Wednesday, December 11, 2019

"M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E.": Walt Disney's Original Mickey Mouse Club 1955 To 1959: "A Mousketeer In Good Standing" Remembers

On October 3, 1955 I was 13 days away from my 9th Birthday and fell in love with an older woman. She was 12 years old. Her name was Annette Funicello and I first saw her on the premiere episode of "THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB". Which now followed "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" on Channel 7, owned in Los Angeles, by the "American Broadcasting Company (ABC)". When the program announced how I could become an "HONORARY MOUSEKETEER" I begged my parents for the membership kit. This article is about my fond memories of that program which lasted into 1959.




Above the official membership badge I received and proudly wore. Below the official membership certificate making me a "Mousketeer in Good Standing".



The 1955 "Mickey Mouse Club" would become the in-between one and would be followed by "The New Mickey Mouse Club"from 1989 through 1996. However, you can't be in-between without the original club started by Walt Disney.

A BRIEF LOOK AT THE 1930 "THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB"

That first club was co-sponsored by William Fox. Fox was the founder of  the "Fox Motion Picture Studio" and owner of 60 movie theaters across the United States. The club was started on January 11, 1930 at the "Fox Dome Theater" in Ocean Park, California. By 1932 "The Mickey Mouse Club" had one million members. Five years later Walt Disney phased out the club.



Above one of the original 1930's buttons that was specifically for members holding meetings at the "Fox Hollywood". Each "Fox" movie theater across the country had a different button. Below is a photo of a "The Mickey Mouse Club" at the "Fox Dome Theater". That movie theater, which I went to many times in the early 1950's, was actually part of an amusement area called "Lick Pier".



Below the theater from the outside.




MY MICKEY MOUSE CLUB

Below one of the original newspaper ads announcing that the show was coming. .



The weekday program was broadcast in glorious black and white. I would sit in my home's living room, at 15144 Martha Street in Van Nuys, and watch "The Mickey Mouse Club" on our "large" 26 inch screen television.

Back on October 27, 1954, Walt Disney, also on "ABC", had broadcast the first program of his anthology show 'Disneyland". The program's real purpose was to get support for and be used as a means of obtaining further financing for his proposed park in Anaheim, located 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. At the end of many programs Walt would give the viewers a progress report and after the park opened a preview of upcoming rides and attractions.

"The Mickey Mouse Club" became Walt's second televised program.

For those of my readers who have no idea what is now called "The Disneyland Resort" looked like on opening day "Sunday, July 17, 1955". The following link will take you to my article: "DISNEYLAND 1955: A Childhood Memory of WALT DISNEY'S Original "The Magic Kingdom" I saw a few short months after its opening. I promise, if you hadn't seen it back then. You will be surprised as compared to today's park.

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/11/disneyland-1955-childhood-memory-of.html

The format for "The Mickey Mouse Club" was really simple and inspired. Each of the five weekdays would have a different theme. While keeping the basic concept intact for the shows young audience.

Monday was "Fun With Music Day"

Tuesday was "Guest Star Day"
Wednesday was "Anything Can Happen Day"
Thursday was "Circus Day"
Friday was "Talent Round Up Day" and the "Mouseketeers" didn't wear those "Mouse Ears" on the other four days, but "Mickey Mouse Cowboy and Cowgirl Hats".

SOME MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL CAST

Walt Disney was conscious of 1950's values and to be sure that parents would approve of what was seen on the new program. So he created two "Adult Roles" as the programs chaperons. Also, for the first two seasons a third adult appeared in some of the skits.

JIMMY DODD




Above Jimmy Dodd with his "Mouseguitar". I convinced my parents to purchase the "Kid's Version" seen below. Even like many kids couldn't play it.



Jimmy Dodd was an actor, singer and song writer. He wrote the opening theme song "The Mickey Mouse March". The following are the complete lyrics, but a shorter version was used over the opening animated sequence.

