Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Mickey Mouse Club First Days

Q: I heard that the Mickey Mouse Club started as a local club until Walt Disney turned it into a TV show. Can you clarify the story for me?
Andrew, Seattle, Washington

A [Dave Smith]: The first Mickey Mouse Clubs were run in hundreds of movie theaters nationwide beginning in 1929. At the height of their popularity, in 1932, there were more than a million members.

[Marcio Disney]

Click Here to read an article by Steven Miller (Project Manager for Disney Trading) talking about Vinylmation '55 - The Mickey Mouse Club

The Mickey Mouse Club is one of the most memorable pieces of 1950's pop-culture Americana, with catchy lyrics that have rung through time from Baby Boomers on down. This club, with its daily half-hour television show, song and dance skits, theme days and mouse ears, was not the first Mickey Mouse Club, however. Before Annette and Bobby, before "M-I-C See ya real soon! K-E-Y Why? Because we like you!", before television and Disneyland, was the original Mickey Mouse Club.

Created in 1929 by Harry Woodlin for the Fox Dome Theatre in Ocean Park, California, this original Mickey Mouse Club was a cartoon matinee club for gregarious, all-American youngsters. Clubs of this sort, based around a character with some drawing power like a Mickey Mouse or a Popeye the Sailor Man, were popular with both kids and theatre owners. The kids loved the opportunity to see their animated hero and win prizes, while the owners loved the radically increased patronage and profits they brought with them. Within a year, 150 theatres organized Mickey Mouse Clubs with some 200,000 members. By 1932, the number of members inflated to a million kids spread over 800 theatres.

The weekly club festivities would always get underway with its very own theme song, originally featured in the cartoon Mickey's Follies and comprising the very first original song written by the Disney studios: "Minnie's Yoo Hoo"...

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