel on the first season of The Facts of Life. Kelly Parsons (born Coral Gables, Fla., 1964) went on to become a beauty queen and runner-up to Miss USA. Shawnte Northcutte (born Los Angeles, 1965) appeared then too. Billy 'Pop' Attmore (born at US military base in Landstuhl, West Germany, 1965) appeared in a few movies before and after the series, a fifth-season episode of The Brady Bunch ("Kelly's Kids"), and as a streetwise hood in the short-lived Eischied crime drama. Nita Dee appeared at the tail end of an episode of Fantasy Island.
Other Mouseketeers from the 1970s show:
Scott Craig — born in Van Nuys, California, in 1964; lived in Las Vegas, died December 30, 2003. Nita Dee (Benita DiGiampaolo) — born in Long Beach, California, 1966 Mindy Feldman — born in Burbank, California, 1968, and sister of Corey Feldman. Angel Florez — born in Stockton, California, 1963; died April 25, 1995. Allison Fonte — born in Anaheim, California, 1964 Todd Turquand — born in Hollywood, California, 1964 Curtis Wong — born in Vancouver, British Columbia, 1962
Disney voice actor and sound effects editor Wayne Allwine voiced Mickey Mouse in the animated lead-ins for the show, replacing both Jimmy MacDonald, who in 1947 had replaced Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey for theatrical cartoons, and Walt Disney himself, who had been the original voice of Mickey and once again provided the voice for animated introductions to the original TV show but had passed away in 1966. Allwine would keep providing the voice for the character up to his death in 2009.
Future rock musician Courtney Love claims to have auditioned for a part on the show, reading a poem by Sylvia Plath; she was not selected. Theme song and soundtrack
The lyrics of the Mickey Mouse Club March theme song were slightly different from the original, with two additional lines: "He's our favorite Mouseketeer; we know you will agree" and "Take some fun and mix in love, our happy recipe."
A soundtrack album was released with the show. Distribution
This incarnation was not distributed by Disney alone; while Disney did produce the series, it was co-produced and distributed by SFM Entertainment, which also handled 1970s-era syndication of the original 1950s series (Disney since regained sole distribution rights). 1989–95 revival (MMC)
In 1989, when The Disney Channel began broadcasting, the very first show aired was an episode of the original Mickey Mouse Club. While the show was popular with younger audiences, Channel executives felt that it had become dated over the years, particularly as it was in black-and-white. Their answer was to create a brand-new version of the Club, one geared toward contemporary audiences. Roy's dictum for selecting only ordinary non-professional kids was almost immediately abandoned. Casting began in March 1988, with filming slated to begin by May for the October debut of the show. The pressure of casting for a show due to start production in two months meant that the kids selected had to already be talented in one or more of the performing arts. Scheduling and air times
Through Season 6, the show was on from Monday to Thursday at 5:30 pm. In its final season, Season 7, it aired Thursdays only at 7:30 pm. The series premiered Monday, April 24, 1989, ended production in 1995, and ran reruns until Thursday, May 31, 1999. Seasons 3, 5, and 7 had the most episodes. Seasons 4 and 6 were shorter, having about 35 episodes each. Format
The format was somewhat similar to the 1950s and 1970s versions with its "theme" days, but the show had more of a Saturday Night Live feel: Skits
The show was known for its sketch comedy.During season 1–6,Some of the sketches played off well-known movies, musicals and even cartoons, as well as holiday-related skits.During The final season Some of the skits showed everyday occurances experienced by teens, often teaching viewers a lesson on how to handle real-life situations. Music Videos
During seasons 1–6, the series featured music videos of the Mouseketeers singing their versions of popular songs, always in front of a live studio audience or in the Walt Disney World Resort. This became one of the most popular segments, and for better or worse, the kids who performed in it earned a special lifelong cachet among viewers. Live Concerts & Performances
A unique feature to the show was the Mouseketeers performing concerts on certain days (which were usually taped the day before or in the summer, when the kids had more time). During the final season, the concerts were replaced primarily by live performances featuring singing and dancing in front of the audience. Theme days
This version maintained the "theme day" format from the previous two versions. When Disney decided to revamp the show for its final season, the show was reduced to a single weekly airing, shown only on Thursdays.
Theme days were as follows:
Music Day – Mondays (Seasons 1–5), Tuesdays (Season 6) Guest Day – Tuesdays (Seasons 1–5), Mondays (Season 6) Anything Can Happen Day – Wednesdays (seasons 1–5) Party Day – Thursdays (Seasons 1–4, 6), Fridays (season 5) Hall of Fame Day – Fridays (Seasons 1–4), Thursdays (Season 5), Wednesdays (Season 6)
Listed alphabetically are all 24 Mouseketeers: Seasons 1–7 (1989–95)
Jennifer McGill Lindsey Alley Josh Ackerman Tiffini Hale (came back for the final season)
The Party (Former club Members)
Deedee Magno Tiffini Hale Albert Fields Damon Pampolina Chase Hampton
Seasons 1–2 (1989)
David Kater Roque Herring Joe Krienke Braden Danner
Seasons 3–5 (1990–92)
Mylin Brooks Terra Deva Jason Minor Tasha Danner Jason Blain Carson
Seasons 4–7 (1990–95)
Ricky Luna Ilana Miller Rhona Bennett JC Chasez Dale Godboldo Tony Lucca Nita Booth Matt Morris Marc Worden Keri Russell (left after season 6 to film Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, but still made guest appearances in season 7) Dale Godboldo
Seasons 6–7 (1993–95)
Britney Spears Christina Aguilera Justin Timberlake Nikki DeLoach Tate Lynche T.J Fantini Ryan Gosling
Future pop-turned-country singer and actress Jessica Simpson auditioned for season 6, but her tryout was scheduled immediately after that of fellow performer Christina Aguilera (who was eventually selected for the series), whom Simpson described as having "sung like Mariah Carey" and caused her to freeze up during the audition as a result.