Who's the leader of the club that's for you and me
MICKEY MOUSE
Hey there, hi there, ho there!
You're as welcome as can be 
MICKEY MOUSE
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse 
Forever let us hold our banner high
High, high, high!
Come along and sing a song and join the jambore
MICKEY MOUSE
Mickey Mouse Club
Mickey Mouse Club
We'll have fun we'll meet new faces
We'll do things and we'll go places
All around the world we're marching with the leader of the club that's made for you and me
The following are some of the images of the original animated opening that used the shorten theme song:

 











Jimmy Dodd also wrote the closing lyrics and at the programs end the shows regulars would very softly sing them:



Now's the time to say good-bye
To all our company
Through the years we'll all be friends
Wherever we may be
M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E
Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse
Forever let us hold our banner high
M-I-C-See ya real soon!
K-E-Y-Why? Because we like you!
M-O-U-S-E

 Jimmy Dodd also had a 1950's "Family Values" regular segment of the show entitled:
Proverbs Proverbs they're so true!
He would tell the viewers a proverb from the "Old Testament" and explain its meaning. A sign of the time that you would not see today.

 


ROY WILLIAMS



Roy, or "Big Roy" as he was called was the "The Mickey Mouse Club's" "MOOSEKETEER". Williams was an artist for the Walt Disney Studios and he came up with the idea and designed "The Mouse Ears" the cast wore.

Below what was many young fans first "Mouse Ears". That they talked their parents into buying at "The Magic Kingdom" in Anaheim.



I admit that I didn't do that, but got an "Official Davy Crockett Indian Fighter Hat" made from imitation coonskin.

 



ROBERT WAYNE "BOB" AMSBERRY


Bob Amsberry.jpg

Bob Amsberry started work for Disney in 1955 and wrote many of the skits seen on "The Mickey Mouse Club". He also appeared in some of those same skits as different characters during the programs first Two Seasons. Below are some of his characters.







But Amsberry's most famous creation, that actually became a minor celebrity, and a character impersonated at the "The Magic Kingdom" was "Bob-O the Clown". Below Bob Amsbery in costume.




"The number of  "Mouseketeers" would change over the programs Four Seasons. The young cast was divided into three teams. The regulars were the "Red Team" and had signed contracts for the entire run of "The Mickey Mouse Club", or so many thought.

At the start of Season One, 1955-1956, the "Red Team" consisted of 14 cast members. There were two back up teams the "Blue" and the "White". Which were cast members not contracted for the run of the program and would appear sporadically as needed. During Season One the "Blue Team" consisted of 6 members and the "White Team" 8 members. For a total of 28 "Mouseketeers".

For Season Two, 1956-1957, of the original 28 "Mouseketeers". 18 were released from their contracts by Disney Productions to cut down the amount of cast members that were actually doing nothing during most of the weekly shooting, However, before Season Two began Disney Productions had to hire 2 new members for the "Red Team" and 5 new for the "Blue Team". For a total cast of 17 "Mouseketeers" to meet the proposed show. Go figure!

During Season Three, 1957-1958, five "Blue Team" members left the program, but Disney had to hire four new "Blue Team" members. The total "Mousketeers" for the Third Season was 14.

For Season Four the number of "Mousketeers" reduced itself to only 8 and were all Season One "Red Team" members. They really didn't do much new material and two only introduced a segment of the shows, because the Fourth Season used stock footage from the previous Three Seasons to fill out the program.

When "The Mickey Mouse Club" went off the air in 1959, at the end of Season Four, there had been 39 different "Mouseketeers" and each has their own story. It is not my purpose to tell each, but I will mention a few that, if you're of my generation, you might have seen later on television or in the movies.

