One of my earliest favorite programs was THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, a series that had gone off the air before I turned one year old but stayed around in syndicated reruns throughout much of my childhood. Basically, there was a bunch of kids who all seemed pretty cool, a couple of non-threatening adults, some silly cartoon characters, songs, educational bits and serialized dramas. It was like a whole day of TV programming wrapped up in just a half hour and all for kids! Like me!
Jimmie Dodd looked and acted younger than his age but he was actually the same age as my DAD! That would make him 50 when the show went off the air!
Former Disney animator Roy Williams seemed like the friendliest guy around.
No matter what age you discovered her, Annette (whose last name, "Funicello," must have seemed too hard for kids to pronounce as she usually went by her first name only) was the show's golden girl--lovely and talented and with a genuine air of sweetness.
I was always a big fan of Darlene, too. She was like the big sister I never had.
Doreen was, surprisingly, the one who geew up and posed nude...in her mouse ears.
I knew Bobby from one of my Mom's favorite shows, THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW, where he was the main dancer for many, many years after his mouse days ended.
THE HARDY BOYS was one of many dramatic--but not TOO dramatic--serials featured on the show and starred a young Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine.
My favorite part was the cartoons. Didn't even matter that they were in black and white because we only had a black and white TV set anyway! ALL of the early cartoons I saw were in black and white.
And then there was that wonderful, memorable, closing theme song.
Cubby and Karen were the littlest Mouseketeers and stood out at the close. Cubby would go on to perform with The Carpenters in the seventies.
Poor Donald. Seemed like nothing ever went right for him.
Oh, and here's Paul Peterson, kicked off the show early for fighting.
Paul revisited the old gang in 1977 with this book, an excellent look at old friends, some who were aging well and some who weren't.
I was always pleased with the chapter where he realizes that Annette really was as genuinely sweet as she had always come across.
In the late 1990s, with Mickey now having a whole channel and not just a club, my infant son became addicted to the same 1950s episodes of THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB that his Dad had enjoyed so many years before. He simply refused to go to sleep until the show went off the air every night...at 12:30 AM!