TV classics: The Mickey Mouse Club
USA 1955-59, four seasons, approximately 330 episodes, 30 to 60 minutes each, ABC, black & white. Cast: Jimmie Dodd, Roy Williams, Bob Amsberry, Tommy Cole, Annette Funicello, Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O’Brien, Karen Pendelton, Doreen Tracey, Lonnie Burr and many others.
Plot summary: Who’s the leader of the club, that’s made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there. You’re as welcome as can be. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. Mickey Mouse! Mickey Mouse!
Review: Every holiday season, I love to revisit childhood classics and today I’m rolling the drums for The Mickey Mouse Club. Do you already hear it, the catchy tune of the theme song and the lyrics you will never forget once you’ve heard them?! It’s one of those songs that stay in your head all day and paint a happy smile on your lips if you are the likes of me. If you aren’t, I’m sorry for bringing it up but in the middle of all the Christmas shopping and baking and carol singing, I got in the mood for two of my favorite cartoon characters, Minnie Mouse and Mickey.
Originally a brainchild of Walt Disney and Bill Cottrell, The Mickey Mouse Club was a variety show for children and their families created by Bill Walsh and Hal Adelquist to help finance the Disneyland theme park. Hosted by Jimmie Dodd and his Mouseketeers, the program featured weekly music, talent and comedy segments, a serial, as well as cartoons with Mickey Mouse as the regular star. Dubbed by Walt Disney himself, Mickey appeared in newly developed stories and theatrical shorts from the 1920s through 40s. His girlfriend Minnie was also featured on occasion or paid tribute to in charming acts such as “Cooking with Minnie Mouse” presented by the Mouseketeers, Jimmie and Ruth Dodd.
In general, The Mickey Mouse Club was entertainment, pure and simple. It invited children to enter Mickey’s clubhouse on a weekly basis and picked up everyday topics in their clips and serials to gently teach them how to deal with different situations. Fun, decency and common sense were major factors, as well as making the children feel part of Mickey’s family of Mouseketeers and cartoon characters.
Today, the show can be revisited on Youtube or, occasionally, in reruns on TV. Although revived in the 1970s and 90s, the original MMC has not lost any of its charm and remains one of those classic shows any of its remakes cannot hold a candle to. In the 1950 and 60s, the first Mouseketeers brought a lot of joy and laughter to an entire generation whose love for Mickey and company was passed on to their own children. With selected episodes now available as Disney Treasures on DVD, chances are high that their grandchildren will also get to enjoy the uplifting quality of this genuine program (as an incentive for those of you who are late Christmas shoppers).