For those interested in a more detailed look at each of the "Mouseketeers". I recommend the website:

"The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show" at:

http://originalmmc.com/index.html



Above original "Red Team" members:
Front Row:  Karen Pendleton, Cubby O'Brien and Sharon Baird.
Second Row: Doreen Tracey, Annette Funicello and Darlene Gillespie.
Third Row:  Dennis Day, Bobby Burgess, Tommy Cole and Lonnie Burr
Behind "The Mouseketeers" is "Mouseketeer" Roy Williams

Note: Dennis would leave after Season Two and Lonnie Burr after Season Three. Not seen in the above picture are First Season Only "Red Team" Members Nancy Abbate, Johnny Crawford, Mike Smith and Don Underhill.

BOBBY BURGESS



Robert Wilkie "Bobby" Burgess was as close to a professional dancer as "The Mickey Mouse Club" had and appeared in almost every dance number of the three seasons he was on. The following quote from the website "The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show" clearly explains his background before becoming a "Mouseketeer".

Bobby took lessons at Call's Fine Arts Center in Long Beach, learning ballet, ballroom, Latin, jazz dancing, and social standards. The well-organized chain of dance clubs founded by Derrell Call emphasized etiquette with dancing and relied heavily on parents' sponsorship and involvement. At age eight Bobby was paired up by the Call's instructors with seven year old Barbara Boylan from Lakewood, who would be his main dancing partner for the next eighteen years. Among other outside teachers, Bobby took specialized instruction in tap with Willie Covan, then dance director for MGM. He also sang alto, played the accordion, and studied Hawaiian folk dancing. He would later blend movements from this specialty with jazz dancing to create his own unique style for the Mickey Mouse Club.
Adults and fans of Bobby from his "Mouse Days" would watch him as a regular on the very popular television variety program "The Lawrence Welk Show" from 1961 through 1982.

King, Burgess, Welk 1969

Above Burgess with his second of three dance partners Cissy King and Lawrence Welk. Below Bobby Burgess with original "Mouseketeer" Sharon Baird on "ABC's Mickey's 90th Spectacular" on November 4, 2018.





JOHNNY CRAWFORD

According to my mother, and who can doubt their mother, I went to "Wilshire Crest Elementary School" in Los Angeles with Johnny Crawford and we were friends. We moved to the San Fernando Valley in 1954 and so ended that.

Johnny was one of those "Mouseketeers" who found their "Run of the Series" contracts revoked after Season One and between 1956 and 1958 appeared on different television series. Yes, that's Crawford as a "Mouseketeer" in the following still.

johnny crawford

In 1958 Johnny Crawford first appeared as "Mark McCain" on the Western television series "The Rifleman" with actor Chuck Connors as his father "Lucas McCain". The series was originally created and written by future director Sam Peckinpah.




At the age of 13 Johnny Crawford was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for the role of "Mark". The show would run through 1963.



Below is Johnny in producer and director Bert I. Gordon's 1965 "Village of the Giants". Which was very loosely based on the H.G. Wells story "The Food of the Gods" and featured a very young Ron Howard and an unknown Beau Bridges.



Above "Ronnie" Howard, Johnny Crawford and another Disney Alumni Tommy Kirk, 1957's "Old Yeller", 1960's "Swiss Family Robinson" and of course playing the original "Shaggy Dog" in 1959.


MICKEY ROONEY, JR. and TIM ROONEY




His real name was Joseph Yule III and he was the oldest son of actor Mickey Rooney. Who was actually Joseph Yule, Jr. Below dad with singing partner Judy Garland in 1941's "Babe's On Broadway".


Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Babes on Broadway (1941)


Mickey, Jr. was a member of the "White Team", which lasted one season, and then was eliminated by Walt Disney. His first motion picture was in producer Sam Katzman's 1967 "Hot Rods from Hell" starring Dana Andrews. In the following still, from that motion picture, Rooney is on the right with his music combo hired to perform in the picture.



If your interested the song was called "Doing the Chicken Walk" which he had written. Also in 1967 Mickey Rooney, Jr. married a "Playboy Playmate" and they divorced in 1986. He changed his life style and became a Born-Again-Christian and has a ministry, as of this writing, in Hemet, California.

Brother Tim Rooney born Timothy Hayes Yule was on the "Blue Team" for the first season of "The Mickey Mouse Club".




