Getting in the Mood

TV themes. Do you remember when they lasted longer than only a couple of seconds? When the sound of your favorite show put you in the mood for an episode of fun, suspense or tears? Did you know the lyrics by heart? Did you recite them or sing along? Do you still find yourself humming those songs while you cook, do laundry or are cleaning up? Do they still put you in a good mood like they used to? Bring back memories of characters once dear to you like friends or relatives?

Today, a lot of shows save up time by using trademark teasers rather than songs that last longer than a mere moment. Castle, Malibu Country, The Good Wife are some of my favorite examples. If you sneeze, you may miss the catchy intro. Sad news for anyone who suffers from hay fever or catches a cold. There are exceptions no doubt: Elementary Downton Abbey or Rizzoli & Isles. I enjoy all of these shows once in a while but the less new programs offer a catchy melody or song, the more I miss that positive trigger classic television used to lure me in. Granted, for the sake of commercials, screen time has been cut down over the years. While a Perry Mason episode still lasted an average of 50 minutes and Bewitched an entertaining 25, most shows only get 43 (or 21) minutes today. So while it was great to hum along to Family Affair or Hart to Hart in the past, it makes sense for Go On to save up time and use those theme song seconds for the storyline.

Although I know the reasons and appreciate a couple of contemporary programs for their beautiful tunes, I still miss those beautiful TV songs that used to stick with me all week. Bugs Bunny, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Flintstones. I Love Lucy, The Muppets, Bill Cosby, Growing Pains. Murder She Wrote, Family Ties, The Golden Girls. Love Boat. Cagney and LaceyScarecrow and Mrs. King. Even shows I didn’t like for anything but their catchy themes such as Family Matters or Full House. Do you still remember your favorite melodies?!

The Mickey Mouse Club

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!

Mickey Mouse Club-1

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).

For more information on the show, please have a look at this marvelous site. For the classic farewell song, click here.