Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vintage 1950s TV

The Mickey Mouse Club was a variety television show for children that aired from 1955 to 1959 and broadcast by ABC on weeknights. It was created by Walt Disney and produced by Walt Disney Productions.

                    The show 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 Mouseketeer. Roy suggested that the Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears be worn by the cast members which he, along with Chuck Keehne, Hal Adelquist, and Bill Walsh helped create.

               This was Walt Disney's second venture into producing a television series, the first being the Walt Disney anthology television series. 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 show had regular features:  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 of that day's line-up of regular performers introduced themselves by name to the television audience. Mickey Mouse himself appeared somewhere in every show.

          The opening theme, "The Mickey Mouse March," was written by Jimmie Dodd. It was also reprised at the end of each episode, with the slower it's-time-to-say-goodbye verse. Dodd also wrote many other songs used in individual segments over the course of the series.
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.

          Although the show remained popular, in September, 1959 ABC decided to canceled it after its fourth season. It was revived in 1977 by Walt Disney Productions.

For a waltz down memory lane,  listen to the theme:

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