Tim Rooney also appeared with fellow "Mouseketeer" Johnny Crawford in Bert I. Gordon's "Village of the Giants". He was one of the teen's turned into giants by Ron Howard's experimenting.




BILLIE JEAN BEANBLOSSOM




Not all the "Mouseketeers" lived happily ever after like either "Cinderella", "Sleeping Beauty", or "Belle" later in life. I want to mention the overlooked Billie Jean Beanblossom, because she lives, as of this writing, in the same Senior Community I do.

On the "The Mickey Mouse Club" Billie Jean was one of that short lived "White Team". As a member of the "White Team" she was normally in the background of the numbers being performed by the "Red Team", or with her dancing background in the dances

According to the "Muppet Fanon Wiki":

https://muppet-fanon.fandom.com/wiki/Billie_Jean_Beanblossom
Billie Jean Besnbloosom (Who debuted on the program in 1974) was the pyrotechnic expert on The Muppet Show Club. An unkempt figure with wild eyes and a mad cackle, he delights in blowing up things. In addition to explosions, she played the triangle bell in the Muppet Studio Band during the first season opening and closing and in the second season closing...Often, when a character mentioned an explosion related word, Billie Jean Beanblossom would appear an say, "Did somebody say (explosion related word)?", and cause an explosion.
 

Above "Crazy Harry".

Billie Jean's somewhat unhappy ending occurred on August 17, 1995. When, with her daughter and grand children, the group were held up, at gunpoint, in the parking lot of the "Disneyland Park". Nobody was injured, but later she received some very bad advise and filed a lawsuit against "Disneyland". 

Her legal case carried on for several years and a major publication that defended people against mega giants did the opposite for Billie Jean Beanblossom. They took the side of "Disneyland" and painted the first season "Mousketeer" as an opportunist out to get even with Walt Disney. Several other    ex-"Mouseketeers" resented the fact that Billie Jean's case was being linked in the press with another ex-"Mouseketeer" arrested on criminal charges. Today, she has happy memories of "The Mickey Mouse Club", but has never returned to what, today, is called the "Disneyland Resort".


DON GRADY




Don Grady was a member of the "Blue Team" during Season Three, His real name was Don Louis Agrati, but took the stage name of Grady. On the "Mickey Mouse Club" he was mostly used as support for the "Red Team's" skits. Below Don seen with Doreen Tracey.



In 1960 Don Grady became "Robbie Douglas", one of the three sons, of actor Fred MacMurray on television's "My Three Sons". Which lasted for 379 episodes into 1972.

Below Don is to the right of MacMurray and on the far left is Stanley Livingston and the far right is his real brother Barry Livingston.

Don Grady, Barry Livingston, Stanley Livingston, and Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons (1960)


PAUL PETERSON

Paul William Peterson was a member of the "White Team".



From 1958 through 1966 television viewers saw Paul as "Jeff Stone" for 275 episodes of the very popular "The Donna Reed Show".



Portraying Paul Peterson's sister "Mary Stone" was Shelley Fabares, Who in 1958 portrayed "Moselle Corey" on the 15 part "The Mickey Mouse Club" serial "Walt Disney Presents: Annette".

In 1990 following the suicide of fellow child actor and best friend Rusty Hammer. Who had been seen from 1953 to 1964 on "The Danny Thomas Show". Paul Peterson established the child-actor support group "A Minor Consideration".

So speaking about my 12 year old "Older Women".

ANNETTE FUNICELLO

Annette Funicello Former Mouseketeer 1975.jpg

Of the 1955 "Mouseketeers" the most known was Annette Joanne Funicello. Still, today even after her death, there are critics, when writing about the show, claim Annette was the least talented of the "Mousketeers", if so by the end of the first season of "The Mickey Mouse Club". "Annette" was receiving an average of 6,000 fan letters a month and apparently being "least talented" had no impact on the viewers and especially pre-teen boys.





