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The Mickey Mouse Club
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TV Series
    (October 3, 1955-September 1959)
    Aired on ABC
    Created by Walt Disney and Hal Adelquist
    Produced by Bill Walsh
    Adult co-hosts included Jimmie Dodd & Roy Williams
    Premise: Youth-oriented Variety show featuring Mickey Mouse cartoons, starring a club membership of talented children known as The Mouseketeers
    Content included in-studio comedy, musical acts, and Disney cartoon shorts (originals and classics)
    Regular dramatic serials included 'The Adventures of Spin and Marty' and 'The Hardy Boys'
    Ran for an hour each weekday in the 1955–1957 seasons, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm
    Only ran for a half-hour on weekdays during the 1957–1958 season, from 5:30 to 6:00 pm
    Opening theme, 'The Mickey Mouse March,' written by co-host, Jimmie Dodd
    Main cast of regular Mouseketeers included Annette Funicello, Karen Pendleton, Cubby O'Brien, Sherry Alberoni, Charley Laney, Sharon Baird, Darlene Gillespie, Jay-Jay Solari, Tommy Cole, Cheryl Holdridge, Larry Larsen, Eileen Diamond, Lonnie Burr, Margene Storey, Doreen Tracey, and Bobby Burgess
    Reruns played regularly on The Disney Channel from 1983 to 1989, later 1997 to 2002
    Mousketeer Roll Call, count off now! (annoying as all hell)
    The show's various adult hosts were nicknamed 'Mooseketeers.'
    Two words: Darlene Gillespie (but then doesn't every show have its own Lisa Bonet?)
    During its four-year broadcast, every weekday was assigned a special 'theme' (Wednesday was 'Anything Can Happen Day,' Thursday was 'Circus Day,' etc.)
    It was conceived during negotiations with ABC when Disney was hard-up for cash to finish his pet project, Disneyland; two TV shows in exchange for funding.
    The original concept was to have each show set in different parts of the world, featuring a magical genie, sketch artists, and at least one puppet.
    Bill Walsh generally scouted for 'Mouseketeer' candidates by hanging around school playgrounds and watching the kids (which in retrospect just sounds creepy...)
    The only imaginable incentive for making grown 'Mooseketeer' adults go through this type of humiliation could be a six-figure salary or an extremely high amphetamine dosage.
    Walt Disney insisted on casting non-child actors on the show, but it didn't stop him from succumbing to nepotism and casting two of Mickey Rooney's children as Mouseketeers.
    Johnny Crawford was released for having difficulty learning the dance routines and for (allegedly) checking out Annette Funicello.
    It started out with 24 Mouseketeers, but they quickly realized they couldn't handle that many kids (they would wreak havoc on the set when they weren't either filming or in their school-trailer, to the point where they just started grouping them into a screening room to watch old cartoons).
    It was the template for several reboots, most recently a CGI interactive cartoon which aired weekday mornings on the Disney Channel, released in 2006 (best known for the outrageous 'shake your peanuts/baby elephant come down the tree' video gone viral).
    It overtook the ratings juggernaut, The Howdy Doody Show, as the most popular children's program on television.
    At the show's peak, Annette Funicello received over 60,000 fan letters a month.
    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! (after a while, it grew on you...)
    The original Mouseketeers, sans Darlene, generally evaded the 'child star curse.'
    The show ran a staggering five days a week, not including special Mouseketeer events staged at Disneyland (almost inconceivable in retrospect).
    A special Mouseketeer performance was filmed in 3-D for special exhibitions at Disneyland's Mickey Mouse Theater in the mid-1950s.
    The 'Spin and Marty' serial was popular enough to warrant its own spin-off series, as well as a 1955 movie based on the series.
    It wasn't so much 'cancelled' as it was 'pulled from the air' after it had served its purpose of funding the Disneyland project.
    By releasing Johnny Crawford, it freed him up to be Mark McCain on The Rifleman.
    It also launched the long-term careers of Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Bobby Burgess ('The Lawrence Welk Show'), Paul Petersen ('The Donna Reed Show'), Tim Cosidine and Don Grady (both My Three Sons).
    In a precursor to Nick Jr's Steve, there probably wasn't a 1950s housewife watching with her kids who didn't fantasize about wiping that dopey grin on Jimmie's puss some night (in other words, 'it was fun for the whole family!')
    Along with the Zorro and Davy Crockett franchises, it was a merchandising goldmine for Disney, who sold 'charter memberships' with Mouseketeer hats for its sizable child viewer demographic.
    A 1990s reboot gained a great deal of traction and launched the careers of Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears (but we won't go there...)

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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