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Thursday, July 26, 2012


It’s been 57 years since the first episode of The Mickey Mouse Club was aired. The program was a cultural icon for 41 years, running off and on from 1955 to 1996. It probably still airs somewhere even today. The first show premiered on ABC on October 3, 1955. The original version was seen during the late 1950’s and was followed by two reincarnations, one in the 1970’s (The New Mickey Mouse Club) and one in the 1990’s (The All-New Mickey Mouse Club or just MMC).
The Cast Members
The thing that most people think of FIRST is usually not Mickey himself but the juvenile cast members, yes the “Mouseketeers.” Some of the early ones even span across the next generation of watchers as well.
For Baby Boomers, the 1955 cast is burned in our memories. You can probably hear the Roll Call now - Tommy, Darlene, Cheryl, Bobby, Karen, Lonnie, Dennis, and of course the two little ones, Karen and Cubby. Who have we left out? Oh yes, every young boy’s fantasy, Annette. She was the one with the dark eyebrows. I was personally fond of Darlene though. The “back up” Mouseketeers included Don Grady (My Three Sons), Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman), and Paul Peterson (The Donna Reed Show).
The late 1970’s cast of the “New” Mickey Mouse Club was more ethnically diverse but also a little more forgettable. Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) stands out.
In 1989, the final incarnation, The “All New” Mickey Mouse Club, was introduced to the children of the nineties. Some of these Mouseketeers have now grown into adult celebrities. They include Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (shown here), Keri Russell, Christina Aguilera, and Ryan Gosling. Impressive.
Here is a bit of trivia that could win you a bet someday. Name some well known people who auditioned to be Mouseketeers but were rejected. The answer: Candice Bergen, Paul Williams (songwriter), Courtney Love, and Jessica Simpson.
After the kid cast members, we think of the two 1955 adult chaperones - Jimmie, with his words of wisdom and Roy, the big Mooseketeer. They are gone now, too bad. 
Remember the Special Days of the Week?
Monday: Fun With Music Day (1955); Who, What, Why, Where, When and How Day (1977); Music Day (1989).

Tuesday: Guest Star Day (1955 and 1989) and Let’s Go Day (1977).

Wednesday: Anything Can Happen Day (1955 and 1989); Surprise Day (1977).

Thursday: Circus Day (1955); Discovery Day (1977); Party Day (1989).

Friday: Talent Round-up Day (1955); Showtime Day (1977); Hall of Fame Day (1989).
Finally, there were the original serials and the Disney feature films modified for the TV show. They were loaded with the “other” Disney kids like Tim Considine, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran (Moochie), and yes, Annette herself as a budding teen. Do you remember Spin and Marty, The Hardy Boys, Corky and White Shadow (starring my favorite Darlene), The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, Emil and the Detectives, Toby Tyler, and The Mystery of Rustler’s Cave?

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