Annette Funicello's popularity was so strong that Walt Disney and producer Bill Walsh used her in other areas than just being a "Mouseketeer". In 1956 she appeared in two serials, which were part of the show's format, "Adventures in Diaryland", filmed on a Wisconsin Dairy Farm, and "The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty". In 1957 Annette was back in "The New Adventures of Spin and Marty". In 1958 she starred in her on serial shown on "The Mickey Mouse Club" entitled "Walt Disney Presents: Annette", During the second season of the Walt Disney program "Zorro". Annette Funicello appeared as both "Anita Cabrillo" and "Constancia de la Torre".



Above Annette in "Adventures in Dairyland" and below on "The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty".





Above a still from the 19 episode "Walt Disney Presents Annette" that started on February 10, 1958,  and below Annette with Guy Williams on the television series "Zorro".



There is a Hayride scene in the "Annette" serial in which she sings a song. This surprising turned into a singing career. Below covers of some of Annette's 45 RPM Singles including a cover from the 1961 original movie "The Parent Trap". That has been sung in the film by Hayley Mills. Who had first billing in the picture over Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith as her parents.



Below a still of Annette with Tommy Kirk. Who would co-star with Annette in the "Beach Party" movie from 1964 "Pajama Party". The still is from 1959's "The Shaggy Dog".



Walt Disney cast Annette as "Mary Contray" with popular teen singing heartthrob Tommy Sands as "Tom Piper" in his 1961 version of Victor Herbert's "Babes in Toyland".



In 1962 American International Pictures asked Walt Disney to lend them Annette Funicello to be opposite another popular teen singing heartthrob Frankie Avalon. The two were 3rd and 4th billed in a little movie "AIP" was going to call "Beach Party" for 1963 release.  My article: "THE GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW MEETS THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI: The Story of the BEACH PARTY Motion Pictures" may read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/11/the-ghost-of-dragstrip-hollow-meets.html

 

Above the popular singing duo of "Frankie and Annette".

1992 Annette Funicello started a battle with multiple sclerosis. She passed away on April 8, 2013.


Meeska, Mooska, Mouseketeer
A feature of "The Mickey Mouse Club" was "Mouse Cartoon Time". Two "Mouseketeers" would turn toward what looked like a medieval locked door and say

Meeska, Mooske, Mouseketeer, Mouse Cartoon Tune Time Now is Here
The door would open and a classic Walt Disney Cartoon was shown in glorious black and white. Even if we knew it was in Technicolor. It would be until 1959 that the first commercial television show "Bonanza" appeared and families started to buy color televisions.

Below Karen and Cubby and those doors.




The Serials

In this "Era of Min-Series" it might be surprising that Walt Disney and producer Bill Wash invented them. The first mini-series was:

"The Adventures of Spin and Marty".

Episode One premiered on "The Mickey Mouse Club", November 4, 1955, and ran 11 minutes. On December 9, 1955 the last of 25 was shown.

The five main recurring characters throughout the three serials were:

"Spin Evans" portrayed by Tim Considine. Of interest to motion picture buffs are his parents. His mother was Carmen Pantages the daughter of theater magnate Alexander Pantages. Tim's father was John W. Considine, Jr. the Academy Award nominated producer of the Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney 1938 motion picture "Boys Town" and Peter Lorre's 1935 horror movie "Mad Love".



"Marty Markham" was portrayed by David Stolley. In 1948 at the age of 7 he was named "Child Actor of the Year" for his role, on Broadway, in a revival of "On Borrowed Time". While appearing on the television anthology series "The Ray Milland Show". The then 14 year old was noticed by and signed to a contract with Walt Disney. For Walt Disney he also appeared in 1956's "Westward Ho, the Wagons" the "Annette" mini-series and 1960's "Ten Who Dared".

