1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 9 (USA)
The Mickey Mouse Club debuted in 1955 and was an immediate hit with the younger audience. The show typified the Disney approach to everything – each show was an extravaganza, with song-and-dance numbers, cartoons, serial adventures and homilies.
There were adult hosts – guitar player Jimmie Dodd and Roy Williams, a big bear of a man who was a Disney animator – but the real stars were the Mousketeers – a group of 24 children wearing turtle-neck tops with their names on them and mouse-ear hats. At the time, every American child watching wished they could have joined that group.
Each day had a song and a special theme: Monday was “Fun with Music Day”, Tuesday was “Guest Star Day”, Wednesday “Anything Can Happen Day”, Thursday “Circus Day” and Friday was “Talent Round-Up Day”.
Running serials, all produced by Disney, included ‘Spin and Marty’; ‘Border Collie’; ‘Corky and White Shadow’; and ‘The Hardy Boys.’
Jimmie may have been the nominal host, but it was Mickey’s club, and each show featured an animated bit with Mickey talking to young viewers.
The memorable series ran in 30 and 60minute formats daily and on Saturdays, and enjoyed a long run (or re-run) in syndication after its expiration in 1959.