 

The owner of the "Triple R Ranch", "Colonel Logan" was portrayed by Roy Barcroft. In Chapter Serials and "B" Westerns Barcroft was usually the villain. In 1945's Chapter Serial "The Purple Monster Strikes" he was the Martian known as "The Purple Monster". That same year he played a crooked ship's captain in the overlooked "Casablanca Meets Dracula," movie from Leigh Brackett, "The Vampire's Ghost". Bancroft was a "Henchman" in 1947 Western "The Son of Zorro". My reader gets the idea.



Harry Carey, Jr. portrayed "Counselor Bill Burnett". If you're a fan of John Wayne and director John Ford. Then you know the son of veteran Western actor Harry Carey. Among Harry Carey, Jr.'s films before "The Adventures of Spin and Marty" are 1948's "3 Godfathers", 1949's "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and 1950's "Rio Grande".




J. Pat O'Malley portrayed "Marty's manservant Perkins". O'Malley was an excellent character and voice actor. Prior to this series his voice work for Walt Disney included 1949's "The Wind and the Willows", "The Adventures of of Ichabod and Mr. Toad", and 1951's "Alice in Wonderland". After "Spin and Marty" O'Malley's voice was again heard in 1961's "One Hundred and One Dalmatians", 1967's "The Jungle Book" and 1973's "Robin Hood". J. Pat O'Malley has over 238 roles to his acting credit.




The basic story line, of the original series, had rich and spoiled "Marty Markham" arriving at the "Triple R Ranch" in a chauffeur-driven limousine by his "Servant Perkins". "Marty" is confronted by, "Spin Evans", the leader of the other boys, over his superior attitude. By the end of the 25 episodes "Marty's" attitude has completely changed and he befriends "Spin".









The series was extremely successful and on November 15, 1956 the first of 23 episodes of "The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty" was shown on "The Mickey Mouse Club". The series added Kevin Corcoran as "Moochie". Kevin had first been seen in the role in the 8 episode "Adventure in Dairyland" starting on November 5th.



Speaking of Annette! She also joined the cast of "Spin and Marty" for their "Further Adventures". The plot device to get her into the story concerns the girl's ranch near the "Triple R".



There would be a third series "The New Adventures of Spin and Marty" and besides Annette it added "Mouseketeer" Darlene Gillespie. Rather than the adventure style of the first two. The third "Spin and Marty", became more of a musical and more on Darlene shortly.




Before the final "Spin and Marty" Tim Considine portrayed "Frank Hardy" with Tommy Kirk as his brother "Joe Hardy" in the 19 episode "The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure". The mini-series was based upon a popular boys detective series of books and premiered on October 2, 1956.

Florenz Ames, Tim Considine, Russ Conway, Robert Foulk, Tommy Kirk, and Arthur Shields in The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure (1956)

On September 13, 1957 Considine and Kirk were back in the 16 episode "The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Ghost Farm".




Back on January 30, 1956 Darlene Gillespie started co-starring with Buddy Ebsen in the 18 episode "Corky and White Shadow".






Young viewers knew Buddy Ebsen as "George 'Georgie' Russell" on the multiple "Disneyland" television shows about "Davy Crockett, the King of the Wild Frontier" with Fess Parker. For those fans of that series. My article on it can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2016/06/walt-disneys-davy-crockett-king-of-wild_25.html

The basic story line has "Corky and her German Shepherd "White Shadow" living in a small mountain town. Her father is the Sheriff and the three become involved in capturing a bank robber in this family values mini-series. A more detailed look at "Corky and White Shadow" along with other 1950's television shows about dog heroes can be found in my article: "The Mystery of "Sky King's" Dog: Remembering the Dog Stars of 1950's Television: at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/05/the-mystery-of-sky-kings-dog.html

Which now brings me to Darlene Gillespie. Darlene was the "Criminal" I mentioned when speaking of Billie Jean Beanblossom. Darlene was the lead performer of the "Red Team" for all four seasons of "The Mickey Mouse Club". Both a good and bad spot to be.

In October 1955 while the other young cast members were at the Disney, Burbank, California, studio. Darlene was at Big Bear in the mountains outside of Los Angeles filming "Corky and White Shadow" for two full months. The problem for the teenager was everyone else there were adults.

Darlene returned to filming "The Mickey Mouse CluB, but only to be seen on the Thursday, "Circus Day", programs, recording songs for Disney records and making personal appearances. Then she was off again to film "Westward Ho, the Wagons". However,  because of exhaustion Darlene developed pneumonia and was replaced by "Mouseketeer" Doreen Tracey.

With the start of the second season of "The Mickey Mouse Club" it became obvious to everyone that Darlene was no longer the number one "Mouseketeer", but had been replaced by Annette. Although Darlene was still the "Red Teams Technical Lead".  She was second to Annette who had all the serials.

Darlene went to school and became a Nurse. In August 1968 Darlene meet Phillip Gammon and the two were married and had two children. In the 1980's she started a legal battle against the "Disney Organization" and added the "Screen Actors Guild (SAG)" over what she believed was compensation still owed to her. Her legal battle would go on for years. During this time she had a fall injuring her back severely enough to make it impossible to stand on her feet in the operating theater. Her need for the compensation from "Disney", became more critical to her.

After her divorce to Phillip Gammon she would marry and then divorce David Donald MacDonald. Unfortunately, for Darlene she next met Jerry Fraschilla. I will let "The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show" website describe what happened next:
Around 1991 Darlene hooked up with Jerry Fraschilla, who increased her distance from the other mice and eventually led her into committing a string of criminal actions. They were charged with shoplifting from a department store in 1996, then a year later were indicted for a check-kiting scheme. Fraschilla pled guilty and served 18 months. The couple married in January 1998 for visitation rights. Darlene herself was convicted in December 1998, receiving a sentence of two years in March 1999, of which she served three months before being released. In November 2005 they were again indicted on federal charges, this time for fraud in the settlement of a class-action lawsuit. That complaint was resolved without major penalty to Darlene, who was widowed in late 2008.
The other two mini-series shown on "The Mickey Mouse Club" were:

"The Adventures of Clint and Mac" filmed in London, England. It was about an American boy, "Clint Rodgers", played by Neil Wolfe, and his neighbor "Alistair 'Mac' MacIntosh", Jonathan Bailey. The 15 episode series started on December 30, 1957 and told, in one day, of the two boys finding the people who have stolen an original copy of Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Treasure Island", capturing them and returning the book.

Clint Mac Disney serial (1957).jpg


"Boys of the Western Sea" was actually a Danish motion picture that was broken into 9, 10 minute, episodes and dubbed into English. The first program was on April 15, 1957.



One place I mention in my article about my first "Magic Kingdom" visit, at the link above, was the "Mickey Mouse Club Theater".



The theater had shows for visitors to see and at times, like opening day, one, or more "Mouseketeers" were there to also entertain.



Don't laugh, but below is a photo of the original costumed "Mickey" and "Minnie" with two of the "Mousketeers" on the "Magic Kingdom's" opening day of July 17, 1955.



Before I go. I can't forget some of the merchandise that I made my parents buy me.

Like those  45 and 78 RPM records.
















You want to play a game?



Or play with a toy?



How about cutting out a "Mouseketeer"?



Ever want an Annette paper doll?



Not into paper dolls? How about Dell Comic Books?













And lets not forget "The Walt Disney Magazine" mailed to my house every month. As long as Mom and Dad paid for the subscription.



I've reached the end of my memories for this small blog article and so:

Now's the time to say good-bye
To all our company
Through the years we'll all be friends
Wherever we may be
M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E
Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse
Forever let us hold our banner high
M-I-C-See ya real soon!
K-E-Y-Why? Because we like you!
M-O-U-S-E

"M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E.": Walt Disney's Original Mickey Mouse Club 1955 To 1959: "A Mousketeer In Good Standing" Remembers

On October 3, 1955 I was 13 days away from my 9th Birthday and fell in love with an older woman. She was 12 years old. Her name was Annette ...